Balm to the Rescue!

Walking Pembrokeshire

Walking is good for your health and well being. I enjoy walking whenever and wherever I can. I walk my dogs in the morning – I am lucky to live but a stone’s throw from the beach. I also enjoy walking in the countryside and being a member of a local walking group, I get out to some wilder and more remote places.

The annual walking club weekend away took place in Pembrokeshire, this year. Twenty or so of us get together and do some serious walking during the weekend. The remoteness of South Wales (and lack of direct roads), meant it was a five and a half hour drive down there. My friend, Claire drove us. It is always nice to be chauffeured somewhere.

Choosing what to pack is always difficult, because living here in the UK it is always hard to predict the weather. Clothes for all types of weather – a woolly hat and gloves and a sun hat; a coat for cold weather, a light raincoat. Everything was packed into the car, just in case!

However, my must-take essentials are always our skin care products. Cleanser, toner (with muslin cloth), night repair serum, Collagen gel (for the daytime), aloe gel in case of sun burn, lip balm and my favourite, tea tree balm . The balm has multiple uses and I make sure I always have a jar in my rucksack, when I am walking. It’s also true to say that many of my fellow walkers have also purchased our balm and carry it with them. They have seen and felt how good it is and experienced it’s ‘save the day’ qualities.

The weather was fine when we left Liverpool, but as we got nearer to our destination, the clouds became heavier, darker and there was fine rain in the air. I was fearful that inclement weather would spoil our weekend somewhat. Walking around the cliffs of the Pembrokeshire coast would be much better in sunshine.

My fears were soon dispelled though, because by the time we arrived at our destination St. David’s, on Friday evening, there wasn’t a cloud to be seen. The temperature was a balmy 20 degrees. All boded well for the weekend ahead.

Saturday morning arrived and we were greeted by bright sunshine. There was a stiff breeze, but it would be welcome if  we were to be walking in the sunshine. Ten of us were going to do the longer walk – taking the local bus to a small village on the coast, called Nolton Haven. From there, we were going to walk back to St. Davids along the cliffs.

I knew before we left for the walk that the combination of doing 13 miles in new walking boots and warm weather could cause problems with my feet. I don’t normally suffer with blisters, or boots rubbing, but as a precaution, I put balm on my feet. I never wait for it to soak in before I put my socks on – I let all that happen as I am walking. Its nourishing properties acts as a skin conditioner, giving the skin on my feet more elasticity and allowing it to withstand the pounding of the 25,000 steps which I would make that day.

The coastal scenery was absolutely beautiful in the sun. Clear blue sky and the sea had a Mediterranean look. The wild flowers were blooming – every colour under the sun. Gannets soared around the cliffs, using the thermals to go great distances without much effort. We walked through a herd of wild ponies, who were grazing perilously close to the edge of the land. It was more than one hundred feet, straight down into the sea, but they seemed oblivious to the danger and also to us walking past them. I had my camera permanently in hand. There was almost too much to take in.

Near to the end of the walk, we turned off the coastal path and made our way inland and eventually back to St. Davids. Much of this way was through overgrown fields of tall grass and nettles. Some of us (myself included) had chosen to wear shorts for the day. The nettles were in full bloom and at their most potent. I was trying to avoid them, but it was impossible, as there was so many of them. I got stung many times on my right knee. Normally, nettle stings don’t bother me – they are irritating and itchy, but I can usually live with them. These stings seemed to be stronger than I have ever experienced. We came out of the field and as I walked along, I could see my knee was swelling up. It wasn’t a pretty sight – blood, nettle weals and pink puffy skin. I think it might have been the combination of sunburned skin, sweat and general weariness which aggravated it. One of my fellow walkers said that I should put some of my balm on it. I stopped and everyone it seemed gathered around me – all unhelpfully remarking how bad my knee looked.

I put the balm on and carried on walking. I had no idea what the balm would do. It had an immediate effect though – the swelling started going down, the stings didn’t sting any more. By the time I got back to the hotel, my knee looked normal again – apart from a few pale red spots where the nettles had stung me. An hour later, those red spots had gone, too. I also noticed that I didn’t get the usual long-lasting itchiness which nettle stings generally give me. It was a case of ‘Balm to the Rescue!’, yet again.

Guess what – I had no problems whatsoever with my feet, either. Thirteen miles and 3400 feet of ascents later, they felt great good as new. Which is just as well, because we had another long walk to do the next day.

I also got two orders for the balm!

