Friday, September 10, 2010

Healthy Skin Naturally: Skin Structure, it's function

Welcome to my final discussion of  Chapter One of Naturally Healthy Skin by Stephanie Tourles.

Skin is our largest organ system that protects the body from damage, comprising the skin and its appendages (hair, scales, feather, and nails).

Skin serves as a regulator for our body including waterproofing, cushioning, and protection of deeper tissues; it excretes waste, regulates temperature and is made of sensory receptors that detect pain, sensation, pressure, and temperature; and it is an integumentary system that provide vitamin D synthesis. Our skin secrets sebum (oil secreted by the sebaceous glands), which lubricates the skin and keeps it moist.

Skin has aesthetic appeal in that it reflects our health and vibrance. Skin is the first thing people notice about us and shapes our opinion of our selves.

Now that Chapter One has been discussed it's time to focus on learning all the new terms and dig a bit deeper into their functions and they help our skin be as vibrant as possible.

Nubian Goat Soap Presentation

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Thursday, September 09, 2010

Healthy Skin Naturally: Skin Structure, its dermis and subcutaneous layers

Welcome to the second section of Chapter One of Naturally Healthy Skin by Stephanie Tourles.

The dermis layer consists of two layers:
  1. The papillary binds the epidermis and dermis together. Papillae are the ridge-like projections that make up your finger prints. Containing capillaries and nerve ends, the papillae are super-sensitive to touch stimuli.
  2. The reticular layer is made of elastic mesh-like fibers that give skin its resilience. But as we age, this layer’s strength and tone diminishes, collagen formation slows, and wrinkles begin. This layer contains fat cells, blood and lymph vessels, oil and sweat glands, arrector pili muscles, and hair follicles.
Subcutaneous means ‘beneath the skin’. A fatty layer connects the dermis to the underlying muscle tissue. This fatty layer is a shock absorber, insulator protecting our internal organs and gives your skin a smooth, strong foundation.

The photograph below shows the skin layers discussed above.
Skin section retrieved from

Skin structure, its function will be discussed in my next blog.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Healthy Skin Naturally: Skin Structure, the epidermis

Welcome to the first section of my discussion on Ms. Tourles' book, Naturally Healthy Skin. As mentioned previously, I've divided my discussion of this chapter into three sections. For me, learning happens faster if I digest smaller bits at a time. It's important that I learn the new terminologies and their functions.

Skin structure, the epidermis

Skin structure varies in thickness depending on its function. Skin is thickest on our feet and hands. After all, our feet and hands are the two body parts that we use most to sense our world. On the other hand, our thinnest skin is our eye lids. Our eyes are our very delicate; they would need a soft layer to protect them.
Skin is a complex organ because its functions are so varied. It protects us internally as well as externally. Within one square inch of our skin’s surface, our skin contains hair, sebaceous glands, nerves, blood vessels, sweat glands, cells, nerve endings, sensory cells, temperature sensing apparatuses.

Our skin is made up of three layers: epidermal, dermal, and subcutaneous. Within each of these layers are additional layers.

The epidermis contains five layers:
  1. Stratum corneum is our outermost layer of skin composed of large, plate-like envelopes filled with keratin, which are dead cells that have migrated up from the stratum granulosum; this layer protects us from environmental elements and helps keep our skin hydrated by preventing water evaporation.
  2. Stratum lucidum is found throughout the body but is thickest in the soles of our feet and in the palms of our hands; it is composed of between three to five layers of keratinocytes, (forms the keratin layer that protects the skin and underlying tissue from environmental damage such as heat, UV radiation and water loss).
  3. Stratum granulosum (or granular layer) keratinocytes are called granules that contain keratohyalin (a protein that may promote aggregation and cross-linking of the keratin fibers).
  4. Stratum spinosum also called ‘prickle-cell’ due to its spiny appearance creates a hydrophobic barrier that prevents dehydration.
  5. Stratum basale, the deepest layer of the epidermis, is a continuous layer of cells, considered the stem cells of the epidermis, are proliferate and create ‘daughter’ cells that migrate
The photograph below shows the different layers.

Skin structure, its dermis and subcutaneous will be in my next blog.

Nubian Goat Soap Presentation

Check out this SlideShare Presentation:

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Reading Naurally Healthy Skin

Chapter One of Naturally Healthy Skin by Stephanie Tourles discusses the structure and function of skin. Knowing what our skin is and does is a perfect place to start.

After reading this chapter I felt that I wanted to know more. So I went to Wikipedia as an alternative research reference. It’s easy to get to, is relative easy to read, has some terrific graphics and photographs, and contains linked references for those of you who want to dig deeper. Always using more than two references pretty much gives you an accurate picture of your subject.

