Archive for January 2017

Hiking the Superstitions

I spent some formative years in Arizona going to college at NAU and became quite attached to the desert and the canyons. I don’t get back there often so when I heard the 2017 United States Lavender Conference would be held in Phoenix I was elated! The conference was a great time to reconnect with lavender friends I’ve made over the years, gain some knowledge and share some knowledge. But hiking was another highlight of the trip.

Peralta Trail Head Superstitions

I was backpacking in the Superstition Mountains east of Phoenix years ago and wanted to revisit those mountains; an easy drive from Phoenix. Finding maps and hikes online proved difficult. Since we got into Phoenix (an easy flight from Denver) in the afternoon and had plenty of time to do something, we drove east towards Apache Junction. There we  saw signs to the Lost Dutchman’s State Park (not a park when I had last been there) up highway 88. We had just enough time to hike Treasure Loop at the base of the Flatirons. The views of the desert stretching out were spectacular and I had a hard time grasping how green it was due to recent rains.

After two days sitting at the Conference I was ready to get out and explore some more. This time we went to Peralta Trail which is out highway 60 just past the little town of Gold Canyon. Peralta Road is a dirt road that heads into the Superstition mountains. There were places along that road with many cars so there must be other attractions there including people camping off the road. When we got there the parking lot was full and we had to park further away in the overflow parking.

But the trail, oh the trail, what views there were.  So many different types of cacti, and such dense growth. Saguaros so incredibly tall. The trail was quite steep and we were climbing almost all the time.

Peralta TrailI learned that the tall pillar rocks that surrounded the canyon are called hoodoos. The trail goes 2.5 miles to Freemont saddle where there is an overview of Weaver’s Needle. We hiked a little around the saddle on Cave Trail before going back down. Enjoy the pictures here.

Hoodoos

Weavers Needle

I ran out of water on the way down. Something I should have known better about having hiked in Arizona before. I also wished I’d taken more sturdy hiking boots with me with ankle support rather than my low tops. I was at least glad to have my lip balm and Knuckle Balm with me. None the less, it was great to be back in the desert canyons hiking! We might plan more winter trips to Arizona for hiking in the future. Do you have a favorite place you travel to to hike?

Should I use Coconut Oil on my Face?

Using coconut Oil on the face seems to be a ‘fad’ right now. We often get customers and clients who ask about its use. I do not recommend that people use just coconut oil on their face for several reasons.

coconuts

Coconut oil consists of triglycerides that are mainly composed of short and medium chain fatty acids such as lauric acid. Lauric acid has 12 carbons. There is nothing innately wrong with lauric acid and it has benefits for the skin, but your skin needs so much more than JUST lauric acid.

An important part of the skin barrier function is the matrix of lipids (including fatty acids) found in the stratum corneum (outer layer of the epidermis).  The skin barrier functions to protect the skin from water loss, and to protect the body from the outer environment.   Linoleic acid, an 18 carbon fatty acid found in olive oil, grapeseed oil, sunflower oil and rice bran oil is an important component of the skin barrier system and has been found to help relieve dry skin. Palmitoleic acid found in macadamia nut oil has 16 carbons. It too plays an important part in the integrity of skin. A variety of longer chain fatty acids that are not found in coconut oil are crucial for the the integrity of the skin.

Coconut oil does not provide moisture to the skin as some people think.  Moisture means water. An oil alone, such as coconut, can help trap water in the skin but it cannot add water or moisture to the skin. Only water can do that. A good moisturizer is the perfect combination of water to hydrate and oil to help moisture stay in the skin – but you need both.

Coconut oil has fewer sterols and phenolics that act as antioxidants, compared to other oils such as sunflower and rice bran oil.

Coconut oil also has a lower level of vitamin e (tocopherols) compared to other oils.

Coconut oil is considered comodegenic. This means that it clogs pores and makes it particularly harmful for acneic skin but can cause any skin type to become congested.

Just as we are encouraged by nutritionists to eat a wide variety of foods for proper nutrition and functioning of our body in whole, it is just as important to give a variety of nutrients to our skin. This can be done by using a product that contains a variety of different plant based oils as well as added nutrients.

We of course recommend Springtide Face cream with rice bran oil, olive oil, raspberry seed oil and meadowfoam oils. Or if you prefer an all oil product, try Parsley Eye Serum with olive oil, sea buckthorn oil and Macadamia nut oil. This way you are getting a variety of fatty acids, as well as added antioxidants delivered to your skin.