Our Top Tips for Relieving Dry, Itchy Skin (and Products That Can Help)

Itchy, Itchy, Scratch-Scratch!

Sometimes we have itchy skin. Itchy skin is uncomfortable. You rub and scratch the area to get relief. Sometimes, this just makes the skin even itchier. The more you itch, the more you scratch. Itch. Scratch. Itch. Scratch…you need to find relief.

A woman constantly scratching.
Why does scratching make itching worse?

Why you need relief? Because not only does scratching repeatedly cause areas to bleed and become infected; having this problem can affect your quality of life, keep you from sleeping, make it difficult to concentrate. It can even affect your self-esteem.

Causes. There can be various causes for your itchy skin: dry skin, eczema, psoriasis, or other itchy skin condition, allergic reaction,  nerve problem, skin cancer, pregnancy, etc. With more serious conditions, a treatment can be found once the condition is identified. Although, many people can manage and bring themselves relief with self-care measures.

Dry Skin. Dry skin is a common issue that can affect anyone. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, dry skin can be caused by: https://www.aad.org/public/diseases/dry-sweaty-skin/dry-skin#causes

  • Age. The older we get, the thinner and drier our skin gets.
  • Climate: Living in a dry climate.
  • Skin disease: such as atopic dermatitis (also called eczema) and psoriasis
  • Job: Nurses, hair stylists, and people in occupations that immerse their skin in water throughout the day.
  • Swimming: pools that have high levels of chlorine in them, which can dry the skin

Dry skin can flake, itch, crack and even bleed. To help heal, relieve, and prevent this skin foe, my staff and I have compiled some of our favorite tips that have worked for us when our skin gets dry:

Tip #1: Make a Change. As seasons change, so should our skincare routine (as we learned in Green Gold’s March post: https://www.greengoldhairandbody.com/2019/03/16/how-to-easily-transition-your-hair-and-skin-routine-from-winter-to-spring/) Dry air can make fine lines and wrinkles more noticeable and can be the cause of dry skin.

Tip #2: The Bath.

Shower head.
Go Warm.
  • Use warm, not extremely hot water.
  • Take shorter showers: 10-15 minutes
  • Close the bathroom door. This keeps the moisture in there with you.
  • Gently pat your skin to dry, afterwards.

Tip #3: Soap and Cleansers.

Aloe Calendula Soap
Aloe Calendula soap: https://www.greengoldhairandbody.com/product/the-aloe-bar-aloe-calendula/
  • Use mild, fragrance-free cleansers or a soap substitute.
  • Don’t use too much soap, cleansers.

Tip #4: Moisturizers.

Mango Oil:https://www.greengoldhairandbody.com/product/coco-mango-oil-8oz/
  • Use products that have natural oils like olive and jojoba.
  • Shea butter works well.
  • Use lots of moisturizer immediately after drying your skin. This traps in the moisture.
  • Use moisturizer after every hand wash and throughout the day.
  • Stop using products with alcohol, like hand sanitizers.
  • Use gentle, unscented skin care products.

Tip #5: Air. Use a humidifier to add moisture to the air.

Hybrid Ultrasonic Humidifier and Diffuser

Our skin always feels better after following these steps, but if you do not see changes or relief with self-care; you may have a skin condition that may require a prescription ointment. A physician, specifically a dermatologist, can examine your skin and let you know if you have a condition and give you some treatment options.

Which tip do you like? Do you have a tip to add? Please leave your comment below.

Next blog topic…

For more tips, hacks, and advice about hair and body, check back at the end of November, where Nneka will be talking about how she is… Vegan…ish?!

Nneka Otim, Owner
Nneka Otim, Owner

Hair Coloring Tips to Keep You Looking Hot This Summer…and Beyond

Hair coloring tips to make you look hot this summer
Hair coloring tips to make you look hot this summer

What you need to know about the hair coloring process before you think about doing it yourself.

Please raise your hand if you’ve ever colored or dyed your own hair.

Please raise your hand if you’ve ever had your hair colored or dyed by a professional.

Please raise your hand if you’re interested in hair coloring tips to keep you “looking hot” this summer.

Raised hands
Raise your hands if…

Why do we want color? 

  • Change. There is a change in season or a major change in our life, so we want a change.
  • We don’t feel that our natural hair color fits our personality, so we change it.
  • We use hair color to express ourselves, like clothing or accessories.
  • Some of us just feel that it “looks cool.” It’s just something we feel like doing.
Leaves changing color
Leaves changing color…
The Hair Color Purple
The Hair Color Purple

The Power of the “Right” Color…

The right color can, “transform and enhance a woman’s beauty by complementing her complexion and adding depth and shine to her hair,” states professional stylist, Nneka Otim.

Nneka with blonde tips
Nneka with blonde tips

It can enliven your skin tone, cover grays, add sparkle to your eyes.

