Medicine Cabinet Swap Part 3 – Insect Repellent

Ok, this post is kind of scary. I was appalled to learn the ingredients used in the most popular brand of insect repellent in the U.S. I knew it was bad for you, but geez! 

Brace yourself, we’re diving in. 

Off! FamilyCare Insect Repellent | Smooth and Dry¹

You see the product name “FamilyCare” and think, “ok, it’s safe for the whole family. That’s gotta be ok for us to use.” NOPE! It is touted as a “mosquito repellent you can feel good about” simply because it dries instantly, isn’t sticky, and lasts up to 6 hours. So, you’re not “feeling good” about it because it’s safe, but because it literally feels good on. Nicely played, Off! marketing team. Sneaky.

This product contains 15% DEET; which it what makes it lasts 6 hours (the amount of DEET in a product correlates with how long it lasts²). 

So what is DEET? We’ve likely all heard that it is not safe, but why?² ³ 

The science behind DEET is actually kinda neat. DEET works by confusing mosquitoes’ odor receptors by creating an aromatic barrier making it difficult for the flying vampires to land on us and bite.² ³ So, it doesn’t kill the bugs, it just confuses them so they leave you alone (personally, I’d be fine if the bugs died, but I’m sure it’s environmentally important that we have them…). Great concept. 

If only this synthetic chemical didn’t have side effects including rash and other skin irritations, numb or burning lips (my lips have definitely gone numb when I accidentally touched my mouth without washing my hands after applying bug spray), nausea, headaches (the smell alone gives me a headache), dizziness, and difficulty concentrating.³

From 1961 to 2002, the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry reported eight DEET related deaths. Three from deliberate ingestion, and five from DEET exposure in both adults and children.³ Eight deaths over 41 years may not seem like a lot, but why risk it? It seems like kids are the most sensitive to the effects of DEET resulting in headaches, tremors, lethargy, seizures, involuntary movements, and convulsions. Prolonged use may also be linked with brain deficits.³ 

In addition to the possible side effects listed above, more serious side effects are possible as well:³
DNA damage
Negative impact on the nervous system
Muscle and joint pain
Weakness
Fatigue
Memory loss
Shortness of breath
Disorientation
Hallucinations

All of this, and yet Americans use about 6 million pounds of it per year.³ 

That is the only active ingredient in this Off! insect repellent, but they have several scary inactive ingredients.† Such as:

Fragrance – the list of chemicals in the “fragrance” alone are a lot to list, but eight of them are listed on SC Johnson’s list of skin allergens. Most “fragrances” are known estrogen disruptions and carcinogens. 
Butane – can cause gastrointestinal issues including nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Prolonged exposure can cause sudden collapse, coma, respiratory failure, liver and kidney failure, and even death. 
Propane – yes you read that correctly; Propane! VERY toxic to inhale. It can cause hypoxia, which is a form of oxygen deprivation that can lead to death. Plus, as we all know, it’s highly flammable. Stay away from open flames, lighters, and torches if using. 
Isobutane – extremely flammable and an explosive. Breathing it in can cause shortness of breath and suffocation. If used during cold weather, it can increase your risk of frostbite. 
Ethanol – highly flammable. Consuming can result in a coma and even death.
Isopropyl Myristate – while not considered dangerous, it can cause skin irritation, clogged pores, and acne inflammation. 
Dimethicone – although it is used to soften the skin, prolonged use can cause skin and eye irritations
Corn Starch
Water
Magnesium Carbonate
Aminomethyl Propanol
Sodium Benzoate

Can you believe that?! I knew bug spray was flammable, but seeing Propane as an ingredient really surprised and disgusted me! Plus so many of these ingredients can cause skin irritations yet this is something meant for your skin! Am I the only one baffled at what the FDA allows us to put on our skin, breathe, and ingest?!

If you have this product lying around the house, you definitely want to keep it out of reach of children as ingesting this insect repellent can lead to serious illnesses and even death. Also, don’t use it if you’re going to be around flames. So, if you’re grilling, at a bon fire, smoking (which I am not advocating), lighting candles, around tiki torches, or anything else involving fire, don’t put on this “bug dope” (as my Granddaddy calls it). It’s better to get bitten by a couple of mosquitoes than it is to burst into flames. 