Lynn Smith



Why do manufacturers squeeze so many ingredients into a small jar?

moisturiserWhy do manufacturers squeeze so many ingredients into a small jar? If you take a look at the ingredients in high street facial moisturising creams. generally, you will see a long list.

It has always amazed me that the manufacturers make over-blown claims of the benefits of using their moisturiser on your face. But the amount of the active ingredients are actually miniscule in relation to the amount of everything else they pack into the jar.

The size of a jar of moisturiser is typically 50ml (or 1.69 fl oz). Here is an example. The following list has been taken from a current, very well known anti-ageing cream, which you can buy on the high street.

Water (Aqua), Cyclopentasiloxane, Glycerin, Mineral Oil (Paraffinum Liquidum), Myristyl Myristate, Shorea Robusta Seed Butter, Stearic Acid, Palmitic Acid, PEG 100 Stearate, Cera Alba (Beeswax), Glyceryl Stearate, PEG 20 Stearate, Acrylamide Sodium Acryloyldimethyltaurate Acrylic Acid Copolymer, Stearyl Alcohol, Cetearyl Alcohol, Isohexadecane, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Protein, Capric/Caprylic Stearic Triglyceride, Acrylates Crosspolymer, Triethanolamine, Polysorbate 80, Acetyl Trifluoromethylphenyl Valylglycine, Retinyl Acetate (Vitamin A), Polycaprolactone, Crithmum Maritimum (Crithmum Maritimum Extract), Methylparaben, Diazolidinyl Urea, Butylparaben, Chlorphenesin, Sodium Dehydroacetate, Fragrance, Benzyl Salicylate, Benzyl Benzoate, Linalool, Hexylcinnamal, Limonene, Citronellol, Butylphenyl Methlyproprional, Geraniol, Alpha Isomethyl Ionone, Benzyl Alcohol, Amyl Cinnamal.

There are 42 ingredients. You have to dig deep to find any natural ingredients and by the time you take out the water and emulsifiers, etc, then there can only be miniscule amounts of each ‘active’ ingredient. I use that word lightly, because as you can see, there are far too many ingredients with very long chemically-derived names. Also, you should bear in mind that the ingredients are listed in order of volume. So, water is the most prominent ingredient, and Amyl Cinnamal the least in volume. Incidentally, Amyl Cinnamal is a chemical fragrance and also an irritant.

The basic formula for making creams to put on your skin is simple. You need water (mostly), oil or fat, and emulsifier(s) to hold the mixture together. Then you add your active ingredients and some preservative.

Generally speaking, the water content will be around 65 to 75%, emulsifiers and preservatives around 10%. Which leaves about 8ml (o.27 oz) of the 50ml jar for all of the active ingredients.

Also, the larger cosmetic companies (who in the main make the loudest claims about how their moisturisers / serums, etc will be beneficial to your skin) also pack their products with ingredients to make the cream feel smoother on your skin, chemical fragrances and preservatives, as you can see in the list above. This is typical.

So, always have a look on the label, before you buy a product. Maybe you will have a different perspective, now.



Praise Indeed

We attended the Waterloo Farmers market on Friday 12th September, where we regularly have a stall, to sell the full range of our Natural Skin Care products. A customer who had bought a balm from us at the last month’s market told us that it had worked wonders. In short, she had bought the balm for her daughter, who had developed a skin problem 6 years ago. It was confined to an area of her face, around her cheek.

The lady was despairing a little because she said that her daughter had ‘tried everything (and been prescribed drugs, from a doctor who said it could be rosacea or eczema) and that she was non the wiser as to how she could get rid of the problem.

We told her to try our balm. We know it has  helped to heal other peoples’ skin problems. We told the lady that the best way to see if there were to be any positive results, her daughter had to use it without all the other lotions and potions she had been prescribed. We recommended that she sought her own medical advice if she was going to stop taking prescribed medecines.

One month later, the lady was back at the next farmers market and she hastened over to us. She couldn’t waut to tell us that her daughter had been using our balm each day and her skin problem had almost cleared up. She was extremely grateful and kept pressing home the point that her daughter had tried everything, nothing had worked for her and she was so amazed that our balm had worked.

We had been confident of it’s healing powers all along.

The lady was eager to ask what else we would recommend for her daughter to use and our suggestion is always Cleanse, Tone and Moisturise. On behalf of her daughter, she bought our trial pack of Cleanser, Toner, Moisturiser, Collagen Gel and Muslin Cloth.

We look forward to her coming back to see us at the October Farmers Market.