Friday, February 23, 2018

What Happened To The Anti-Aging Skin Series?

Are you ready for the continuation of the Anti-Aging Skin Series?  I know, the delay has been quite long.  Over the winter break, I was thinking about the change which I had proposed at the end of last year.  The new series (or continuation) of the old is going to focus on (for the time being) products off of a friends website --

The reason being (as I explained in the last post) was to include more information about the formulation in the blog post from the actual formulator/manufacturer.   In this case, the formulator is a great friend -- Mandy -- as you will see.  Additionally, another reason for the change is to uncover more information about the ingredient profile along with the benefits of ingredients infused into the product.  At the same time, this will allow the reader (you) to comment and ask questions which I can relay to the formulator about a given product.  The dialogue or channels of communication can be further opened regarding skin care products.

With the start of a new year, life can be busy coordinating responses and questions between two people who are busy.  Be patient with us.  The first product I will be showcasing is shown below:


The product is a facial moisturizer called "You Can Dew It".  Take a look at the product description before you read the next blog post.  Formulate your own opinion and questions regarding the product.  See if the next blog post answers the questions/assumptions/opinions that you have formed.

Additionally, in the mean time, if you would like to access previous posts in the "Anti-Aging Skin Series" feel free to click here to access an index page.

Are you ready?  I know that you are.  As soon as I incorporate Mandy's comments into my blog post which is partially done, you will see the next blog post.  Stay tuned and have a wonderful weekend.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Winter Garden Progress

As a teacher, I'm always optimistic at the start of the semester! It seems appropriate to start a batch of seeds and watch tangible growth as the academic year progresses. The image below shows the layout of my seed starting trays, filled with seed-starting soil. I don't know if it is actually critical to have this type of setup, but I usually have good results with it.

I also have indicated the year in which the seeds were harvested (or printed date if the seeds were not collected by myself). I did a bit of research on the optimum germination conditions and timing for the seeds I planted. Fall 2017 overall was unusually warm, so I don't know if that effected my plants in a good way or in a bad way.

I can say that I borrowed seed stocks from the Seed Library of Los Angeles (grey zucchini squash, Tondo di Piacenza squash, and Rosa Bianca eggplant). I arranged the trays in a window box (extremely sunny) inside our house (not too hot) and right near the sink (to not forget to water them).

I kept a tally of which seeds germinated, and roughly how long the seedlings took to emerge. In October, I transferred them outdoors in hopes that we would have cooler wetter weather on the way. However, cooler weather was not in the forecast (hindsight is 20/20).

It looks like the Tondo di Piacenza squash maybe needs warmer weather or longer days to encourage germination? Possibly same with lettuces? Or maybe the bean seeds need to be scarified. Or maybe I planted them too deep, lettuce seeds need light to signal germination. Or maybe the Red Lettuce is too old or didn't fill its seeds well when it was setting on seeds.

I killed that praying mantis by putting her outside on the blacktop, then did a bit of reading and found out that she would not have been harmful to the garden. Still feeling a bit guilty about doing that. I did have an aphid infestation, but left it for months untreated since it's only advised to apply dormant oil when the temperature is above 40 deg F but below 90 deg F. Thus I have only applied it this past weekend (Jan 7, 2018).

A post shared by Kayla Kaiser (@hamerk02) on

I made an idealized layout of where everything should end up, which is important because certain plants protect other plants from pests (for example marigold is an effective trap crop). And some plants engage in chemical warfare with each other, preventing one or the other from growing optimally (for example geranium is not good for solanales). Some plants bring out the best in other plants, so they should be nearby each other (basil is said to be beneficial for tomato).

You can see actual photos of the seedlings here: Winter Garden Album on Facebook

The Bad News: The geranium finally died, so it has been removed. The peppers also have been retired. I never found any zinnia. There's no basil. I have never had luck germinating beans, so there are none of those. The squash didn't survive, not sure why. I didn't plant any carrots or peas. The mustard didn't survive. The tomato is long gone by now. The lettuces didn't survive.

The Good News: Starting in the upper left corner of the map above, one okra plant is alive. A strong crop of chard is nearby. Everything on the upper right corner of the map above has been retired or relocated.  The lower left corner holds 2 Rosa Bianca eggplant, 2 French (dwarf) marigolds, 1 large radish and 7 smaller ones. We have 2 Lacinato kale plants and 1 Red Russian kale that survived.

