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Know your ingredient: Stinging nettle

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Stinging nettles are those pesky weeds in the back paddock, right? Most people recall getting zapped by one of these plants when they were a kid but what many people don’t realise is that the phytochemicals that cause the stinging sensation are also extremely beneficial to humans when used medicinally.

Origin

Originating from Europe, stinging nettles are found all over the world now, including in cultivation on our farm. Many people think of stinging nettles as a weed but this extraordinary plant has a lot of therapeutic properties for the skin, urinary system, lactation and joints.

History of cultivation

If you’ve ever had a kidney infection and you like alternative therapies, there’s a good chance you’re familiar with nettle tea. Smells a bit like fresh cowpats.

Nettles have been used in Austrian traditional medicine for centuries and pagans used nettle tea as a lactation aid. In Ecuador there are indigenous healers that use stinging nettles to improve fatigue and circulation. They either rub raw leaves directly onto their patient’s skin or they flog them with bundles of the herb. I guess that would wake you up!

Applications

Nettle extracts are used in skincare because they are chockablock full of calcium, magnesium, iron, zinc and copper, and they have possess anti-inflammatory qualities.

Want to check out our day cream with sunscreen that has nettle in it? Check it out here.

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Know your ingredient: Lavender

lavender Saarieco-seed-to-skin-carenen Organics
What do England, France and Italy have in common, apart from making great cheese? They all have their own kinds of lavender. This fragrant plant is drought-resistant, beautiful to look at, and the bees love it! The best thing for us is that it has some powerful therapeutic uses when included in skincare formulations.

Origin

We source our lavender from passionate local growers, Mount Darragh Lavender, in the Bega valley, Wyndham, NSW. The team over there have been growing lavender for 20 years and use a chemical-free distillation method – the slow and steady, old-fashioned way using wood-burning stills – to create a top end oil that is pure perfection.

History of cultivation

The first recorded use of lavender was during Roman times, but almost certainly goes back further than that. There are 47 species of lavender that grow wild from Europe, through Africa, and right across to Asia. What most people know as lavender is Lavandula angustifolia, otherwise known as English lavender or true lavender.

Applications

Lavender is know for its antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties and the oil has been used in topical treatments for skin for centuries. It is also an effective mosquito repellant. The leaves can be made into a tea, or used as a culinary herb, much like rosemary. The flowers are also used to flavour cakes and desserts. Because it smells so pleasant, it is commonly used to fragrance bath products but when it comes to Saarinen products, we include it because of its gentle healing power.
LAVENDER ANGUSTIFOLIA
We use Mt Darragh Lavender, Angustifolia essential oil in our face skin care for it is low in campher and gentle to use on your skin, which means it doesn’t burn the pores open.
LAVENDER GROSSO
We also use Mt Darragh Grosso lavender essential oil which is very high in campher and mainly used for the body as the skin can handle the high campher from the neck down.
We use it in the following creams
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Know your ingredient: Non-nano zinc

Did you know that zinc oxide is in a lot of sunscreens? Most people think of the white stuff that cricket players have on their noses and lips when they think about zinc, but zinc oxide is an ‘invisible’ ingredient in a lot of formulations. It’s what gives some sunscreens that opaque sheen. There has been some debate about whether the zinc oxide in sunscreens can be absorbed into the bloodstream which is why we use non-nano zinc in our products. Read on for a brief explanation of the difference between nano and non-nano zinc.

Origin

Zinc oxide is a white powder that is manufactured in a lab. The difference between nano and non-nano zinc is the size of the particles in the powder. The benefit of using a non-nano zinc oxide in skin products is that the particles are too large to absorb through the dermis and into the bloodstream.

History of use

People have been using sunscreens for centuries. Ancient Greeks used olive oil, ancient Egyptians used extracts of rice, jasmine, and lupine plants and the nomadic sea-going Sama-Bajau people of South East Asia used a paste called borak that was made from water weeds, rice and spices.

Zinc oxide paste has also been popular for skin protection for thousands of years. Synthetic sunscreens arrived on the market in 1928, with the first major commercial sunscreen launched in 1936 by the founder of L’Oreal, French chemist Eugène Schueller.

Applications

Zinc oxide particles in a cream base block or scatter UV rays so that they can’t get through to the skin.

