skin deep database

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A guide to the symbols on Motherlove products

Ever wonder what those little symbols on body care products mean?  We thought we’d explain the meaning and importance of the symbols you’ll find on our products.

bunnies(1)The Leaping Bunny is a symbol marking a product as “cruelty free.”  This means that the product and its ingredients were not tested on animals.  These products are certified ‘cruelty free’ under the internationally-recognised Humane Cosmetics or Humane Household Products Standards.  Some products say “no animal testing” or “against animal testing,” but only products with this symbol are certified as entirely cruelty free.USDA_Organic_Logo

The USDA Organic symbol recognizes that a product is certified to contain at least 95% organic ingredients.  Organic ingredients are certified to have been raised without the use of  synthetic fertilizers and pesticides, and certified organic products cannot contain artificial preservatives, colors, or flavors, or genetically modified ingredients.  In addition to this symbol, all of our labels identify which ingredients are organic.

recycle2The familiar recycle symbol on our products indicates that the product is recyclable.  We use glass containers for many of our products because they can be recycled into new glass products (and unlike plastic, glass can be endlessly recycled).  You can read more about the many reasons why we use glass packaging for many of our products.

In addition to these labels, all Motherlove products are rated as “zero” (zero toxins) by the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep database.  Motherlove was also recently named a “Champion” (the highest level of compliance) of the Compact for Safe Cosmetics.  The Compact is a voluntary pledge to avoid chemicals banned in other countries, avoid harmful ingredients whenever possible, and fully disclose product ingredients.  You can learn more on body care ingredients to avoid on our blog.

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Concerned about stretch marks? Here are some natural ways to prevent and minimize them.

Little Girl Kissing New Sibling to BeStretch marks may be a rite of passage for most women in pregnancy – 75 to 90% of us get them.

But stretch marks can sometimes be prevented or minimized with some simple, natural measures.

How do stretch marks start and progress?  It’s no surprise that stretch marks in pregnancy are a result of the rapid stretching of the skin on your belly, breasts, and related areas.  They often start as red, pink, purple, brown, reddish brown, or dark brown, depending on your skin tone.   Later they often turn to a white or silver color, sometimes with deep indentations.  There is some evidence that the likelihood of having them is hereditary.  So if your mom had them, you may be more likely to have them, too.  Factors such as being a younger age at pregnancy, having a bigger baby or larger weight gain, and higher body mass index are associated with higher risk of having stretch marks.

Once stretch marks have reached the silver or white color, often with deep indentations, it’s harder to treat them.  But at earlier stages, and before they’ve appeared at all, there are some simple and natural steps you can take to prevent or minimize them.

Start early.  As we noted, treating skin before stretch marks appear, or while they’re in the early stages, will increase the chances of minimizing them.  The greatest risk for stretch marks is in the third trimester when your belly is stretching the most, so start with these recommendations early in your pregnancy.

Moisturize.  Keeping skin moisturized makes it more elastic and more able to stretch without damage.  Moisturize several times a day with a product rich in oils your skin can absorb.  Water based products will sit on top of your skin, but oil based products like our Pregnant Belly Salve and Pregnant Belly Oil will hydrate your skin and keep it pliable.

Hydrate.  Keeping yourself well hydrated on the inside is not only good for your baby, it may help your skin stay less dry and more elastic.  Choose filtered water over juices, which spike your blood sugar and are missing the fiber of whole fruit.  And avoid caffeinated beverages because they contribute to dehydration.

Eat for healthy skin.  Consider these tips for a diet rich in skin-supporting vitamins and fats, including Vitamin A, C, E, and omega 3 fatty acids, as well as collagen.  Note that supplementation with Vitamin A can cause birth defects, so aim to get your vitamins from whole foods and a prenatal vitamin.

Exercise for healthy weight gain.  Above we mentioned that higher weight gain and having a higher birth weight baby are associated with stretch marks.  Not all of our pregnancy weight gain is within our control, but an exercise program approved by your health care provider may help you keep your weight gain in a healthy range, decreasing the risk of stretch marks.  If you have gestational diabetes, and so are at risk of having a higher birth weight baby, working with your providers to control your blood sugar is an effective way to control your baby’s birth weight and prevent stretch marks, too.

