Milk and Honey Breastmilk Soap (with variation)

The Gypsy Bayou Milk and Honey Breast Milk Soap photo 20150208_222401-picsay_zps9372luqz.jpg

I love making soap. One of my personal favorites is Milk and Honey Breastmilk soap. My son had severe Eczema and having a good quality soap for him to use has always been priority.

While I believe in using the best quality oils that you can afford, I understand that ordering premium oils from online retailers isn’t an option for everyone, so I have included a recipe that calls for oils that can easily be found in any grocery store. The soap quality wont be the same as it would be if you were using premium oils, but it still by far a better quality product than any soap you will find at Walmart/Target Retailers.

List of Soap Making Supplies You Will Need to have before you start.

*Always use a scale to measure your ingredients. Soap making should only be done when you have available time where your children will not be inthe direct area where you are working.

Milk and Honey Breastmilk Soap
(Premium Oils-Do not alter the Type of Oils or the Quantity of each oil without using a Soap Calculator)

8oz Avocado Oil
12oz Coconut Oil
12oz Olive Oil
18oz Cocoa Butter
3oz Bees Wax

7.25oz Lye Crystals (Sodium Hydroxide)
17.5oz Frozen Breastmilk

3 Tablespoons Raw Honey *Optional (You can omit the Honey and use Essential Oils such as Lavender or Orange Essential Oils)

Bubble Wrap (Honey Comb) *Optional

Soap Mold *Mine is 15 inches Long, 3.75 inches Wide and 2.5 inches Tall/Height, made out of wood boards from Home Depot or Lowes. Photo Below (my molds do not have bottoms, so they are not moved with soap inside of them.

Always add your Lye Crystals to the Liquid, never the other way around. (I remember this by thinking of a clogged drain, you add your drain cleaner to the water clog.) Please Note: Lye Crystals is not the same as Drano or any other Drain Cleaners you will find in a hardware store. You will almost always have to order your Lye and have it shipped to you.

Melt your hard Oils (Coconut and Cocoa Butter) and your Bees Wax. A Double Boiler is recommended. Add your liquid oils to your hard oils and allow your oil to cool to 110°. I always do this part first when I am working with any Milks.

Fill your kitchen sink with cold water.

Add your frozen, pre-measured Breastmilk to your clean pot. Add your measured Sodium Hydroxide (Lye Crystals) to the frozen breastmilk and continue to stir. The mixture will get hot (like 190°) and will release a puff of steam that you wont want to inhale (it will make you cough) but will dissipate quickly. You can submerge the bottom off your pot in the cold water to help bring down the temperature of the mixture, you don’t want to scorch the breastmilk. Be sure water from the sink isn’t able to get into the pot. Continue to stir until all of the Lye  Granules have dissolved. You may see small bits of a substance that looks like grease that has been wiped out of a wet pan with a sponge, this is okay. It is the fat in the breastmilk reacting with the Sodium Hydroxide. Continue to watch your mixtures temperature while stirring. You will want your Milk/Lye mixture has come down to 105°. Your heated oils in your other pot should be around 105° also by this point.
Once your Oils and your Milk Mixture is within 5° of each other (and both are between 105-110°) you will pour your oil mixture into your Milk mixture and you will stir until it turns into a uniformed soup-like like consistentcy (this is called ‘Thin Trace’). Once you have reached this point, you will add your honey and mix it until all of the honey has been completely incorporated. You will then stir until your mixture turns into a texture similar to a soft set pudding (Medium Trace), and then you will pour your soap into your lined mold.
If you have chosen to make the honeycomb design, you will take your bubble wrap and press the bubble side into the top of your soap mold and be sure the bubbles have become complete submerged and that you can see the soap mix in between each little bubble. Any popped bubble wrap buttles will look damaged when the bubble wrap is removed (so keep your bubble wrap away from kids, I have made a few batches of honey soap that had a row of popped bubbles all the way down the length of the soap and it was cosmeticly distracting but didn’t harm the overall effect). Leave your soap to rest for 48 hours before removing it from the mold. Once you have unmolded your soap you can peel the bubble wrap off and cut your soap.

This recipe will make 73.5oz of solid soap. You will need something suitable to pour your soap into. My soap mold is a homemade wooden rectangle. I line my mold with freezer paper (smooth side inward). Your soap will need to be cut (I use a Mitre Box, which is also handmade since soap slices uneven, similar to a block of cheese. Once your soap has been cut, it will need to cure for approximately 6 weeks to harden and cure. This recipe makes approximately 15 standards sized bars of soap.

