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Science Says Keep Clean Simple – Part 1 Skin

It’s been powerful helping people feel better these last five years. It really started over three decades ago as a licensed cosmetologist – helping people with looking and having their best skin while owning my salon/spa. This last year I have been partnering with people one-on-one to help them investigate alternative options for their best life – reviewing their meal plans, skin care and learning about choices that impact their wellness. In this article, let’s look at how we go about keeping things clean – especially our skin and things that we use each day.

First, let’s look at how frequently you are washing your skin with a soap or cleanser. People are power washing their skin – not just their hands! This can strip away your natural layer of protection. Lots of research today identifying not only the natural oils our skin needs but also the microorganisms that are part of our skin’s first layer of defense. Our skin is not only our largest organ but it also is host to a community of cooperative microbes that protect us called our skin microbiome.

Try washing your skin and bathing only when the skin needs it. Many just need a refreshing rinse in the morning – I keep a mist bottle with filtered water and a fresh washcloth for my face. Consider the soapy wash or shower after a workout, a sweaty day and before bed to remove cosmetics and the daily grime. Plus limit the use of antibacterial soaps – most of us only need an antibacterial soap for hand cleansing after working with raw meats or if exposed to someone sick. One container in the kitchen is usually all you need – maybe a second for the bathroom when a flu bug is making the rounds of your home.

Second, when we do cleanse, use a washcloth to help the dead skin cells shed off the skin. This is called exfoliation which helps the skin stay healthy and it is anti-aging. I want to emphasize is it is very important to use a fresh , clean wash cloth each day. Have at least seven washcloths – that way you will always have a freshly laundered one to use each day. If you want a bit more exfoliation try some of the plastic loopy puffs or exfoliating gloves. But again – you need a fresh one for each day – launder them after use. I have a spot in my laundry room to hang my used washcloths and puffs to dry until they are washed.

Third recommendation is to not immediately towel dry when you exit the shower. Best if you can apply your lotion or body cream over your damp skin. Helps keep your skin hydrated longer – brush your teeth and dry your hair while allowing the rest of you to air dry. If you have problem skin issues, I would love an opportunity to discuss some simple steps to encourage natural skin healing after bathing.

Fourth just follows having a clean wash cloth each day – use your own personal bath towel, nail clippers and razor. If you share these items, your family may share more than love. Something like pink eye will quickly spread with common towel use. Ever have a difficult time eradicating simple athlete’s foot. Bet you were cleaning the tub between uses, keeping shoes on till in tub, no barefoot running around the house….when simply st getting each person their own $2 nail clipper probably is the start to getting that under control.

If there are a number of people using the same bathroom, everyone having their own color towel helps. If people are doing a good job of using their own bath towel, then usually you can keep that towel for a few days since you are supposed to be clean when you use it…and letting it dry completely after each use.

Fifth, use laundry products that you know are not only safe for the environment, but are safe for you! Laundry soaps that rinse completely out of your clothing, towels and bedding so you don’t have any allergens, toxins, or irritants next to your skin. Our family knows the difference everytime we stay at a hotel. When traveling, I have to bring my own pillowcase and wear jammies or my skin and hair suffers. I am a very sensitive person but absorbing toxic laundry products next to your skin all night when you are sleeping is bad for everyone.

And when I was younger, I lived most of my life feeling just okay because that was as good as it got. Now I know the difference. Now I live with my healthiest skin and best wellness plan every day. If you would like to learn more about how to create a plan for your best life, I would love an opportunity to strategize with you. Plus, we can discuss how I can help you stay accountable to that plan!

I am only a phone call or text away. (847) 502-8394. Or pop me an email at elizabeth@elizabethanthonygronert.com

Be well!

The Hand Towel Did It!

This mystery is a topic I have been speaking and teaching on for over thirty years. What a blessing that is but also a crazy reality – time sure is whizzing by! Much of the information has stayed the same with the benefit that today we have many more studies to help us make better, safer choices.