It is highly debatable whether nano zinc oxide can get into the bloodstream through the pores but I prefer using non-nano zinc oxide – defined in Australia as having more than 90% of particles above 100nm in size – because non nano zinc works exactly the same way so why take the risk?

Want to try our day cream with sunscreen? Click here to buy.

 

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Know your ingredient: Honey

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Honey is one of nature’s miracle products and can be used in myriad ways for both food and medicine. The seasonal variation in the flavour profile is just one of the things that makes honey endlessly fascinating but it’s also a really powerful ingredient when it comes to nourishing your skin.

Origin

We get our honey from a local South Coast beekeeper named Tony Bee. He has been working with bees for most of his life. Tony is in his 70s now and has a real passion for bee health. He will only harvest honey when he knows they can make more, and won’t if it looks like a bad season as he doesn’t want them to starve.

Many large keepers don’t care and will just harvest no matter what, subsequently starving the bees and causing them to die.

He uses a low heat extraction method to remove the wax from the honey. He also moves his hives around to areas of abundant flowers to large orchards to help out with pollination on farms or fields.

I love working with Tony because he’s local and passionate. His honey is high quality and cruelty-free – he doesn’t even smoke them when he’s harvesting.

History of use

According to a Medical News Today article, cave paintings show that around 8,000 years ago, honey was first being used by humans, although there was no evidence of humans keeping and cultivating colonies of bees until 2,400 BC.

Honey was a mainstay in the medical practices of many cultures for centuries. Over 4,000 years ago, honey was used in traditional Ayurvedic medicine, where it was thought to be effective in treating indigestion and imbalances in the body.

Before its use by Ancient Egyptians, honey was rubbed onto the skin to treat wounds and has been found in medicinal substances from over 5,000 years ago.

The beneficial properties of honey have been explored and studied in modern times, and there is evidence to suggest that some parts of its historical reputation may hold truth.

Applications

While honey has many therapeutic uses, it’s main use in skincare is for wound healing because of its antibacterial properties, some of which are detailed in this Dermatology Times article.

We use honey in most of our products including our new day cream which is also a sunscreen. Super light on your skin, it soothing while it protects.

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VITAMIN E – All natural, GMO and Palm oil free

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The Vitamin E we use in our products is GMO-free and vegetable obtained.

Vitamin E Oil is a natural antioxidant. It is very moisturising (particularly helpful due to its close relationship with our sebum oil) and has been known to help minimise scars, help improve severe dry skin, and is also noted for its anti-inflammatory, anti-ageing benefits and its success in reducing fine lines and wrinkles.

Topical application of Vitamin E has been proven beneficial in many clinical trials. It has also been found to absorb the energy from ultraviolet (UV) light. This means its helpful in photo-protection and preventing UV-induced free radical damage to skin*.

The Vitamin E Oil that we use at Saarinen Organics products is a natural, GMO-Free Vitamin E Oil (Tocopherol T-50) – the purest form of natural vitamin E available and is obtained strictly from plant sources only.

So the very best things you can do is to apply vitamin E nightly and also eat a wide range of food that contain high vitamin E to help you glow from the inside out, what you eat we can definitely see on the skin.

*http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/health-disease/skin-health/vitamin-E

*https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3583891/

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MACADAMIA NUT OIL- Certified Organic

eco-seed-to-skin-care-macadamia-nuts

Macadamia Oil

When we’re young, we hate when our skin produces excess oil, because it can cause acne. However, this same oil, known as sebum, becomes our friend as we age because it helps us keep the skin moist and gives a youthful appearance.

Sebum is produced in far less quantity as we get older, with a considerable depletion occuring at age 40. This is why our skin dries out and eventually begins to wrinkle. The cosmetics industry encourages us to turn to synthetic moisturisers to help slow the process, but those products are simply not as effective on our skin as sebum oil.

Luckily nature is generous and provides multiple solutions. Recent research has found that palmitoleic acid, the omega 7 fatty found in sebum can be sourced from multiple elements of the natural world. One such of these is particularly abundant, helpful, and native to Australia – Macadamia Oil.

Our Sebum supply declines as we age, however the qualities of Macadamia Oil have been proven to act as a natural anti-ageing tool.