“But, Katie Sue, some mosquitoes carry terrible diseases! How I can protect my family without using something toxic?” 

Well, I’m glad you asked! Young Living makes a 100% natural insect repellent! Off! brand says it keeps mosquitoes away, but Young Living’s says it keeps ticks, fleas, and mosquitoes away!‡ It’s a powerhouse!

Young Living Insect Repellent‡young-living-insect-repellent

Combining essential oils such as Citronella, Lemongrass, Rosemary, Geranium, Spearmint, Thyme, and Clove with soft Sesame oil and Vitamin E‡ it is the best way to enjoy your time outside without pesky bugs flying around (while also not worrying about bursting into flames or toxic ingredients being absorbed into your blood stream)! 

It is formulated without DEET, parabens, fillers, phthalates, petrochemicals, animal-derived ingredients, synthetic preservatives, synthetic fragrances, or synthetic colorants.‡

It rubs easily into skin without being greasy or sticky.‡

It is dermatologist tested and hypoallergenic.‡ 

Child safe.‡* 

Vegan friendly.‡ 

I LOVE this insect repellent and take it to every outdoor gathering – it’s a must have! It is very effective, smells wonderful, and is completely safe.* I can apply it and not be bothered by bugs the whole time I am outside. Plus, it is actually beneficial to your skin, and will leave it feeling so soft!


I told you this post was a little scary, but I’m so glad and thankful we have a safe, effective alternative we can use! Do you have this awesome bug dope yet? If not, you can get yours here.

Thank you for learning with me!
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~Katie Sue
Striving for wellness and a chemical-free life, one oil at a time. 

 

 

¹Basic information for Off! FamilySafe Insect Repellent | Smooth and Dry was found on their website.

²Some information on DEET was found of OFF!’s information page.

³Additional information on DEET was found here.

†The ingredients list for Off! FamilySafe Insect Repellent | Smooth and Dry was found on the “What’s Inside SC Johnson” product page.

‡Information on Young Living’s Insect Repellent was found their product page.

*As always, when using Essential Oils, you want to avoid eye contact. When using with children, do not apply insect repellent or essential oils to their hands in order to protect their eyes from accidentally being rubbed by oiled-up hands.

Medicine Cabinet Swap – Part 1: Sunscreen

It’s already August! How did that even happen? Summer may be coming to a close, but there is still time to squeeze in a short vacation, weekend at the lake, outings to the zoo, plus Labor Day is coming up, and we’ll all be eating BBQ outside all weekend. To prepare for all these fun outings, we gotta have sunscreen! 

You’ve most likely heard that traditional sunscreens are bad for you and can even be more harmful than sun exposure. What makes them so bad for us, though? I mean, everyone and their mom has been using sunscreen since it was invented in the 50’s. My mother lathered up my siblings and I within an inch of our lives, and then, thankfully, in the late 90’s just sprayed us down. It’s a part of summer. If you don’t have a faint Banana Boat Kids scent on you all summer, are you even summering right? 

Turns out, there really are a lot of toxic, harmful ingredients in most sunscreens! You may think, “well if I just use it every now and then at the pool, it can’t do that much harm.” You would be wrong. These ingredients can do a lot of harm. Check out what this leading sunscreen contains:

Banana Boat Sport active ingredients:

(Banana Boat does not list its ingredients on their website [FISHY!!], but some are listed on the Amazon product listing. I don’t think all of the ingredients are listed because it ends with “…” and there is no way to view more, so who knows what else is in there.)
Homosalate: a potential endocrine disruptor and studies in cells suggest it may impact hormones. In addition to direct health concerns following homosalate exposure, the chemical may also enhance the absorption of pesticides in the body. (See more below)

Avobenzone: degrades in the sun, resulting in the release of free radicals that may actually increase the risk for cancer

Oxybenzone: also called “benzophenone-3” or “BP-3” has been increasingly linked to early puberty in girls, low sperm count and male infertility, and an increase in hormone-related cancers in men and women

Banana Boat Sport inactive ingredients:

BHT: In addition to liver and kidney effects, BHT applied to the skin was associated with toxic effects in lung tissue. BHT has been found to enhance and to inhibit the humeral immune response in animals. BHT has been shown to have tumor promotion effects. (BHT is found is almost every “beauty” product. Sunscreens, makeup, face wash, soaps, etc. It’s everywhere, and it’s dangerous.)

