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Sterling Minerals Beauty News

Being Savvy To Natural Ingredients

Is Natural Always Best In Consumer Products?

When seeking any consumer product to be as natural as possible, whether it is in makeup, skincare or healthcare that includes nutritional supplements, label reading becomes a priority. However, it is the little things that can be missed. Certain label names, including natural ones can still be confusing.

For instance, the INCI names that are provided in place of the simple name on a product label can be long and very difficult to pronounce.  This is the main reason I, along with other brands incorporate both in the ingredient list. It reduces confusion and is easy to research when using the simple ingredient name rather than the INCI version.

Natural Versus Synthetically Created Ingredients

For the most part I love using natural ingredients and seek out whole, unprocessed ingredients when shopping for food stuffs. The more processed the food, the more nutritionally deficient it becomes by putting a whole lot of extra junk in your body it doesn’t need.

This is especially true when I am dealing with a chronic illness or something far worse that is devastating to me or a family members health. I am sure most of you would agree, that keeping things as natural as possible is the best choice when available.

Depending on the category within the natural ingredient market, natural (minimally processed), though preferred when it comes to skincare and makeup products, all natural still goes through a process. It is a must for creating a safe and useful ingredient to be implemented in the skincare or makeup product you choose.

The other issue with trusting natural vs synthetic, is scientists and research labs have extensively studied synthetic ingredients for their safety and efficacy for decades. Naturally derived ingredients are still within the learning curve for their safety and efficacy, so their track record has not been perfected and science is continuing to evolve on so many natural ingredients as they are introduced into the market.

Natural In Quality But Is It The Best Choice?

As I continue my research seeking help for me and my hubby, especially after his recent cancer diagnosis, I believe in the wisdom of science combined with a holistic approach, seeking what is best in the natural holistic world and in doing so I find myself reading labels, lots and lots of them. I ignore the promise of something used to captivate my imagination as to how wholesome or holistically wonderful something might be for my skins well being or for me and family’s health through marketing claims.

A prime example as I learned through medical journals that Vitamin B12 becomes more deficient in older individuals and short of eating certain foods, some of which are off the menu for us, we can’t get enough. So, I searched for the most natural form I could get with minimum fillers or artificial anything.

I checked out several brands including the Kirkland brand which as it turned out was the best choice for us and had several kind of weird ingredients, yet through some added research, the addition of these ingredients promoted best absorption in the body. Wow who knew!

This brand has Cherry flavor in a quick dissolving tablet placed under the tongue that is colored from beets. Other brands tout natural and nothing artificial added including colorants…uh that depends on what you consider natural.

Granted in one excellent brand in particular, the colorant that is added may be natural alright if you like eating bug juice otherwise known as carmine, which pretty much canceled out any benefit it may have offered to my body. Uh won’t be ingesting any color derived from a beetle.

Label Reading Is Time Consuming But Necessary

Some of you may go for that product based on excellent marketing or the face label screams out, “we’ve got what you need”. Then you turn the bottle over and in disbelief think “wth”, only to return it to the shelf in dismay being basically lied to on its face, literally, and once again the never-ending search continues.

With search engines at your fingertips, it has never been easier to find out what something is and why a certain ingredient is in your product. What purpose does it serve and what is the safety and efficacy of it.

The Marketing Game

Marketing is a huge part of getting products into consumer hands and the perfect example of this is the amount of marketing of prescription drugs being shown relentlessly on tv ads. I thought that was what doctors were for, best interest of the patient and what works based on his or her experience.

Are drugs needed when our health is in jeopardy such as illness, i.e. diabetes, cancer, etc., absolutely! But when I see ads that seem to have an endless side effect list that appears far worse than the illness it is treating, I can’t help but have the feeling of Big Pharma isn’t creating cures but customers. 

Remember, ingredient labels are required by the FDA for a reason, so you as the consumer can protect yourself from any known allergic reaction, or you need something kosher, or you simply don’t want to ingest or apply dyes, artificial anything like bug juice to your body.

Keep reading labels and continue to be savvy as to what you are consuming and don’t always believe the big loud “Fat Free” on the face of a product only to find out the fat has now been replaced with large amounts of “sugar.”

Wishing you all the best in your journey to continue your search for your good health overall!

Posted by Katie at May 22, 2019 8:25 am | No Comments »

Moving Forward Despite Devastating News

Keeping It Brief For Sanity Sake

Well folks, I am facing another major health crisis with my husband and though I am committed to his healing, I am determined to be better at this game than I was last time. This week took the wind out of my sails, but acceptance and my faith are keeping me grounded this time.

