Itchy, Burning, Stinging Arm with no Rash!
This is for all of you who think that they are going mad, or insane, or both due to a chronic, itchy, stinging and burning arm. This is for all of you who can't escape the itch, can't sleep, scratch until you bleed and can find no relief!
This is for all of you who have gone to the doctors time and time again and come home none the wiser. Perhaps the doctor has just looked at you for the umpteenth time and politely tells you its all in your head! Perhaps that is what you think as well...perhaps you are doubting the reality of your itch and believe that it is all psychosomatic and its just a matter of getting your head together and telling yourself that your itch isn't real! That is until you wake up again scratching an arm that just won't stop itching!
Well...let me tell you it is not in your head. Your condition has a name. If you suffer the following:
Then you just may have Brachioradial Pruritis.
I am not a doctor!
I am not qualified to diagnose any illness or skin condition!
I am writing to you from my own experience and sharing with you the relief I felt when I finally did receive a diagnosis...Even though there is no treatment...I felt better knowing that I was not imagining this itch that had bothered me for over six years! I was sane!
When I finally was sent to a specialist Dermatologist, who took one look at my arm and noted the damage to my skin from chronic scratching, and when he listened to my lament about this itch...he just nodded his head and said, "I know what you have".
I couldn't believe my ears. I was overjoyed that there was a diagnosis...so of course I asked him to tell me what it was and how can it be fixed....He just nodded sagely and said, "I'll get to that later, but for now let's do a full skin check".
What! He'll get to that later!! And so he did.
He patiently explained to me that my arm condition was caused by my nerve fibres and possibly compression of nerves in my neck. Then he let me have the bomb-shell news!! There really isn't a cure...but we can help to alleviate the itch somewhat....and then he gave me a print out with the following information...
I hope that you find this article useful if you think that you may have this condition.
The following article is taken from a very informative and reputable Dermatology site DermNet NZ.
If you suspect that you do have Brachioradial Pruritis...then please go and see your doctor armed with this article and ask him or her to at least consider the possibility!!
Over the course of many years I have read many desperate pleas for help on many forums...all asking the same questions! What do I have? I am going insane with the itch, burning, stinging! Why does my doctor say there is nothing wrong? Will I ever get some help?
Well, I hope that this article helps you. I hope that you can rest a little better knowing that there is help but not a cure...that you are not imagining an illness, and I hope that you can find some relief!
I have to add that Brachioradial Pruritis was what led me to begin making natural soaps. All I use now is my Castile soap or Goat Milk soap and I am able to get through a night without itching!!
Let me know if this article has helped you. Leave a comment and help others with the same condition!
Article from DermNet NZ
Brachioradial pruritus is a condition where itch, burning, stinging, tingling and/or changed sensation arise in the areas of skin on either or both arms. The most commonly affected area is the mid-arm, but forearms and upper arms can also be affected. People often apply ice packs to the affected areas in an attempt to gain relief from the unpleasant symptoms.
The affected skin may appear entirely normal. Visible changes may arise from rubbing and scratching the affected area. These include purpura and ecchymoses (bruises), hyperpigmentation (brown marks), hypopigmentation (white marks), lichen simplex (a type of eczema), prurigo and scarring. There may be changed sensation when this is tested for with pinprick, cotton wool or heat and cold. Reduced or absent sweating may be noted in the affected area.
Brachioradial pruritus occasionally expands to involve the lower legs or generalises to other sites.
Cause of brachioradial pruritus Brachioradial pruritus is due to a neuropathy of the small C fibre nerves. As brachioradial pruritus appears to be more often reported in sunny climates than in cooler areas, long term sun exposure may cause damage to the nerve fibres within the skin
In many cases, brachioradial pruritus is clearly due to nerve damage or radiculopathy in the cervical spine (neck), when it may be due to:
When compressed nerves atrophy (shrink), C fibres in the skin can proliferate.
