Tag Archives: The skin

Ask Dahlia: Facts About Exfoliating

“Why doesn’t SALVE have an exfoliant for the face? What do you use?”


Great to hear from you, Adrienne. You ask an excellent question. Okay,  so there’s a misconception about exfoliating, that you need something scrubby on your face.  It’s actually not true,  and some scrubs can be damaging to the skin,  especially if they are coarse or have angles that do not soften when wet or that are jagged under a microscope.

You can get pretty awesome results from clays and other things like seaweed, loofah or even rice. I teach a SALVE workshop on exfoliation, and I’ll try to share some concepts in this article.

SALVE has two clays, rhassoul and kaolin clay. They are both excellent for sucking garbage from the pores,  removing dead skin and making the skin more even-toned. Of course,  you can blend these with any fresh ingredient based on the condition of your skin;  milk, juice,  water,  yogurt,  etc.

Personally,  I like to remove masks with a raw (wet) loofah. We sell them, but you can always go to the drug store and find them. If you want the scrubby feel, I like to use the kelp (we sell it as part of the SALVE Make Your Own Fresh Mask gift set).

So the way I use it is,  after you’ve washed your face,  keep you face wet,  and pour some on your fingers and massage into face in circular motion. Kelp is a sticky plant and it clumps together,  so make sure your face is wet enough to get that scrub all over. It’s not a great mask all by itself,  but you can certainly add it to the other clays. Kelp is extremely exfoliating if you use it as a scrub,  and your face will be so soft and smooth after! Plus, it’s totally safe to use as much and as often as you want. There are so many types of clays and ingredients you can use to make a mask. Here are my favorites … I’ll add to this list a little more later.


This clay is a miracle detoxifier for both the face and scalp. Rhassoul clay’s most impressive properties in skin improvement are its capacity of absorption due to its high level of ion exchange. When applied to the face Rhassoul clay removes oil, dirt and pollutants from the skin that the ordinary cleanser can not reach. When applied to the hair and scalp, it will cleanse, provide moisture, detangle and provide shine in ways that your ordinary shampoo simply can’t.

Clinical studies have been conducted by two different research laboratories in the United States (International Research Services, Inc. www.irsi.org and Structure Probe, Inc. www.2spi.com) to evaluate Rhassoul clay mask on skin condition.

The study results showed that a single use of our Rhassoul clay mask statistically:

  • Reduces dryness (79%)
  • Reduces flakiness (41%)
  • Improves skin clarity (68%)
  • Improves skin elasticity / firmness (24%)
  • Improves skin texture (106%)

Optional: Add 2-3 drops of SALVE’s Melaleuca or Neem Oil to create a soothing acne mask. For a super hydrating mask, add 2-3 drops with Salve’s Neem or Oranic Rosehip Seed Oil.

[Download our Recipe Card]

Remove radical and harmful pollutants from your skin with this ancient Chinese mask. It helps stimulate circulation to the skin while gently exfoliating and cleansing it, leaving you with brighter, hydrated and calm skin. Suitable for all skin types but caters to dry, sensitive and acne-prone skin. This clay will not dry out your skin or remove your skin’s natural sebum.

Optional: Add 2-3 drops of Salve’s Melaleuca or Neem Oil to create a soothing acne mask. For a super hydrating mask, add 2-3 drops with Salve’s Neem or Oranic Rosehip Seed Oil.

Our organic milled Atlantic kelp grows deep in the cold sub-tidal waters of the North Atlantic Sea. It is responsibly harvested, dried and milled following organic standards. Add kelp powder to bath salts, facials, bath teas, and body wraps. It is a yellowish green colored powder with a fish-like, seaweed aroma and flavor. Sea kelp contains chlorophyll, an essential fatty acid that helps detoxify the skin and body and improve the skin’s elasticity. Sea kelp also contains carbohydrates that stimulate the skin’s ability to heal and vitamin A, an antioxidant, that normalizes skin cells. Proteins and amino acids are also present, and are the building blocks of cells, and act as skin conditioners.

Bentonite clay is actually volcanic ash which is a great anticeptic. It’s great for skin problems such as aczema, rashes, yeast problems and parasites. Some eat this clay to help with stomach problems and constipation, but I’m not sure if I’m a believer.

Citrus is absorbs oils and is great for acne, and even combats dryness. It has a high amount of vitamin c which prevents wrinkles, hydrates, evens the skin tone and even brightens the skin. If you use citrus in your masks, or even in your regular skin care routine, avoid using citrus (vitamin c) products when going outside. It can increase risk for skin damage and can be counter productive. Ironically, the Arizona Cancer Center has reported that oranges (vitamin c), when applied to the skin before sun exposure, can prevent sun damage. Just be smart.

Smells terrible, so get vanilla. Doesn’t matter if it’s Greek or not. Yogurt is super hydrating, it unblocks clogged pores, reduces bacteria, softens skin, reduces wrinkles and hydrates. So refreshing, especially with sunburned or sensitive skin.

