Caring for Your Child’s Multi-Ethnic Hair

Posted by Susan Brown on April 10, 2018 0 Comments

If your little toddler or child ever asks you why styling their curls is so much work, the answer should always be, “because multi-ethnic hair is beautiful!” Curls do take a little more work, but that bounce and volume is all worth it. The key to stylish locks for babies and children with curly hair is to keep it simple, use gentle products, embrace a chemical-free lifestyle, and moisturize, moisturize, moisturize.

 Shampooing Less Frequently

Dryness is the main reason why curls might bunch up and tangle, and one reason it can exist is because of frequent washing. Some moms of multi-ethnic babes swear that shampooing once a week is more than enough, with conditioner or even spraying warm water onto hair being more than enough on other days.

 Not all babies, toddlers or little kids are alike; older children may really be into sport and may sweat considerably, thus necessitating a good shampoo more than once a week. If so, use gentle products such as Susan Brown’s Baby’s Foaming Shampoo & Wash, which is free of phthalates, sodium laurel sulfate, and  parabens, and is tear-free and ph-balanced. It is surprising to note that many commercial brands still contain harmful ingredients such as sulfates, which have been linked to everything from skin irritation to cancer.

 Adding Moisture to Your Routine

When bathing your child or helping them shower, apply shampoo or conditioner gently onto wet hair, massaging into the scalp and ever-so-gently tugging at knotted areas to smooth out. Always start at the end of the hair, working your way up slowly towards the scalp. Rub the hair gently between your thumb, pointer and middle finger, to loosen up any tangles you find. This process is vital because afterwards, it will be much easier to comb hair.

 Add a few drops of oil (argan, coconut or jojoba are deeply moisturizing) and massage on to your child’s locks as well. This will lend hair a beautiful shine and will lead to more defined curls.

 Combing Hair Out

An important strategy for styling multi-ethnic hair is to use as wide-toothed a comb as possible, to ensure less tangling; the comb cannot be too wide, however, since children tend to have less volume than adults.

You will find that with the added moisture, combing will be a breeze. You can add a touch of detangling spray if necessary, or a tiny bit more natural oil for extra shine.

In the summer, let hair air dry and in the winter, consider performing this routine at night, or gently dry with a hair diffuser, which distributes heat evenly through the head. When hair is almost dry, ask your child to bend forward. Move the diffuser in a down-to-up motion, to shape curls and add a bit of bounce.

Once you comb out your child’s hair, you can also skip the drying and ponytail hair back or style into a plait; styling when hair is wet is the easiest way to do so, since there will be zero tangles at this stage

Styling multi-ethnic hair is easy whenever moisture takes center stage. As your child grows up, feel free to experiment with multi-ethnicity brands that have a wealth of products aimed at particular types of hair (e.g. kinky hair will need more moisture, while wavy hair will benefit from curl defining products). With a little practice and plenty of variety in the styles you choose, your children will undoubtedly love their curls and the many styles they can sport.

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Battling Bed Bugs for Your Baby

Posted by Kayla Tryon on November 09, 2017 0 Comments

Battling Bed Bugs for Your Baby

 

            “Sleep tight; don’t let the bed bugs bite.” A phrase commonly expressed to children at bedtime with little to no thought behind its traditional meaning, until recently. Bed bugs, those tiny, nasty, creepy-crawlies with a full course dinner menu comprised of warm blood. That’s right, you’re actually on a dinner menu, but you’re not alone. Your little ones are also in jeopardy. So what exactly are bed bugs and why does it feel like they came out of nowhere with a vengeance? Are they life-threatening? How can you treat yourself after contact and how are you even supposed to get rid of them? The questions are endless, but take a deep breath; relax, and let’s look a little into what these creatures are and how you can protect yourself and your loved ones.

Brief History

            For almost 40 years, bed bugs had almost disappeared completely. In the early 20th century bed bugs were exceedingly common until the introduction of highly potent insecticides. Bed bugs were such a huge problem that people routinely checked for them and actually resorted to constantly carrying around these potent insecticides wherever they traveled. From the mid-1950’s to the late 1990’s bed bugs vanished to the point where people could no longer identify them. A new generation of pest control professionals wasn’t quite equipped to fight them off. The potent insecticide once used so frequently and effectively enough to almost wipe them out, was banned worldwide in 2001. Thus the prevalence of bed bugs ensued.

What Are Bed Bugs?

            Cimex lectularius, also known as bed bugs, are blood-feeding parasites that prefer and thrive in warm, dry places. Their typical meal is usually humans, but any warm-blooded mammal will do. The good news is that bed bugs do not pose a threat on your life. They are distressing, yes, but NOT dangerous. Their bites are usually painless and do not spread any blood-borne diseases. However, you must be attentive of your children and animals for they are more prone to vigorously scratching at the bites and this, in turn, may cause skin infections. Approximately 1/3rd of people bitten do not even notice the bites. This can easily cause further infestation. The people that do experience reactions develop what looks like raised welts and can cause serious allergic reactions in some people. Resolution usually takes two weeks and can leave behind post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, or darker spots on the skin.

