Spencer St. Botanicals

Extra dry skin this winter? Maybe you are dehydrated..

DeBritt Ealey

With the super cold, dry weather outside and the dry heated air inside, our skin doesn’t get a break. 

Are you noticing that your skin is dryer than normal or that you constantly have chapped lips?  You are not alone!  But, it may not be just the cold and dry air of winter… you may be a bit dehydrated.

Did you know that cold weather can actually increase your risk of dehydration?  We normally think about dehydration only during the summer months when its hot outside.  During summer it’s easy to remember to drink more water since we are hot and sweaty.  But, during the winter months we still sweat (from over layering with our clothing or over exerting outside) but due to the colder and dryer weather it can vaporizes off our skin so we often don’t even realize we are sweating at all.  

We lose water every day during our normal activities and by just breathing so we need to make sure those fluids get replenished regularly to ensure proper hydration. 

Every system in the body needs water to function. We need it to get rid of wastes, normalize our temperature, lubricate our joints and protect our tissues.  Did you know that up to 65% of a person’s body weight is water?  Did you also know that it only takes a 1 – 2% drop to cause dehydration?  Remember, by the time you feel thirsty, you are already dehydrated.

What are some symptoms of dehydration?

·         Dry, itchy skin  

·         Alteration of your mood, attention, memory, and motor coordination

·         Fatigue, aches and pains

·         Headaches or dizziness

·         Decreased urination due to body fluid concentration (If urine is darker than normal, it’s a good                      indication that you are dehydrated as urine should always be light to clear.)

·         Grazing… it may be thirst not hunger causing it

·         And of course, thirst

How to stay hydrated?

First and foremost, drink water! Its pretty simple, you just need to make sure you are getting enough each day.  A good rule of thumb is to divide your body weight in half, that is the total intake of ounces you should have each day. So, if you weigh 150 pounds then you need about 75 ounces of water a day.

You don’t have to drink all of it, you can get some from your foods.  Most people get about 20% of their fluids from foods which is an easy and delicious way to get more fluids into the body. Soups are a great option during the winter months as they are nice and hearty but also increase your fluids.  You can also increase water heavy foods like:  Cucumber, lettuce, celery, radishes, tomatoes, green peppers, cauliflower, watermelon, spinach, cantaloupe, oranges, eggplant, broccoli, carrots, peas, just to name a few. This is another wonderful reason to eat more fruits and veggies! There are a ton of links out there to get your taste buds excited for more hydrating foods but here is a good one: https://www.shape.com/healthy-eating/healthy-drinks/top-30-hydrating-foods

Of course, there are many wonderful products (oils, butters, lotions, etc.) that will help keep your skin moisturized this time of year as well, but if you are dehydrated, they can only do so much and your skin will ultimately stay dry.  Hydrate first and then use fabulous products second, your skin will thank you!

Here’s to a year of hydration!  Protect your body and your skin by staying hydrated! 

glass of water.jpg

Facial Oils.. I LOVE them!

DeBritt Ealey

Have you ever tried a facial oil?  If not, you are missing out!  They are super nourishing for the skin and can offer amazing results that can be seen right away.  They are packed with nutrients that our skin desperately wants and needs.

For anyone who has not tried a facial oil, thinking that it may break them out, don’t worry, it doesn’t. It may seem strange at first that using an oil can be helpful for the skin, but wow is it ever! Facial oils have been used since the Egyptian times with amazing results.

But like anything, they need to be used correctly to see the benefits.

If you just use an oil on dry skin, you are going to get a bit oily.  But, if you apply a facial oil onto skin that is damp, the oil will soak right in.  Think about it, lotions and creams are simply water and oil that have been mixed together in some way.  So, if you have damp skin and then use a facial oil, you get the water and the oil together, thus instant moisture.  By using a facial oil, you get to skip the harsh preservatives, emulsifiers and other chemicals that are used in lotions/creams to keep them in solution and shelf stable.  The water portion of the lotion/cream is why these additives are used in the first place.  You don’t need any of that with oils. So not only are facial oils wonderful to use, they are also a much cleaner option for the skin than creams or lotions.  Personally I love oils and butters for the body as well, but that is another blog..