 Triethanolamine (TEA): hazardous short term and long term effects ranging from skin and eye irritation, to damaging the respiratory and immune systems and inciting cancer. Can cause inflammation on a short term and long term basis. Its immediate affects include itchy, watery eyes, dry and brittle hair and itchy skin. Over time, Triethanolamine use can cause chemical damage to skin such as blisters, a hot, burning sensation, hives and flakiness. Used in up to 40% of beauty items that are currently on the market.

So many scary ingredients with terrible side effects! Ross gets it. Kinda.

Ross-Geller-Sunscreen
This is just to be funny, I have no idea if Ross’ point is valid or just humorous.

Even the leading natural sunscreen isn’t that natural or great!

Alba Botanicals Continuous Spray Active Kids Sunscreen SPF 50 active ingredients:

Homosalate (15%):  has a mild hormone-disrupting activity. Studies have found that human breast cancer cells, when exposed to homosalate, grew and multiplied 3.5 times more than normal. The estrogenic activity of the chemical has also been observed in human placental tissues, raising concerns about pregnant women who may be exposed to the chemical. (See more above)

Octocrylene (8%): acts as a photosensitizer, actually increasing the production of free radicals when skin is exposed to the sun. Free radicals damage skin, increasing the risk of premature aging and skin cancer.

Butyl Methoxydibenzoylmethane (another name for Avobenzone; 3%): see above 

All of these active ingredients are listed on Anne Marie’s list of  7 potential damaging chemicals in sunscreen.

Luckily, Young Living offers a TOTALLY SAFE broad-spectrum sunscreen! 

Its only active ingredient is Zinc Oxide¹ (10.5%), which acts as barrier between our skin and the sun – and it’s completely natural and 100% safe! Why would other companies even use other active ingredients when this natural sun-protector exists?! Banana Boat and Alba Botanicals don’t even have Zinc Oxide on their ingredient list – the “sunscreen” part of their products are all chemicals and the rest are fillers/chemical fillers to help the active ingredient chemicals work harder and absorb into your skin faster! Clearly, they don’t have your best interest at heart like Young Living does. 

Other ingredients found in Young Living’s sunscreen include essential oils, nut and cocoa butters, nut and fruit oils such as grape seed, coconut, vegetable, jojoba, sunflower, raspberry seed, and others. 

It goes on smooth, smells amazing, and works so well! It comes in SPF 10 and SPF 50. young-living-sunscreen

I have been using this sunscreen for most of the summer and the only time I’ve been burnt was before I bought this and my other “natural” sunscreen failed me. I’m tellin ya; it’s awesome!

You can get your bottle here. Don’t have this sunscreen and were burnt? Subscribe so you don’t miss next week’s post about Young Living’s After Sun Spray!

Stay protected!

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~Katie Sue
Striving for wellness and a chemical-free life, one oil at a time.

 

 

¹Young Living Sunscreen info found here.
Other links are built into the main page – anything that is underlined.

ART Beauty Masque

Art-Beauty-Masque
Ready for a spa-like facial at home?! The ART Beauty Masque is
HEAVENLY! Within one application I noticed a difference in my skin. My face felt as smooth as a baby’s bottom and looked soft and radiant. My face was noticeably brighter, healthier, and more refreshed.*

What’s in this sheet mask that makes it so magical? Well lemme tell ya.