People don’t realize how sneaky that innocent little hand towel can be. This unfortunate mystery has been a topic that I have been speaking and teaching on for over thirty years. And with becoming a wellness strategist & lifestyle mentor this last year – I find myself reviewing this subject quite frequently during my coaching time with people….that little hand towel and other items around the house can impact our health. And once you are aware, it is a simple fix. Much of this information is the same as I taught years ago with the benefit that today we have many more studies to help us make better, safer choices.

WARNING 😉 What I am about to share is “sticky” – once you are aware of this, hard to ignore! If you don’t want to know or learn about common “daily germ sharing” or cross-contamination…stop reading now!

Okay, for those of you who are brave – and curious about how the hand towel did it, let’s start with a bit of history. I was a pre-med college student that transitioned to a spa salon owner. (Yes – lots more story there…for another time!) I quickly realized that a salon environment is very much like a medical office. People, surfaces, implements and linens being used from person to person – that needed to be clean – Not necessarily sterilized but clean. My salon clientele was very fond of how clean and safe things were in our environment. My reputation and business grew from this one simple strategy – keep people aware of our sanitation procedures (clean and safe) when they received professional spa and salon services. 

Word of our “clean space” got around and exciting things began to happen – first, I was asked to teach Sanitation & Disinfection at professional conferences for the spa & salon market. Second, I was invited to cowrite sections in the Professional Cosmetology Textbooks! It was very exciting speaking on stage at the big US shows in Chicago, New York and California….where I learned other techniques that led to writing my first solo book. Which ultimately blessed me to travel nationally and internationally teaching salon professionals how to work smarter and safer!

During this time, I became a consultant that partnered with salons to educate their staff to provide sanitary professional services….and it was helping these other salons get clean that I learned many powerful stories that left a memorable impression – which encouraged the salon staff to be meticulous in their sanitation and disinfection. No one wanted one of these stories to be about them or their salon!

Before I start the story telling – let’s review definitions:

Antiseptic – product used to remove or kill microorganisms safely on skin. Examples would be a hand sanitizer or an alcohol wipe. These products could be used on a surface with no harm but are designed to clean skin.

Disinfectant – product used to kill microorganisms on surfaces. Disinfectants are to be applied to non-living surfaces like tools, a counter or sink. These products may harm skin – read label for proper handling.

Sanitation – is simply to clean something. We can sanitize skin, surfaces and fabrics (towels, clothing & bedding.)

Sterilize – procedure for things that kills all microorganisms. One cannot sterilize skin or anything that is living, was living (like wood, pumice, natural sponge or loofah) or if it is porous (has little holes in the surface where microorganisms can hide from the sterilization process.)

Many people use these terms interchangeably, but the reality is they are not at all the same. Which is very important to understand when keeping things clean or germ-free for tools and surfaces that contact multiple people.

First story occurred at a salon that was part of a large chain. One of the stylists’ kids had pink eye (conjunctivitis.) The stylist missed her morning appointments attending to her child and sorting out childcare. She did come to do her afternoon appointments. She was primarily a nail technician but also had a few facial waxing services that day. Unfortunately, either she was unaware how contagious conjunctivitis was or was just too busy catching up, that she was careless. Plus, she was unfortunately quite vocal all afternoon about how her daughter had pink eye and what a great inconvenience it had been to her that day. Two days later, a third of the staff had pink eye and the salon was receiving calls from clients that had contracted it. This was a BIG, dreadful problem for management. A financial and marketing nightmare! The salon was required to close their doors to have it properly sanitized with documented procedures. They also had to arrange for the affected staff members to get treatment and address their loss of income while unable to be at the salon. Talk about a huge motivator to have the staff trained on proper hand washing, tool and surface disinfection. Luckily, conjunctivitis or pink eye is completely treatable with no long-term ill effects.