Control itching with soothing herbs.  Stretch marks are often itchy, and scratching them can cause further damage to your skin.  So choose a moisturizer which contains herbs which soothe irritated skin.  Our and Pregnant Belly Salve and Pregnant Belly Oil contain herbs such as chamomile and calendula which naturally soothe itchy skin.

Stick to safe ingredients.  As with all body care products you use during pregnancy, be sure that the ingredients in the moisturizer you use are free of harmful chemicals.  Our Pregnant Belly Oil and Pregnant Belly Salve both have “zero” ratings (the safest) on the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep database.

There are laser treatments for stretch marks which you can investigate, and other topical treatments using chemical ingredients.  But for natural prevention and minimizing of stretch marks, we recommend these simple steps.

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Meet the healing herbs in our Diaper Rash and Thrush salve!

Oregon grapeWhen your baby’s bum is red and painful, you want effective, safe relief.

Our Diaper Rash and Thrush salve is an all-natural remedy for persistent, inflamed diaper rash, possibly caused by yeast.  It can also be used on mother’s nursing nipples to prevent thrush from being transferred to the milk ducts, and does not need to be washed off prior to nursing. Our salve has a zero rating (zero toxins) on the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep database and is made with 96% certified organic ingredients. Because it contains no zinc oxide, it is compatible with all diapers including cloth.  The Diaper Rash & Thrush can also be used on other yeast caused issues, such as a vaginal yeast infection and athletes foot.

We thought we’d take a moment to explain and pay tribute to the wonderful healing herbs in our salve.  Here they are, along with their many functions:

As the name suggests, Oregon Grape is native to the American west (pictured to the right).  It’s a shrub with evergreen leaves that turn red in the fall, and in the spring it produces small yellow flowers that bloom in clusters on terminal spikes.  These later turn into purple berries that can be made into jam, jellies or juice.  The bitter tasting yellow root contains the alkaloid berberine, and is antibacterial, antimicrobial, and antiseptic.  You can use it on psoriasis, eczema, boils and wounds.  It is considered a “blood purifier” and liver tonic, as it stimulates bile production and clears up skin conditions.  The root is also used to make a yellow dye.

Yarrow is an aromatic herb that grows in meadows and is native to a number of areas including North America.  In New Mexico and southern Colorado it is called plumajillo (Spanish for ‘little feather’) for its leaf shape and texture.  It has alternate, wooly gray-green fern-like leaves, and its tiny, white flowers each have 4-6 ray petals that grow in flat-topped clusters.  You can put the leaves or flowers on wounds or a bloody nose to quickly stop the bleeding, or use it as a wash on rashes, runny sores, boils, poison ivy, chapped or cracked skin, and hemorrhoids.  It can be drunk to relieve indigestion and gas.  Yarrow promotes sweating when taken to reduce a fever. It is also said that the smell repels mosquitoes.

You may recognize Myrrh as one of the gifts brought by the Three Wise Men in the nativity story.  It is a gum resin that was also used by the ancient Egyptians to embalm bodies.  Myrrh constituents are antibacterial and antifungal, exhibiting activity against e.coli, staphylococcus, and candida albicans – an overgrowth of which leads to yeast infections.  Its antiseptic and disinfectant properties make it useful as a wash on cuts, burns and skin infections.  You can gargle several drops of tincture in water to relieve a sore throat, or use it to treat mouth sores and thrush by applying it to the mucus membranes inside of the mouth.

Calendula may be a familiar herb, as it’s used as a soothing agent in many natural products.  It is an easily planted annual with orange and yellow flowers and alternate leaves.  The unusual curlicue seedpods easily reseed themselves.  This herb is an all purpose skin healing herb used to stop bleeding, wash wounds, heal cuts, abscesses, rashes, boils, chapped skin, and eczema.  It relieves muscle cramps, painful swellings, hemorrhoids, and insect bites.  It can be used in a footbath on swollen feet and as an eyewash on sore, tired eyes.  A hair rinse reduces dandruff. The orange and yellow petals of this edible flower are a colorful addition to salads.

Image credit:  Wikimedia Commons



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Body care ingredients to avoid

You know that what you eat and drink while you’re pregnant has the potential to reach your growing baby.