ART Beauty Masque contains¹:

Water – gotta have water
Glycerin – a natural sugar-alcohol compound to support soft, supple, more radiant skin, beneficial for oily skin*
Trehalose – a sugar used to moisturize*
Lactobacillus Ferment – a probiotic that is great for the skin*
Sea water
Astragalus membranaceus (Huang Qi) root extract – soothes skin, full of antioxidants, used to condition the skin by fighting bad bacteria*
Speranskia tuberculata whole plant extract – aids in pain relief and diminished puffiness*
Morus alba leaf extract – gives you a bright, glowing appearance*
Sodium hyaluronate – beneficial for ageing skin; helps moisturize*
Torenia concolor whole plant extract – supports a youthful appearance*
Phalaenopsis orchid extract – supports a bright, glowing appearance
Boswellia carterii (Frankincense) resin extract – helps diminish the appearance of blemishes*
Carthamus tinctorius flower extract (Safflower oil) – beneficial to those with dry or damaged skin*
Angelica polymorpha sinensis root extract (Dong Quai) – helps with skin blemishes and irratations*
Dipotassium glycyrrhizate – a salt  derived from the licorice plant, beneficial for dry or damaged skin, soothing*
Macrocystis pyrifera (Kelp) extract – beneficial for aging skin*
Copaifera reticulata (Copaiba) oil – helps restore skin*
Citrus aurantifolia (Lime) oil – promotes radiant skin*
Cedrus atlantica (Cedarwood) wood oil – promotes even skin tone*
Vanilla planifolia (Vanilla) fruit extract – soothes and calms*
Ocotea quixos (Ocotea) leaf oil – promotes healthy skin*
Lavandula angustifolia (Lavender) oil – soothes, calms, and promotes healthy skin*

The ART Beauty Masque does NOT contain:

Harsh chemicals
Fragrance/Perfume – it just naturally smells divine
Gluten
Parabens
Phthalates
Petroleum
Synthetic dyes & colors – in fact, it’s practically clear
BHA
Sodium Sulfate
Carcinogens 

Basically, it is full of only beneficial, all natural ingredients and no harmful, artificial junk. Plus, this masque is formulated for all skin types¹!

It is recommended that you use this masque 3-4 times a week¹. Which would put you using one box a week. Four boxes a month. One box is $47.50 wholesale, and I don’t know about you, but I cannot spend $190 a month on face masques. So I found a little trick to make it stretch further!

When you take the sheet masque out of its pouch, look into the bottom of the pouch… see all that goo? That’s the good stuff! There is enough extra goo in there that you can do a goo masque (as opposed to a sheet masque) 2-3 more times, maybe even more if you stretch it. What I do is I put the pouch in a Ziploc bag to keep air from getting to it (I don’t know what would happen if it was exposed to air for too long; would it dry out? Evaporate? Get weird? No clue, but it seems safest to seal it back up as best I can), and pour out a quarter-sized amount into my palm, as needed. I rub the goo onto my face; let it dry, and rinse. So, day 1 I do a sheet masque, let my skin rest a day, and then use the goo. So I use the ART Beauty Masque/Goo every other day. Or at least I should. I’m trying to get better at it. This way you stretch the use of your masque and you don’t waste anything. You can use one box a month as opposed to four. You can even stretch it more by doing a two-day gap, or just using it once or twice a week. The goo will keep for a while, so make that puppy last!

You may think that a sheet masque isn’t important to your skin care regimen, but let me say that I LOVE it! I can tell a difference when I use it regularly versus when I don’t. Since it is a tad pricey for my budget, I like to buy it with my Essential Rewards points; getting this awesome facial for free is always nice! 

I could write more and explain why I love this masque and what it does for my skin, but I’d rather show you so you get the full effect! 

Now, go draw a bath, put something relaxing in your diffuser, put on a masque, and let your at-home spa night begin! Or put on your masque, pour a glass of wine, and watch the Bachelorette like I do. Don’t have these masques? You can get them here.

Thank you for reading about these masques and watching me look like a mummy! Don’t forget to subscribe over to the right so you can get weekly information on the wonderful products that Young Living offers!

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~ Katie Sue
Striving for wellness and a chemical-free life, one oil at a time.

¹Information on the ART Beauty Masque and it’s ingredients was found on the Young Living website.
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and are not intended to diagnose, prevent, treat, or cure and disease.

It’s About Lime!

Young Living Lime Essential Oil
Young Living Lime and Lime Vitality Essential Oils

Young Living’s Lime and Lime Vitality Essential Oils are two of my favorites! I love the smell of lime – it instantly takes me to Summer days spent by the pool! Other than smelling wonderfully summery, and tasting great, did you know Lime has also historically been used for skin blemishes (dark/age spots, and overall skin radiance), as well as used to decongest  the lymphatic system, and as a gentle detoxer?