Last time I always made sure your orders were timely yet allowed other areas of my business to falter, such as going a long time without keeping you informed or engaged with what was happening at Sterling Minerals. Our past cancers were allowed to be all consuming.

My goals this time will not falter and remain the same from when I wrote about rising from the dustbin. And in all probability, it will help with keeping me in a healthier mindset because I do enjoy writing about many things and cherish interactions with all of you. Rest assured that me and my company aren’t going anywhere! Because without Sterling Minerals I would probably not survive the future that lies ahead.

A Long Road Ahead For Us

My husband had surgery last week for diagnosed bladder cancer, but only got the pathology back Monday. The results were not what we had hoped and prayed for. It was noninvasive, which is the good news, but it unfortunately was a high-grade aggressive form of papillary cancer.

Sadly, for my poor husband he will have to repeat the exact same surgery in 6 weeks, followed by chemo infusion at time of surgery, then BCG treatments (immunotherapy) in the months following.

As our wonderful urologist stated, catching it when we did, he will only be a pain in my hubby’s backside for the rest of his life because this type of cancer will recur, but will not be what kills him. (feeling very optimistic)

So basically, it isn’t a question of “if” but of “when”. Close monitoring will be required for his remaining years on this earth which includes being scoped on a regular basis to always catch it early, and this process is not fun at all. But this is fine with us because we are married and best friends for the past 43 years, and we will fight this disease together and our faith convinces us we will beat it and it won’t return.

Keeping It Positive Cuz This Isn’t My First Rodeo

Your patience as my readers and loyal customer base makes me so grateful because without you folks keeping me busy at what I love, it wouldn’t afford me to remain close to my hubby for what he might need during this challenging time. It will continue to be my favorite thing in my life to create cosmetics you love and use every day which helps to keep me distracted on the bad days, yet revel in the good days.

Hold your loved ones close and remember, no matter what you believe in, life altering things can occur in the blink of an eye. These things are out of our control and whatever path you might be on at this time, life happens while making plans.

Cheers to all and wishing you all a beautiful day and a healthy life.

Posted by Katie at May 1, 2019 9:39 am | No Comments »

Talc, Asbestos, FDA, Lawsuits Update

Talc Causes Cancer True or False?

Most of you have probably heard about the controversy over talc and its safety in personal care products. Lawsuits in the national news and headlines have made for interesting reading over the claims that talc is causing ovarian cancer in women.

For the most part science does not show causation of ovarian cancer and has been proven safe for decades in use of personal care products.

So, are the claims justified? I have personally done extensive research on this ingredient showing absolute safety and no known link to the cancer equation.

Now before you agree or disagree with me, there is a part of the equation on this matter that has come to light through discovery. This pertains to the wins and losses in the past, present and depositions for future lawsuits against J & J brand.

There is the initial summation with the first lawsuit brought by a woman that sadly, eventually died from her ovarian cancer. She claimed using Johnson and Johnson talcum powder in her private area for decades. Due to the not so “cut and dry” evidence with the first trial, this is what created doubt within the scientific community during testimony at trial.

Scientists Argue For and Against the Safety of Talc

When you review the actual research, talc is still a very safe cosmetic ingredient. Especially when used topically in makeup or body care products. Talc has even been used therapeutically for treating lung tumors interestingly enough, with great success. It is by far a superior lubricious powder for moisture absorption and to prevent friction on the body. Despite the lovely characteristics of talc, I don’t ever recommend it for the face.

Appeals are being presented repeatedly and now I see the ambulance chasing commercials to get other women to climb on board the gravy train of litigation. To prove unequivocally that the use of talc for decades caused a cancer causation is like proving a negative when it may not directly correlate to the “talc”.

Hold On Now, Here’s the Wrinkle

The FDA regulation is clear that talc cannot contain asbestos contamination since 1976. Manufacturers are responsible for making sure their mined talc is free of this harmful mineral. The FDA has even requested random testing to make sure the talc being used in personal care products did not reveal asbestos. In past tests the manufacturers they tested were all clear.

Through discovery of these lawsuits, it now comes to light that J & J talcum powder seems to have been contaminated with asbestos over many years. The testimony points to the corporation execs had knowledge of this. Not surprisingly, they did not disclose the discovery in their labeling as a warning of use, or their reports from testing. It is this discovery that opens the window into the reality of “is it talc” per se or “is it the asbestos” within the talc creating the instances of cancer in the ovaries?