Facial oils can be wonderful for anyone with dry, flaky, mature, or dehydrated skin.  They can be used on their own or as an addiontal step in your normal routine for added skin nourishing benefits.

They are great for reducing signs of fine lines and wrinkles as they can fill microscopic indentations in the skin.  Facial oils are packed with antioxidants, omegas, fatty acids, phytonutrients, vitamins C, E and A, just to name a few of the beneficial components found in oils. Not all facial oils are the same, so make sure you are using quality, organic oils.  There are so many to choose from like: argon oil, camellia oil, prickly pear oil, raspberry oil, black cumin oil, baobab oil, rosehip seed oil, tamanu oil… the list goes on and on. Essential oils can also be added for their many benefits as well, which can enhance the therapeutic properties of a facial oil.  Facial oils can literally be used as food for the face.

Facial oils can benefit dry skin and can also offer some protection from a harsh environment. Facial oils can penetrate deep into the skin.  They are lipophilic so they support the lipid layer in the skin which helps to trap in moisture and reduce dehydration of the skin. It also helps to keep toxins out by enhancing the natural barrier of the skin.  This can be extremely beneficial if living in a smoggy or polluted area and you don’t want those toxins penetrating the skin.  They also offer protection in the winter from the dry, cold air that can be so harsh. Some oils even offer some light UV protection as well.  

Just remember, ALWAYS make sure your skin is moist before applying any facial (or body) oil. Personally, I love spritzing with a great organic hydrosol before I use my facial oil, but even water will work. Just make sure to be damp! The goal is to trap in that moisture, increasing the benefits of the oils themselves.     

Let me know what you think once you try them!

pouring oil from beaker.jpg

Why are scrubs so good for the skin?

DeBritt Ealey

First off - exfoliating is fabulous for your skin!  We all want glowing skin and to achieve this, a good exfoliant is a great and super easy place to start. We need to exfoliate regularly to remove dead skin cells that can build up and dull our skin. By sloughing off the old cells, we can expose the new skin underneath for a more rejuvenated glow. Exfoliation is a great way to promote healthy skin and help the skin to detox by removing toxins and dirt from the skin.

There are many natural options on the market today offering exfoliating benefits such as sugar, salt, apricot, walnut or poppy seeds, coffee beans, coconut bits, plus many other. Any of these can certainly do the trick and get you exfoliated, but we much prefer natural salt scrubs and sugar scrubs as they are very gentle and will totally dissolve in water, unlike other ingredients that wash down the drain and contribute to environmental issues.

Luckily for the environment the plastic microbeads that are typically used in so many exfoliating products on the market today will soon be a thing of the past.  Yea!!  The bill to ban them was passed in December 2015 and goes into effect at the end of 2017 through 2018. So, if you are still using those products, please stop, they are killing the environment. So why are scrubs so good for the skin?

Why use a sugar scrub?

Sugar scrubs are gentler than salt scrubs. The granules are smaller and finer, making it the best choice for more sensitive or delicate skin. Both cane sugar and brown sugar can be used for a sugar scrub and can be tailored to specific types of scrubs. Some sugar scrubs can be used gently on the face and lips, but not all of them, so make sure to check.

Sugar is a natural humectant so it draws moisture to the skin from the environment and will help to keep the skin hydrated. It is also a natural source of glycolic acid (an alpha hydroxy acid - AHA) so it can contribute to a deeper exfoliation as it can penetrate the skin to help encourage skin cell turnover.

Why use a salt scrub?

Salt scrubs are more abrasive than sugar scrubs so should only be use on the body. Many different types of salts can be used but sea salt works best. Sea salt helps to decrease toxins from the skin while acting as a mild anti-inflammatory for the skin. It is perfect for areas that need more aggressive exfoliation like the feet or elbows or anywhere dryer or callused skin is an issue. If you have any broken skin or small cuts, don’t use a salt scrub, it will sting – use a sugar scrub instead.

Lastly, scrubs are a fast an easy way to get great skin.  After you exfoliate with a sugar or salt scrub you are left with a wonderful hydrating and moisturizing effect from the oils in the scrubs.  So, no need to moisturize after a scrub, its done while you exfoliate, thus saving time in the mornings! Depending on the scrub you select, your skin can also get a nutrient hit from the ingredients in the scrub so make sure to read your labels to find the most nutrient dense scrubs for the best results!