My Mold and My Mold Lined with Freezer Paper.
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Breastmilk and Honey Soap
(Using Store Bought Oils)

18oz Vegetable Shortening (not animal fat or Lard)
20oz Coconut Oil
12oz Olive Oil

3 Tablespoons Honey

16.5 oz Breastmilk
7.6 oz Lye (Sodium Hydroxide)

Follow instructions for preparation above. If you want to choose a different oil other than Vegetable Shortening, you can substitute another oil, BUT it is important to always use a Lye Calculator (Link Above).

Chemical Free Potpourri / Air Freshener

I love a house that smells good. When I was a kid, we had this Eucalyptus Tree in the yard and I would collect leaves from it and throw them in a pot of water to simmer and freshen up the house. Not much has changed except that I have broader horizons now.

In the not so distance past I’ve learned that many, if not most air fresheners contain a level of toxic ingredients. I’ve come to the conclusion that my house will either be stinky or smell good naturally because we don’t need to add any additional toxins to our already toxin exposed lifestyle.

Source of information regarding Dangers of Air Fresheners

Since it is Christmas time, I’ve got an open dish of Orange Peels, Dried Orange Slices, Cinnamon Sticks, Rosemary Leaves, Clove Spears, Star Anise, Eucalyptus Leaves, Cinnamon Scented Pine Cones and Pine Leaves. And it smells FANTASTIC!

I peel oranges and rip the peels into smaller pieces so that when they naturally dry out, they will fit inside of a small jar, around the base of a candle or in a muslin/mesh bag. While the items are fresh, I leave them in an open air container (otherwise sealing them in a jar will cause mold to grow before the peels have a chance to dry out).  Once they are dried out and loose most of their aroma, I will stir in some Essential Oils with the dried goods to freshen it back up.

During the Christmas Holiday Season, my favorite mix of oils is Orange Oil, Clove Oil and Cinnamon Oil, but you could do whatever you like most.

The best part is that it contains no synthetic or harmful ingredients.

Air Freshener Toxicity – PDF

Toxins found in Air Freshener and the Associated Dangers – Via Natural News

dōTERRA is an excellent source for Essential Oils.

Children and Eczema

Over the last few year, I think I’ve heard it all when it comes to curing Eczema. Typically the most outlandish and even harmful remarks tend to come from those who lack any level of indepth insight ranging from what the  condition they are looking at actually is all the way up to how to Cure/Treat it.

When I say I have heard it all,  I mean I have heard it all. Its always Ringworm and when its not Ringworm, its Shingles. If this makes no sense to you, follow a few Eczema/Skin Irritation posts around the web and it will all come together and make perfect sense.

There are several forms of Eczema. Some being mild and fairly easy to treat, while other forms of Eczema can be severe and be a constant uphill battle to treat.

Its been 3+ years since Eczema disrupted my life. My son was affected at a year and a half old. He was misdiagnosed with Ringworm (collection of Ringworm Photos)when he infact had a form of Eczema called Nummular Discoid Eczema which is a form of Eczema not commonly found in children and most typically effects the senior population. Misdiagnosing Nummular Eczema as Ringworm is quite common since most people are not aware that many skin conditions can often resemble another condition. We had some reservations about the Ringworm diagnosis since a majority of the classic characteristics were not present. When it was discovered we were infact dealing with Nummular Eczema, I dove into Eczema research head first with the goal of learning everything I could to help improve my sons skin.

Unfortunately, my son wasn’t one of the cases that was easy to treat. We explored every possible cause and attempted every possible treatment to get his skin under control including medications. During this process we learned a lot and made it a  mission to heal my son. 

What is Eczema
Eczema is a term for a group of medical conditions that cause the skin to become inflamed or irritated.

Eczema affects about 10% to 20% of infants and about 3% of adults and children in the U.S. Most infants who develop the condition outgrow it by their tenth birthday, while some people continue to have symptoms on and off throughout life. With proper treatment, the conditions often can be controlled.

No matter which part of the skin is affected, Eczema is almost always itchy. Sometimes the itching will start before the rash appears, but when it does, the rash most commonly appears on the face, back of the knees, wrists, hands, or feet. It may also affect other areas as well.

Affected areas usually appear very dry, thickened, or scaly. In fair-skinned people, these areas may initially appear reddish and then turn brown. Among darker-skinned people, eczema can affect pigmentation, making the affected area lighter or darker.