A localised neuropathic itch may also expand to involve other dermatomes.
Treatment of brachioradial pruritus Treatment is not always successful. Effective measures include the following:
Lavender Soap in a lavender Muslin bag with Lavender flower buds
Sometimes, the old favourite scent of Lavender is just perfect! No chai latte scent, or baked caramel apple or bubblegum...just fresh, natural Lavender!
I made this lavender soap four or six weeks ago. I used my non-stick friand baking pan as my mould. To release the soap, I placed the mould in the freezer but left the soaps in too long, as you can see by the slight mottling effect on the soap. I actually don't mind this effect, it reminds of a glazed pot after Raku firing and the effect of crazing a glaze on ceramics.
I don't like a too heavily scented soap, so I try not to overdo it with the essential oil. I prefer a subtle fragrance...and of course a lightly scented soap is less likely to cause skin irritation.
Packaging the Lavender Soap
The shape of this soap posed a packaging problem for me. When wrapped it just didn't look right...So I went and purchased some lavender muslin bags and dried Lavender flower buds. I then just popped the soap in the bag and put some lavender flower buds in with the soap and presto! ....a soap and lavender scent bag in the same package!
This lavender soap is made with a blend of Extra Virgin Coconut Oil, Extra Virgin olive oil, Rice Bran Oil, Sunflower Oil, Soybean Oil, Lavender Essential oil, lye and water.
It is a very moisturising soap and has been super-fatted at 5%...so lots of good nourishing oils available for your skin!
This soap is available now on my Etsy store.
I just wanted to post something beautiful and simple. Something to brighten your day...and then I thought about Henri Matisse and his use of bright, bold colour and shapes...and how his colours brighten my day. I hope that they brighten yours as well!
Sometimes...it is better not to say too much.
Sometimes it is better to simply enjoy the beauty to be found in the world around us and to celebrate the creativity of others.
I love the playfulness that Matisse captures in his art and sometimes I think that we have lost our own playfulness...it is hiding inside us...waiting to pounce and take us by surprise! Matisse helps me move toward playfulness.
His art is a smile!
Have a lovely day!
Re-use and Recycle your Kitchen containers to make Soap Moulds!
When you begin to make soap it is often very tempting to go and spend money on expensive wooden moulds, silicone moulds and fancy moulds from many soap supply sites. Don't get me wrong...these moulds are fantastic and one day you will most probably need them when you begin to make soap in larger quantities. But...your Kitchen cupboards and recyclable packaging make fantastic soap moulds! The Lavender soap in the above pictures was made using an empty Pringles packet. No need to buy an expensive mould. This way you get to eat the Pringles and make soap!
Recycle, Re-use and Re-think
I am sure we all agree it is good to recycle...that is why we place our empty milk cartons, yoghurt containers, paper, cardboard and butter containers in our recycle bins!
Now, I want you to look at these containers differently! Look at them and see soap moulds! Yes...empty long-life milk cartons make fantastic soap moulds! Some of my best soap has come out of a milk carton. Once again you and your children get to drink the healthy milk, and you get to make some great soap and be kind to the environment at the same time! Of course you will end up placing the demolished milk carton in the recycle bin after you un-mould your soap...but you have value added to that humble cardboard milk carton. Below are just some of the once throw out containers that I now use as soap moulds.
I don't endorse any of these brands as I'm sure you have your own favourites. They are simply to illustrate the possibilities.
I have also used my bakeware. I have found that my silicone cup cake moulds make excellent soap moulds and the soap is very easy to remove. I have had success with non-stick bake ware such as my loaf cake tin, friand moulds, and patty cake tins. In fact, you can use anything in your kitchen for a soap mould! As long as it is plastic, wood, silicone or non-stick. I don't advise using your good bakeware all the time!! It is just sometimes fun to experiment with what you have on hand. You can always line your cake tins and loaf tins with greaseproof paper or baking paper to protect them. If you use the non-stick cupcake pans, put the soap in the freezer just before un-moulding and they will pop out very nicely.