Fall is the perfect time to start preparing for winter skin.  Start exfoliating, you will see the benefits right away!

Hopefully you’ve learned the importance about why scrubs are so good for your skin!

Enjoy!

SSB_578612-1-1.jpg

Body Brushing? Why is it so important?

DeBritt Ealey

We tend to focus most of our attention making sure that our face has everything it needs but often neglect the skin on the rest of our body.  We need to remember that our skin is the largest organ in the body and it’s up to each of us to take care of the skin we are in. Body brushing is a simple and effective way to support the health and function of our skin and our body.

Body brushing is exactly what you would think, you have a specific brush that you use to literally brush the skin for a therapeutic benefit.   

Body brushing will help remove dead skin cells and dry skin, which can improve the appearance of the skin but it also makes it easier for your moisturizer or butter to do its job, to get and keep your skin hydrated.   This is very important this time of year as we tend to be dryer in the winter months.

Body brushing the skin increases circulation and helps to remove toxins by stimulating the lymphatic system, which helps to eliminate cellular wastes in the body.  It is very important to support lymphatic drainage so we can help reduce overall inflammation in the body.  With the increase of stimulation and pressure on the surface of the skin, it also draws more blood circulation to the area which brings more nutrients and oxygen to the tissues. A wonderful added benefit is that is also helps to reduce cellulite plus it just feels amazing…

You can pick up a high-quality body brush at most health food stores or online.  Make sure it’s made with natural materials and make sure to get one with a longer handle so you can fully reach your back.  They are very inexpensive and easy to find so there is no reason at all not to be incorporating body brushing into your regular daily skin routine.  

Body brushing is great before a morning shower as its quite invigorating.  When brushing, make sure your skin is dry and always brush towards the heart.  Start at your feet and work your way up, then from your hands up your arm, then brush your back and stomach.  Don’t brush your face though as it can be too abrasive with a body brush.  Make sure to avoid any private areas or areas with irritations.   You want a firm stroke but not anything that is painful, we are brushing not scrubbing. :0)   After you are finished, simply hop in the shower, and wash off all the dead skin, that’s it.  Its super simple.  Make sure to moisturize with a great all natural body butter right after the shower to lock in the moisture and reap even more skin nourishing benefits.

All up, body brushing only takes a few extra minutes for a huge return on the health of your skin and body.  You will feel the difference…

Enjoy!

Why use a Body Butter? The real question is - Why wouldn't you?

DeBritt Ealey

Let’s quickly talk about the skin.  Our skin is the largest organ in the body and while it is able to maintain a great barrier with the outside world, it isn’t impenetrable. Many of the ingredients used in today’s body care products make it into the body through the skin, and we really don’t want some of those ingredients getting in.  It makes sense to minimize products that contain any harmful ingredients. 

Everyone likes to use body lotion but there is more than meets the eye with the lotions on the market today.   All lotions are made with a mixture of oil and water, which don’t like to mix together.   So, emulsifiers have to be added to get them to stay together in lotions.  Many of the emulsifiers are not great for you; a few of the newer emulsifying options are non-toxic but certainly not all of them.  

Since lotions are about 60% water, they must be preserved to prevent molds or bacteria from growing in the water over time.  Remember, most lotions have to sit on a shelf for quite a while so they must be shelf stable as they may be there for over a year.  Most of the preservatives used can be problematic for many people.  They also usually contain fragrance, which is another soup of chemicals and can contain many toxins and endocrine disruptors; again, we want to avoid these.  

So now let’s chat about Body Butters.  Body butter is a great way to moisturize the skin.  It is very different from a lotion since body butters don’t have any water in them at all.  Body butters only contain wonderful oils and butters to help nourish your skin.   So, they don’t need any emulsifiers since you don’t have to get water and oil to mix.  Without water, they don’t need preservatives since mold and bacteria need water to grow.  (They will have some added antioxidants, like vitamin E or a Rosemary extract to extend their shelf life so the oils don’t go rancid.)  They are usually scented with essential oils instead of fragrance, thus further reducing the chemicals in the products.

