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Are Your Baby's Products Free From the Bad Stuff?

As a parent, today’s news was a little disturbing.  But the Associated Press story earlier today about chemicals in baby care products just reaffirms why I created Episencial skincare. The reason we, Episencial, are here is because we firmly believe the products we use on our children and ourselves should be “Free From the Bad Stuff™.”

In addition, the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics released a report today entitled, “Baby’s Tub is Still Toxic,” that raises even more issues.

I completely understand that parents may have questions about the products they are using to care for their baby’s skin.  But I urge moms to go beyond the boycott. Choose all-natural products.  But, if you can’t, skip the baby shampoo and just use water and a washcloth. Pediatricians have long recommended plain old water as the simplest method for keeping baby clean. If you don’t have access to products that are free from harmful chemicals, then skip them. You absolutely have that option. But if you do use baby care products, here are some things you can look out for.

1. I agree that harsh chemicals have no place on baby skin – or anyone’s skin for that matter – because 70 percent of what goes on the skin can be absorbed into the body very quickly.  Choosing products made only of all natural ingredients is a positive, actively healthy step.

2. Reading labels takes effort – no question – but, if the ingredients are naturally derived, they should be pretty easy to understand.  The best product labels list the chemical AND common name of natural ingredients.

3. When choosing baby lotion, avoid petroleum-based products, such as mineral oil. Instead, look for plant-based oils such as olive, sunflower, avocado or jojoba because, in addition to moisturizing and lubricating the skin, they have actively healthy antioxidants and other good-for-you nutrients.

4. Your nose doesn’t always know.  An easy way to identify chemicals in personal care products is the ingredient “fragrance” a compound of up to several thousand chemicals – some quite harmful.  If a product contains fragrance, it likely contains other questionable chemical ingredients. 

5. Parents should know skin plays an important role in our overall health and immunity, so taking care of it is important.

6. All natural, actively healthy skincare formulas that are free from the bad stuff are more available and more affordable than ever before.  But if, for whatever reason, those products aren’t available to you – remember warm water and a wash cloth does a fine job!

Kim Walls, CEO — An Episencial Mom

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Episencial News Round Up: Halloween

October 31st is a free pass in my house to pig out on junk. It”s the one day of the year I let the kids eat the stuff I normally wouldn”t dream of allowing. I am “that” mom who not only limits the amount of sugar I give them but try to turn even sweet treats into healthy ones (frozen fat free Greek yogurt anyone?) and I”m picky about the personal products we use as well. I truly believe that we are not only what we eat, but what we put on ourselves as well. There”s a lot of data out there, both anecdotal and scientific that suggest that the less artificial stuff we are exposed to, the better off we might be. But short of living naked on a tropical island and growing our own organic everything, I try to do my best to make reasonable choices. So in the spirit of Halloween fun I let them eat more than they should of their hard-earned treats. Here”s a few articles I found interesting about what we”re putting in and on our bodies:

1. Important facts about Halloween candy

2. USCPSC Halloween Safety Alert has great tips like looking for flame-resistant costumes

3. How to Have A “Green” Halloween offers up some ideas for keeping it clean including a list of products that are eco-friendly like face paint and treat bags: www.greenhalloween.org

4. When the weather starts to cool down, most families tend to eat more soup. This article about a company”s refusal to remove BPA from their can linings has me consider making my own.

5. This article about breakfast as the new family dinner really hit home. My kids are so young my husband and I don”t particularly want to eat dinner as early as they need to. Looks like we aren”t the only ones.

-Robin Saks Frankel, An Episencial Mom

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Episencial News Round Up

I’m Robin Saks Frankel and I’m an Episencial mom. I have two toddler boys-2 and 3.5 and they are always in motion. Both my kids are notorious early risers, which by default means I am too. And when one of them gets sick, it’s a dreaded house of cards where we each fall prey to whatever is going around. The end result being a sleepless mom who also has to juggle a sick family and handle her own recuperation. Ah, the good times that go along with cold and flu season. If there were a magic shield I could build or a miracle elixir to ward off the cooties you can bet your Echinacea I would do it.

I, personally, am a firm believer in getting the flu shot both for myself and for my family. But that shot alone still doesn’t mean we aren’t going to catch one of the bugs that go around every year and pretty much grind me and my family to a halt as we take turns feeling lousy.

Quite honestly, I’m sick of being sick every year. And my heart breaks for my kids when they have even the sniffles because they are too young to take any cold medicine and get at least some temporary relief.