When applied to the skin it is absorbed fully and doesn’t leave a greasy feel. Because it’s so close to your skin’s naturally produced oil, it’s able to help soften fine lines and wrinkles, providing a treatment that is both nourishing and grounding.

This is why we use Certified Organic Macadamia nut oil in our all natural eco skin care range. Handcrafted on our Permaculture farm in the Bega Valley, Wyndham, NSW.

A little about the properties of Macadamia Nuts.

Macadamia nuts contain over 75% of their weight as oil, the remainder is: 9.0% proteins, 9.3% carbohydrates, 1.5% moisture, 1.6% mineral matters and 2.0% fibre. The kernels of macadamia contain vitamin A1, B1, B2, niacin and essential elements such as calcium, iron, phosphorus, magnesium and potassium. The oil is a triglyceride oil and contains primarily monounsaturated fats up to 80–84%. Macadamia oil contains the highest percentage of monounsaturates when compared to both olive and canola oils.[1]

Macadamia nuts are also high in oleic acid (omega 9) and linoleic acid (omega 6) which helps the skin to restore its barrier function and maintain moisture. These fatty acids also boasts anti-inflammatory properties, helping your skin to remain healthy and smooth.

Macadamia nuts contain over 75% of their weight as oil, the remainder is: 9.0% proteins, 9.3% carbohydrates, 1.5% moisture, 1.6% mineral matters and 2.0% fiber. The kernels of macadamia contain vitamin A1, B1, B2, niacin and essential elements such as calcium, iron, phosphorus, magnesium and potassium. The oil is a triglyceride oil and contains primarily monounsaturated fats up to 80–84%.

Akhtar; et al. (2006). “Evaluation of basic properties of macadamia nut oil”. Gomal University Journal of Research, 22: 21–27. Retrieved 2 January 2016.

 

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Micro plastic free SCRUB

MICRO PLASTIC BEAD free scrub
I do hope many have seen the devastating toll these plastic beads have done to our water ways. I have over the years had many a discussion on plastic beads, expressing my concerns of the effect they will make on the environment, finally the knowledge is main stream now.

From a business point of view i understand why the companies used them for they are cheap! profit, profit, profit !

We here at Saarinen organics choose to use Jojoba wax beads in our scrub, they are strong enough to clean out the pores and remove a layer of dead skin cells, though than they melt and moisturize! why do companies not use them, because of the price, they are very expensive, in fact our margin is very low on our scrubs due to this. We are not all about that, we are about living sustain-ably both from our land whilst caring for the land! These are the reasons too why All natural skin care products, just cannot compete with larger companies price tags.

https://www.facebook.com/Saarinen-Organics-117924038289263/?fref=nf

follow the above link and check out what platic beads are doing to our environment.

xx kay

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When pharmacists look to herbalists – the turning point in all natural skin care

Today I received some fantastic feedback from a customer recently, and it represented a turning point in all natural skincare.

The feedback was as follows:

My mother who is 91 with dementia had swollen legs & cellulitis developed leg ulcers – I visit every day & put on the calendula ointment to the ulcers & legs – it worked fantastically & they are almost gone now. I was a little hesitant at first because she has very sensitive skin – I thought you would be interested. As a pharmacist I had a whole pile of stuff on hand but full marks to your wonderful ointment. Thanks!

With all the products this pharmacist had on hand, developed for specific treatments with complex scientific formulas, our own calendula ointment grown on our family eco farm and manufactured in my on-farm studio worked a treat.

But you can buy calendula ointment at any pharmacy, right? 

Yes. And have you noticed what colour it is? White. And do you know what colour the calendula flower is? Beautifully bright yellow! Stunning yellow, in fact, from the marigold family.

So what happens to calendula ointment to turn it white? The only way to achieve a crisp white cream is using clear oils, essential oils and adding a lot of water to the emulsifying wax to create that white colour. This means that the products aren’t made with herbal infusions, tinctures or whole oils which are coloured.

Pharmaceutical products tend to offer short term relief, without really getting to the root cause of the ailment. As a result, the problem often comes back ten times worse and is much harder to treat. Now you may think it’s all a conspiracy to keep you buying more, but it’s also a about the need for additional synthetic ingredients to reduce the cost of manufacturing and to help stabilise such complex, volatile products for long term shelf life and storage. It also comes down to, as you’ll read below, our expectations as consumers and what we’re conditioned to seeing.