Using a body butter makes sense when using a lotion doesn’t.  When you get out of the shower, why would you towel off and dry the skin to then use a product that is mostly water with a list of emulsifiers, preservatives and other chemicals?   Strange right?   

Instead, try an all-natural body butter, without all of the added chemicals and additives, right out of the shower while you are still wet.  Think about it, you are already wet, there is your water, then you apply the body butter and rub it in, (your are creating the emulsion as you rub) …. This is so easy and works great!  The body butter will lock in the moisture from the shower and give you deep moisturizing benefits.

Body butter penetrates the skin to keep you moisturized all day giving you smoother and softer skin.  It can also be great for those really dry areas such as feet, elbows or other problem areas.  It is usually a bit thick for the face, but we have known people to use it on the face with great results.  It is absolutely wonderful for the body. 

When making our body butters, we start with Certified Organic Herbs that we infuse into various nourishing oils over a 4 week period.  We then combine these oils with Certified Organic raw butters at extremely low temperatures so they can melt together slowly.  We finish by adding Certified Organic Essential oils that smell amazing.  Then the mixture is cooled and thoroughly blended and whipped to form a wonderfully light and easily spreadable skin moisturizing butter.  It’s delightful.   We can’t image not using body butters on our skin, they are so luxurious.

Give Body Butters a try; you will never go back to lotions…..

body-butter-413c.jpg

Why use hand crafted soaps?

DeBritt Ealey

People have been making soap for thousands of years, this is nothing new.  The basic recipe is still pretty much the same, mix fatty acids (fats, oils) with an alkali (soda ash, potash, sodium hydroxide).  Simply put, when the oils and sodium hydroxide are mixed together, they make soap.   What happens when they are mix together is called saponification.  100% of the sodium hydroxide is used up when the soap is fully saponified and cured so there is none left in the finished soap.

By using this basic soap making technique, we can ensure control of which oils, butters, and other ingredients go into the soap.  We also get the added benefits of glycerin.  Glycerin is created during the soap making process and is what makes real soap moisturizing for the skin.  Real soap will contain glycerin.  But, most commercial ‘soaps’ do not.  

The glycerin is normally removed from the soap by commercial soap manufactures and sold to various companies as an ingredient in lotions or moisturizers or other products for its many moisturizing benefits.  This makes their ‘soap’ not soap at all, it is now a detergent which is very irritating, drying and harsh on the skin.  The next time you buy a commercial bar of what you think is soap take a look and you will see that it is labeled as a “beauty bar” or a “bath bar” or something else, but you won’t see it labeled as soap.  

Most commercial soaps contain synthetic and artificial ingredients along with many chemicals that we certainly don’t want to put on our skin.  Remember the skin can absorb what we put on it so we want to make sure we are always using the cleanest ingredients possible.  By using hand processed soaps made with organic oils, butters and essential oils, we can make sure we are only using clean and natural ingredients on our skin.

Once you use real soap, you will never go back to a commercial bar. You can feel the difference on your skin.  Real soap will moisturize your skin and leave you feeling clean and soft, not dried out and itchy.  Try hand crafted soap and you will never go back….

Everyone loves a soak in the tub...

DeBritt Ealey

When was the last time you took time out to really relax?  It’s often hard to find the time to get the much needed down time we so desperately need.  But, soaking in a nice hot herb and salt bath may just be the answer to help relax….

We all know that hot baths are extremely relaxing but when you combine a soak with the many benefits of herbs and salts, it’s a perfect combination.  Herbs and salts are used to reduce stress, aches and pains, improve sleep, and relax the body.   All of these benefits can quickly be achieved with a nice soak in the tub…

There are so many herbs to choose from that are wonderful and have great properties for relaxing and benefiting the body.  Arnica, calendula, lavender, chamomile, rose petals, borage and yarrow are all great floral options. Herbs like marshmallow, chickweed, comfrey and oats are a great addition to really nourish the skin, which can be very beneficial for problem skin.  Sea salt, Epsom salt and dead sea salt are all wonderful for the skin and can help to relax tired and achy muscles.

 

Take half an hour out of your day and enjoy a nice herbal salt soak, you won’t regret it!