Go Getter Essential Oil Diffuser Blend
Young Living Go Getter Essential Oil Diffuser Blend

 

 

I currently have a blend in my diffuser called “Go Getter”. It uplifts my mood when I have the “blahs” or am feeling stressed, and motivates me to stay focused and get stuff done! 

 

 

 

Lime contains a powerful antioxidant called Gamma Terpinene. Antioxidants are wonderful for your skin! Not only do they help restore an even skin-tone, they also penetrate the skin to heal dark/age spots.* To use Lime Essential Oil in your skin care regimen, add a couple of drops to your nighttime moisturizer.¹

Let’s talk about the lymphatic system. Until recently I didn’t know much about the lymphatic system at all. I knew we have lymph nodes throughout our body, and that they swell when we get sick. Now I know that the lymphatic system acts as a… sewer treatment plant for the body, if you will (gross analogy, don’t think about it too much). Basically, the lymphatic system is found throughout your whole body, and it removes waste from every cell while also helping regulate the immune system! The lymph fluid (which I had never heard of until doing my research) is made up of 95% water and flows through the lymphatic system (including lymph nodes, the spleen, the thymus, adenoids, and tonsils). If the lymph cannot flow freely, the flow becomes stagnant and congested, causing toxins to build up in the body. This can cause a variety of health issues, and you may experience²:

  • Fatigue
  • Bloating
  • Stiffness (especially in the morning)
  • “Brain fog”
  • Itchy and dry skin
  • Cellulite (say it ain’t so!)
  • Weight gain
  • Chronic sinusitis, sore throats, colds, and ear issues
  • Breast swelling during menstration
  • Swollen glands
  • Cold hands and feet

Don’t fear – Lime is here! Getting your lymphatic system moving isn’t as difficult as you may think! Here are three easy steps you can take to make that lymph flow freely:

  1. Stay hydrated – as mentioned above, lymph is made up of 95% water. Adding a couple drops of lime to your glass or stainless steel cup can help to flush toxins and assist in hydration. 
  2. Avoid tight clothing – lymph nodes lie close to the skin and wearing restrictive clothing suppresses lymph flow. Try wearing a bra without a wire (and when you can, no bra at all); this does not mean a sports bra, as most sports bras are too tight and hold things in place, as opposed to letting them move (you can find my favorite wireless bra here: rubyribbon.com ). Avoid tight briefs and jeans. Think bounce; you want your body to move. 
  3. Get up off of that thang! – If your legs/feet swell during travel, or when you’ve been sitting for too long, that is because of stagnant lymph flow. Stagnant lymph flow can be prevented by frequent moving, self-massage, and stretching (see below for Lime Lymphatic Massage Oil). 

So, drink your oil-infused water, keep your body moving, and use Lime Lymphatic Massage Oil for added lymphatic system support. My family and I went out of town last weekend and spent over 7 hours in the car driving to our destination. My mother’s feet and ankles always swell! Since I was planning this post, I made up some Lime Lymphatic Massage Oil for her to use in the car, the results were definitely noticeable! She still swelled a little, but nothing compared to normal. Note: She only put the massage oil on once, at the beginning of the trip, and didn’t stretch when we stopped for breaks. I suggest putting the oil on every time you stop for a break (or, if flying, get up to move around), and to stretch every chance you get. Keep that lymph moving!

Lime Lymphatic Massage Oil
Lime Lymphatic Massage Oil

Lime Lymphatic Massage Oil


  • 7 drops Young Living Lime Essential Oil
  • 5 drops Young Living Rosemary Essential Oil
  • 5 drops Young Living Geranium Essential Oil
  • Carrier oil (such as olive, fractionated coconut, avocado; I used grapeseed oil as it is easily absorbed into the skin and shouldn’t clog pores)
  • 5 ml glass bottle (I used an empty Lime essential oil bottle I had lying around)
  • Roller ball tip, if desired

Add all essential oils to your glass bottle. Carefully top the rest of the bottle off with your carrier oil of choice (if you have a funnel small enough to fit in your bottle, that is very helpful, I get mine here: https://www.amazon.com). Pop in your roller ball, if desired. Close bottle and shake well before each use.