But did you know that what you put on your skin holds the same potential?  And when it comes to the delicate skin of your baby, it’s even more important to use only those products that are gentle and nurturing.  Unfortunately, many popular body care products contain chemicals of concern.

We can’t rely on regulation to protect us from potentially dangerous chemicals in our body care products.  The FDA has banned just nine chemicals from cosmetics, while the European Union has banned more than 1,000.

Shopping “natural” or “organic” is no guarantee that your products are free of dangerous chemicals.  A product that is labeled as being “natural” may be mixed up with synthetic dyes or fragrances.  Buying higher cost products is no guarantee either – many are full of the same ingredients and harsh chemicals as the less expensive brands.

So, what can you do to make sure you’re buying products that are safe and pure?  Shop for products that don’t contain the chemicals listed below, in either their ingredients or their packaging.  You’ll find a detailed explanation of the risks they pose on our website.

  • Ceteareth-6
  • Coal Tar
  • Diethanolamine (DEA) or Triethanolamine (TEA)
  • Imidazolidinyl Urea and Diazolidinyl Urea
  • Mineral Oil
  • Parabens — Methyl, Propyl, Butyl, and Ethyl
  • Petrolatum
  • Phthalates
  • Propylene Glycol
  • PVP/VA Copolymer
  • Sodium Lauryl Sulfate
  • Stearalkonium Chloride
  • Synthetic colors
  • Synthetic fragrances

Want to find products that don’t contain these ingredients?  Use the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep Database to search for safe products.

At Motherlove we’ve been committed to making safe, toxin-free, herbal products made with organic ingredients for mothers and babies for over 20 years.  We were recently named a “Champion” (the highest level of compliance) of the Compact for Safe Cosmetics.  Our products are all rated a zero (the lowest rating) the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep Database, and we are proud to publish our complete ingredient lists.  Motherlove uses safe, recyclable packaging for our products, and they are free of “shelf life” preservatives and any artificial ingredients.  You expect that from “real food.” You should expect that from your body care, as well.

We’re proud to be a Champion for safe cosmetics

At Motherlove we’ve been committed to making safe, toxin-free, organic herbal products for mothers and babies for over 20 years.

That’s why we’re pleased to have recently been named a “Champion” (the highest level of compliance) of the Compact for Safe Cosmetics.  The Compact is a voluntary pledge to avoid chemicals banned in other countries, avoid harmful ingredients whenever possible, and fully disclose product ingredients.

Out of the more than 1500 companies who signed the Safe Cosmetics Compact, only 321 were fully in compliance with all the goals of the Compact, which earns those companies “Champion” status.

Motherlove products are all rated a zero (the lowest rating) on Skin Deep, the Environmental Working Group’s safe cosmetics database, and we are proud to publish our complete ingredient lists.

Motherlove achieved Champion status by:

  • Complying with the European Union’s Cosmetics Directive, widely considered the global gold standard of cosmetics safety regulation
  • Disclosing all ingredients, including ingredients in “fragrance” which in the United States can be claimed as “trade secrets,” even when they contain harmful chemicals
  • Publishing and regularly updating product information in the Skin Deep cosmetics database
  • Complying with any additional ingredient prohibitions and restrictions under the Compact and substitute ingredients of concern with safer alternatives; and
  • Participating in the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics

You can read more about the Compact and the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics in the new report, Market Shift.


When is a diaper rash more than a rash?

When is a diaper rash more than irritated skin?

According to Dr. Sears, a rash which is “red, raised, patchy rash with sharp borders, mostly over the genitalia but with satellite spots sprinkled around the diaper area,” may be a result of an overgrowth of yeast.  Yeast rashes are more common after antibiotic use.  If your baby has a prolonged diaper rash which doesn’t respond to treatment with barrier creams, it may be yeast and require a different approach.

If you suspect a yeast rash, try our Diaper Rash and Thrush salve.  It’s an all-natural herbal solution for persistent, inflamed diaper rash. It can also be used on your nipples if they’re yeast-infected, and does not need to be washed off prior to nursing.  It’s diaper safe and compatible with all diapers including cloth.

Our Diaper Rash and Thrush salve has a zero rating (zero toxins) on EWG’s Skin Deep database and is made with 96% certified organic ingredients.

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