Author Archive | Tim Werth

Natural Home Remedies for 3 Common Skin Blemishes

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Sometimes, maintaining healthy skin can seem impossible. If you have acne, that bacteria-fighting scrub from the drugstore might dry out your skin, causing itchy and painful redness. If your skin is too dry, a store-bought moisturizer might make your skin appear greasy. Finding the perfect product may never happen.

Luckily, there are natural ways to boost your skin’s appearance. Below, we’ve listed some great at-home remedies that can combat common skin blemishes without hurting your skin’s health. As a bonus, these natural methods can be cheaper than serums and soaps produced commercially, so you won’t waste big bucks if they don’t work for your unique skin.

Here are just a few fuss-free natural remedies for common skin ailments and blemishes:

Fighting Acne Naturally

Acne is incredibly common. In fact, 85% of people have experienced acne in some form throughout their life. However, just because acne is common doesn’t mean you want to have it. Pimples are painful, and deep forms like cystic acne can leave scars.

There are many types of acne that all have different causes and symptoms. However, natural skin hygiene habits can combat most forms of this condition. Try this homemade honey-based face wash from Dr. Axe to combat acne-forming bacteria:

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon melted coconut oil
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 20 small droplets of melaleuca essential oil
  • 2 capsules of live probiotics

Leave this mixture on affected areas for two minutes, then wash away with water. Repeat once daily to kill bacteria and reduced inflammation associated with acne!

Reducing the Appearance of Scars at Home

Like acne, scars come in all shapes, sizes, and forms. Though we commonly think of scars as long-healed cuts, scars can also come from burns, surgeries, or tissue that was completely removed.

Scars on the face can be particularly troublesome. Even though in 2016 91% of children were vaccinated against measles, mumps, and rubella, many older adults have facial scars left from these types of childhood illnesses. Scars anywhere on the body can appear darker or lighter than the surrounding skin, and keloid scars form bumps.

Scars are signs that your body has done the work of healing an earlier injury. As such, scars don’t need treatment themselves for you to be in good health. Scars are also unlikely to disappear completely. However, if you’d like to minimize the appearance of a scar, you can try the following natural method:

Aloe Moisturizing

Try taking a leaf of an aloe plant and peeling away the dark outer skin. Then, scoop out and apply the light green/clear gel directly to the scar area. Let the gel rest for half an hour, then rinse with cool water. Repeat twice daily.

Natural Cellulite Treatments

It’s been estimated that 80% to 98% of women have cellulite somewhere on their body. Even though it is common, many women and men alike would prefer their cellulite was less noticeable. Cellulite is associated with the body’s fat storage processes, so many consider diet and exercise to be the best treatment.

However, even individuals with a healthy weight can have cellulite. No matter your size, there are a variety of methods for reducing cellulite. Try eating more seaweed or soaking with seaweed in your bathwater. Seaweed is known for balancing hormones and drawing toxins out of the body. Additionally, dry brushing with a natural bristle brush can improve circulation and exfoliate old skin cells, which may reduce dimpling and improve skin’s overall appearance.

No matter what your skin looks like, all-natural methods can help you save a little money and support your overall health. Before trying expensive and artificial serums for skin conditions that may never go away (like stretch marks, scars, and wrinkles), give these natural, homemade solutions a try.

Green Gatherings: Tips For Planning A More Sustainable Thanksgiving

 

This time of year is all about gathering with loved ones and expressing gratitude. And in the U.S., gratitude is best expressed in the form of food. Thanksgiving is the embodiment of this tradition, and this time of year is full of more friends, family, and food than most people know what to do with.

Even the most well-intentioned holidays can lead to excess, and this excess likely goes against your sustainability goals. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to enjoy a Thanksgiving meal while keeping it green and eco-friendly. The following are some of the many ways to throw a sustainable Thanksgiving dinner.

Buy organic meat and produce.
Whenever possible, purchase locally-grown organic produce for your delicious Thanksgiving dishes. As for the meat, grass-fed is generally best. This may be tough if you’re committed to turkey, but there are lots of sustainable meats to choose from. Beef from grass-fed cows has higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids, as well as vitamins A and E. As for the turkey, opt for a free-range bird.

Use reusable plates and utensils.
While paper plates and plastic utensils offer convenience, these items are a significant source of waste. Instead, serve food on reusable or ceramic plates. Whoever didn’t help with the cooking can clean them. Easy, right?

Decorate with natural materials.
Store-bought Thanksgiving decorations tend to adorn the table for one day before landing in the garbage. This year, try decorating with natural materials instead. One of the best decorating tricks is to choose three colors for the event theme and then use them for all of the decor items. The oranges, browns, and greens found in nature are perfect for your entire Thanksgiving color scheme and centerpieces.

Cook outdoors.
In a recent study, the Hearth, Patio, and Barbecue Association found that 60% of grillers cook outside throughout the entire year. This can be a great way to cook more sustainability, as long as you stay away from gas-powered grills. Instead, try cooking over a fire or woodstove. Food tends to taste better when it was cooked outdoors, so your taste buds and the environment will win.