Second story is watching a young mom with children in a public restroom. They are usually very careful that the children enter and exit the toilet area safely. Then they help the children wash their hands with soap. Then the kids are excited to be done so they race to the door and grab the door handle to help mom out. Unfortunately, the child then leaves the restroom with more germs on their hands than when they entered. Because the statistics are pretty grim on public handwashing after using the restroom. The studies are especially high if people use the restroom alone compared to if others are in the restroom with them – more handwashing occurs if two or more are in the restroom. The good thing is today, many restrooms are being designed with a no-door entryway  or having a push surface to exit which you can use a forearm or foot to do. But having a paper towel is always a great habit to instill to prevent bringing anyone’s else’s bugs from the restroom with you. (Bet you have seen the TV commercial that follows a person using a restroom, then sneezing, blowing his nose and all the surfaces he touches in just a few minutes.)

The third story is the situation in most of our homes. We have beautiful, fabric hand towels in the bathroom and kitchen. Which normally is fine. Change them often and grab a new one if they get wet. Fabric hand towels that “everyone” uses only becomes risky when someone is sick, or you have little or big people who don’t wash their hands but still use the towel….the famous rinse the hands but “forget” to use the hand soap. Wet hands deposit all that they have encountered that day into the hand towel for the “unsuspecting” users after them. Everyone who contacts the hand towel after that person, will receive the bacteria, viruses or fungus that may be growing in the moist, dark folds of the towel. People don’t do this because they are mean….we just all don’t believe that “we are dirty” or that we could be carrying something. That only happens to “other people!”  Moral of the story – if you aren’t going to use soap, skip rinsing and drying your hands on the communal towel – okay?!

And that, my friends, are just a few ways that the hand towel did it! It will share whatever has been placed on it…..the flu, a cold or pink eye!

Make a commitment to change your hand towels frequently….have plenty available when you have guests or consider simple paper napkins! And remember to keep the paper towel in your hand if there is a door handle when exiting a public restroom!

These are only three stories….but I think you have the idea. And if you want to be savvier at avoiding things (or you are immune compromised) I can help you navigate so you will stay clear of things that may affect you and your family. I have two classes you may appreciate attending: Everyday Hidden Ingredients Revealed and Survival for Sensitive & AutoImmune Skin.

There are classes scheduled online (check my Events Tab!) If you don’t see a time that fits, please contact me with times that work and let’s get a new date on the schedule for you. These classes may also be customized for a group or for your business…they are a great way to invite clients to visit with you to attend as a customer appreciation or as an employee benefit.

Let me know how this information helped you and your family. If you would like to learn more about how I may help, I offer 30 minute complimentary consultations to get to know one another and see where we may have synergy!

Be well!

Upper Arm Skin Bumps & Pimples

People ask almost every week about upper arm skin bumps or pimples. You are not alone – it is a common problem. This is a method that may resolve this annoying and sometimes uncomfortable skin condition.

For most, attention to the upper arm when showering or bathing will improve the appearance and feel of the skin. Generally, it is a buildup of dead skin “glued” in place by oils coming from the pores. The buildup on dry skin may just feel bumpy, even get a little red. Others may experience pimples that get inflamed. Most of these conditions itch which is your body’s way to encourage you to “scratch away” the buildup. Here are the general directions we have found works for many to care for this skin:

  1. First select a gentle, hydrating cleanser or body wash that will aid to soften and cleanse the area. We had impressive results with Renew Body Wash – effective and affordable.
  2. Next use a wash cloth or exfoliating cloth/glove with the cleanser or body wash in a circular motion all over the affected area. Some start with the wash cloth, then graduate to an exfoliating fabric – the more sensitive the skin, the gentler the fabric you want to use. First time go gentle on the skin. As you continue to do this daily, you can be more firm.
  3. Be sure to rinse the skin thoroughly from any cleanser or body wash.
  4. Some find benefit using their facial toner to normalize the pH of the skin to receive the lotion without further irritation.
  5. Do not dry the skin – rather immediately apply a nourishing lotion to the wet/damp skin to further hydrate and protect the skin.