There is really no limit to the many ways in which you can use everyday containers as interesting soap moulds...and you don't have to spend any money!!
Soap making is fun...but it can be expensive! The cost of essential oils, oils and butters for making soap, Lye, clays, micas, packaging materials and your time adds up, and if you can cut your expenses just a little by re-using and recycling material...then it just makes soap crafting even more fun and creative!
I hope that you have enjoyed some of the ideas in this post.
I would love to hear from you and learn how you have re-used and recycled containers in your kitchen. Add a comment and contact me via the contact page!
Is it just me, or do other parents go into panic mode when their child comes home from school and tells them they have to choose a science experiment for an assessment task?
'What sort of experiment', I ask?
'I don't know. We have to make one up', He says.
'Well, how about this...or that...'? I helpfully say.
'No. That's stupid'. He says.
And it goes on and on, until the assessment task is just around the corner and still no decision is on the horizon. This is when the parent, myself, goes into panic mode! For some reason, my son does not seem to panic...'It's ages away', he says. Ages of course means one week away and no experiment started, no hypothesis no nothing!
So...off I go to the local nursery and buy four plants. Three for the experiment and one for me, just because I like the plant, and if my son doesn't kill the other three, then I can plant them in the garden.
Our last minute experiment goes like this:
All the plants receive the same amount of sunlight each day. The variables are water and fertiliser. Our hypothesis is that the plant that receives sunlight, water and fertiliser will do best. Sounds OK so far.
Record via photos and see what happens!
A photographic timeline
Science 101 for Mums: How to set up a Science Experiment for your 12 year old! Panic!
Not much happening as yet...looks likes this experiment could be a fizzer! Well I will add to the pics as the experiment progresses. Sometimes I just wish there was no such thing as homework, projects and at home assignments...What sort of teacher am I to say such things??! Well this post looks like it could be one of those never ending stories...I do like that movie though! Well keep posted as I keep posting!!
How Can Natural, Handmade Soap Compete against the cheap supermarket brands? How does it compare to the mass produced product?
I was in the supermarket today...waiting patiently at the checkout and just gazing around as people are want to do when standing in a line. My gaze happened to catch the latest Big Brand Natural Soap promotion decked out beautifully and placed strategically at eye level...and then I saw the price...$2 for two bars!
I couldn't resist going over to the display and check out the ingredients on the back of the Natural Beauty soap wrapper. This is what I read:
Natural? I can't even pronounce most of the ingredients!
I shook my head and then compared it to the ingredients in one of my bars of soap, where anyone could list the ingredients on one hand, and understand what they were! Here goes...
How can any mass produced soap with ingredients that need a dictionary and thesaurus be marketed as natural?
How could I possibly compete against the brand, the price and the marketing? How could any natural soap crafter? There is no way a soap maker, crafting cold process or hot process soap, could possibly sell their bars for $1 each!
My answer came to me very quickly, while I handed my credit card over to the girl at the checkout...I couldn't!
I could never compete on price, and point of purchase sales, and neither could I compete with branding...the only thing that would sell my product is:
A Closer look at Petrolatum one of the Natural Ingredients in the 'Natural Beauty Bar"
Petrolatum is more commonly known as petroleum jelly, mineral oil jelly or mineral oil, and Vaseline. Petrolatum is a petrochemical derived from crude oil. It may run the risk of being contaminated with polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs),1 which are possible human carcinogens found in crude oil and its byproducts. The Environmental Working Group labels petrolatum as a low to moderate hazard, but with the potential for contamination from PAHs, it becomes high risk.The European Union, has banned petrolatum for use in cosmetics unless the manufacturer can show a full refining history and prove that the petrolatum wasn’t produced from carcinogenic substances. Meaning, manufacturers have to prove the product isn’t contaminated by PAHs.2
The following is a quote from the David Suzuki Foundation, "But this petrochemical can be contaminated with cancer-causing polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. The European Union considers it a carcinogen and restricts its use in cosmetics. Download our wallet-sized Sustainable Shopper's Guide so you can avoid petrolatum and the other eleven toxic ingredients commonly found in your soap, shampoo, and deodorant."3
While researching Petrolatum, I did find one website that promoted its use as a moisturiser, (and also advertised for Vaseline), however, Petrolatum is an occlusive moisturiser and keeps moisture in your skin. This website concluded by stating that Petrolatum is not petroleum – and cosmetic-grade petrolatum is, by and large, safe.4 By and large safe? What does that mean? It's mostly safe or it can be a little bit unsafe?