Herbs are potent and powerful plants. They have wonderful healing abilities. Herbs and herb oils are too strong to use directly on your skin and they do need to be used in conjunction with other carrier oils and ingredients. Somehow, those wonderful healing properties of the herb need to make its way into a convenient and absorbent product to use on your skin.

So what’s the most effective method?

Tinctures are concentrated herbal extracts using alcohol as the solvent. Tinctures extract both the water soluble and alcohol soluble chemical constituents from the plant. Tinctures are fast acting on the body, and they also have a much longer shelf life than highly volatile oils.

Infusions are herbs steeped in lipids such as natural oils or liquid waxes where the properties of the herb are transferred to the oil.

Essential Oils, on the other hand, are extracted using either steam distillation or by solvent extraction. Solvent extraction often uses chemicals such as hexane, acetone, di-methylene-chloride and more in order to extract the essential oils from the plant. It’s popular because it increases production volume and takes far less time than other methods of extraction. But it opens the flood gates for all sorts of skin sensitivities.

And this is when you realise that learning to read and understand the ingredients list on the back of your skin care products is simply not enough! You must get to know your manufacturer and their methods.

Saarinen Organics spent four days at a health expo in Sydney last year showcasing our wonderful products to the world. I’ll never forget the feedback I had from one customer shocked at the colour of one of my creams.

“But it’s brown!”, she exclaimed!

“Yes!” I said proudly. Because it’s an all natural tincture. My herbal tinctures are all made from fresh herbs and therefore have that brown tinge. My aloe vera face gel is made from fresh aloe vera, and has a green tinge. My herbal infusions have either a brown or a green tinge. Because they’re all natural.

We’ve been so conditioned as consumers to expect that crisp, white cream that we suspect there’s something wrong with our skin care when it’s in its most natural usable form, untainted with toxic chemicals and not loaded up with water and emulsifying waxes. So much so, that it’s altering the effectiveness of skin care products. But when a pharmacist with a plethora of  specialist products on hand takes the time to offer their feedback on our all natural skincare, bright yellow and all, we know we’re about to reach a turning point. As consumers, we want to know that we’re buying products that actually work, not just products that look nice and clean.

 

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Water – the most overlooked ingredient in skincare

eco-seed-to-skin-care-Stainless-steel-water-tank

This picture of a water tank may not look terribly exciting on the face of it, but let me tell you why you should be beaming as big as I am right now.

Liquid skincare solutions or creamy skin based solutions contain quite a lot of water or water-based infusions, our Saarinen Organics creams are ALL herbal infusion based. Unless your manufacturer is completely transparent, you wouldn’t know the origin of the water nor what type. It could be tap water for all you know and contain chlorine or fluoride or any measure of preservatives to prevent spoilage. Perhaps the skincare manufacturer is not even aware of what your water contains, as it’s not their priority or their ‘key ingredient’. Perhaps they’ve overlooked the fact that their “floral water” may not come from the most pure of sources or have been contaminated with chemicals or preservatives in the process from the company they buy it from if they do not make it themselves, as is often the case. Perhaps the containers it’s delivered in aren’t BPA free, and this chemical could be leeching into your products and into your skin, comprimising the integrity of the products you buy and use.

This is our stainless steel, food grade water tank. It captures fresh rainwater on the farm, the farm situated 200 metres from a beautiful National Park. It’s the water we drink from, the water we use to bathe and use to make our herbal infusions for our creams.

So you know exactly where our water came from. And you know exactly how our herbal infusions were made. And you know that the water used for our products is no lesser quality than the water the manufacturers themselves would personally drink.

It’s a highly overlooked ingredient in the manufacture of skincare products, as it’s the most basic and not the ‘active’ ingredient most companies wish to promote. But it’s in everything, and it’s hugely important. At least, when it comes to products of integrity.

I urge you to think about the products you use and consider that if you wouldn’t eat it, then don’t put it on your skin!

And admire our beautiful stainless steel, food-grade rainwater tank in all it’s glory!

It’s the little details that matter the most.