Within a week or two, you should see the upper arm skin becoming softer and smoother with less upper arm skin bumps & pimples. If the steps above does not get the results desired, we have found applying a pure essential oil like Lavender, Frankincense, or Melaleuca to the skin before step 5. This can take some experimentation on which essential oil or blend of oils will give you best results. Reach out and take advantage of our experience to help with this! Reminder – sensitive skins may need the essential oil to be diluted by a carrier oil like Sweet Almond Oil. Also, be sure you are using a “real” essential oil and not a synthetic! After you have massaged the essential oil in, massage your lotion over to protect and seal moisture in.

If these skin bumps & pimples appear elsewhere on the body, the condition may be from acne or sport garments which may improve with the technique above but may benefit from different products. You can use the same general treatment as above but using an acne wash for cleansing the face, back, upper legs or buttocks. Then using the acne astringent to follow the cleansing to remove any cleanser residue and gently exfoliate. Then finish with an oil free moisturizer. Melaleuca oil is an excellent treatment for acneic skin and could be used before the oil free moisturizer. We have had excellent results with the Clarity Line of products – clinically proven results and affordable.

Please let us know if you found this helpful. we love hearing from you and learning about your testimonials! We love to consult on products and which essential oils may be best for your situation. We are not medical doctors or professionals – rather a licensed cosmetologist & esthetican with over 30 years of experience to share! You can call/text at (847) 502-8394, email at elizabeth@elizabethanthonygronert.com or find me on Facebook (Elizabeth Anthony Gronert). We look forward to helping you and your family have Comfort For Life! Elizabeth & Kris Gronert

Don’t Skip Your Skin Care Toner!

Yep – we are moving from discussing healthy meals to healthy skin in this post! I am a licensed cosmetologist and esthetician with over 39 years of experience – I can’t believe I can say that! When I work with people, I find that time is always one of the reasons we don’t do “all of the steps” for an ideal skin care regimen. I totally get that. Too many steps cause people to not follow the program because, let’s face it –  Life is busy! But skipping your skin care toner is a bad choice long term! Here is why:

Skin Care Toner will help your skin return to a normal pH after cleansing. When the pH is normal, application of serums, lotions and creams are more effectively absorbed.

Since skin care toner will neutralize your skin back to it’s normal pH not only will your skin care products work better, they are less likely to irritate the skin. If skin nutrition is applied immediately following cleansing, the skin may react negatively to those ingredients. By not using your skin care toner, applying treatments may cause skin problems instead of helping your skin like they were designed.

Use a cotton pad with your skin care toner to remove missed dirt, cleanser residue and give your skin a gentle exfoliation (dead skin cell removal) – FYI this is better than just misting the toner on your skin (which I know feels like a time saver but it is not a “skin saver!)

When hot outside, you can refrigerate your skin care toner for a cooling treatment after cleansing. But don’t put it in the fridge if that makes it more likely for you to forget or not take the time to get it!

If you found this information helpful, let us know! If you have any medical conditions, please consult your medical professional before following any of my suggestions here.

Questions, thoughts? You can call/text at (847) 502-8394, email at elizabeth@elizabethanthonygronert.com or find me on Facebook (Elizabeth Anthony Gronert). We look forward to helping you and your family have Comfort For Life! Elizabeth & Kris Gronert

 

 

Hidden Gluten, Allergens, Toxins & Carcinogens in Daily Living

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Where has the time disappeared to? Do you have the same problem? It has been a very full few months since I last wrote you. Some good news – new grandchild, visits with family, speaking at events and online. And some difficult times – loss of my father, continuing health challenges for myself & family members. During this time, we have been actively reaching out and helping people in their quest to be safe in their home. We have received powerful feedback that our Hidden Gluten, Allergens, Toxins & Carcinogens in Daily Living talk has empowered people and their families. The calls, text and emails keep coming for more opportunities to hear our talk. Watch our Event Calendar! There will be new dates consistently added where you and those you invite can attend a virtual presentation of Hidden Gluten, Allergens, Toxins & Carcinogens. Additional topics will be added as we serve others. While serving, we learn more of what we know or contacts we have that may bless you!