I'm so happy we're past the winter solstice. I can feel each day being longer than the preceeding one and before we know it, we'll be back in summer! I am planning to plant some seeds soon, to get another round of lettuce, spinach, herbs, squash, tomatoes and peppers. I have posted some gardening guides on our Kaiser Wellness Center website, which I refer back to often when deciding what to plant and when. Since I don't have a public garden anymore, I really have given up tagging each plant with a QR code. Maybe I'll repurpose the QR codes for some other application.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Taking On Too Much Work Will Lead To Burn Out

Have you every felt over worked?  Have you exhausted yourself by committing yourself to too many activities in a given period?  This semester has been a semester in which the answers to the prior two questions is an overwhelming YES.  Additionally, having the ability to say "yes" or "no" to over committing the available time each of us have in a given day is critical to a person's health and that of the health of those around them.  The following post will highlight the need to learn how to say "yes" and "no" to various commitments in life on a daily, monthly, yearly basis.

This semester has been one hell of a deal for our household.  Kayla took on a tremendous task which involved cooking for 24 students twice a week.  In addition, she was teaching a couple of classes at Pasadena City College two nights a week.  What a hectic schedule?  In the 10 years of our marriage, I have thought that I had seen her wear herself out.  This semester was the semester to kick her rear end.  How do I know – she asked one day over lunch?  There were subtle signs.

For instance, on the weekends, she usually is up early making coffee and ready to achieve around 20 tasks throughout the day.  On more than one occasion, I noticed her sleeping past 10 am which is highly unusual for her.  Secondly, she had to remain on task to a large degree which meant that we as a couple had to minimize what extracurricular activities that we could commit to in the future following each week.  I had a challenging semester without constantly being around Kayla.  If you recall, both Kayla and I work at California State University at Northridge (CSUN) in the Chemistry/Biochemistry Department.  I am an instrument manager while Kayla teaches general chemistry along with upper division lab classes.

Working Two Jobs at Two Different Schools?

This semester Kayla asked me how I felt if she worked at two different schools – Pasadena City College and CSUN.  The reason why she even asked was to be considerate as a partner sharing a household.  Which was super thoughtful of her.  I always want to support her career advancement opportunities.  The only question that I had was the following: Are you going to burn yourself out with so many classes?  Not to mention the extra task of cooking for 24 students twice a week – which I will explain shortly.  I am just trying to look out for her health.  Sometimes a person gets very ambitious in their career goals that the possibility of ‘running themselves (health wise) is clouded by success.’  She agreed to dial back on commitments if they were too much at any time.  I knew that the comment was genuine but not going to happen.   Therefore, I decided to let her work herself into the ground and then she will eventually learn to pace herself.  I was not looking forward to watching her do that, but these are lessons which each of us have to learn at one point in our lives.

With this in mind, I was able to have a large amount of “me time” this semester.  Part of the alone time was with her cooking away in the kitchen while I read in another room.  I will explain why I did not participate shortly.  While the other part of the alone time was when she was physically at the College Teaching on Tuesday and Thursday nights.  Part of the loneliness was stressful, since I knew that when she arrived home each Tuesday and Thursday, I would be in bed already.  Going to bed with your spouse already in bed is difficult at times.  The same occurs when one spouse has work early in the morning and leave a spouse is sleeping.  Which has occurred over the years to each of us at times.

The point I am trying to convey to a large extent was that having time to myself was not necessarily ‘leisurely’.  I chose to read as much as I could which was a great improvement for me.  I have probably read more books this year than total in my life before 20 years old.  I used to be confined mainly to the great outdoors since we had wonderful weather and my parents agreed that no child should sit idle in front of the television and waste time.  Go outdoors release endorphins by physical activity.  Look and absorb nature and get some vitamin D while you are at it.  That was my impression of childhood in Southern California.

