Wednesday, February 3, 2010


I've talked about my kiddos sensitivity to chemicals before at my other blog, Ramblings of a Happy Homemaker .  It's not just his lungs (asthma) that we have to watch out for - his skin is also extremely sensitive.  The doctor told us to never allow him to take bubble baths (Can you imagine how awful that would be for a toddler?) and we had to use specific soaps.  Given his propensity for cleaning things, we've had to really work on shedding the chemicals in our house, as well as put a limit on what and when he could clean.

Winter naturally leaves skin drier, as I'm sure you've experienced.  A little while back Isaac used some lotion to combat his dry hands. 

Now, this is what we're up against.  Can you actually see the line where the milky white arm meets the lobster red hand?  We are having an awful time getting this cleared up.  Not only are his hands red - they're completely leathery.  And they tend to crack and bleed.  It's really not good.

Obviously, more lotion is not going to do the trick since it exacerbated the problem to begin with.  For a while now we've been making him lube up with olive oil.  But, I'm still not getting the results I'm looking for.  We haven't used antibacterial soap in this house for a long time now.  But, I'm beginning to wonder if the chemicals in our regular old liquid hand soap are still too much for his sensitive skin.

So, I've decided to do an experiment.  I kicked out the liquid hand soap and replace it with a bar of natural (no chemicals) soap.

This bar just so happens to be Kirk's Castile Soap.  But, I'm not going to be fussy about it - just so long as it isn't chemical-laden, I don't really care.  And, yes, I realize that the soap isn't in a proper soap dish and that it is really too big for that container.  But, this is an exercise in the art of using-what-you-have and the latter will take care of itself with use. :0)

The next thing I did was to empty the old hand soap dispenser and fill it with grapeseed oil.  Isaac's instructions are to lube up after the wash up.

This ought to make it easier for his 9 year old boy brain to remember.

If you're wondering why grapeseed oil - check out this little bit of info lifted straight from Wikipedia.

Grape seed oil is a preferred cosmetic ingredient for damaged and stressed tissues, possessing regenerative and restructuring qualities which allow for strong control of skin moisturization. It can help skin retain the normal structure of epithelium cells and nerve cells via supporting the cell membranes. It is noted to be especially effective for repair of the skin around the eyes. Used as an all-over skin moisturizer, grape seed oil is known to reduce the look of stretch marks. A light, thin oil, grape seed oil leaves a glossy film over the skin when used as a carrier oil for essential oils in aromatherapy. It contains more linoleic acid than many other carrier oils. Grape seed oil is also usable as a lubricant for face shaving. In addition, grape seed oil applied to the feet each morning clears up many foot problems such as itching, scaly flaking and odor.

There is so much more information out there regarding the virtues of grapeseed oil that I couldn't even begin to scratch the surface.  Take for instance the facts that it is supposed to lower cholesterol and lubricate joints when used in cooking.  Just google it if you're interested in finding out more about it.  But, for our purposes as a topical application - I'm finding that I like it better than olive oil as a moisturizer at the moment due to the fact that it is lighter and seems to penetrate the skin more readily.  The cost is comparable to olive oil.

We've only been using this system for about a day and a half now.  But, the color of Isaac's hands has changed from 3rd degree sunburn to 2nd degree sunburn already, I think.  So, I'm really hoping that this experiment in avoiding all chemicals and adding good moisture rich nutrients to his skin will finally be the steps to getting his hands back to normal.  But, I really like the system set up at our bathroom sink already.  It's definitely helping my hands.  They have a tendancy to crack and bleed this time of year with the dry air and 50 gazillion hand-washings a day.  So, I'll think we'll definitely be keeping it.  I'll keep you updated with our results. 

Happy Homemaking!


Kari said...

Poor guy!

My son has OCD and washes his hands far far more often than is healthy.

I think we need to try out the grapeseed oil as well.

Thanks for the tip!

Jessie said...

So I am really curious how this is going. My daughter had an allergic reaction to hand sanitizer a week or so before Christmas. It has taken so long to get her hands back to fairly normal, but they still bother her at times. Where can I find the grapeseed oil?

Robert said...

Of all the soaps you could've picked to illustrate this, Kirk's (or any all-coconut soap) has to be the worst! Coconut soap is the most defatting and irritating of the common soaps around; most commercial soaps use no more than about 50% coconut, many much less than that. Anyway, it's been years, so you've probably found out by now.

Pam said...

Robert -

That was the only bar of Kirk's that I've ever used. I bought it because that was the only natural soap the store in my small town had. I've since learned to make soap and we exclusively use that. Regular soaps still break my son's hands out when we travel, so I bring ours with us. The grapeseed oil is still great, but now I use it as a base in salves I make.