To use, rub oil on your neck, just below the jaw and ears, and work your way down using deep strokes toward your heart. This can also be used on your legs; start at your hip and work your way down to your feet. 

Remember, as a citrus oil, Lime may cause photo-sensitivity, so be sure to avoid applying to exposed skin up to 48 hours before being in the sun.

As a natural detoxer, Young Living’s Lime Vitality Oil is very beneficial when used internally*. Of course, adding lime to your water is the easiest way to reap the benefits, but my favorite way is in delicious Summer recipes such as Cilantro-Lime Bean Dip, and Strawberry-Lime Daiquiris!

Cilantro-Lime Bean Dip

  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

Cilantro Lime Bean Dip with Young Living Essential Oils
Cilantro-Lime Bean Dip with Young Living Essential Oils

Cilantro-Lime Bean Dip 

Ingredients

  • 1 (12 oz) bag of frozen corn
  • 1 (14.5 oz) can of petite diced tomatoes, drained
  • 1 (14.5 oz) can of black beans, drained 
  • .5 – 1 oz fresh cilantro (I use the little packages cilantro from the produce section)
  • Young Living Lime Essential Oil to taste (I use 12-14 drops)
  • Lime wedges for added prettiness, optional
 
Cilantro Lime Bean dip with essential oils
Cilantro-Lime Bean Dip with Young Living Essential Oils

 

Directions

  1. In a medium/large glass or stainless steel** bowl dump frozen corn and drained tomatoes and black beans.
  2. Pick off cilantro leaves, and, if desired, shred into smaller pieces. This is the most time-consuming part of the recipe. Add to bowl with other ingredients.
  3. Drop in desired amount of lime oil (if you aren’t sure how much you want to use, start small and add more if needed). Using a wooden or metal** spoon, stir everything together.
  4. Add a lid or plastic wrap and keep refrigerated when not eating – if you’re serving at a party it’ll be gone in the blink of an eye!
 

cilantro-lime-bean-dip

  • Serve with tortilla chips.
  • To have a little thicker consistency add a second can of drained black beans.
  • Add a little more “zing” by using flavored beans, or mix in just a little taco seasoning, or a bit of garlic powder and onion (this option is best if eating the dip right way, as any leftovers will have a strong onion smell).

**Since all citrus oils are gentle detoxers, using glass, metal, and wooden utensils is important, and the citrus will pull the toxins out of plastic, and those will, in turn, enter into your body. Gross. 

 

Strawberry-Lime Daiquiri


Strawberry-Lime Daiquiri 

Strawberry Daiquiri with Young Living Lime Essential Oil
Strawberry-Lime Daiquiri with Young Living Essential Oil

 

Ingredients

  • 1+ cup of frozen strawberries, diced
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Young Living Lime Essential Oil to taste (1-4 drops)
  • 3/4 cup cold water
  • Sugar/Stevia to sweeten, optional
  • 1-2 oz rum, optional
  • Whipped topping, optional

Directions

Blend all ingredients together (except whipped topping) in a blender until there are no visible strawberry chunks. Pour and serve with a dollop of whipped topping.

  • Add more sugar and/or lime according to taste
  • Add more water for a thinner consistency 
  • For a creamy consistency, add a little vanilla yogurt

When travelling this Summer, don’t forget to stay hydrated, use your Lime Lymphatic Massage Oil and to get up and stretch every chance you get on long car/plane trips. And try out those wonderful recipes at the beach or by the pool (or a Monday night when you’re watching the Bachelorette…. or is that just me? 😉 ). Let me know what you think!

If you would like to order your own Young Living Lime or Lime Vitality Essential Oil, you can do so here: youngliving.com/signup

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– Katie Sue
Striving for wellness and a chemical-free life one oil at a time.

 

¹YL Blog: https://www.youngliving.com/blog/
²Lymphatic system: https://chopra.com/  

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

**Since all citrus oils are gentle detoxers, using glass, metal, and wooden utensils is important, and the citrus will pull the toxins out of plastic, and those will, in turn, enter into your body. Gross.