In fall, people tend to go for dark, rich tones. During the warm months, people tend to favor the blonde family of colors. Most recently, “unnatural” colors like pink, purple, and green are all the rave. However, all color are not created equally.

Two-toned hair color
Two-toned hair color

Color: At-Home or Professional?

Reasons to color your hair at home:

  • It’s cheaper.
  • The technology has come a long way, so why not?
At-home hair color on drugstore shelf.
At-home hair color on drugstore shelf.

Reasons to get your hair colored by a professional:

  • They are licensed to do this. They passed a state exam to do this.
  • They know the meaning of words like, porosity, density, and elasticity. The meaning of these words play a role in the end result of your hair color.
  • They can get you the color you want or advise on the best colors to complement your underlying skin tone pigment.
  • They factor in things like, medication, hair condition, amount of gray, previous hair color, hormones.
  • You cannot see the back of your head. They can, so they can apply the color optimally.
  • They can save you money and time by giving you your desired look and you not having to pay extra or spend extra time for corrective color service and they can keep you from damaging your hair by trying to correct the color, yourself.
  • If you want to change your present hair color to some other color, there is a process. “Lifting” may need to be involved in order to get a desired result. They are trained to do this properly.
  • They use professional grade hair color that are top of the line, natural, and gentle to your hair.
All-over blonde color

Results and Personal Experience

These topics were thoroughly researched. As you can see, there were more overwhelming reasons to use a professional than to DIY. 

And, I can also speak from personal experience. I have always liked color. At one point, I thought it was too expensive and followed a friend’s lead and started using a box color. I over processed my hair and am still paying the price for it, today. It just is not worth it. Save for the professional service, if you must.

Now, I get color twice a year by a professional.  And guess what? The model on the box in the store or online most likely had her color “done” by a professional.

If you are still on the fence, don’t just take it from me and my research…

…seeing a professional will make this process much easier. They will look at your hair and make suggestions on what would be best for you, taking into consideration your hair type, texture, and condition. If you want to obtain shiny, vibrant hair color with a high gloss finish, you must start with a healthy cuticle layer. A healthy, conditioned head of hair is the key to maintaining long lasting color. ~Nneka Otim, Professional Cosmetologist

Nneka Otim
Nneka Otim, Founder of Green Gold Hair and Body Boutique

Done right, your hair color, can be your hottest accessory this summer.

Hot accessories for summer: hair color and shades
Hot accessories for summer: hair color and shades

Nneka makes her own products that aid in damaged cuticle repair to prepare your scalp and hair for color. Check out her boutique: https://www.greengoldhairandbody.com/

Nneka with Vegan-ish t-shirt

Confessions of a Vegan-ish…

 

The Cause. Nneka became a vegan about 15 years ago when she was having consistent stomach issues after eating. Initially, she did not know what was going on with her system. She visited a holistic doctor who told her that her body did not break down food compounds optimally. her poor digestion was caused by low levels of digestive enzymes.

The Effect. Digestive enzymes are created naturally in the body and her body just was not producing enough to properly break down the food she was eating; like dairy products, meat, and fried foods. Also, her body was not getting the energy and nutrients from the foods she was eating because the digestion process was incomplete.

Doctor’s Recommendation. Her doctor recommended that she change her diet to a “raw” diet. Nneka remembers, “I did not know what that was at the time. I was like, “raw what?” The doctor stated that this enzyme deficiency had been going on for years and unless she changed her diet her digestive distress would continue to worsen.

Digestive Enzymes

 

 

No meat-Introduction. Nneka was not keen on being on a raw diet, so the doctor suggested that she at least aim to remove meat from her diet. Because meat is not only the hardest to digest; undigested proteins can lead to a host of additional health problems. “That was hard for me at the time,” says Nneka, “because I loved meat, all types of meat– cow, goat, pig, you name it, I probably ate it. This “no meat” idea was farfetched to me.”

My way. Instead of removing meat, Nneka decided to eat meat prepared more healthily. She would bake her meat instead of giving it up entirely. Surely, this would be better than her regular take-out which consisted primarily of fried foods and cheesesteaks.

No meat-Acceptance. After a time, Nneka realized that after she stopped eating the “bad stuff,” she did not like it. I thought, “if I cannot have it fried or the way I want it, I don’t want it.” Nneka then started attending community meetings at local health food stores and started meeting hardcore vegans and vegetarians. “They educated me on everything. I would go with them to the supermarket. They showed me how to make tofu, how to make my vegetables tasty, with different seasonings. It was like I was in school with them because that was the world, they lived in.”

Going Vegan

Three to six months after that clinic visit, Nneka had transitioned fully to veganism. She cooked, was a regular at the farmer’s market, and she did a lot of meal prepping. She had to work to get her meals prepared because Baltimore did not have readily available vegan options at the time. “I packed food, always had nuts in my bag; I had to be proactive about it.”