So what should the natural soap crafter do against such odds?
Perhaps the small scale soap crafter, like myself will never be financially viable...but does that mean we should stop producing what we know to be better for our skin, your skin and the environment?
I have been thinking on this and trying not to feel totally defeated by something so ubiquitous as large companies, with countless resources and funds, who use key emotive words like natural, organic and beauty, while peddling off an inferior product.
No...I will keep creating my soap because I know that it is better!
Download the Sustainable Shopping Guide from David Suzuki.org
The Camelia in my Garden
A dear friend popped in for a cuppa last Tuesday. It had been at least two years since we last saw each other...but it never seems like that when we meet. You know those few and far between friends that you can just pick up from where you left off and it seems like yesterday? Well she is one of those.
Leah is also an amazing photographer! I mean amazing! As I looked through her work I felt inspired to get my camera out and go to one of those far away exotic places and take the perfectly framed photo with just the right amount of artistic licence to make it prize worthy.
Well...that will never happen...so I found my old point and shoot digital camera that I bought from the Post Office, and walked out my front door, looking for some strange creature or insect or something! Why is it that when I never want to see a spider, I see them everywhere, and when I really want to see one, there are none to be found?
I then spotted my Camelia tree dripping with soft, delicate, shell pink flowers. I love the old fashioned Camelias. There is something so beautiful in their symmetry. So I took two pictures. Only two...because the batteries ran out in my camera and I didn't have anymore AA batteries in the house.
Well here they are! One Camelia two ways! Now I sound like someone off Master Chef...Perhaps I should do deconstructed Camelia two ways..
Anyway...Thank you Leah for showing me the world through the lens of your camera!
Beanies, Knitting and Grandmothers
When I was a small girl growing up in rural NSW, I lived around the corner from my Grandmother. She was a wonderful knitter, and often I would sit beside her as she patiently taught me to knit one, purl one, as I tried to knit a scarf littered with holes. I haven't knitted in years. Too many years to count!
I was in town the other day, looking for ribbon and paper to wrap my soaps, when I saw the wool isle, filled with beautiful yarns and skeins of wool in so many wonderful colours and textures. Standing there, I was transported back to my Grandmother's verandah, sitting beside her while we knitted together, her with a pink cabled jumper for me, and me knitting my multicoloured scarf.
It was at that moment that I decided to take up the challenge and knit a beanie. I knew that I had two boxes of wool and patterns at home tucked away in some forgotten space, and I was determined to resurrect them and give those balls of wool a life and a purpose! No longer to sit in the dark, but to be worn for all the world to see!
I then spotted some beautiful Australian wool dyed in multi-colours...it was beautiful! And...I would get a free pattern book if I bought four skeins of wool! How could I resist?
So, I am now knitting a green beanie...my practise beanie, before I begin to knit with my new multi-coloured wool...and as I knit and listen to the click of my needles and try to remember to count my stitches....I think of my Grandmother and a little girl sitting beside her on a verandah.
Preservatives and Liquid Soap
If you are thinking about making liquid soap as part of your soap making experience, and especially if you are thinking of selling it, then the question of whether to use a preservative or not is a hotly debated topic!
Some sites and soap makers say no, while others will say categorically yes! Well which one is correct?
