• Certified Organic Herbal Soap and GMP

    0 comments / Posted by Gabriella Calvi-Rooney

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    It has been a long while since I have written anything.  Yes I am still here but there is never enough time to gather my thoughts and write.

    We recently had our 2nd USDA inspector come and we passed with flying colors and in addition had all 14 organic herbal soaps soapUSDA certified organic.  More products will be added to the list, but for now just baby steps at a time.   Read more about the chemistry of soap making on our site and how all bars of soap can never exceed 85% certified organic content.

    Another big achievement for us is that we finished our GMP (Good Manufacturing Practice), which streamlines a lot of paper work for our USDA inspector and for the FDA if necessary.  It is not required in our industry to complete a GMP, but it is always a good thing to have in place.  It is still evolving and it will always be useful for reasons of ingredients, label changes and new products and so on.  It is similar to the USDA organic NOP (National Organic Program), but with another 5 levels to it.  It is even more detailed than any USDA organic labeling.

    GMP allows an inspector to verify every single ingredient and all equipment, labeling, bottles, cleanliness charts, batch making, you name it. If it enters the production area it is recorded and tripled recorded and guidelines are made for every particular item.  It is basically a paper trail from nuts to bolts of what is in the production room. It even includes how to wash your hands and with what soap.

    This is done in order to assure quality control, ingredient control, and every control imaginable.  It is sooo time consuming and logistically a nightmare to keep all the paperwork, so we had to devise a more streamlined approach via the computer.  Otherwise the purpose of having a smaller footprint would actually backfire if we used all that paper. But once everything is recorded and assigned numbers, and the building of specifications sheets to every single item, it doesn't change.  It isn't just the recording of ingredients it's also building lots of binders of spec sheets, quality control sheets, intake of raw material, equipment, and when it needs to be upgraded the list goes on.

    So each time a batch is made, there are dozens of steps to take even before making the product. From recording all the incoming material, to making just 1 product from the ingredients, the equipment used, the labels that go on the product, and do the labels match the batch ingredients, even down to making sure where the product is stored.

    All this requires lots of time to set up initially.  Again, this is all to assure that the quality of product is correct, the bottles are correct, how to handle the ingredients, is the environment hygienically cleaned, is the equipment used in working order, is the labeling of the products correct, quality control and more quality control and so on.  Once the product is completed batch numbers are assigned and recorded and that particular batch number will give you a laundry list of every piece of evidence that went into making just 1 particular batch down to who actually made the product and how it was stored.

    Most small companies do not go through the the process of Good Manufacturing Practice since for one thing it is not required.  The FDA does not require personal care products to have a GMP in place, but they do recommend it.  And after reading about a company closing its doors recently because what they were stating on their label and website was not what they were selling makes a lot of sense for all companies to have such a tedious procedure in place.   If they only had a GMP in place the problem could not have existed or at least avoided and all verified.

    Regardless, it is still time consuming and logistically a nightmare.  So items take longer to be produced and longer to ship out,  but all is cross referenced and ready to show our USDA inspector on a short notice.

    NOW Breath!!!

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  • A Trio of Protection...

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    Haaaaaaa.... Summers is here and yes so are all the bugs! Unfortunately, bugs can often be a nuisance and force you back inside where you are safe. Traditional DEET repellents are quite toxic but luckily there are some more natural and safe ingredients that can help keep bugs away when applied to the skin. Just Skin Food has three kinds of bug protection, that when used together help keep you safe.

    Mosquito-b-Gone, as you already know, is comprised of a number of herbal ingredients MBGlike peppermint leaf, catnip mint, neem oil, lemongrass, lemon balm and eucalyptus. These ingredients all work together to keep your skin nourished while protecting you from bites.

    But did you also know that yarrow, an herb plant that is very common and found almost everywhere in the wild, could be applied as an insect repellent? The leaves and the flowers both have powerful properties that not only repel bugs but also stop bleeding and disinfect. Yarrow also has antispasmodic qualities as well.

