Skin Care, Part II

You CAN feel better!

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Thank you so much for such a great discussion about skin care last Monday. I appreciated the comments and the suggestions and insight from readers so much!

Wendy gave a great tip to avoid using citrus essential oils on the skin (it increases photosensitivity) and Barbara had a great recommendation for all you locals wanting microdermabrasion (Dawn at Daniel Island Medical Spa) and there are even more great tips if you want to take a look.

I don’t have any recent skin-care-related photos to share with this post today, so I thought I’d include some new pics of my wire words, which are going to be featured in an Australian magazine, SHOP Til You Drop! So excited!

I know there are a lot of questions about sunscreen, and I will dedicate an entire post to reviewing all the different sunscreens.

I’ll share with you my journey to find the sunscreen that works best for us, and the different carrier methods of each… chemical vs. physical sunblocks (why you want the physical ones) etc…

But for now I wanted to just quickly share the link to my favorite one, since several of you asked. Colorescience Sunforgettable SPF 30 powder… it brushes on, is very water resistant, lightweight, comes in an array of skin tones (although we prefer the completely clear one) and lasts FOREVER… one of these lasts our family all summer.

It is titanium dioxide that is micronized (made into extremely small particles) yet *not* nanoparticles (so not small enough to penetrate the skin.) It sits on top of your skin in a barely visible powder form to act as a physical barrier.

More on sunscreen and tips on sun protection (as well as the importance of Vit D!) in the upcoming weeks.

I got a fabulous question from Stephie (hi Stephie!) about using the coconut oil mentioned in last weeks post.

I thought I would share my answer as today’s post. Stephie was concerned because the coconut oil was in solid form at room temp… and in the middle of winter, even for us here in South Carolina, our coconut oil is solid as a rock!

At least in my house, where we try to heat our house exclusively through our woodburning stove, the temp is rarely above the upper 60’s in our home during January.
So here is how I deal. All spring and summer and fall the coconut oil is soft and liquidy, so I use it straight out of the jar. In winter, it’s a rock. I do one of three things to make it usable:

1. Bring the jar (with lid tightly on, to prevent water from going inside the jar) into the hot shower with me, putting it on the floor of the shower directly under the water stream, for the entire shower.

By the end of my shower, it is usually soft enough to break off a piece or tip the jar and get some melted oil from the bottom of the jar. That’s my quickie advice.

2. Usually once a year I take a minute to create a squeezey bottle of coconut oil + other organic oil of choice. Melting them together, when it cools, it will still stay in liquid form.

This is so simple, you can do it while making dinner one night, it won’t even take up ten minutes of your time.

All you do is melt the coconut oil in a pan over low heat (you can use a double broiler or just use very very low heat to melt the oil directly in a pan) and add some of your favorite organic oil to it.

I usually grab whatever I have in my pantry. It’s usually organic grapeseed oil or organic olive oil. The smell of the coconut oil usually covers the olive oil, but you can really use any oil you like.

Add it in a 2:1 ratio — twice as much coconut oil as liquid oil. I never measure mine because you really can’t go wrong. Just break off as much coconut oil as you like (maybe go for a full cup of coconut oil) and then add a half a cup of organic oil… it really can be anything, it doesn’t have to be from your pantry.

If you have some organic massage oil you like, like avocado oil or apricot kernel oil or jojoba oil, go for it!

You can also add essential oils like lavender or rose or whatever you like if you want. I’m not big on scents, so I just stick with the natural coconut aroma!

Stir and stir until completely blended, then pour the oil into a new container… you can get one of those empty squeeze bottles (the kind you use for ketchup and mustard) at dollar stores, or even better, recycle an old body care bottle or container — just wash it and/or run it through the top shelf of your dishwasher if you like… and that’s it! No matter how cool your house gets this winter, the addition of the other oil will keep the coconut oil in liquid form.

Keep the bottle in your shower to squirt all over you after you turn the water off but before you’ve towelled off! Ahhhhh…. moisturized soft skin. Is there anything better?

3. When all else fails, I take a clean spoon (or, okay, I might be known to impatiently jab with the handle of my toothbrush, but I don’t recommend it) and just hack away at the coconut oil until I break off a chunk.

As long as you can get a piece of coconut oil into your hand, you can just use that chunk to directly run over your skin… it will melt on contact, as your body temperature is more then enough to liquefy the oil.

4. Oh, oh, oh! I just remembered a fourth thing I’ve done!

You can melt the coconut oil on the stove (you can just place the glass jar of coconut oil directly into a pot that has some water at the bottom, and let the coconut oil melt directly in it’s original container.)

Then, I’ve poured the oil into all kinds of ice cube trays and chocolate molds and lollipop molds — I have flowers, hearts, smiley faces, lego minifigs, and even mice shaped trays (don’t ask.) Because you are *not* adding any other oil, if it is cool in your home the coconut oil will re-harden in the new shape… in smaller, single use sizes.

Once they all cool down and harden (you can place the trays in your fridge to speed the process up,) you can either individually wrap them in plastic and keep them out on your bathroom counter like a lovely arrangement of candies — unwrap one and rub directly all over your body!

Or just throw them all in a jar, they will melt and stick together a bit, but it is still easier to break off a shape and use it then it is to crack a chunk off the original block of coconut oil.

Since we are focusing on coconut oil, I’ll share with you what we love BEST to do with coconut oil… make magic shell and eat it over ice cream!!!!

I first found out about this through my sweet friend Gigi — thanks girl! — and have loved it ever since. All you do is melt some chocolate chips and add some coconut oil to it… mix… then drizzle over ice cream. Yum… it’s one of my family’s favorite treats!

So if you are melting coconut oil tonight for skin care, save a half a cup for the magic shell.

We believe in the powerful health benefits of coconut oil, and we also all love chocolate, so what’s not to love!?!? I put slightly more coconut oil in then is called for in this recipe on Perry’s Plate blog… I couldn’t find the original recipe that Gigi linked to.

The ratios do *not* have to be precise. I just add chocolate chips and then add about half as much coconut oil (so maybe a cup of chocolate chips and then a half a cup of coconut oil… sometimes more) and melt.

You can use a double broiler on your stove to melt it all, you can use your microwave (we don’t have one… maybe I should do a blog post about that! Why I got rid of mine and why I’m so very glad I did!) or you can melt them like I do, in your chocolate fondue electric pot.

What?!?! You don’t have a chocolate fondue pot? Holy moly, better get one of those. My goodness, peoples, where are your priorities?!?! Must. Consume. Melted. Chocolate. OFTEN!

That’s all for this post! Come back on Wed for a cool Etsy shop spotlight on a small business that makes hammocks, and Friday for a sneak peak at my favorite painting I’ve ever painted… if I get it done by then!

Then next Monday, it’s back for another fresh Thought on Health! Have a great week… xoxo