Compost any cooking scraps.
The simple act of cooking is one of the most significant sources of Thanksgiving waste. When cooking a big meal, food scraps pile up. Instead of throwing them in the garbage, compost them instead. If you don’t already compost at home, contact your local compost companies about pickup and dropoff services.

Remember to say thanks.
Gratitude does not produce any waste. Take the time this year to pull the focus off of material items and onto the act of giving thanks and cherishing the people you love.

“If distance or circumstances prevent you from spending Thanksgiving with some of the people you love, call, email, or write them a letter (on recycled paper) to tell them why they mean so much to you and how they make your world a better place,” Larry West writes in ThoughtCo.

By spreading the love to both your dear ones and the planet, you will have a wonderfully nourishing Thanksgiving Day.

What to Look For When You’re Buying an Eco-Friendly Car

Buying a new car can be stressful, but it can also be exciting. With nearly 6 million cars sold each year in the U.S., it’s clear that Americans aren’t afraid to spend a bit of money on a new ride.

But not every consumer has the same priorities when it comes to picking their automobile. Some might be impressed by horsepower, which might make a car like the Shelby Mustang GT (with an actual horsepower of almost 400) an attractive option. Others are more concerned with color or special features. Safety ratings are also an important factor for many Americans — and considering that 76,000 pedestrians were injured in U.S. traffic accidents in 2012, it isn’t just motorists who feel vehicle safety should be a consideration. For a specific subset of buyers, however, there’s arguably nothing more important than environmental responsibility.

If you’re in the market for a more sustainable vehicle, you certainly aren’t alone. Environmental friendliness is no longer considered to be a mere trend; it’s now an attribute that major carmakers are actively working towards. And while electric vehicles get a lot of the glory when it comes to reducing carbon emissions, these actually aren’t the only cars that can help you reduce your environmental impact. When shopping for an eco-friendly car, here are a few things to look for.

Engine or Transmission

Yes, having an electric car is going to be a more eco-friendly choice than relying on gasoline for fuel. But you might also consider a hybrid engine or a diesel engine, both of which are relatively green. Not only does diesel provide better fuel economy than gas, but diesel-fueled cars are meant to last. This means you can hang onto your car for a longer period, which will reduce your environmental impact overall. Pay attention to the transmission, as well. Although automatic transmission cars may be easier to drive at first, manual transmission vehicles often get better gas mileage. They may also require less maintenance, which can save you money. If you’ve never driven a stick-shift car before, it might be well worth learning how.

Color

Some people make vehicle purchases based on the color of the car — and that might not be as silly as you’d think! Light-colored cars are generally considered to be more energy efficient because they’re more reflective. This can keep your car cooler in the summer months without having to rely as much on air conditioning. Having a white car can make your car’s interior up to 10 degrees cooler on a hot day! In addition, the idea that white cars have to be washed more frequently is a bit of a myth. If you aren’t driving through huge puddles of mud on a regular basis, you may actually wash your car less frequently than with another color car.

Weight

A car that’s lightweight is going to be inherently more eco-friendly because it’ll have better gas mileage due to its aerodynamic nature. Large trucks tend not to have great fuel economy, but a car made with lighter weight metals will require less fuel to get from point A to point B. Not only will that help you reduce your impact, but it’ll also save you money at the gas station. You might also consider a car with a sportier suspension or with a more retro design (think newer station wagon over SUV) to reduce your impact even further.

Other Features

When buying a car for its eco-friendliness, don’t forget about the small details; they can end up making a big difference. Choosing a car that features LED lights or that has an impeccable air filtration system can actually improve your driving experience while saving you money and helping the environment. That said, you’ll want to skip any extras that add bulk or sharp edges to the car’s silhouette. Roof racks, for example, can take away from a car’s aerodynamic design and reduce its fuel efficiency. Be sure to maintain a balance between the features you want for convenience and those that might actually take away from the longevity of the vehicle.

There are a number of eco-friendly vehicles available on the market today — and not all of them are fully electric, either. When it comes time to replace your current vehicle, consider more than features that are marketed specifically for being green. Otherwise, you might miss out on the perfect car for your family that can also help you reduce your environmental impact.

3 Smart Ideas For Creating An Eco-Friendly Halloween Costume

It’s no secret that many people who celebrate Halloween do so by getting together with friends and getting into the spirit of the spooky season. For many of those who celebrate, creating a unique costume that showcases your individuality is the biggest appeal of the holiday altogether. But instead of heading to the nearest chain store to spend money on an overpriced costume made of cheap and wasteful materials, consider taking some extra measures to ensure sustainability while maintaining creativity makes all the difference in your costume’s environmental impact. Here are just a few ways to keep Mother Nature in mind while preparing your Halloween costume.

Skip The Synthetics
One eco-friendly rule of thumb when shopping for Halloween costumes at big box stores is to look at the labels and do your best to avoid synthetic and toxic materials.