    We have read that at some point in olde time past the U.S. Army found yarrow to be a highly effective insect repellent. If you find yourself with lots of yarrow plants in your backyard, here is an article that details more on yarrow and provides a simple recipe in making a yarrow tincture.

    While yarrow is not an active ingredient in our repellent, it can be used in addition to our Mosquito-b-Gone Lotion Bar.

    yarrow copyJust Skin Food has Organic Yarrow Infused Oil and Organic Yarrow Essential Oil ,which can be combined together and applied to the skin to repel bugs thanks to their scent. They are also useful if you happen to get bit and need some disinfecting relief, as yarrow is known as nature’s Neosporin. All of these products and ingredients are safe to use together and only increase the bug protection level that you are looking for.

    Yarrow is an all around beneficial addition to your holistic medicine cabinet and it will ensure that you can fight off the bugs that are in your backyard all summer long.

    For more information on OG yarrow Screen Shot 2015-03-12 at 1.31.37 PM copyessential oil, OG yarrow infused oil or our Mosquito-b-Gone Lotion Bar, you can visit the Just Skin Food Website. Our Mosquito-b-Gone and organic yarrow infused oil can also be found at some of these establishments.

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  • Sun Protection 2015

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    JSF Logo WIDE copyEWG 2015 sunscreen list just came out and we made the top again. Their rating criteria has also changed to 1,2,3 and so on eliminating 0. 1 being the best, which we received. Not only did we get a 1 we were also reviewed and based on their modeling our product provides EXCELLENT UVA protection and an EXCELLENT balance of UVA protection in relation to the SPF. We use 35% of non-nano uncoated zinc oxide. They examined about 1700 sunscreens on the market and only 21 percent rated a 1 or 2 and we made that list. 80% of what is out on the market according to EWG is inferior and contain harmful chemicals. You can read more about it here…. http://www.ewg.org/2015sunscreen/report/executive-summary/

    The warmer weather has finally arrived! You want to be able to head out with your friends and family to enjoy the beauty that nature has to offer but it can be stressful to think about sun protection. A lot of these products are often made with a number of harmful chemicals or ingredients that are quickly and easily absorbed into the skin. Luckily, Just Skin Food has a number of products that provide sun protection and can be used to help keep your body and skin safe during the spring and summer months.

    Sun Protection

    Currently you will hear all about the need for sunscreen in order to protect your skin from the sun and to prevent skin cancer. Unfortunately, you can also read about studies that are suggesting sunscreen can actually be contributing to an increase in skin cancer among our population. This is likely due to the toxic ingredients contained in commercial sunscreen products that actually contain endocrine disrupting chemicals and promote free radical production in the body. Oxtinoxate, Oxybenzone and Homosalate are all common but very dangerous ingredients in a number of sun protection products on the market right now.

    Just Skin Food has a much safer but still effective form of sun protection available. With safe and skin-nourishing ingredients such as shea butter, coconut oil, cocoa butter and vitamin E, you can pair our Natural & Organic Sunscreen with common sense to stay safe. It is important to avoid the sun in the midday when it is at its strongest and also use hats and other protective clothing to keep the sun at bay when you are going to be outside for longer periods of time. Don’t forget that there are indeed benefits of sun exposure in moderate amounts you just don’t want to allow your skin to burn or become damaged from the sun. Vitamin D has many benefits in the body including:

    -Helping protect against disease, -Normal growth and development of bones and teeth -Allows for normal immune system responses

    It is easier for the body to absorb vitamin D straight from the sun rather than taking an oral supplement which is often chemically-created and hard to absorb.

    Our ingredients:

    Using an oil to protect your skin seems counterintuitive, but several oils not only provide your skin with nourishment but also a dose of UVB ray protection as well. • Coconut oil – Has an SPF of 4-6 • Shea Butter - It naturally protects and conditions the skin when it has been damaged and offers a low level of UV protection (approximately SPF 6). • We use mango butter, cocoa butter as well to nourish the skin.

