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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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Water – the most overlooked ingredient in skincare

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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.