The exact cause of Eczema is unknown, but it’s thought to be linked to an overactive response by the body’s immune system to an irritant. It is this response that causes the symptoms of Eczema. In addition, Eczema is commonly found in families with a history of other allergies or Asthma.

Some people may have “flare-ups” of the itchy rash in response to certain substances or conditions. For some, coming into contact with rough or coarse materials may cause the skin to become itchy. Some people are sensitive to exposure to certain household products like soap or detergent, coming into contact with animal dander or even an insect bite  may cause an outbreak. Upper respiratory infections or colds may also be triggers. Stress may cause the condition to worsen for some individuals. Although there is no cure, most people can effectively manage their condition with effort. The condition is not contagious and can’t be spread from person to person, however secondary infection is always possible.

There seems to be some debate concerning whether Eczema is caused by Food Allergies or not. While many experts discount the possibility of allergies as being a possible cause and others argue that Eczema is a response to an allergen.  I would urge families who suffer from Eczema to explore this as a possibility. While I am confident that my sons Eczema is related to environmental factors unrelated to food, I do believe certain foods do further agitate his already inflamed condition.

Free Printable Food Journal – Great way to chart food consumption and help determine if your Eczema is connected to anything particular.

Bath Regimen
This bath regimen and moisturizing plan has been the single most productive tool in combatting Eczema that we have encountered.

10-15 Minute (warm, not hot) Bath. In cool weather, its often helpful to warm the bathroom with a small space heater (away from the water) or heat lamp. Don’t scrub your skin. Pat dry.

Why your skin is still wet, apply your prescription medication then apply your moisturizers over top of that.

Bath Regimen Bath Additives
     Emollient Oil Bath – An Emollient Oil added to warm bath water can be very soothing to skin. However, it does make the inside of the tub (and possibly the floor once you get out) very slippery. Oil will leave a slick film in your bathtub and can pose a slipping risk for other users of the tub/shower if it is not cleaned after each use.

Suggested Oils:
Olive Oil
Coconut Oil
Scenting these oils is only recommended by using a high quality Essential Oil, preferably Lavender Essential Oils.

Bleach Bath – I have to admit, this is one we have not tried and concerns me a bit due to Dioxin Factors involved with bleaching. Soak for about 10 to 15 minutes and rinse off. Use 2 – 3 times a week. Bleach baths decrease the bacteria on the skin and decrease bacterial skin infections. Use ½ cup household bleach for a full bathtub, ¼ cup for a half bath. Id highly recommend keeping this bath water off your hair.

Vinegar Bath – Add one cup to one pint of vinegar to the bath. Can be used as a wet dressing as it also kills bacteria.

Oatmeal Bath – An Oatmeal bath can be soothing. Oatmeal added to a bath or made into a paste can be used to relieve the itching. However, it can be a bit messy. There are a few ways to help reduce the mess. Grind Oatmeal into a fine powder and add it to a large tea bag. In a pinch, oatmeal can be added to an old sock and placed in the bathtub.

Salt Bath –  This is another bath treatment we have not put to use. When there is a significant flare the bath water may sting or be uncomfortable. Add one cup of table salt to the bath water to decrease this side effect.

Baking Soda Bath – Baking soda added to a bath or made into a paste can be used to relieve the itching. If you have a high Baking Soda content in your bath water, you will probably want to avail getting it in your hair. As many “No-Poo’ers” know, excessive amounts of Baking Soda is difficult to remove and can make your hair feel brittle like straw (but wont damage your hair).

Chemical Free Soap
     Often you will see many Eczema sources tell you not to use soap. But what are they really saying? Let me break it down. That bar of Dial, Coast or Leaver isn’t actually soap. Neither is Dove, Oil of Olay or Body Washes. And these are the “Soaps” they are telling you to steer clear of. These products all fall into a category loophole embraced by the FDA

FDA and Soap: The Loophole

The FDA on Soap

What is REAL Soap

If you are using a good quality, chemical free, preservative free, purfume free soap free from unnatural coloring there is nothing to fear.

Our Soap – This is what we use. A few of our personal favorites are Honey Chamomile, Pomegranate Carrot Soap and Coconut Milk and Honey Soap. All of which are chemical free fragrance free and contain 100% Natural Coloring and Natural Skin Humectant.

But chances are, you will not find a bar of soap in most stores that will meet these standards. Investing in a Quality Made Soap with a PH level between 4-5.5 (which is the range of PH Levels of skin) isn’t nearly as expensive as people tend to think it is for several reasons. You are eliminating highly toxic chemicals that are known to be toxic and even carcinogenic and replacing it with ingredients geared to helping improve your skin will give you the benefits you are looking for.