I Make No Argument in this Regard

Once I learned of this unscrupulous behavior placing women at risk with their health, I became quite upset. I wholly have defended the lovely silken mineral talc. Plus I do still recommend it as the nicest body care product in terms of silken texture, but of course sans asbestos. Despite past safety for decades, I never recommended it to be used in private areas and never did so personally. After all, this area is a direct route to the blood brain barrier so use of any type of product in this region should stir caution in the mind for health sake.

As testimony and future trials come to pass, it is unfortunate that a company as large as J & J ignored safety protocols. This lack of transparency has done great harm to the trust you and I may have had when using any of their products. They of course deny the accusations and continue to appeal. However, if whomever allowed this within the company to slip by knowing full well how it was being used my many, then this attack on their brand is well deserved. Test of time through litigation will eventually bear out the final results.

I have updated the linked article below and it includes links to peer reviewed research data. You’ll also see the current litigation results and those pending.

See Updates in Reference to the Talc Controversy

I will continue to update web pages and posts as the news becomes available to me. If any of you need an update on something you may have read on my sight, please don’t hesitate to let me know. I am happy to update info where necessary as more science evolves over time.

Happy Hump Day….woot woot!

Posted by Katie at April 24, 2019 8:05 am | No Comments »

My Favorite Organic Soap

Love Chagrin Valley Soaps, How May I Count The Ways

If you’re like me, your days can be so busy that you neglect yourself or can’t find the time to seek out a new favorite cosmetic after your old one may have gone bye bye. Yep the search begins again!

In my busy day to day life, I, like you, search out the best product that is best for my body care and when I find it, it’s time to share my discovery. Even though there is my ONATI skin care brand, I don’t offer a soap bar or cleanser for the body. For me personally, my preference is a great bar of soap and believe me when I tell you, I have tried my share of exceptional soaps, yet sadly some marginal brands also that didn’t do my skin any favors.

Natural and organic are always my preference along with finding a soap bar that lasts a decent amount of time with every day use. This soap I found and have used over the past several years, took me awhile to determine if this was going to be my new love for this particular bar soap brand.

Yep… they are the real deal! They are not glycerin bars or melt and pours, or heavily perfumed body bars, which are not actually real soap because they are filled with all sorts of synthetic ingredients, while Chagrin soaps are the best in saponified ingredients creating a nice hard, glycerin rich, long lasting bar of skin loving soap.

Chagrin Valley Soaps is the brand I love and is still my favorite to this day!

What makes Chagrin Valley Soaps my ideal soap bar

  • Love they are USDA Certified Organic
  • Only deal in fair trade ingredients
  • No matter the skin condition they have the soap (super variety)
  • Their size bars of soap (5.8oz). Other natural brands (4oz)
  • They are long lasting when stored out of stream of water
  • Yummy aromas and they feel wonderful on the skin
  • Great creamy lather that doesn’t dry out the skin or leave a weird film
  • Rich in skin nourishing organic butters, oils, herbals and essential oils
  • Family owned and operated adds to the excellent care and conscience they bring to their customers

My Sweet Favorite Is Chocolate and Honey

This is by far the one I love most and is my ‘go to’ organic body soap out of at least a dozen soaps I have tried. The chocolate smells positively delicious and its lather is so rich and creamy that I always make sure I stock up on this soap bar whenever I reorder. I can see why this is one of their best sellers.

From the Chagrin Valley Website:

Organic coconut milk creates a silky, rich, and creamy conditioning lather. If you love chocolate, you will love this ultimate moisturizing soap enriched with natural skin conditioning unrefined cocoa butter and swirled with raw cocao powder and real dark chocolate.

We use only real organic fair-trade chocolate, cocao powder and cocoa butter from the Theobroma cacao tree. The word Theobroma means “food of the gods.”

