August 29, 2013 by The Dove
Lemon juice is truly a skincare miracle, and by far one of my favorite natural skincare products. I’ve adopted lemon juice as part of my nightly routine, and am amazed at what a difference it is making.
Lemons, of all citrus fruit, contain the highest amount of citric acid, between 5-6%, giving them their sour taste. Citric acid is in the family of alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs), which are in several skincare products and used for chemical peels in dermatologist’s offices and beauty spas. Other naturally-existing and gentle AHAs include glycolic acid (found in sugar cane), lactic acid (found in sour milk), tartaric acid (found in grape wine), and malic acid (found in apples). Alpha-hydroxy chemical peels have a high concentration of AHAs, which is why they must be done by a professional, since they can cause severe burns to the skin but AHAs in low concentration can be very safely used at home, which is why the skincare industry has hundreds, if not thousands of products for home use containing AHAs.
AHAs exfoliate dead skin cells by chemically breaking the bonds between the cells. As one ages, dead skin cells do not slough off as quickly as they used to, so skin loses its lively youthful appearance. Additionally, acne-prone skin is thought to be caused by an overabundance of dead skin cells that, mixed with oil, get stuck inside the hair follicle. When dead skin cells are removed, the newer skin cells create a youthful, glowing, clear-skinned appearance.
The AHA content in a lemon is only one of its many benefits. Lemon juice is also an astringent, which means it reduces oil and shrinks pores. Lemon juice also is a naturally lightening agent, so it works wonders to lighten age spots and acne scarring, not to mention its Vitamin C content.
To use lemon juice on your face: squeeze 1/4 of a lemon into a bowl, then using a cotton ball or pad, apply to cleansed face and neck. Leave on for 10 minutes and rinse off with cold water. Lemon juice can sting any open cuts (if you’ve ever accidentally gotten it in a cut on your finger, you know this!) so avoid application to broken skin. After you have rinsed it off, moisturize well.
Depending on your skin, you may want to use this only a couple times a week up to every night. Be sure to rinse it off, and always wear sunscreen, as your face can become more sensitive to sunlight using this lemon treatment.
Give this a shot and comment how it works for you!
July 18, 2013 by Melanie
Researchers at the Energy Research Center at the University of Maryland in College Park have developed the prototype to a genius and greener way to store energy: in wood batteries. Don’t be misled, the next generation of energy probably doesn’t involve carrying around blocks of cedar to charge your cell phone. Rather, these wood batteries are actually made from sheets of microscopic wood fibers that are coated with carbon nanotubes and packed into small metal discs. Instead of today’s modern battery, which uses lithium ions, these wood batteries use sodium ions, because as it turns out, wood is a good medium for the flow of sodium ions. What does this mean for the price of energy? Well, both wood and sodium are relatively cheap, and sodium is much more plentiful than lithium
While it’s possible the wood battery prototype may eventually move to production for home-use batteries, it’s unlikely since sodium doesn’t store energy as efficiently as lithium. Yet, given the available supply and low cost of sodium and wood, lead researchers Liangbing Hu and Hongli Zhu are aiming their focus on scaling the wood battery up to a size and capacity ideal for large-scale energy storage — the type required by an electricity grid.
Jim McGregor, Principal Analyst at Tirias Research stated, “I have never seen anything like this before, but I like the sustainability aspect of it, especially for grid-type storage.”
The wood battery goes hand-in-hand with renewable energy sources. Renewable energy is cleaner, more affordable, domestic, and just as infinite as the source it comes from. It produces no emissions and results in cleaner air and water for all. Yet one of the problems encountered with renewable energy is the inability to efficiently store the energy produced. In terms of sources such as solar and wind energy, as it stands, solar energy is stored (albeit, inefficiently), while wind energy is not stored at all, but is rather directly routed to the energy consumer via power lines. The ability to efficiently store wind and solar energy in large-scale wood batteries could be the solution the new generation of energy has been waiting for. I only have one question: How much wood would a battery use if a battery could use wood?
Adhikari, Richard. “UMD Makes a Wood Battery for Pinocchio.” 21 June 2013. TechNewsWorld. 17 July 2013. < http://www.technewsworld.com/story/78320.html>.
Palca, Joe. “All Charged Up: Engineers Create A Battery Made From Wood.” 17 July 2013. NPR. 17 July 2013. <http://www.npr.org/2013/07/17/200782520/all-charged-up-engineers-create-a-battery-made-of-wood>.
Whitwam, Ryan. “Researchers create super-efficient, long-lasting battery from wood.” 2013 June 20. ExtremeTech. 17 July 2013. <http://www.extremetech.com/extreme/159256-researchers-create-super-efficient-long-lasting-battery-from-wood>.
June 24, 2013 by Melanie
Turmeric is typically found as a dried spice, but it can also be found as a fresh root. It has a tremendous amount of health benefits when taken internally, but also is used externally for improvement of the skin.
Some of the medical conditions for which turmeric has been used as an herbal remedy include:
Alzheimer’s disease (prevention)
Colds and flu
Excessive facial hair growth
Urinary tract infections
The recommended daily doses for adults would be 1-3 grams for both fresh root and dried powder. However, for arthritis, the recommended daily dose is 8-60 grams three times a day.
For the skin:
Using turmeric as an all-over body scrub/body mask has been a part of Indian pre-wedding preparation for brides to achieve glowing skin for centuries. Applying a turmeric facial mask, which can be made and done at home (recipe below), can be used for acne, lightening of scars, and to even out skin pigmentation. It can also help prevent stretch marks and maintain the skin’s elasticity. Regular use of turmeric on the face can also dramatically reduce facial hair growth. A paste made from turmeric can also be used on minor wounds as an antibiotic, to reduce swelling and to speed up the healing process.