            Bed bugs have five stages of development which typically take 40 days when well fed, however, this process may be extended if food source is limited. The egg, which looks like a grain of rice, begins the process of their life cycle. The first stage nymph measures 1.5 mm and is usually difficult to see until their first feeding. The second stage nymph measures 2 mm. The third stage nymph measures 2.5 mm, the fourth stage nymph measures 3mm, and the fifth stage nymph measures 4.5 mm. Adult bed bugs are about the size of apple seeds. Females lay between one and five eggs each day and can lay up to 500 eggs in its lifetime. The eggs usually hatch within two weeks. Newly hatched nymphs can survive weeks without feeding. Adult bed bugs can live four-six months, although some may live up to a year without feeding under cool conditions. They have an oblong shell and a tiny head. If not fed recently, they are long and brown with a flat and oval shaped body. If fed recently, they swell up like a balloon, appear reddish-brown, and have a more elongated body. They are considered a “true bug” due to their beak with three segments, an antenna with four parts, wings that are not used for flying, and short, golden-colored hairs. They are skittish and don’t like movement but they can also crawl pretty fast when they need to. They usually come out at dawn to feed but can adapt to your very own sleeping schedule. The way they feed is by latching on to its host for a few minutes and then scurrying back their hiding places to digest. More time is spent digesting than actual feeding, nevertheless, since they tend to infest so rapidly, it may feel like you’re getting new bites every morning.

Rising Number of Bed Bugs in the U.S. and Recent Reports of Findings

            Arizona, the home state of the company, Susan Brown’s Baby, has just recently experienced public outbreaks of bed bugs. The first being at AMC Westgate 20 after a photo went viral claiming that bed bugs were in the theatre and clearly displaying infestations in the cracks and crevices of the theatre’s seats. Another person afterwards confirmed this. The auditorium was cleared and reopened after being treated by a pest control company.

            The most recent public sighting of bed bugs occurred at Phoenix Sky Harbor in Terminal 4. There, near the food courts, bed bugs were spotted on a padded bench. The benches were removed and a pest control company was called. They agreed to follow up to confirm that the areas at Sky Harbor were clear.

            Nonetheless, a long-time employee whose name was not disclosed reports that the bed bug problem has been an ongoing issue for a long while now. He also claimed seeing and moving multiple pieces of furniture so infested you could see the bugs moving on it. In fact, he’s helped move so much furniture that people are noticing and concluding that it must be due to a bed bug issue. He doesn’t think they have what it takes to dispose of the bed bugs completely. Not a fun thought for those of you who travel so often, so beware.

How They Spread and Signs of Bed Bugs in Your Home

            Bed bugs are considered hitchhikers. Anywhere you travel they can simply crawl onto your clothes, and your personal belongings. You do not need to have a dirty home to contract bed bugs since their sole meal is blood and not filth.

            They love to hide in seams, headboards, bed frames, dressers, behind wallpaper, mattresses, cracks and crevices, and anywhere they can fit their small bodies so make sure to check these areas thoroughly. Also check before bringing home second-hand furniture.

            Signs of infestation include: fecal spots, shed skin, egg shells, blood stains and dark spots on sheets and pillowcases, and an offensive, musty odor from their scent glands. Also, the new bites you wake up with in the morning are a pretty significant sign.

            If you think you have come in contact with bed bugs make sure you put your clothes directly in the washer, followed by the dryer for at least 30 minutes. This part is very important as bed bugs cannot stand high heat. Make sure to vacuum often, buy a light colored mattress protector and springs to easily spot bed bugs, and install door sweeps to keep them from traveling into other rooms.

 

Tune in for next week’s blog for extermination and treatment of bed bugs! Also, don’t miss out on your opportunity for an exclusive 20% off discount code for Susan Brown’s Baby Botanical Gelèe!

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Can medications make you more sensitive to the sun?

Posted by Susan Brown on August 29, 2017 0 Comments

This summer's must-reads aren't romances or thrillers; they're the warning labels and package inserts for your drugs and supplements. As Consumer Reports on Health warned in a recent article, “[s]ome widely used medications can make you far more sensitive to summer’s sunlight and heat than you’d usually be.”

That sensitivity can mean anything from a reduced ability to sweat to an increase in the amount of fluid you lose through your urine. So it’s important to revisit whatever safety info you have, and to check in with your doctor, who can let you know about potential risks during the brightest, warmest time of year.

