Monday, September 27, 2010

Experiments in the workshop: Healing products for my best friend

As I may have mentioned, my best friend, Wanda, had an operation on her foot about 6 weeks ago, and she is need of some soothing foot products, so I've turned to a few different ingredients to help moisturize the skin around the bandages and to help speed the healing (although I'd never make a claim like that, I'm choosing ingredients that are purported to help).

She had an operation on the other foot last year, so I made her a few things for the post-bandage removal and walking phase of her recovery. You can find those foot products here. These recipes are for the pre-bandage removal and sitting phase of the recovery. 

I could make a few different products based on her current needs. Normally I'd put a ton of menthol in her foot products because she loves the smell (she huffs the container every time she comes into my workshop) and because it's great for the cooling feeling and increase in circulation. I generally add 0.5% camphor to 0.5% eucalyptus to 3% menthol for a Vick's like blend, but as she's kinda couch bound at the moment, I don't want her to have to worry about washing her hands after application. So other minty but tingly ingredients like peppermint or spearmint are right out as well.

I want to make her something jam packed with various healing ingredients, mostly softening, moisturizing, cell regenerating, inflammation reducing, and wound healing properties, so let's turn to a few botanical ingredients for this recipe!

As a note, I'm not sure if I want to make an anhydrous product or a lotion, so this will be a rambling post as I consider what ingredients I want to use then in which products I could use those ingredients. 

My first thought for the base of this product is shea butter (regular, unrefined, golden - any of these would work). It contains allantoin, which is a fantastic skin protectant that softens skin (it's a keratolytic, meaning it causes the keratin to soften), causes rapid cell regeneration and proliferation, and is approved by the FDA to temporarily prevent and protect chafed, chapped, cracked, or windburned skin by speeding up the natural processes of the skin and increasing the water content. The cinnamic acid can help with cell regeneration from underneath the skin (like AHA), which is great for wound healing, and with inflammation and redness. It can help with water retention, and her feet are really swollen right now.

Are there other butter choices? Mango butter might be another great choice as it contains gallic acid, a type of hydroxybenzoic acid that acts as a fabulous wound healing, and tannins, which can make the butter feel drier. This might be a bonus if I'm using some seriously greasy oils! Illipe butter might be a fabulous inclusion as it's high in phytosterols that are great for inflammation.

Or I could choose aloe butter as I have some stored in my freezer right now. Aloe is a great inclusion in wound healing and protective products, and if I'm making an anhydrous product - which I still haven't decided - this would be a great choice to get the wonderful properties of aloe into an all oil product. Aloe butter is generally made with coconut oil, which contains ferulic acid, a type of cinnamic acid that is a very effective anti-oxidant, more powerful than Vitamin E, that can prevent skin aging, reduce age spots, and help repair light and radiation induced damage. It penetrates skin to soften and moisturize, soothes wind chapped and sun burned skin, and reduces itching and inflammation. Like mango butter, coconut oil contains caffeic acid, which is also a good anti-oxidant.

So we have some butter choices. Maybe we should move on to some botanical ingredients that might help. Join me tomorrow for a look at a few ingredients I'm considering like arnica, comfrey, and calendula!

1 comment:

Sierra Snow Soaps said...

I hope Wanda heals fast! I love products made with these herbs. Isn't it wonderful to be able to help a friend in need?
Michelle in NV