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Natural Footcare for Cracked Heels

A long time ago, we managed apartments that were… let’s just say they were old. Old enough to have more problems than we could count. Each person in my family has battled one health problem or another due to that apartment. Thanks to the lovely mold-ridden carpeting I developed a skin problem on one foot that had me baffled only until recently. I would get an uncomfortable, cracked heel and very dry, crackly skin around the big toe. The other foot was okay. Strange. Over-the-Counter products didn’t work or were too expensive or made it worse! I tried product after product for 2 years. (I wonder how much money the cosmetic and pharmaceutical industries sucked out of me? Hmm?) Then I started reading a wonderful magazine – The Herb Companion (No longer in print. Tragic.) It was filled with natural remedies that contain healing herbs. So I tried one that seemed easy enough. And it works! I won’t use anything else but my home remedies now. Amazing! So without further ado, here is a homemade foot oil recipe I cooked up based on an article from the magazine.

Here’s how to make your own.

My Footcare Oil Recipe

This is my go-to recipe to knock out cracked heels and dry, itchy skin.

12 drops of clove essential oil. I love Aura Cacia products and until I learn how to create my own oils, this is what I suggest you use.

Sesame oil. Make sure the oil is fresh because rancid oil smells awful and no amount of fragrance will fix the smell.

I use enough sesame oil to fill the tincture bottle about 7/8 full. Mix the ingredients right in the bottle, shaking vigorously for a minute or so. Shake it each time you use it, just to be sure. You can buy the bottles online (http://www.specialtybottle.com, or Amazon.com) and some health food stores will carry them also. Put a little on the affected areas and then massage it in. That’s it.

Oh yeah, if you’re a bit clumsy like me, you may need this to help prevent a mess!

It’s ok to experiment with fragrances, like adding a drop or two of other essential oils to compliment the clove. But don’t substitute the clove… it’s the important factor in healing those cracked heels and rough, dry skin. It has antibacterial and antiseptic properties that is strong enough to fight athlete’s foot. You can add less oil to your liking, but don’t go below 6 drops (which is originally recommended by the magazine). But in my opinion, 12 drops is the perfect strength. (Going higher is risky if your skin is sensitive. Clove oil is too strong to put directly on the skin so the dominating ingredient should be the base oil.) What it really comes down to is knowing what it right for you. For treating a problem like athlete’s foot, you’ll need to use this at least twice a day for about 4 weeks before you begin to see results. For my problem, I started using it once a night for 2 months straight and then I cut back to weekly. Hmm, 2 months versus two years… it’s a no-brainer!

Enjoy!

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Natural Beauty: 3 Homemade Face Masks For Oily Skin

Oily skin can be the result of many different factors, including diet, hormones, skincare products, and even some health conditions. Homemade face masks can help to control oily skin and do not contain the harsh chemicals, preservatives, and harsh ingredients found in store-bought products. Here are three homemade face masks for oily skin.

Oat, Honey, and Lemon Mask

Oats absorb excess oil and gently exfoliate your skin, helping to remove dead skin cells and dirt that can accumulate on the surface of oily skin. Honey is a natural moisturizer and skin softener that contains antibacterial properties to keep your skin healthy. Fresh lemon juice contains citric acid, which helps to reduce oil production when applied to the surface. Combine these three ingredients for a moisturizing face mask to remove and control excess oil.

First, add 2 tablespoons of honey to 1 tablespoon of freshly squeezed lemon juice. Next, add the oats 1 teaspoon at a time, until the mixture begins to thicken. It may take up to 5 teaspoons of oats to achieve the right consistency. The aim is to make a pliable paste that will stick to your face.

Apply a thick layer of the mask to your skin, taking care to avoid the eyes, and leave on for up to 20 minutes. Before removing the mask, use a wet cloth to gently massage the mixture into your face, as this enables the oats to exfoliate your skin. Rinse thoroughly and cleanse your skin.

Fuller’s Earth, Cucumber, and Aloe Vera Mask

Fuller’s Earth clay removes excess oil, tightens the skin, and provides deep cleanse for the pores. Cucumber juice is an astringent that will also help to tighten the skin. Aloe vera gel, another powerful astringent, contains antibacterial, anti-fungal, and moisturizing properties. Mix these ingredients for a cooling mask.

Start by extracting the juice from a fresh cucumber. A juicer is ideal for obtaining the maximum amount of fluid, but you can also use a blender or just mash the peeled cucumber with a fork. You can then pass the liquid through a sieve or clean piece of cheesecloth to remove the flesh.

Take 2 tablespoons of the cucumber juice and add 1 tablespoon of aloe vera gel. Next, add the Fuller’s Earth clay and mix into a smooth paste. As a general rule, you need to use 2 tablespoons of Fuller’s Earth clay to 3 tablespoons of liquid, although this will depend on the type and consistency of the fluid.

Apply a thin layer of the mixture to your face and leave on for 15 to 20 minutes. After taking the mask off, rinse, cleanse and tone your face thoroughly to remove all traces of the clay from your skin and pores.

Yogurt, Baking Soda, and Graham Flour Mask

Yogurt contains lactic acid, a natural cleanser that helps to loosen dead skin cells and control oil production. Baking soda helps to balance the skin’s PH levels and is highly effective at reducing the amount of surface oil. Graham flour acts as a deep cleanser to remove dirt from the pores and will also help to bulk out the mask, preventing it from running or falling off.

Start by mixing 2 tablespoons of yogurt with 1 tablespoon of baking soda. Add the graham flour, 1 teaspoon at a time, until the mixture becomes a smooth paste. Apply the mask to your face and leave on for 10 to 15 minutes. Rinse off thoroughly and add a thin layer of light moisturizer to rehydrate the skin, as baking soda can sometimes leave the skin feeling dry.

Homemade face masks can be extremely useful in reducing and removing excess oil produced by the skin. However, you may need to experiment with different combinations of ingredients to find the right mask to suit your skin type.

Check out: 3 Homemade Face Masks For Sensitive Skin


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