So instead of just crossing my fingers and hoping for the best this year, I took a look at what parenting experts have to say about building up my family’s natural immunity to help keep the cooties away in the first place. Here are my top favorite articles:

  1. Dr. Alan Greene recommends keeping it clean. In this article (http://www.drgreene.com/qa/preventing-colds-flus-and-infections) he talks about the right way to minimize germs in your home.
  2. Eat your Vitamin C in fruit and veggies form to help keep the doctor away says Dr. Sears. http://www.askdrsears.com/topics/family-nutrition/foods-boost-immunity/8-foods-boost-immunity
  3. Several of these 11 tips to prevent colds and flu in kids (http://www.webmd.com/cold-and-flu/cold-guide/11-tips-prevent-cold-flu) are easy to incorporate into your family (especially eating more yogurt and having your kids get plenty of exercise)
  4. And when the sick hits the fam, this Mayo Clinic (http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/cold-remedies/ID00036) article debunking what does and doesn’t work was also helpful.

Have any news and remedies from the heart and home that you'd like to share? I'd love to hear about it. Let me know here: www.Facebook.com/Episencial.

Robin Saks Frankel

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An Episencial Mom

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"Ask Alex" – Eczema & Skin Immunity

Our trusted customer service expert, answers your questions about eczema!

As an Episencial mom, and an advocate for Episencial products, I receive hundreds of calls and emails each week from other moms who share their skin care challenges with me.

The dry winter season is upon us and with it is a rise in the number of inquiries about dry skin, eczema, and how to treat it.

A lot of moms have told me that they’ve tried topical ointments and creams, even corticosteroids, without much success.  Plus, they don’t feel very good about putting this stuff on their babies and small children.  The problem is, once you start having outbreaks of eczema, it will most likely be a recurring problem. The best advice I can give is to take steps to prevent it in the first place.  I advise using a gentle skin care regimen. Stay away from any products that contain fragrances or preservatives.

Our mantra is Cleanse. Nourish. Defend. With it, I find a lot of families find all natural management of eczema is both possible and successful.

It’s important to note that key environmental challenges can cause or exacerbate skin irritations like eczema. Some of these challenges include UV damage from the sun, chlorinated city water, and air pollution. Episencial products help defuse skin problems caused or worsened by common and unavoidable environmental stressors like air pollution.  Episencial leverages the science of skin immune boosters like flax and primrose oils to help regulate cell function. 

Our trusted customer service expert, answers your questions about eczema!

As an Episencial mom, and an advocate for Episencial products, I receive hundreds of calls and emails each week from other moms who share their skin care challenges with me.

The dry winter season is upon us and with it is a rise in the number of inquiries about dry skin, eczema, and how to treat it.

A lot of moms have told me that they’ve tried topical ointments and creams, even corticosteroids, without much success.  Plus, they don’t feel very good about putting this stuff on their babies and small children.  The problem is, once you start having outbreaks of eczema, it will most likely be a recurring problem. The best advice I can give is to take steps to prevent it in the first place.  I advise using a gentle skin care regimen. Stay away from any products that contain fragrances or preservatives.

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Our mantra is Cleanse. Nourish. Defend. With it, I find a lot of families find all natural management of eczema is both possible and successful.

It’s important to note that key environmental challenges can cause or exacerbate skin irritations like eczema. Some of these challenges include UV damage from the sun, chlorinated city water, and air pollution. Episencial products help defuse skin problems caused or worsened by common and unavoidable environmental stressors like air pollution.  Episencial leverages the science of skin immune boosters like flax and primrose oils to help regulate cell function.

Tip: Have you tried de-chlorinator for bathing and drinking water? This could greatly reduce chances for eczema flare ups.

 What we suggest?

1. Use gentle cleansers like our mild non irritating Playful Foaming  Wash.

2. Replenish moisture with Soothing Cream – a water based moisturizer made with aloe vera base, neem oil and probiotics.

3. Lock moisture in by following Soothing Cream with Better Body Butter, which is an oil base – made with olive oil, Shea and cocoa butters.

People have called me from all across the country to let me know that the Soothing Cream is like magic!  I hear over and over again how nothing ever really seemed to help their condition, but they’ve seen fast and terrific results using the Soothing Cream!

TIP: I have had some moms let me know that the Soothing Cream can cause stinging.  This can happen if the skin has open wounds.  I would advise applying the Nurturing Balm liberally until the wounds begin to heal.  As soon as the open wounds have healed, the Soothing Cream should be applied to the eczema patches to further heal and balance skin. Using the Soothing Cream as part of your child’s everyday skin care routine can help to eliminate future breakouts.

TIP: A change in diet might is very helpful as well.  Staying away from foods that are processed and contain preservatives can really help the skin to stay healthy.

Have a question or comment about how to use Episencial products? Do you have a success story to share with us? Let me know! I”m on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/Episencial.com

Alex Wilson
An Episencial Mom
Episencial, Inc.

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Skin Immunity: Your Baby's Immune System Depends on Healthy Skin

Last week, vaccinations were, again, a hot topic. Whether you are pro or con, the thing I love about the fact that this is in the news again is that it draws our attention to immunity in general and it promotes education about it. Even more interesting is that a growing number of parents are educating themselves about immunization and taking immunity into their own hands. We love this for a number of reasons, the main reason being that we have the tools to research and wonderful resources to draw from.