“Halloween costumes are supposed to be fun-scary, not scary-scary. Yet, store-bought costumes are often made up of nonrecyclable petro-chemical based plastic and synthetic fibers,” writes Laura Bailey on Wilderness.org. “Those Halloween costumes can include one of the scariest plastics — polyvinyl chloride (PVC), a soft plastic and known carcinogen that releases harmful toxins in its creation and breakdown.”

Instead, look for costumes with natural materials and fabrics if you’re shopping at a big box store. Better yet, you should consider looking into small businesses that may specialize in eco-friendly products. There are currently around 27.9 million small businesses in the United States, and many shoppers may be surprised at the number of eco-friendly products both small and large businesses are now incorporating into their inventory. Don’t hesitate to take up your inquiry with a store employee, as well.

Consider A DIY Project
If you consider yourself to be the crafty type, you can easily purchase some organic or otherwise eco-friendly materials and create your own costume. Sales of organic non-food products in the U.S. were up 8.8% in 2016, meaning there are more options than ever as far as styles, colors, and materials. If you have the resources, you can make a DIY version of any costume you find in a big box store, and you may even spend less doing it!

Incorporate Recyclable Elements
Finally, whether you buy your costume from a store or make it yourself, try to incorporate some reusable or recyclable materials. About 60% of the U.S. population, or about 148 million people, have access to a plastics recycling program. Similarly, if you have any young kids who may be participating in trick or treating festivities, be conscious about the bag or container they’re using to stash their sweet treats.

“Avoid the ubiquitous bright orange plastic jack-o-lanterns that have no chance at ever breaking down in a landfill. Instead use reusable shopping bags, canvas totes or the ole pillowcase trick. A funky thriftshop handbag can add a fun twist to a green Halloween costume as well,” writes Bailey.

Ultimately, it doesn’t take much to make a few small changes toward sustainability. By keeping an eye out for reusable and organic materials, you and your family can enjoy all the traditional festivities of Halloween while doing your part to preserve the Earth’s resources.

Pest Prevention: 4 Natural Methods to Consider

With warm weather finally here, it’s time to enjoy all that summer has to offer. But one thing many homeowners don’t want to deal with during the summer is pests. Ants, cockroaches, and termites tend to make their way into homes when the weather is nice. And these pests can be more than just annoying — bugs can do a lot of damage to a home, which is why it’s important to take care of them quickly. But it’s not always ideal to use harsh chemicals in your home to rid of bugs, especially if you’re one of the 44% of U.S. homeowners who have a dog. Chemical pesticides can be harmful to the health of people and animals as well as harmful to the environment. So let’s take a look at a few natural ways to get rid of and prevent bugs that won’t be harmful to you, your family, your pets, or the planet.

Do Some Landscaping

Pest control should actually start outside of your home. If you have trees, bushes, and other plants right up next to your house, this can make it easier for pests to enter your home. With trees and bushes right next to the house, pests can simply crawl up them and make the jump to the house. So take a look at the landscaping around your house and make changes as needed — look for greenery that is close to the house especially near the roof, windows, doors, and cracks in the siding. You should also check the cracks in sidewalks next to your house, which is a common place for pests to hang out. While it’s true that having smoother pavement can extend pavement life by up to 25%, it’s also important for controlling pests. So start with some basic landscaping to make it more difficult for pests to enter your home.

Use Soaps and Oils

If you’re looking for a product to buy, you can consider insecticidal soaps and oils. These products are botanical mixtures and contain no harsh chemicals. You can spray these soaps or oils right on the pests or around your house as a preventative measure. If you’re one of the 20% of homeowners who have termites as their main pest issue, this may not be an ideal solution. Insecticidal soaps and oils may be less effective on hard-shelled pests unless used on the eggs. These soaps and oils will be effective against many pests, while not harming other bugs nearby, like ladybugs.

Grow Some Herbs

Some insects, like ants and spiders, don’t like the smell of certain herbs. So even if you don’t use herbs very often, it may prove to be beneficial to grow some herbs in your house, specifically in the kitchen. Some herbs to consider include mint, rue, tansy, and pennyroyal. Or if you don’t want to actually grow any herbs, you can also consider placing dried bunches of these herbs around your home. Placing herbs near windows, doors, and other cracks pests can sneak in could do the trick. Additionally, you can spray some mint, lavender, or other oils near these trouble spots for further prevention. Either way, having some of these herbs in your home is sure to help deter pests from entering.

Change Out Stored Items

Homeowners tend to change things in their house regularly, especially with interior designers recommending updating home decor at least every 10 years. But there are some items in a home that rarely get changed out — stored items, like towels, toiletries, cleaning supplies, and bags are perfect nesting locations for pests because they don’t get moved around often. The average home in the U.S. has 300,000 items in it. So during the warmer months, it’s crucial to check on your stored items. Make your way around the house and check those cupboards and drawers you rarely go into to move the items and wash or replace them as needed. While this may seem like a nuisance, it can go a long way in preventing pests from settling in your home.

As you can see, you don’t have to resort to harsh and harmful chemicals to keep your home pest-free this summer. These simple tips will help prevent and kill pests in your home while keeping you and your family safe — all while being better for the environment, too.