This chapter became a bit longer than I initially thought so I divided my discussion of it into three sections: Skin Structure, the epidermis; Skin Structure, the dermis and subcutaneous, and Skin Structure, its function. With all the new terminology, I'll need more time and effort to digest what I've learned.

Monday, September 06, 2010

Learning how to care for your skin -- naturally

I'm always looking for ways to improve my goat milk bath soaps and beauty lotions. I do this by reading, and reading, and reading. Dozens of books and articles on skin care surround my desk. Emails clutter my desktop because they have skin care tips that I want to pass on to you -- my customers.

Knowing how to care for my skin means more to me today than it did twenty years ago. You know, before the wrinkles and sagging muscles became visible. It's amazing how invincible we were back then. Tanning and experimenting with different foods and drinks was so much more fun than eating well and caring for myself.

My skin is paying for it now. That's why started a goat milk bath soaps and beauty lotion business. All of my products are developed after considerable, in-depth research. We research everything by a variety of research techniques: Anecdotal, statistical, and scientific research methodologies are all helpful.

I learned how to learn when working on my first graduate degree.But more importantly, I learned how to gain creditable knowledge. That's exactly what I've done with soapmaking and lotion making. Now I want to take my knowledge on natural skin care to a higher level. And I'd like to take you along with me as I learn from the masters.

We'll study work from professionals who have dedicated their careers to natural skin care. Academicians who educate technicians and trend setters who monitor consumer needs are continually producing research papers on their subjects. During this journey we'll identify people who have raised the bar on skin care knowledge -- in lay terms.

My plan is to share the highlights of my research with you. Here's the rub: I want to gain this knowledge so I can improve my goat milk bath and beauty products. So, the information will be biased. I will, however, let you know what I'll be studying so you can to get the materials for yourself, if you want.

The first text we'll study is a book by Stephanie Tourles named Naturally Healthy Skin: Tips and Techniques for a lifetime of Radiant Skin.

My next blog will cover Chapter One.

Sunday, September 05, 2010

Photos of soap making

Ingredients must be weighted for accuracy.
Oils must be melted so they will blend together.
Frozen goat milk and lye in early stages of blending.
Always wear protective gloves and eye ware.
Mixtures do get HOT.
Final stage includes a water bath so the two pails will cool within 5 degrees of each other.
Ingredients have been blended, fragrance oil and color has been added.
Close up of log.
Another close up of soap log.

Saturday, September 04, 2010

Take a day off

We took Sunday today off and loved it. Working from home has its benefits but it also has it drawbacks. Those of you who work from home know what I'm talking about.

On one hand I'm glad that I'm able to work from home; but, on the other hand, I'm always working when I'm at home. The sameness sort of closes in on me at times. Please don't get me wrong, Working from home is a dream come true. For as long as I can remember, I've wanted to have the freedom of working where ever I lived. I digress ... .

Bob and I watched a movie while still in our jammies. Surrounded by sleeping dogs, we lounged around all morning and most of the afternoon. That's a picture of our bliss.

We slowly ate breakfast around 2:00 p.m. After that we put on our barn duds on to go check our critters. Yesterday I noticed that one of our little goats had been limping. We caught him and discovered that his little leg was broken. I wrapped it temporarily and game him something for the pain. I'll call a vet tomorrow so he can come set it properly.

I hate that I don't know enough to give proper care for our goats. Studying veterinary technology is probably the one field of study I need the most. Self-taught book learning will have to do for now, though. I've had enough schooling.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not shy on college degrees. Unfortunately, none of them have anything to do with raising goats. But I did accomplish what most schooling should teach: I learned how to learn. I'll hit the books on mending broken bones tomorrow.

I'm happy to learn the basics, but when it comes to diagnosing and prescribing medicine, I'll leave that to the professionals. But everyone needs to know the basic first aid techniques -- for humans, dogs, cats, and all the other species that you live with. After all, they're counting on you -- the human.

Did I say I took the day off? Well, make that the morning off. I've got to go take care of a little guy with a broken leg and feed his mama. Then I'll figure my formula weights for tomorrow.

Happy soaping, Pat

Friday, September 03, 2010

Soap Gentle Enough for Your Mother’s Skin

Many of you have asked: "What's in this soap that will help my ________?" Fill in the blank. Everyone has issues with their complexion, their elbows, ankles, heels, face or their dry skin.

Personally, I have light skin that sunburns easily. But first I freckle, Hey, I like my freckles so -- bring 'em on. But my mother, bless her heart, has hated her freckles for 87 years. Can you imagine how miserable she must be by hating her skin that long? Her skin is, after all, contains her very being.