Have an event you need a speaker for? Our Talks can be customized  for your audience. Our current talk on Hidden Gluten, Allergens, etc. speaks to the Gluten & Allergy Free Community but can be modified for different groups. We have worked with those affected by cancer, auto-immune disease, autism, other behavioral and health issues. We have an eclectic background in coaching/mentoring small business owners, skin & personal care, personal image/brand, how to sleep more restoratively, and healthy lifestyle choices. We have worked with many other speakers that are advocates in the health and business world that you can trust.

If you found this information helpful, let us know! If you have any medical conditions, please consult your medical professional before following any of my suggestions here.

Questions, thoughts? You can call/text at (847) 502-8394, email at elizabeth@elizabethanthonygronert.com or find me on Facebook (Elizabeth Anthony Gronert). We look forward to helping you and your family have Comfort For Life! Elizabeth & Kris Gronert

Glowing, Nourished Skin Even When Cold and Dry Out!

Want to have glowing, nourished skin even when it is cold and dry out? Here are some “winterizing” tips to prepare your skin:

  1. Use only safe, non-toxic, non-carcinogenic products on your body. Unfortunately, many retail products still contain hazardous ingredients because they are cost effective. An example would be quaternium-15 which is a formaldehyde releaser and reliable preservative. It is in many popular products (was in a famous line of Baby Products till 2015!) but is a known carcinogen! Check your product labels! Just because it is expensive or a “brand name” does not mean it is the best or safe.
  2. I know the air is colder but try not to raise the temperature of the water you use in the bath or shower. The hotter the water, the more it dries out your skin!20160110_105110
  3. Exfoliate and remove the dead skin flakes so any products you apply will make a difference. Otherwise, when you apply moisturizers they will hydrate the skin flakes that are about to fall off….and your living skin will miss out on being nourished! Use a fresh synthetic mitt or cloth in the shower with a moisturizing bath bar or body wash. I have 7 so I can use fresh each day and then place in the washer – just like you would a washcloth. They should not be used multiple times without a good wash. I recommend synthetic over a loofah or pumice because natural fibers cannot be cleaned effectively and definitely not disinfected. Natural fibers like a loofah are more likely to stay damp longer and grow microorganisms that are not good for anyone’s skin but especially bad if you are immunocompromised in any way. If you are not used to exfoliating (physical cloth rubbing skin to remove dead skin cells) you may want to start with an older, rough washcloth and then in a few weeks try using one of the synthetic washcloths. I used the exfoliating gloves when I was younger but find them a bit rough for my over-50 skin now. (Exfoliating cloth/mitt is the best treatment for those bumps many people get on the back of their upper arm combined with hydrating body wash, then apply protective lotion/cream/oil over the moist skin.)20160109_150612
  4. Another option for exfoliation are some of the wonderful salt, sugar and blend scrubs available. I prefer to use these products in the bath so the wonderful, healing ingredients can absorb nicely into the skin after your scrub. Really wonderful if you can find a kind soul to scrub your back too! Currently my two favorites are made by Seacret. The Dead Sea Salt is an excellent exfoliators with healing benefits. The Milk & Honey has essential oils that leave skin dewy after the salt polish. 20160104_090817
  5. The Renew product line is made by one of my favorite online stores. These products are daily miracle workers –  specifically formulated to nourish and help keep skin from drying out while bathing. Guys and gals love this product line because it outperforms doctor recommended Eucerin, absorbs well into the skin and has gentle, healing Melaleuca (tea tree) oil. No girly fragrance for the guys, gentle and safe for babies!
  6. Turn your bath into soothing skin therapy by adding a capful of hydrating, calming bath oil. Add some Epsom salts for a healthy body detox plus the added magnesium and sulfur!
  7. After your bath and shower, best to let yourself air dry and apply your lotion while your skin is still moist. Be sure to use a moisturizer with a protectant so you don’t lose all the moisture in your skin back into the air. During the really cold or dry months, add your favorite essential oils, almond oil or other oils to boost the healing and sealing power! Lots of evidence that a relaxing bath, helps one have a good night’s sleep – proper sleep helps the skin look and feel it’s best too!