Organic coconut milk creates a silky, rich, and creamy conditioning lather taken from their website:

  • The antioxidants and phytonutrients in chocolate soothe and soften skin
  • Organic Cocoa and Shea butters soften and moisturize dry skin
  • Organic honey hydrates moisturizes and soothes
  • Whipped cream-like lather leaves skin feeling soft and smooth
  • No added scent–just the delicious natural aroma of cocoa butter 
  • Good for the complexion and sensitive skin

My Second Favorite Is Chamomile and Calendula

The subtle scent of this herbal blend is only a small part of why I love it. It is a very hard bar of soap and outlasts many of the other ones I have used. You know the ones; they melt away rapidly with each use and the soap surface is really soft. Not only are you getting the smaller size in other organic brands, you pay similar prices for receiving an inferior product. Not with Chagrin soaps! The lather is rich and creamy and non-drying in this bar of soap. I’m never disappointed by how skin soothing it is with the ingredients they add to fight many skin issues some of us have. Dryness or irritation is never an issue.  LOVE, LOVE, LOVE …

From Chagrin Valley Soaps Website:

A rich, moisturizing soap made with skin soothing and healing organic herbs that may help bring relief from skin irritation and itching caused by eczema, psoriasis.

Herbalists consider Calendula one of the most effective herbal remedies for irritated skin conditions.

Chamomile can ease the itching of eczema and other rashes and helps reduce skin inflammation.

Chickweed helps soothe the itch of healing skin, stings, and bites.

Turmeric has anti-inflammatory and healing properties that may help ease the symptoms of rosacea. Rich in antioxidants, turmeric is a common ingredient in Ayurvedic skin care products to naturally promote glowing, smooth skin.

  • The natural golden yellow color is the result of the calendula infused oils and turmeric
  • Turmeric is revered in Ayurvedic medicine for its ability to relieve inflammation
  • Enriched with unrefined virgin shea butter and hydrating honey
  • Honey moisturizes and soothes skin

Feel Good Ingredients and Safe For Most Skin Types

Now that my search is over since I had to look elsewhere after a company I truly loved, closed their doors a few years back. You know what that is like when you find something that truly works so well, only to have them discontinue your favorite or they closeup shop all together.  It’s a bummer!

Fortunately, Chagrin Valley Soaps is committed and dedicated to carrying on their tradition of being a family owned and operated soap making business. Keeping their focus on sourcing the best ingredients for bringing the ultimate in natural, organic body care. Check them out for yourself, and to make sure your skin will love them without any problems and to do that, they offer sample size to determine what works best for you.

I am a customer for life… You can be too!

Have a great day and catch you later!

Posted by Katie at April 17, 2019 2:25 am | No Comments »

Back Acne Or Is It Something Else

Acne, comedone, open or closed or a cyst.

Odd Changes To Your Skin

Have you begun to see odd changes to your skin especially on your back that were never there before? Such as, tiny bumps with dry skin, which might be confused with a white head or back acne? But it isn’t!

What about a hard bump with a dark center? You might think it is perhaps the beginning of a black head or plugged up open Comedone, or worse it is skin cancer like I did since I have had melanoma before. But it wasn’t any of those things!

My discovery on anything weird looking on my back or chest requires constant monitoring so I can catch it early. In this case, it turned out to be a subaceous cyst beginning to form and are commonly confused with acne or an open comedone with the latter turning into a subaceous cyst. This little inconvenience is another “blech” moment for me. Yet I needed to know the specifics of this freshly discovered skin malady.

My Husband Went Into Freak Out Mode

Of course, when my hubby discovers something, I can’t see ordinarily it is the same song and dance. “Better get into to see the doctor, you don’t want to play around with this stuff.”

I obediently go see my doctor, anticipating we have another skin cancer on its way, only to learn I have a different anomaly.

Even though this thing is a new pain in my neck, I was relieved to know it was not more skin cancer. Basically, my doctor told me they are common, and it will either go away on its own or it won’t. But warned me to leave it alone and do not pick at it to prevent creating an infection… uhm, too late.

Defining the Differences Between Acne, Open and Closed Comedones

Acne forms from a blocked pore with sebum production increasing to the point of swelling and looking inflamed which in turn can become cystic. These are typically painful to touch, and you know it is cystic when it resembles more of a lump that is red with a blistered whitehead on top. Bacteria flourishes as it feeds on the trapped sebum making this type of acne not fun to experience.

Open and closed Comedones are typically thought of as a type of acne since it also involves a blocked pore or a damaged hair follicle opening. This is why they are confused for blackheads because they tend to originate near a subaceous gland. However, comedones are typically blocked from a buildup of keratin combined with sebum making a hard head of white when it is closed and a black head with an open comedone.

The best way to treat these is with good cleansing practices, some exfoliation and maybe medication depending on how bad the condition is. Steaming the skin with warm compresses can also help open up the pores and soften the hard plug of keratin and sebum so that you can gently remove it. Never pick at or pop them though, since this can drive infection deeper into the skin.