Here are some of the better-known substances that may allow summer's sun and heat to hit you harder:

Antibiotics

 

“Antibiotics can cause photosensitivity and phototoxic reactions, meaning that they’re going to worsen your sunburn,” Rech says. “The one that comes to mind right away is Bactrim, or sulfamethoxozole trimethoprim.” Bactrim is prescribed to treat everything from bronchitis to bladder infections. “That’s a big offender, and so are tetracyclines and fluoroqinolones.” That said, you should never, ever skip an antibiotic for the sake of sunbathing, warns Rech. Your doctor can help you juggle your plans and your meds. 

Allergy medications

 

Some users find that oral antihistamines like diphenydramine (found in products like Benadryl and Dramamine) reduce their ability to sweat. In extreme cases, as the Consumer Reports medical advisory board noted, the overheating that can result leads to cramps, exhaustion, and even heat stroke. If you find that your allergy meds make it difficult for you to cool down, plan outdoor activities for the morning and evening, and try to spend the hottest hours of the day indoors.

Antidepressants

 

Tricyclic antidepressants may cause problems in hot weather because they "prevent the area in your brain that regulates heat response from knowing you’re overheating,” Rech explains. “They can also decrease sweating, which leads to a decrease in heat loss.”

When you’re taking a drug that increases the likelihood of overheating, stay alert for warning signssuch as headaches, lightheadedness, nausea, and weakness. If you experience any of those symptoms, get out of the sun and reach for water or a sports drink with sodium (which will help your body retain fluid until balance is restored). In the event of a severe reaction such as confusion, fever, or fainting, contact your doctor or call 911.

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)

 

“The main non-steroidals that cause phototoxicity are probably not ones that we commonly use," Rech says. But still, caution should be used, especially if you're on other medications. "Any time you’re taking a non-steroidal and going out in the sun I would recommend barrier protection with sunscreen and avoidance if possible, because any of the non-steroidals can worsen [phototoxicity],” Rech explains.

Vitamins and herbs

 

“A lot of over-the-counter herbal medications [can have phototoxic effects]—for example, St. John’s Wort is a big inducer of photosensitivity, and that medication in particular has a number of drug interactions. Anyone [interested in taking it] should ask their doctor or pharmacist first,” says Rech. Another pill that might put you at risk: Niacin, a form of Vitamin B3 that’s used to treat high cholesterol. It can cause skin reactions, Rech says, "so it could potentially cause [sun sensitivity].”


Topical medications

 

Significant sun exposure can amplify the effect of transdermal patches (such as Fentanyl, a powerful pain reliever, or Clonidine, which lowers blood pressure) that deliver medication directly through the skin. When you get a sunburn, the blood vessels in the surface of your skin dilate, explains Rech, and that can lead to increased absorption of your meds. So if you’re wearing a patch, it's a good idea to consider long sleeves.

Source: http://www.health.com/family/heat-sun-sensitivity-medication

 

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Should I use natural cleaning products while pregnant?

Posted by Susan Brown on August 23, 2017 0 Comments

There are some household cleansers that pregnant women should avoid. Check the labels and avoid products that say they're toxic, since they may contain risky solvents. For example, oven cleaners and window cleaners often contain glycol ethers, which have been known to increase a woman's risk of miscarriage, and most mildew removers contain phenols, which may increase risk of birth defects or fetal death. Plus, most cleansers contain strong-smelling chemicals like ammonia or chlorine, which won't hurt your baby but may make you queasy.

Whether you’re trying to minimize your carbon footprint or are concerned about the effect harsh chemicals may have on your family’s health, switching to natural bathroom cleansers is a great choice. Although there are tons of “green” bathroom products available in stores, in most cases it’s cheaper and more effective to make them on your own. And, chances are, your kitchen cupboard is already stocked with many of the ingredients. From cleansers made with grapefruits and lemons to vinegar and baking soda, here are some of our favorite natural and homemade bathroom cleansers. Check out this link for more information how to clean your house naturally...

http://www.modernbathroom.com/blog/post/2015/10/27/how-to-clean-your-bathroom-naturally

 

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Keeping Baby Toys Clean Without Chemicals

Posted by Susan Brown on June 01, 2017 0 Comments

So, you've made it through the newborn stage - congrats, now the fun can really begin!  Once your baby gets to three to four months old, they'll start to be able to interact more with you and the world around them, which is a great time to introduce some bright, colorful (and possibly noisy!) baby toys. 

When you first get them out of the box they're lovely and clean, but what happens when they've been dropped on the floor a few times? Or been licked by the dog?  Babies often explore new things by putting them in their mouths, so you definitely want to make sure that they are cleaned regularly. But by the same token you also don't want them trying to eat something that you've just covered in a chemical cleaner! Some of the ill effects of using modern cleaning products can be poisoning, allergies, eczema, eye damage and other health effects. 

 

This article gives some great tips on the best ways to keep baby toys clean and how regularly to do so. 

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