Turmeric face mask:
½ cup gram (chickpea) flour
1 ½ Tbsp ground turmeric
5 drops of olive oil or grape seed oil
1-2 tsp filtered water
Mix all the ingredients until it forms into a paste. Apply with fingertips to skin, and leave on for 30 minutes. Rinse with warm water. Turmeric can stain, so be sure to rinse it off very well, using a washcloth and soap to remove any residual stains, if necessary. Also, be sure to wear an old t-shirt to avoid staining your clothes.
Aggarwal, Sahdeo Prasad and Bharat B. Tumeric, the Golden Spice. 2011. Web. 20 June 2013. <http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK92752/>.
BeWellBuzz.com. Benefits of Turmeric for Skin and More. 24 August 2011. Web. 20 June 2013. <http://www.bewellbuzz.com/general/benefits-of-turmeric-for-skin-and-more/>.
Center, University of Maryland Medical. Turmeric. 7 May 2013. Web. 20 June 2013. <http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/herb/turmeric>.
UndergroundHealth.com. Health Benefits of Turmeric. 12 May 2013. Web. 20 June 2013. <http://www.undergroundhealth.com/health-benefits-of-turmeric/>.
June 21, 2013 by Melanie
Those annoying stickers that are often difficult to peel off our fruit actually contain helpful information about how that fruit was grown. These stickers are PLU (price look up) labels, which many of us have thought had the sole purpose of telling the checker at the grocery store what to enter to charge us for the right produce. However, those codes actually can tell us much more than that.
In 2012, many Californians were upset when voters did not pass Proposition 37, which would make GMO labeling mandatory. GMO stands for “genetically modified organism,” which means that food’s genetic material was altered using genetic engineering techniques. That is far from natural. Understanding how to read PLU labels can detour consumers from purchasing GMO fruit without having to have a specific “GMO grown” label on it.
PLU labels have three categories: conventional, genetically modified, and organic.
Conventional: PLU codes for all conventional fruits are four digits. It is safe to assume that conventionally-raised fruit contains pesticides and petroleum-based , as well as being grown in depleted soils.
The other two types of PLU labels on fruits are five digits. It is important to distinguish between these two by their first numbers, because that first number makes all the difference.
Genetically modified: PLU codes for genetically modified fruits are five digits long and begin with the number 8. This fruit contains genes that were not put there by Mother Nature. Science made this fruit.
Organic: PLU codes for organic fruit (defined as organic by the National Organic Standards Board, or NOSB) are five digits and begin with a 9. Although the organic standard as defined by the NOSB are not as strict as many organic enthusiasts would like them to be, these fruits are still superior to conventional and GMO grown fruit.
Knowing to differentiate fruit-based on its PLU is a very helpful tool when shopping at your local grocery store, since the origins of such produce are not typically advertised. Since learning this trick is relatively easy to remember, the next time you are grocery shopping, browse through the produce section and try to apply your newfound knowledge. You might be surprised by what you find!
June 17, 2013 by Melanie
Taking care of one’s skin can be a costly and frustrating undertaking. Not having the kind of money beautiful skin seems to require can be frustrating and leave those of us who are skin-challenged wondering what can be done? It turns that all you have to do is get creative and look in your kitchen for a ridiculously affordable way to bless your skin by creating your own natural face masks.
In my experiences with acne and other skin-related ailments, I found that, by putting food on my face, I can save money while nourishing and healing my skin with truly surprising results.
Here is one of my favorite combinations. In addition to acne, I have somewhat sensitive skin, and these ingredients have not only helped my acne, but are gentle enough to not irritate my skin in the process. I am absolutely amazed at the results I am getting!
Strawberries are a potent source of antioxidants and vitamin C (a half-cup of strawberries contain nearly 50 mg of vitamin C). They also lighten any pigmentation problems (such as scarring).
Raw honey has antibiotic and antimicrobial properties. It also helps calm irritated skin.
Lemon is also full of vitamin C, and citric acid. Like strawberries, it will lighten pigmentation, and will help reduce oily skin without over-drying it.
Mustard powder is a natural source of salicylic acid, one of the most common ingredients in treatments.
Apple cider vinegar helps clean out pores from oil and bacteria. It is also a natural detoxifier for the skin when applied topically, and helps to reduce swelling and dry the skin from excess oils.
Cinnamon can help rid your skin of acne by both drying out the skin and bringing blood and oxygen to the skin surface, which also helps plump skin like a mini collagen treatment.
Grape seed oil is great for sensitive skin, and actually helps reduce the oiliness of skin. The antioxidants in grape seed extract have also been said to safeguard the elastin and collagen in your skin.
Lavender oil calms irritated skin. It also kills bacteria and reduces inflammation.
Strawberry Spice Mask (for acne and smaller pores)
3 strawberries (green part can stay on)
1 tablespoon raw honey
¼ lemon – squeezed
1 teaspoon mustard powder
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon grape seed oil (can use evoo if you don’t have grape seed)
4 drops lavender oil
I prefer to juice my strawberries in a juicer then mix the rest of the ingredients with the strawberry juice. However, if you do not own a juicer, you can use a blender instead. If you use a juicer, the mask will be less chunky and easier to apply.
If you use a blender, add all the ingredients (with exception of the lavender oil) and blend until it is pureed and smooth. Stir in the lavender oil.
Spread onto your face, not getting it too close to your eyes, and leave on for 25-30 minutes. This mask will tingle and may slightly burn. Do not be alarmed! The burning will go away after a few minutes and will actually start to feel soothing.
Rinse off with warm water after 25-30 minutes and discard any unused product. Moisturize afterwards (you can even use a small amount of grape seed oil with a drop or two of lavender oil as a moisturizing, soothing serum).
Please comment and let me know how this worked out for you!