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Tuesday, July 9, 2013

The Magic of Aloe Vera

It sure is heating up out there, yeah? I hope everyone is taking precautions* to keep your skin safe while frolicking in the sun! Despite caution, I am the first to know how easy it is to lose track of time and get burned when having fun outdoors.  My Dutch-Irish decent means I am, essentially, translucent and will burn within 3.5 seconds outdoors if I'm not completely vigilant.

For post-sun care, before you go running off to the drug store to purchase "aloe vera gel" filled with who knows how many icky additives**, consider purchasing yourself an aloe vera plant instead.  A bottle of "aloe vera gel" averages $7-10 at the market, whereas an aloe vera plant will set you back less than $5 at your nearest nursery; and, lets face it, the plant is way cooler to look at than the bottle! Aloe is hands-down the easiest houseplant to care for: just give it sunshine, well-drained soil, and only moderate water, and your aloe will thrive, rewarding you with an endless abundance of healing leaves!

Aloe is truly a remarkable healing agent for burns, both superficial and serious. Applied topically, the thick gel that oozes from the cut leaves is soothing and pain relieving, and it contains rich concentrations of anthraquinones, B vitamins, vitamin E, selenium, enzymes, and aloin, which promote rapid healing and tissue repair. A thick application of aloe vera gel not only soothes and cools a kitchen burn or really bad sunburn but also quickly reverses the blisters and prevents scarring and tissue damage. Some additional fun facts are that aloe contains a natural sunscreen that blocks 20-30% of ultraviolet rays, and that it perfectly matches the natural pH of our skin, making it a near-perfect skin tonic!

To prepare the gel: Cut a large, firm leaf from your aloe plant. Slice it open; it's best to do this on a plate, because as soon as you slice into aloe, it will begin to ooze its gel. Use a tablespoon to scoop out the inner gel. If you want a smooth gel (optional), puree it in a blender. Store the gel in a small bottle in the refrigerator, where it will keep for at least several weeks.

To use: Apply the gel directly to a burn, wound, or skin irritation. It will feel cooling and soothing and will begin immediately to repair and heal damaged tissue. As the aloe dries, it will begin to pull and tighten the skin. This is part of the healing process, but if it becomes uncomfortable, gently rinse the aloe off. Repeat the application several times a day.

If this sounds too high-maintenance for you, you can also leave the gel in the leaf, cutting off only as much as you need for each application. Keep the leaf in a baggie to keep it fresh and to keep the gel from oozing out. Stored this way, the aloe leaf will remain fresh and active for several days or even weeks.

*SkIndulgence offers both a sunscreen lotion and a solid sun stick in the shop!

**The most common is typically alcohol so the gel will appear to soak into your skin faster - its not, btw, its just evaporating - which is actually incredibly harmful for a burn!

Monday, July 8, 2013

Calling Techie Friends!

 I am officially throwing in the towel on trying to resolve a techie problem myself, and sending a request for assistance out into the interwebs!

As you all know, I recently opened a direct-checkout shop on the site in an effort to move away from Etsy and allow people to purchase products directly. I do this by using PayPal "add to cart" buttons, which I love because buys can use either their PayPal accounts or just a credit/debit card without logging into any account, AND I can customize the button appearance and embed it directly into my website. I'm just having one teensy problem with this, and that is that I LOVE to offer discounts. To date I have been unable to find any way to generate discount codes for the PayPal "add to cart" function.

Solutions offered by PayPal have ranged from applying a stationary/permanent discount (um...isn't that just changing the price?) to 3rd-Party providers that seem no different than Etsy to me. So, long story short, I'm done trying to find the solution on my own (I'm better at making skin care products than techie-type things), and I'm asking the Friends of SkIndulgence if they know the answer.

If you can point me in the right direction of being able to generate discount codes (ie 20%-off when you enter the code XXX in the discount code redemption text box at checkout*), I will make sure the first code I generate is 100%-off just for you!

Thanks in advance, techie friend!

*If they have the box for it, why don't they have a way to make the code that goes IN the box?!?

Skin Care for the Jet Setters

Hello Friends! I'm so happy to be back in the SkIndulgence kitchen (and to reopen the stores!) after my amazing month with Build.Create.Kenya in East Africa! It occurred to me, after spending a cumulative total of about 48 hours in the air, that I should share some tips on how to keep your skin fresh and beautiful when traveling. Cabin air is incredibly drying, and its easy for our skin to suffer as a result. Heed this advice on your summer travels, and I promise you'll arrive all a'glow and ready for those vacay-pics!
  • As much as I love my makeup, I go without while on the plane as I know that the recycled and drying air will destroy the look anyway.
  • Before the flight, cleanse thoroughly with the Foaming Facial Cleanser and the Cleansing Grains. If you have time, do a Facial Steam, too. After cleansing, tone and moisturize.
  • Make sure to get plenty of fluids pre-flight by drinking at least a pint of water. Add the juice of half a lemon for extra-oopfm and system-cleansing qualities. Avoid caffeine as it will dehydrate you and your skin. Whenever that beverage cart comes by, guzzle water, water, and more water!
  • If its a long flight, keep some mild toner and moisturizer handy.  With all that recycled air, who knows how many germs are infiltrating your pores, and its a good idea to tone and moisturize (while your skin is still damp) soon after take-off, then again near the end of the flight.
  • If I know I'll be heading right out into public after landing, I'll apply some light makeup right before landing (concealer, a tinted moisturizer, lip balm and, of course, mascara).
  • If you're traveling light, remember SkIndulgence offers the full facial line in travel-size containers. I took mine to Kenya (of course!), and the 1-ounce sizes were more than enough to last me and the fiance the entire month!
Wishing you all safe travels and happy skin!