    Zinc oxide - Truly a broad-spectrum blocker, protecting from UVA, UVB and even UVC rays. We only use non-nano, uncoated versions of zinc, as other types will absorb into the skin instead of providing the physical barrier on the outer layer of the skin. Our zinc-oxide is graded a 2 which means larger particles. Its grade is UPS -2 Zinc Oxide which has a mean particle size of .33 μm / 330 nm and it does not penetrate the pores.  For more information CLICK HERE for Mesh / Particle Size.

    100 nm is generally considered the upper limit for nanoparticles so our zinc oxide would NOT be considered a nanoparticle. 
Science overwhelmingly shows that particles of zinc oxide greater than 30nm, when applied to the skin, do not get absorbed into the body, do not enter the bloodstream, and are not a threat to human health.

    Zinc oxide should be at least 20% of the sunscreen formula in order to get an SPF 30, we use 35%. Adding more zinc for more protection is just common sense, it will make the sunscreen cream a bit thicker and last longer.

    One of our happy customers actually had this to say about our sunscreen:

    “Thank you for making a natural, organic sunscreen with no harmful chemicals! Since it's so nourishing, I've actually replaced my moisturizer completely and just use your sunscreen on my face. Love it!” -Jessica Moore

    After you have been in the sun you should nourish the skin with a product such as our Whipped Fluffy Vanilla Bean Cream that includes ingredients such as organic mango butter, organic, raw unrefined cocoa butter, organic, virgin, raw coconut oil, organic, herbal infused aloe leaf oil and more. We also offer Simplers Botanicals Organic Rose Hip Seed Oil which is nourishing and moisturizing thanks to rose hip seed oil, and is naturally rich in antioxidant vitamin C, retinol and essential nutrients. You can use this product to help calm redness and irritation while improving the skin’s texture.

    Simplers Organic Tamanu Oil is also beneficial to keep on hand during the summer months because of the cold pressed from the fruit kernel of a Polynesian tree known as Beauty Leaf, which is naturally high in skin-supporting nutrients that soften and moisturize dry skin, calm redness and rejuvenate aging or sun-damaged skin.

    Just Skin Food was lucky enough to be featured on Organic Authority’s website last year as one of the top twenty-one safest and natural sunscreen brands for swim and sport. This was attributed to the UVA protection and UVB/UVA balance that our organic sunscreen product provides with a low hazard EWG rating. Our production process does not include water or liquid as part of the solution, which helps keep the end result a thick and long lasting stick.

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  • Mosquito and Bug Protection

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    It is that time again for those pesky little buggers that ruin BBQ's, soccer games and any outdoor fun or event.  But did you know that using conventional bug sprays can cause lots of harm.

    Most of the conventional bug sprays that you will find in stores are made with N,N-Diethyl-m-toluamide, or DEET. While this ingredient is effective for repelling mosquitoes and other bugs, there are at least eighteen known cases of children experiencing adverse neurological effects from DEET powered bug spray, according to the EPA. It is likely that there are many other, unreported cases as well.

    All of the ingredients in Just Skin Food’s Mosquito-b-Gone lotion bar are MBGnon-toxic. Simple herbs such as organic catnip mint, organic eucalyptus, organic lemon balm and organic rosemary make up this nourishing and effective repellent product. Not only is the scent of our product lovely but it is also non-toxic and non-irritating.

    Our Just Skin Food lotion bars, are designed to coat the skin with a protective layer that will nourish and moisturize the skin as an added layer of bug protection, thanks to ingredients like organic cold pressed extra virgin olive oil infused with peppermint, catnip mint, eucalyptus, lavender, lemongrass, lemon balm, rosemary, shea butter, neem oil, and a special blend of essential oils.

    Neem oil is also used for protection against ticks and it is par excellence to any deterrent to any sort of bugs. Your pets will also be protected if you use neem oil straight up  on their coats.

    We have had many happy customers over the years who have been thrilled, here is just one of them:

    “I visited Green Street Market and found a beautiful display of salves.