 Our wonderful Relaxing Flowers Bath Soak...

Our wonderful Relaxing Flowers Bath Soak...

Facial Steams... ahhhh..... so nice

faceDeBritt Ealey

Facial steaming has been around for ages and there is a good reason for that, its wonderful.. Its such a great way to get some much needed love to your face and its super easy to do. I really love to add herbs to my steams for their added benefits but you don't have to, just water by itself will get some really good benefits or you could even use the leftover boiling water from that pot of potatoes you just boiled, it will all work.   Facial steams offer some wonderful benefits, here are just a few reasons to love it.

1) It boosts circulation and makes you sweat.  By increasing blood flow to the area and sweating, you can remove those nasty toxins from the skin.  

2) It hydrates and oxygenates the skin. By bringing more blood to the area, the oxygen and nutrients are brought to the skin, where its needed. 

3) Helps to loosen any dirt that is stuck in pores and helps to get the pores unclogged.

4) Gives the skin a really healthy glow. 

5) If using herbs, the herbs can have a wonderful calming effect on the body.

6) Your skin feels amazing after a steam.  Plus, its now ready for a really great cleanse.  

Steams are super easy:                                                                                                                

Get some water boiling in a pan (2-3 quarts).  If using herbs, toss in a handful or so and let them soak for about 5 minutes.  Then pull the pan off the burner and put it on a heat protected surface where you can easily get your head over it.  Have a towel ready to use as a tent to cover your head and the steam coming off the pan.   Make sure to tie your hair back.  Enjoy for 5 to 8 minutes, depending on how you feel.  If you get too hot, vent the towel or come out for a bit.  Remember to wipe your face a few times during the process to remove some of the sweat that will be happening.   That's it.   Enjoy! 

 Herbs before they go into the pot for a facial steam...

Herbs before they go into the pot for a facial steam...

We are officially open!!

Officially openDeBritt Ealey

Welcome to Spencer St. Botanicals

I am so excited to finally announce that we are up, running, and ready for business.  

After years of being in private practice and treating my patient’s many symptoms to the common ingredients found in most body care products, I really wanted to do something more.  I wanted to offer an alternative for them to use – one that would not cause negative reactions.  

I know firsthand how great natural body care products can be because I have used and made them for myself for years.  I have been sharing these products with my family and patients for a while now and they have urged me to offer the products to more people.  I of course, LOVE working with herbs and making body care products since it’s so fun, but it’s been so great for me to see other people that love using the products see a marked difference in their skin.  It was an easy decision for me to take things to the next level, thus, Spencer St. Botanicals was born.

All of our products are made with 100% natural ingredients.  We use as many Certified Organic and Fair Trade ingredients as we can find and never use preservatives, additives or synthetics in any of our products. 

We’ve established a preliminary product line that focuses on the face and body for now.  We have started with cold process soaps, herbal cleansers, body butters, superfood face masks, herbal and hydrosol toners, facial oils, bath soaks, lip butters and moisturizing cream.  The products work great and feel amazing on the skin.  This is just the beginning; we plan to offer many more wonderful products so check out the website for what’s coming soon.  There are so many great product ideas we want to add, it’s hard to decide which ones to add first.   Using natural body care products can become addictive since they feel so nice, we hope you will love all of them as much as we do!

We hope that this site will be fun to use and will also be used as a venue to talk about the many reasons it’s so important to use natural products, what is currently being used and why we need a major shift in our thinking about what we put in and on our bodies along with helpful tips and suggestions. As we move through our growing pains with Spencer St. Botanicals, we would love your feedback on what products work best for you, what you like as well as what you don’t like. We really want to continually improve any aspect that we can to make a product or service better, so we welcome our customer’s feedback to help us grow in the right direction.  Please join us on the site by sharing your opinions, research, observations and ideas.  We truly want to make the experience of using our website and products an enjoyable one. 

Before I go, I want to let you know that this is my very first blog ever….  So, please bear with me for a while as get going with it, I will be a bit wobbly to start.  I do have some great information that I am excited to share with you, it just seems odd to not have you in front of me talking back, so I will do my best to not sound like I am lecturing...  :0)

Stay tuned……

DeBritt