Will soap cure Eczema?
     No. There is no such thing as a soap that cures Eczema. Be wary of anyone who bolsters this claim. Soap is a cleaner. It is not a moisturizer. Good soap does contain moisturizers. Soap made from saponified oils is geared towards cleaning skin.

Chemical Free Moisturizer
Chances are, if you see a commercial for it or find a coupon for it in your Sunday paper…I’m going to tell you not to put it on your skin. I can’t tell you how many times I see “Just put some Aveeno Baby on it” or “so and so makes an Eczema lotion now” and it makes me cringe. First of all, people who are dealing with severe or continuous forms of Eczema are not going to be “Cured” by Aveeno, Luberderm or any other chemical laden lotion especially if its a water and mineral oil based goop.

Ingredients in Aveeno Baby Naturally Aveeno isn’t going to come forward and write on their bottles that these ingredients may have untold health risks. Would you spend your hard earned money on a product that states it contains dangerous ingredients?
Lets break down a handfull of these ingredients.

Paraben :
     They are becoming increasingly controversial, however, because they have been found in breast cancer tumors (an average of 20 nanograms/g of tissue). Parabens have also displayed the ability to slightly mimic estrogen (a hormone known to play a role in the development of breast cancer). No effective direct links between parabens and cancer have been established, however. Another concern is that the estrogen-mimicking aspect of parabens may be a factor in the increasing prevalence of early puberty in girls.

Octyl Salicylate : Is also listed as a Pesticide – take a minute to read over the toxicology of this chemical and what they actual know about how this chemical effects humans and the environment. It was quite enlightening just how much is truly published about it. There is literally zero information about this chemical.

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS)

Dangerous Health Implications from Sodium Lauryl Sulfate which can include Hormone Imbalances, Decreased Fertility, Eye Irritation and Eye Deformities in Children (“tests show permanent eye damage in young animals from skin contact in non-eye areas”.), Protein Denaturing, Carcinogenic Effects.

What is Protein Denaturing – SLS exerts its effects on proteins by forming a chemical bridge between the fat-soluble and water-soluble parts of the protein moecule. This disrupts the hydrophobic forces needed to maintain the protein structure and the molecule collapses, rendering it useless. This effect is usually irriversible.

In the skin, this process can be so severe, that skin layers may separate and inflame due to its (SLS’s) protein denaturing properties.

What Are Good Moisturizing Options?
Organic Coconut Oil – Its easy to find, faily affordable. A little goes a long way. You can cook with it. It wont poison your dog if they ate it, or your child for that matter.

Raw, Organic Shea Butter
Raw Organic Cocoa Butter – Both of these are nut based (which can be an allergen for those sensitive to nuts) but both have fantastic moisturizing benefits. If you purchase food grade butter, you can also cook with it. And again, it wont poison your child. Cocoa Butter does have a nice Chocolaty Natural Scent. However, these can not be purchased at standard big box stores like Target or Walmart. You will need to order this product and have it shipped to you. No, Palmer’s Cocoa Butter isn’t even a comparable product. So save yourself that headache.

Side note: Shea Butter is a softer butter than Cocoa Butter. Cocoa Butter is most easily applied if its been softened with subtle heat to make it pliable as where Shea Butter has a lower melting point and can be warmed in your hands.

Always apply your moisturizer in the direction that your hair grows to avoid causing any additional skin irritation. Avoid brisk rubbing while applying moisturizer since this friction can cause your skin to become itchy and irritated ultimately causing further agitatation.

Why you want to avoid Topical Steriods and Cortisone Creams

Steriod Atrophy – The potential for the condition exists whenever topical corticosteroids are used, even with low potency preparations. Skin atrophy, along with other undesirable side effects such as telangectasia and striae, can appear within 2 to 3 days of starting daily application, the greatest potential occurring when the application is occluded or when the preparation is applied to fragile skin.

Steriod Atrophy Photo
Steriod Atrophy Photo 2

Reuters on why Skin Creams are bad for Eczema

Study: Lotion Preservatives Hurt People with Eczema

Fast Food impact on Eczema and Asthma

Probiotic Use in Pregnancy believed to Reduce Occurance of Eczema in Child

As with any medical advice, you should contact your licensed health care provider and discuss your medical needs with him/her before making any changes that may have an impact on your specific health condition or your overall health. I am not a physician and this information not been provided to you to serve as medical advice.