What the Heck is a Subaceaous Cyst Then?

Sebaceous cysts are sometimes confused for Epidermoid cysts which are essentially slow-growing, non-cancerous, and painless masses that occur right under the surface of the skin. They are smooth solid lumps that might have a black dot on top similar to a blackhead like mine had. These types of cysts can happen to anyone at any time. The good news is that neither type of cyst is very serious or painful, and many times, they will drain and disappear all on their own. At least that’s what my doc says.

One can only hope! The black head is gone from the two on my back, but I am left with the hard lump under my skin.

The doctor says he can excise it if it drives me nuts and it only does that because it is right next to my spine, so I feel it on occasion through my clothes. But he also said it can resolve on its own, yet this “wait and see” can take a very long time, 6 months or more. Mine are coming up on 10 months since discovery.

I Got Quite the Education On Types of Cysts

Sebaceous cysts are more common than you might realize but there is another type you may be dealing with like me. Epidermoid cysts are a thing apparently. The names are often used interchangeably even though they aren’t exactly the same thing.

Sebaceous cysts arise from glands in the skin that produce an oily substance called sebum. When one of these glands gets blocked, the sebum begins to build up and form a pocket beneath the skin. This is similar to typical acne behavior. They usually sprout up on the face, neck, scalp, or torso.

Epidermoid cysts, on the other hand, arise from surface skin cells that begin to collect beneath the skin rather than sloughing off like they should. These cysts are filled with a thick, cheese-like material made of keratin. They usually happen when a hair follicle is inflamed or when there is an injury to the skin such as picking at it (of course I did), which allows those skin cells to accumulate into a cyst.

Epidermoid cysts are far more common than sebaceous cysts, even though many people lump them under the generic header of “sebaceous cysts.” You may only have a single one on your back or you could have quite a few popping up. I typically start to feel these hard-little keratin spots during the winter when the air is dryer and I wear heavier clothing.  Which I am sure this cuts down on air flow and reduces exfoliation.

For the most part, I can usually dislodge them with a good scrubbing in the shower and prevent the situation from getting worse. But apparently as things change with age, not all things work as simply as they once did. I love getting old! 

Lucky Me I Have My Answer with Some Advice

So now that it has been figured out that mine is the Epidermoid kind of cyst… phew… after I discovered it on my back, let the picking begin. I went after that thing in an unhealthy way to try and pop it or get it to drain. Unfortunately, this type of cyst is not prone to draining in the way a zit or sebaceous cyst might cooperate. Yes, to reiterate, I only learned this after the fact once I went to the doctor as he remarked on how sore it looked… yep uh huh… oops!

At the very least, the blackheads eventually disappeared from the surface and they stopped growing, so I believe once they closed they had reached maximum capacity. They are smooth and don’t hurt, but it does bother me that they are still there because they feel funny.

Things I do to encourage them to drain. I massage the cysts periodically hoping this will relieve the fullness and shrink them. I am also more attentive to washing and exfoliating my back in the shower. This is something that I wasn’t doing as much anymore as I continue to lose that flexibility of reaching around behind my back.

I literally feel tiny little hard keratin spots on my back located near my spine, and I attribute this to not attending to exfoliating the area. And now that I realize that these tiny hard keratin bumps can result into a deeper issue, I’ll be way more vigilant when it comes to back care. Obviously, this will become a priority even if it means recruiting the hubster to wash my back for me.

Researching Some Product Options to Assist with Skin Maladies

Now that I am dealing with what might be a preventable skin issue in the future, I have been doing my research on products that are perfect for just these types of skin conditions, or for simply helping with exfoliation and cleansing of the skin. Even sensitive skin types will benefit from exfoliating care, especially on the neck and face.

I have found an interesting product that I am loving, and if it performs for me the way I need it to after my trial period, I plan to add it to my Sterling Minerals website for everyone to purchase. I am considering it for providing exfoliation of the face and body.

In the meantime, any odd spot or bump you notice, I encourage you to have it checked out just in case. These types of cysts are quite common and only wanted to share with you if similarly, you have a painless suspicious firm lump under your skin, the odds are in your favor it is something benign.  Hey, it may only be a lipoma, a very weird benign fatty tumor, but that’s another story for another day.

Have a great rest of the week and visit with you soon!

Posted by Katie at April 3, 2019 8:40 am | No Comments »