So let's look at some of the information out there!
My recipe for liquid soap does not have a preservative, but if you decide to use one, then it is easily incorporated into the recipe. Your main decision will be on deciding which preservative to use. However, the information in this post should be helpful for you. Choose a preservative that works in an anhydrous solution.
I have used information from three very useful and informative soap making sites that I believe are reliable and know their products. Each of these sites is listed in the Reference section of this post.
So why use a preservative in your product? Preservatives help prevent microbial growth in our products, which can cause separation of our emulsions, speed up rancidity of our oils and butters, and cause weird smells. Contaminated products aren't pretty and they're dangerous. There are countless reports of unpreserved lotions causing contact dermatitis, rashes, and worse1.
When should you use a preservative? If you make a product with water, you need a preservative. Anhydrous products don't need preserving, although products that might come into contact with water, like scrubs or in shower lotion bars, require preservatives.2
'Cold process soap (made with sodium hydroxide) does not need a preservative. For other high pH products such as liquid soap, generally if the pH is above 10 a preservative may not be required. If the pH is below 10, an expert microbiologist advises liquid germall plus can be used (despite the supplier recommended use below pH8). Alternatively, Suttocide A or Glydant Plus can be used.'3
It’s a common myth that anti-oxidants like vitamin E, Grapefruit Seed Extract and rosemary extract are preservatives but they are not – http://swiftcraftymonkey.blogspot.co.uk/2012/01/when-should-you-use-preservative.html Oxidation of oils and butters leads to rancidity and anti-oxidants slow down this process. These anti-oxidants do not prevent bacteria, yeast, or mold from spoiling your product. (Yeasts and moulds are fungi).4
The following information is taken from 'Talk it out Tuesdays' at http://www.soapqueen.com/bath-and-body-tutorials/lotion/talk-it-out-tuesday-preservatives/
What kind of preservatives are out there?
Many people like their products and soaps to be all-natural, but sometimes there just isn’t a way to make everything 100% natural. Currently there isn’t a good quality, affordable, all-natural preservative on the market for home crafters. I (Anne-Marie Faiola, CEO of Brambleberry Soap Making supplies) have done quite a bit of research into this and come up with what I think is a great range of preservative options:
Germaben – It is also great preservative to use when you are making lotions, as it helps to keep them nice and creamy. Usage rate:.3-1% of the total weight of the recipe and must be used at temperatures lower than 140 degrees.
Optiphen – Optiphen is a paraben and formaldehyde-free preservative. It is best to use in your oil-based recipes like shampoos, conditioners, and some lotions. Found out how to use Optiphen when making your own homemade conditioner. Usage rate: .5-1.5% of the total weight of the recipe and must be used at temperatures lower than 176 degrees.
Optiphen ND– Optiphen ND is a water-soluble, broad spectrum preservative. This preservative works best in surfactant based systems, shampoos, conditioners, gels, creams, and lotions. Usage Rate: 1% of the total weight of your recipe and must be used at a temperature lower than 176°F.
Optiphen Plus – Optiphen Plus is a water-soluble, paraben- and formaldehyde-free preservative. You can use Optiphen Plus in any recipe your are using water in and it helps to protect against bacteria, mold growth and even yeast! Usage rate: .75-1.5% of the total weight of the recipe and must be used at temperatures lower than 176 degrees.
Phenonip – Phenonip is a liquid preservative that helps to suppress the full range of microbial growth in your cremes, lotions, salt scrubs, dusting powders and liquid soap bases. When making products at a higher temperature, this is going to be the preservative you are going to want to use. Usage rate: .5-1% of the total weight of the recipe and must be used at temperatures lower than 200 degrees.
What is NOT a preservative!