If you don’t know about honey by now, it’s time you hear the amazing benefits. Ancient Egyptians used it for cuts to disinfect and heal. It’s great to kill bacteria, suck on if you have a sore throat and helps treat burns. Honey regenerates skin cells and is a natural antiseptic. It is a humectant, which means it keeps moisture on the skin.  It takes 10 lbs of honey to make 1 lb of wax.

Soothes skin and aids in healing. It reduces appearance of scars and soothes sunburn. It’s a natural sunscreen, but don’t use it as a sole source for sunscreen because we don’t know the amount of SPF protection.

Rosehip is not rose petals, it’s the oil produced from bud portion that’s left after the pedals have fallen off. It contains omega 3 & 6 fatty acids and is perfect for dehydrated skin, stretch marks, hyper pigmentation (scarring), reduces wrinkles and premature aging.

One of my favorite add-ons to a mask is Lavender. It’s great for all sorts of skin problems including acne, eczema, and is super calming. Plus it adds a nice fragrance to your mask.

So good for skin problems including acne. It’s high in fatty acids and great for killing bacteria. Neem is also good to add to your daily moisturizer.

Anti fungal and a disinfectant, tea tree is awesome for masks, especially if you have bumpy, acne-prone or clogged skin.

Scrubs are so much fun and a great way to polish the skin to remove unwanted flaky, bumpy and dry skin. You’ve got be smart about what scrubby things you use on your face, because not all things are good and can actually cause damage.

BEST for Face
-plant-based (kelp)
-oats (any size, watch the drains!)
-enzymes (natural citrus or crushed pineapple)
-powder grains (rice, flours)
-jojoba beads
-loofah (wet, raw)
-charcoal powders

OKAY for Face
-sugar (prefer it be small granules)
-ground/powdered nuts without shells
-used coffee grounds (watch the drains!)

BAD for Face
-salt (all sizes)-ground nut shells, e.g. walnut (watch the drains!)
-any uneven grain (whatever you use needs to be round and small)

I’ll add more to this article soon. Have fun with your mask! Holler at me if you have any questions. We’ll be posting some of our customers’ favorite recipes on our site, so stay tuned!


Written by Dahlia Kelada
SALVE and SalveNaturals.com © 2015 All Rights Reserved

This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to cure, prevent or treat any disease. Please use common sense and always talk to your doctor before starting any new treatment or application for a health condition.

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Why is my skin so dry?

Image Source: ensacarmexico.com
Image Source: ensacarmexico.com

Customers are always asking me, “Dahlia, why is my skin so dry? What can I do?”

Every single person deals with dry, itchy, tight or scaling skin at one time or another. Why does this happen? What are ways to reduce the effects of dry skin? Here are some answers. There are many reasons why you may be experiencing dry skin. Here are the more common reasons:


HOT SHOWERS: If you read the post READ THE LABEL [CHAPTER 1] The Purpose of Your Skin, then you’ll have an understanding of the sebum or natural oil our body produces that not only hydrates but protects the epidermis from environmental exposure. This sebum helps keep our skin stay hydrated and healthy. Hot baths and showers actually remove the sebum; stripping your skin of moisture, and thus, causes dryness, itchy and flaky skin.

SOAP & SHOWER GEL: This is mostly true for soaps and shower gels containing a synthetic lathering ingredient known as sodium laurel/ethyl/laureth sulfate (SLS)  and ammonium laurel sulfate (ALS). These types of products encourage sebum removal and are one of the primary contributors to the dry skin, eczema, itchy skin epidemic. Antibacterial soaps and leave-on products can also cause the pH of the skin to become imbalanced, causing more dryness.

Try changing your store-bought products and transitioning to an oil-based bar soap that’s super hydrating. Stop using anti-bacterial products. There’s actually insufficient evidence that these products are useful anyway. (An article to come later.)

Something else to consider. If you’re experiencing weird breakouts or rashes, this is often attributed to synthetic soaps.

TOO MANY SHOWERS: You know, back in the day, taking a shower every day was unheard of, mostly for water conservation/availability/difficulty heating. But today, many of us are taking 1-2 showers a day! If you’re suffering from dry skin, consider limiting how many showers you take to every other day. If you are an athlete and get super stinky, consider using soap only after the workout, and room temp/warm water and no soap for your second shower. Further, consider only applying soap to the areas where body parts touch, under arms, etc. Give the skin a chance for sebum to build up again.

A SCRUB DOWN: Are you using a loofah or some other abrasive cloth during your shower? These can actually be very good to help exfoliate dead skin. But remember, we’re losing 30-40 thousand dead skin cells every minute by doing nothing at all. Excessive exfoliation can cause the skin to become sensitive and doesn’t allow the skin to cycle properly. Use a softer wash cloth, and save the more abrasive scrubbing accessories to use 2-3x a week.