As a mom, I, too, am bombarded with information overload about what is or isn’t important and necessary to maintain my children’s health. I think what moms may often overlook is the fact that what goes on the body (topically) is just as important as what goes IN the body (ingested or administered).  Think about this…you feed and nourish your kids’ bodies every day with food and nutrition, but the fact is most of us also use a daily product on our children’s skin – that’s an opportunity to nourish and protect the body, as well.

Skin is more than our protective cover, it is vital to our health.  Our immune system relies upon healthy skin to function at the most basic level. Understanding skin’s role in good health is how Episencial skin care makes an actively healthy difference for you, your family and our planet.

The skin is part of the body’s immune system, responsible for three specific functions.

1. Barrier Immunity – the skin is a permeable barrier.  It is designed to keep out and move out stuff the body does need, like dirt, germs, bacteria and waste. Barrier.

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2. Antimicrobial Immunity - the skin has natural antimicrobial and antibacterial properties that can defend against germs and bacteria on its surface. Defense.

3. Assistive Immunity – the skin helps the body identify, recognize and remember germs and bacteria for the rest of the body to be able to initiate a well-targeted immune response for both the first and future encounters. Protection.

When developing skin is dehydrated, under-nourished, cracked, irritated or disrupted, the whole body’s immunity can be compromised.

What we suggest? Use Episencial’s 3-step Professional Skin Care System to safely care for developing skin.

Who else uses it? Episencial’s award winning products are used in hospital NICUs to safely cleanse newborn skin– helping to support skin immunity.

What do you think? We really love to hear what you think about Episencial and how you make them a part of your family’s healthy lifestyle. Let us know if you would like to try a sample and start making a difference in your family’s skincare health. Have something to say? Let me know at www.Facebook.com/Episencial.

Kim Walls
CEO
Episencial, Inc.

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Safe Sun Care Tips

Welcome to the new Episencial Blog! Watch this space for safe skincare updates and please subscribe to our feed.

SUMMER SUNSCREEN TIPS FOR PARENTS

The FDA has announced new guidelines for sunscreen effectiveness and labeling.  In light of this news, our CEO and chief product formulator Kim Walls offers parents tips for this summer to ensure you have the latest information on sun care:

1.      Learn how to read the label on any sunscreen product.  Opt for chemical-free products that offer full spectrum protection, protecting against both the UVA and UVB rays.  The FDA really focused on this point and is strongly recommending broad-spectrum products – those that screen both UVA and UVB sunrays.

2.      The best Sun Protection Factor (SPF) level for your child depends on what you will be doing.  Chose a sunscreen with a minimum SPF of 35, which will protect more than 95 percent of the harmful wavelength of UV rays – just right for playing at the beach, park or in the backyard.

3.      A natural mineral (aka physical) block is, by far, the safest sunscreen option.  Zinc sits on the skin’s surface to reflect sunrays away from the body like a mirror, as opposed to chemical ingredients, which are designed to be absorbed into the skin and can have potentially unintended and harmful consequences for children’s skin and body.

4.      In addition to preventing sun damage, it’s also important to combat the negative effects of increased exposure to pollution in the ocean and air and also by the sheer heat on the skin’s surface.  Products that contain aloe help cool the skin.  Ingredients like green tea extract offset skin problems and help prevent lasting damage from sun exposure.

5.      The skin’s ability to perform essential immune functions can be compromised by the damaging dryness resulting from exposure to chlorine from pools and typical city water supplies.  Sunscreens that are all natural (such as ours) and fortified with ingredients such as Vitamin C, organic oils such as avocado, beeswax, Shea butter offset chlorine, maintain skin hydration and create a water-resistant barrier to reduce absorption of pollutants through the skin to support overall health.

Download these tips here and please feel free to post and share with your friends and community!

Have a question about sunscreen or skin care?  Ask Kim on Facebook at www.facebook.com/episencial!

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The Hardest Job In The World

In a recent email to supporters. President Obama recently called motherhood “the hardest job in the world.”  That’s definitely not an understatement. As a mom of two young boys, I have moments of pure joy in parenting them but I also have moments of exhaustion, frustration or a combination of both. Being a mom is hard work and we’ve all felt the pressure at one time or another. These are some of the most talked about stories about moms and the emotional tolls of the job on the Web this past week.

1. One mom’s experience with post-partum anxiety after two miscarriages and then a successful birth. Read more at TheNewYorkTimes.

2. One mother’s struggle to reconcile the joy of parenthood with the mundane tasks of daily parenting in the home. Read more at Babble.

3. A Gallup poll says stay at home moms overall are not as happy as working moms. Read more at TheNewYorkTimes.

4. Mother of four Mary Kennedy killed herself last week, leaving many wondering about her children and their grieving process. Read more at ABCNews.

5. One mom chooses to celebrate the “in the zone” moments when she feels like she’s got the whole mothering thing down pat. Read more at Babble.

Robin Saks Frankel

An Episencial Mom

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