    After reading about them all, I purchased several. One for my brother’s back pain, (Joint Relief Salve) the other for a friend’s psoriasis, (Psoriasis and Eczema Salve) the other for my husband’s splinters (Ouchy Grouchy) and one more for my fun summer night concerts with the mosquito (mosquito B- gone).

    Each of these products did what is said it would do, and everyone was impressed! We are still using them today and will continue as needed.

    -Christine Meehan

    If you happen to forget your mosquito protection at home you can keep Just Skin Food’s Ouchy Grouchy Salve on hand. This product is an excellent first aid that brings relief to any skin inflammation and helps with all kinds of stings to stop itching and irritation. Many of our Organic Essential Oils can also be used as a repellent such as our Lemongrass oil and Geranium Rose oil, don't forget you must use a carrier oil with essential oils, never put essential oils directly on skin.  Essential Oils must be diluted with water in a spray bottle or in a carrier skin oil.

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  • Grab a cup of Coffee...

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    While you probably grab a cup on your way out the door each morning, coffee is actually an herb, its botanical name, Coffea arabica, is simply unroasted coffee beans, which can be used for medicinal properties in addition to its ability to perk you up in the morning.

    Coffee is consumed at a quantity of more than 500 billion cups per year and over 75 million people make their livelihood off of this business. A big reason why you do not hear much about coffee as an herb is that it is so widely used in our society already. Most herbalist opt to not recommend something that is already being utilized by about 50% of our population, especially since it can cause some side effects when consumed such as raising heart rate, blood pressure, etc.

    Homeopaths DO utilize the coffee plant.  The remedy is called coffea cruda and it coffea crudaactually helps with insomnia. Often used as a homeopathic remedy for tinnitus, headaches, toothaches, teething, insomnia, restlessness, racing thoughts, labor pains and menopause, the beans help calm the nervous system. When restlessness or insomnia are caused by too much coffee consumption, however, the remedy does not perform as a sleep aid.  It is more for persistent thoughts not allowing to fall asleep.

    The Coffee Plant

    Legend has it that over 1,000 years ago, a goat herder was surprised to find that his animals were acting a bit disorderly after consuming the berries and leaves of a small bush. This herder tried the plan himself and found he felt full of energy and was thinking more clearly. This is how coffee actually came to be as a beverage as experimentation was done with the plant to find the best method for making a drink out of it. Eventually the Arabs learned how to roast the coffee beans to make a delectable treat.

    In the 1800’s Penny Universities were created where men could pay one cent at the door and when they entered they could drink coffee as well as discuss political observations and debates. Coffee houses evolved as time went on and even into the 1960’s these gathering locations were key in bringing about cultural change by way of discussions. We now get our coffee from many areas of the world such as Columbia, Brazil, Ethiopia and Mexico.

    Topical Application

    There are many free radicals in our environment that stem from pollution and they can wreak havoc on our skin. Coffee is used in many face and body products because it is very rich in antioxidants which helps preserve the skin and protect it from these free radicals as well as UV rays. You will notice that coffee can make the skin look much brighter and smoother when used topically on a regular basis thanks to the increased blood circulation that occurs. Coffee can stimulate cell growth, repair tissue, decrease inflammation and help the skin retain its moisture which results in an increased amount of collagen.

    In Combination

    You will often see coffee coupled with some other ingredients when it comes to topical products. One of those ingredients is honey which has great antibacterial and antioxidant properties. It also moisturizes and soothes the skin. A spice that is often used topically is cinnamon thanks to its ability to bring blood to the surface of the skin which aids in healing.

    Just Skin Food has a few different coffee based products that work with some of the ScrubBanner copyother key ingredients such as honey and cinnamon to create a healthy glow by way of clear skin. Our coffee scrubs include actual coffee grounds that are fresh and not used keeping their actual healing properties and not only gently exfoliate the skin but also moisturizes. You can visit www.justskinfood.com to view all of our products including our coffee-based scrubs. All of the products offered by Just Skin Food include USDA Certified Organic ingredients including Harry and Bean's fair trade organic espresso coffee.

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