An anti-oxidant is not a preservative. It lacks the anti-microbial qualities that other actual preservatives (Phenonip, Germaben, and Optiphen) possess. Many people get confused when they are researching preservatives and what is or isn’t a product that can help preserve their lotions and scrubs. We believe that a full-spectrum preservative (like Optiphen, Phenonip or Germaben) must be used to truly prevent mold and bacterial growth in your lotion products.
Grapefruit Seed Extract – Grapefruit Seed Extract (commonly known as GSE) is a thick and golden antioxidant that helps to prevent your oils from going bad in your lotions and lotion bars, but is not a preservative. We never recommend using GSE as the only preservative in your products. But if you are looking for a great anti-oxidant, GSE is the one to go with!
Rosemary Oleoresin – Rosemary Oleoresin, also known as Rosemary Oil Extract or ROE is an oil-soluble, all-natural extract that is used to prevent rancidity in lotions and oil-products. It helps to extend the shelf life of your product, but as with GSE, will not preserve it.
Vitamin E – Vitamin E is a thick and viscous oil that is super easy to mix into lotions, liquid oils, and even bath bombs for its skin-loving properties. It is a wonderful anti-oxidant, but it isn’t considered a preservative because it has no antimicrobial properties to it. Many home crafters use it thinking it will preserve their products, but all it can do is extend the life of the oils in your product (similarly to ROE and GSE).
What products need preservatives?
You wouldn’t want to find that your fabulous sugar scrub went bad after a few weeks, would you?
Any recipe that includes water in it or any product that may get water in it needs a preservative.
That includes most lotions and cremes, sugar or salt scrubs, and some types of body powders. Preservatives aren’t generally necessary in liquid soaps, but can be added if desired.5
As a natural soap crafter, you want to not only make natural products, you also want your products to be Safe! It can be dangerous to wash your self or lather yourself in nasty bugs that can cause serious skin conditions or even infections. So...I would ere on the side of caution and use a preservative like Liquid Germall Plus or Phenonip in your liquid soap to ensure that it remains safe to use.
Aussie soap supplies has a good list and supply of preservatives to choose from. You can find them at the following website http://www.aussiesoapsupplies.com.au//catalogsearch/result/?type=catalog&q=preservatives
An excellent source of information on preservatives, and well worth reading is an article on Making Skincare. You can find this article at http://www.makingskincare.com/preservatives/.
3. Reviews of 27 preservatives http://www.makingskincare.com/preservatives/
Do you use preservatives in your liquid soap? If so...which ones? I would love to hear from you.
Mother's Day had come and gone.
I stood looking at all the flowers. So many flowers. Row upon row of flowers being blown by the wind as it whipped over the top of the hill and tore at my hair. It looked like the remains of a Spring Carnival...only silent...except for the wind.
The flowers were out of place in this landscape...there should be life around flowers.
There is only silence in a grave yard.
I looked out at the row upon row of flowers, discarded by the wind and thought that there were so many mothers under those flowers. So many husbands, daughters and sons must have come to visit their mother on Mother's Day. What did they say? What were they thinking as they carefully bent down and placed their flowers. What can anyone possibly say to such SILENCE.
I thought is this the sum of a person's life? Is this all there is in the end? A silent grave decked out with Spring flowers when we all know that it is Winter.
I stood looking at my future.
In silence I went to their graves. It feels strange to stand over the bones of those you love...I say love because this dreadful thing called death, and the silence of the grave can not sever those bonds.
I greeted each in turn...Father, Brother, Step-father, Aunties, Grandmother, Grandfather...no one answered me...Just the wind.
The day after Mother's day was sunny and windy and cold and silent.
And then it seemed like the wind spoke to me, an echo from a distant past and reminded me, "that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord." Romans 8: 38-39
Hi! Welcome to my Soapy Conversations about Soap and AllSorts of other Topics! I live in NSW Australia and I am a mother of five, Grandmother of Five and I sponsor seven children through Compassion Australia. I love making soap, reading, teaching English, and being an Advocate for children and women living in poverty.
|AllSorts of Soap||
AllSorts of Soaps