WEATHER CONDITIONS: In winter, keep your skin covered, and ALWAYS hydrate every part of your body. The best way to hydrate for winter is applying a natural oil to your damp skin right after a shower. Good ones are coconut, grapeseed, almond, sesame or olive oil. Avoid using synthetic moisturizers as many contain ingredients that can actually contribute to dry skin. In summer, avoid sun exposure and take cool showers.

DIET: The way your skin looks and feels is often highly attributed to what you feed your body. If you’re suffering from dry skin, drink plenty of water or coconut water, and if you can stomach it, occasionally drink aloe vera juice which is also great for the stomach. (Avoid aloe vera juice if pregnant.)  Don’t forget, your skin is the largest organ in your body, and your organs need water to function properly.

Also, mineral and fatty acid deficiencies contribute to skin problems including eczema, psoriasis, dry, itchy and flaking skin. For example, zinc deficiency is often linked to eczema. Consider taking omega 3-6-9 supplements which also encourage collagen and conditioning of the skin. Always check with your doctor before taking any supplements.

Please share some techniques you’ve used to combat dry skin.

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READ THE LABEL [CHAPTER 1] The Purpose of Your Skin

Source: University of Mayrland http://www.umm.edu/imagepages/8912.htm
Source: University of Maryland

The skin is the largest organ in the body, taking up approximately 6 feet in surface area, and weighing about 16% of your body weight.

The skin has many functions, not only protecting your internal organs, muscles, and blood from intrusion of infection microorganisms, it also turns sunlight into vitamin D, and regulates body temperature.

The skin, unlike most other organs, have sensory nerves throughout its entirety, sending signals to the brain which helps us to “feel.”

Layers of the Skin: EPIDERMIS
The epidermis is the outer layer of the skin. It is your protective covering, or what I like to call, your “waterproof wrapper.” It is thinly coated with an oil that our bodies naturally produce called sebum, and serves as our body’s first barrier of protection. The reason why our skin is waterproof is because of this layer. It is made of tightly packed cells called  stratum corneum which produce the sebum.  Not only does it keep us from absorbing a big bathtub of water when we are soaking, it also prevents water from escaping our bodies.

I think of the epidermis as a living ecosystem. About 30,000 to 40,000 dead skin cells fall off our bodies every minute, which means the cells are constantly renewing themselves. This is about nine pounds of skin we lose each year. No wonder they tell you take replace your mattress every 7 years or so. Gross!

Our skin color/pigmentation comes from this layer of the skin because the epidermis contains melanin. Melanin is created to help our skin protect and filter our bodies from dangerous ultraviolet rays coming from the sun. If we absorb too many of these rays, we get wrinkles, faster aging, and possibly skin cancer. That’s why additional protection such as sunscreen, hats, and protective clothing is necessary.

When our epidermis is healthy, it helps the body avoid bacteria, viruses and other unwanted substances (The MERK Manuals).

Layers of the Skin: DERMIS

We’ve all heard of the word collagen. Collagen, in this case, is a protein that makes our skin have a supple and youthful texture and appearance. The dermis layer is the layer below the epidermis and houses collagen, elastin and fibrillin which all make the skin feel elastic yet firm. With age, these characteristics break down and cause wrinkles and loose skin.

This layer is packed with red blood cells which helps our bodies regulate body temperature. This happens because when you are cold, the red blood cells contract, helping your body to retain heat. When you are hot, the red blood vessels expand, releasing heat through your pores. The pores are little escape holes that start in the dermis and go through the outer layer (epidermis). Both toxins and heat are released through the pores. And some chemicals can be absorbed through the pores.

Layers of the Skin: HYPODERMIS

The bottom layer, also mentioned as “subcutaneous layer” which means “under the skin,” is mostly made up of fat and fibrous tissue. This layer also provides a mechanism for body temperature regulation, but providing insulation from cold, and the loss of heat (P&G).

Does Our Skin Absorb Chemicals?

Yes and No. Yes because some chemicals found in personal care products can break the barrier of skin protection, the sebum, and facilitate absorption into the blood stream.

Some scientist argue the that we do NOT absorb the chemicals we put on our bodies; however, the EPA reports that nearly 30 cancer causing chemicals are detected in the fat tissue of every American today. I have a list of organizations that believe chemicals can get absorbed into the blood stream, with data to back it up.

Let’s be realistic people. We’re exposed to over 126 chemicals every day, not including the GMO (genetically modified organisms) and processed foods we eat.

Not all chemicals are absorbed through our skin because some ingredients do not penetrate for long periods of time, or with frequent application/exposure or at high concentrations. Further, some ingredients, mostly natural, may not penetrate past the sebum on the epidermis layer.

It’s YOUR responsibility to take care of you and your family’s health. Read the label and ask questions. Take a stance and boycott products that contain harmful ingredients, harmful not only to you but to the environment.

Stay tuned for more excerpts from my presentation “READ THE LABEL: Understanding Natural and Organic Skin Care.”

Written by Dahlia Kelada, from her presentation READ THE LABEL: Understanding Natural & Organic Skin Care  © 2013 All Rights Reserved

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