Using these tips your skin will be polished and nourished – ready for the cold and dry season. With skin being your largest organ, consider using these tips year round to keep it healthy and protecting you at peak performance.

If you found this information helpful, let us know! If you have any medical conditions, please consult your medical professional before following any of my suggestions here.

Questions, thoughts? You can call/text at (847) 502-8394, email at elizabeth@elizabethanthonygronert.com or find me on Facebook (Elizabeth Anthony Gronert). We look forward to helping you and your family have Comfort For Life! Elizabeth & Kris Gronert

Cracked Heels Treatment that Works!

Are cracked, tender heels a problem for you or someone you love? Here are a few quick tips that successfully have helped others treat the cracked skin on heels. The cracked, dried skin took time to develop and it will take diligent discipline to nourish the heel skin back to supple health.

If the cracks on the heel are open or bleeding, priority must be to help them heal. If there are medical conditions like Diabetes, please consult your medical professional first regarding any broken skin on your feet! Only use products that are  toxin & carcinogen free . Be sure to avoid any allergens and gluten if you or the person you are caring for are sensitive!  Apply an antibacterial & antifungal healing ointment to the areas that are affected until healed. Sometimes, soaking the feet in a gentle, non-detergent bath with Epsom salts and bath oil will aid in healing the skin.  We have had excellent results with a product from one of our favorite stores called MelaGel – however, it contains wheat germ oil and is not gluten free. Using a pure Melaleuca essential oil also works well under lotion or ointment.  Melaleuca oil is a natural anti-inflammatory with antibacterial, antifungal qualities. It is also a natural antihistamine to reduce any swelling and redness. Apply the MelaGel or Melaleuca oil with a protecting lotion/cream/oil to the areas needing healing and cover with a white or undyed sock. Apply twice daily to speed healing.

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Once the open cracks have healed, we can now work to improve the skin tissue of the heel. Soak the feet in a tub with a soothing non-detergent bath oil – add essential oils  (Melaleuca, Lavender, Frankinsense are great ones to try!) and Epsom salts for added benefit. Once the skin has softened, follow the directions below the picture to gently exfoliate the heel using a pedicure paddle. Our favorite is Swedish Clover Föt File imported by Flowery.0 20150401_140848This paddle has a coarser side (raised nubs) and a smoothing side (horizontal lines). Depending on the thickness of the skin (as we mature the skin thins so be careful to stay on the thick bottom skin of the foot – usually has a yellowish tint.) Do not use this paddle on someone with diabetes or other medical condition without consulting your medical professional first!

For most people, you can start with the coarser side to gently rub the thick skin of the heel (some have this this thick skin on the ball of the foot and big toe) to thin this heavy pad – when it is very thick, it wants to crack. By reducing the thickness, the skin is able to be more pliable. Be sure to stay on the thick padded parts of the heel, ball of foot or big toe at all times. Focus on the areas that want to crack.

Never remove too much skin – the body creates this callous to protect the foot. Start by just a few swipes to soften, then finish by using the smoothing side of the paddle to bring the skin to an even appearance. Always use the smooth side to finish otherwise the body may work quickly to replace this unhealthy thick skin. We suggest keeping the paddle in the shower/bath and use 1-2 times a week for maintenance.

Rinse the feet. While skin is till moist apply ointment, MelaGel or Melaleuca oil to the spots that tend to crack. Then massage the whole foot with lotion/cream. Depending on the lotion/cream you use, an application of oil may be required as a prevent moisture loss. This will help the skin heal and regain its pliable, healthy state.

Application of the products after every bath and shower is suggested to retain the moisture in the skin to eliminate cracked heels forever.

If you found this helpful, please let us know. Just a reminder, if you have any medical condition – please consult them before trying any of our suggested treatments. In this article, we are sharing over three decades of success/experience as a cosmetologist/esthetician. Visit us on Facebook (Elizabeth Anthony Gronert), send us an email at elizabeth@elizabethanthonygronert.com or call/text at (847) 502-8394. Elizabeth & Kris Gronert bringing you Comfort For Life!