 

 

 

 

The Happy Los Angeles Vegan. During Nneka’s three years of living in LA, she was spoiled by the vast vegan and health-conscious culture. There was a vegan smoothie spot on every corner, she recalls. “I did not have to always pack my lunch. There was always a vegan option. I, again, became dependent on eating out–vegan style. I did not cook a lot. I put aside the skills I learned when I was a ‘fresh’ vegan in Baltimore.”

Livin Veganish

The Vegan-ish Peach. Then Nneka moved to Atlanta from LA. She was working and going to school. Because of time constraints, she became dependent on outside dining sources. Atlanta, like Baltimore, did not have many vegan options, so staying vegan became less of a priority for her. “I was not so strict about veganism. I was still majority vegan and I did the best that I could when I could.”

What is Vegan-ish. “Vegan-ish means that I eat mostly plant-based foods, about 80% of the time. The other 20% consists of cheese, seafood, and donuts, she laughs. The point is not to stress or judge yourself harshly about it.”

Why It’s Okay to be Vegan-ish. I don’t want people to feel like being busy should be an excuse for them to abandon their vegan lifestyle. The goal is to not put too much pressure on yourself. That’s how I have been able to maintain my vegan lifestyle for the most part. I still eat mostly vegan, but I feel like if I would have stressed myself out about it, I may have completely abandoned it.

Vegan Restaurant Options. Nneka finds food fun and interesting and she loves to share information with those who are interested in a vegan/vegetarian lifestyle. Those of you who are beginning vegans/vegetarian or are like her, Vegan-ish; below, is a list of some of Nneka’s favorite vegan/vegetarian restaurants in metro Atlanta, Georgia: Vegan food presentation

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bon Appetit! (Restaurants are listed in alphabetical, not ranking order).

Avocado Vegan Café & Juice Bar

Avocado Vegan Cafe and Juice Bar

Avocado Vegan Café & Juice Bar

http://www.avocadovegancafe.com/

Specialty: Caribbean Vegan Cuisine

Location: Alpharetta, GA

Faves: Avocado Sandwich

“This is a great place to dine. It is vibrant, peaceful, and the food is delicious.”

 

Dulce Vegan Bakery & Café

Dulce Vegan Bakery and Cafe

https://www.dulcevegan.com/

Specialty: Vegan cakes, cupcakes, and cookies

Location: Kirkwood

Faves: Lemon pound cake and Scones

“My absolute favorite is the cinnamon buns. They are huge. I love them.”

 

Healthful Essence

Healthful Essence Restaurant

https://healthfullessence.com/menu-2/

Specialty: Vegan/Vegetarian Caribbean

Location: West End

Faves: Curried un-goat; Un-fish Cakes-comes with a special homemade sauce; Collard Greens

“This restaurant is a must-try for those who enjoy Caribbean food.”

 

Lov’n It Live

Lovn It Live Restaurant

https://www.lovingitlive.com/menu_art/LovingItLiveMenu.pdf

Specialty: Raw, organic, vegan food

Location: East Point

Faves: Stuffed avocado

“Nothing is cooked here. You must experience this restaurant, at least once. Amazing backstory.”

 

Plant Based Pizzeria

Plant Based Pizzeria

https://www.plantbasedpizzeria.net/our-menu

Specialty: Vegan pizza

Location: Atlanta

Faves:  Hawaiian and Vegan Meat Lovers Pizza

“I am a pizza connoisseur. I guarantee that you will love this pizza. (They also offer amazing burgers).”

Note: There is only one size and they only have carry-out.

 

Slutty Vegan

Slutty Vegan

https://sluttyveganatl.com/our-menu/

Specialty: Vegan Burgers

Location: West End

Faves: Sloppy Toppy

“The burgers are delicious, and I like the vibe. I enjoy seeing everyone standing in line.”

 

Tassili’s Raw Reality Café

Raw Reality Restaurant

https://www.tassilisrawreality.com/menu/

Specialty: Raw vegan cuisine

Location: West End, Atlanta, GA

Faves: Punany Wrap, Spicy Kale Wrap

 “I would go to festivals just because Tassili’s would be there. The food is consistently delicious, served with a nice amount of fresh, raw vegetables.”

 

Remember to try new things, try new foods, try new flavors. If you want to cook your own vegan meals, there are thousands of vegan recipes available to you:

Crispy-Buffalo-Cauliflower-Bites

Crispy Buffalo Cauliflower Bites

 

Do you have a favorite vegan restaurant or questions about the vegan/vegetarian/vegan-ish lifestyle? Please leave them in the comments, below…

Nneka with Vegan-ish t-shirt

Nneka with Vegan-ish t-shirt

Next blog topic: the biggest misconceptions/myths about the haircare industry