Goat Milk Olive Oil Soap
That's another reason why I decided to make goat milk bath and beauty products. Helping her be happier with her skin MIGHT help yer realize how adorable her freckles are. The jury is still out on this one; but, I could keep you posted.

My mother-in-law (94), on the other hand, has skin that bruises quite easily, along with being dry and very delicate. With both of our mom's having delicate, thinning skin, I needed a soap that would cleanse their skin without damaging it further. Since I've been a researcher for decades, I started investigating what makes some soaps gentle versus what makes other soaps more harsh.

To discuss my findings would require more time/space than we have here. But suffice it to say, I found that a well-balanced soap is a requirement. Too much of some oils may dry your skin (hard to believe but true), while others may leave a greasy film on your skin.

I'd already research the benefits of goat milk in soap; so, I knew it would be helpful. The key points being that goat milk fats and proteins are transformed during the soap making process and thus leave a nutritious, moisturizing barrier on your skin. But which oils would enhance the goat milk even more?

All this research led me to develop my Nurture Collection. It has goat milk, olive oil, shea butter and sodium hydroxide. Goat milk contains nutrients, olive oil brings its healing ingredients, shea butter melts at body temperature and carries the benefits into your skin more readily. While sodium hydroxide is mandatory when making soaps, it too is transformed during the soapmaking process and is no longer in it's caustic form. It's my job to make sure I put just enough lye but not too much.

My Nurture Collection is gentle enough for my mother's skin (87) as well as my mother's-in-law skin (94). Skin that bruises easily, is thinning, very delicate and dries all too easily needs all the protection and nurtured as possible. Both of our mom's use my products. I figure that if I can get my parents to use my product, I must be doing something right. Have you noticed this, too?

Mother likes my soap but she still isn't too crazy about her freckles. Some things just take longer to alter than others ... don't they.

Happy bathing, Pat

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Who is GraNann?

It's every grand mother. In my case, it's a combination of Gran' and Nanny. GraNann.

Doesn't that sound more exotic than Granny. Grand Mother would be acceptable but it's too long. I wanted something that would be easy to remember and short. My grandmothers were Mamaw and MaMa. Hummm ... .Did not want to be called either of those names.

Children need something special to call their grand parents so I thought I'd give them something I would enjoy being called. No telling what youthful minds would come up with. It could be something really bizarre.

OK. With that being said, I don't have any grand children -- yet that is. (It's a long story. Probably like many of your stories; it's best left to your imagination.)

Returning to the point: When I'm in the barn with my baby goats I realized that I really am a grand mother. Their mamas (the does) are the parents. I truly can enjoy the babies then leave them to their mothers. Oh blessed day. How comforting to realize their mama's are waiting for me to leave so they could have their babies back.

Frequently babies need their hooves trimmed, need vaccinations, deworming, or handling of some sort. It's best to handle them when they're young so they'll be used to me picking them up. Besides, I hate chasing critters. I always lose, get winded, trip and fall, or otherwise get frustrated. Trapping works, but having them come to me is the best.

I'm happy being Mom to their mothers. After all, they were last year's babies. We all worked together getting them into this world. More than likely I held them to their mama's teat so they could nurse. Or I milked her then fed them their ever so important colostrum.

I like being GraNann, especially with it comes time to feed the newborns every two/three hours. Seeing a newborn nurse on her mama is truly magic. The vision warms my heart and fills it with memories I will take to the grave with me.

Now you know why we named our company Gran' Nanny's. We are mother centric here and have dozens of grandmothers as well as great grandmothers. But we do let go when the babies are old enough. It's time for them to move into someone else's life and share the pleasure of Goat World. It's  memorable place because they are incredible creatures.

If you're lucky enough to have a goat, then you're lucky enough. Bless you.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Gift Wrapping Compliments Gift

Gift wrapping has more delicate variations than I had ever imagined. From paper embossing, color theory, ribbon texture to tag font design; each nuance builds upon the other to create a special gift for your loved one.

After quite a bit of research, I am amazed at how much attention each component receives.

Please join me as we pair goat milk bath and beauty products with specialized gift designs that compliment each other.

Pictured is our signature cello packaging design. Goat Milk Soaps are wrapped with red or cream colored tissue paper then tied with natural raffia.

Each gift has a tag describing the contents and a tag for your signature. Most cello packages contain either three or four soaps, it's your choice.

Visit our site above for ordering details.

How may we be of further service?
Pat Allen, President
Gran' Nanny's Goat Milk Soaps