Learning to be comfortable with being alone is both interesting and challenging at times.  How many times have you caught yourself wondering or thinking the following thought during challenging times at work… “If I only had some free time, I would totally spend or accomplish___?”  Yep, we are all victims of that thought at one time or another.  Yet, when the time comes to “pamper” or have alone time, we choose to spend the time thinking of the other person or future goals – to name a few.  My thoughts and reasons are not necessarily bad.  I just believe that I have overcome anxiety of accomplishing goals by actually setting out and achieving my hobbies during any alone time.  This was a success for me.  Typically, I am a ‘people pleaser’ and have a difficult time having time to myself.  Not that I did not struggle a bit this semester.  I just made more progress than last semester.  I needed the time alone to realize or ask myself – do I really want to have this hobby or read that book?  Yes, and I did.

Cooking for 24 Students Twice A Week:

As I mentioned above, earlier in the semester, Kayla took on a monumental task of cooking for each of her students twice a week.  What did this entail?  She had a class of 24 students.  On the first day, she decided to give them an assignment (homework) to go and write down their favorite meal – the recipe.  When the students returned to class the next meeting, she informed them that she would cook a meal for each class.  What?  Yep, you read correctly.  The intention was to expand her cooking abilities, but more importantly, connect with the students on a more personal level.  By sharing a meal, humans form a special bond.  Kayla decided that no meal (holiday meal or not) was too challenging for her to prepare.

I should back up a bit and tell you about a time when Kayla reached the end of her cooking spree – early on in our marriage.  We were in graduate school together when we met.  We dated for around a year before we got married.  Anyways, we lived together early on and would have friends over to eat.  We would laugh and eat a meal which took hours to prepare for a few graduate students (5-10 students).  Over time, we realized that two rules needed to made and followed in the years to come:

1) Don’t complain about dishes in the sink, if you are not willing to clean them yourself.
2) Don’t agree to have a meal with guests if you are not willing to participate in the cooking.
3) Don’t agree to host a meal without consulting your partner first.

Over the years, these three rules have been enforced to minimize any argument or resentments which might arise.  Plus, when each person agrees to a task, the task is more enjoyable to carry out.  Right about now, you may be wondering what the relevance the three rules are to the current semester. Well, let me explain.

Kayla came home from the first class with her 24 students and announced her brilliant assignment to me.  I asked her why she decided to take on this monumental task.  She stated the intentions of ‘connecting with the students through food’ as mentioned above.  Additionally, she said learning all of the meals would be great for us.  I reminded her of the 3 rules which we had agreed upon above regarding promising meals to guests.  She said that she would cook all of the meals by herself.  Fine, lets see that happen – was my initial thought.  This led to another achievement on my part – or personal growth.  My control issues.

The first meal took around 6 hours to cook.  From around 5 pm til 11 pm.  I was trying to read in the living room to practice “disconnecting” or not controlling the situation.  Over the course of the semester, I had achieved a milestone in my life – which was to let her do her thing.  Let her do the work.  I know that might sound selfish at first.  But remember, as a “people pleaser” I am constantly trying to help others and have no time for myself.  On top of no time for myself, I tend to get in the way of progress by trying help.  I decided that this time, I was going to let go and try to read and not bother her while she was cooking.  This I must admit was difficult in the beginning – but became increasingly easier as I made small achievements over time.  To be honest, had she asked me to help, I might have helped – just kidding, I would have.  While reminding her of the 3 rules – what a husband I am – LOL.  By the way, all of the recipes are available on our Tumblr website – here.  Enjoy!!


The process of change takes time.  Just like the idea of ‘control’ manifests itself in many forms.  When Kayla was teaching at night I would wonder how her class was going.  A form of control – really?  The act of “letting go” and achieving your own goals is difficult.  Although, as I learned over the course of this semester, each week is a new opportunity to work on achieving goals not yet accomplished.  Furthermore, the students at CSUN had a few wonderful meals throughout the semester.  Kayla was able to challenge herself in terms of career advancement and on a personal level by learning new recipes.  She does genuinely love to cook.  I like to cook the same thing – Macaroni and Cheese.  That gets old each night.  Therefore, I am in training learning to expand my horizons in the kitchen.  I admit that I am a huge work in progress.  The semester has been difficult.  But who ever said that personal growth would occur without effort.

Luckily, we are headed for the holidays.  Which means that work will come to a temporary halt for vacation.  Thank goodness for the time off.  We will use the time to ‘recharge our batteries’.  I hope that each of you have a safe set of holidays and I look forward to returning to blogging about cosmetic products and my mental growth in 2018.  Happy Holidays!
Until next time, have a great day!!!

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

#DefineYourself! -- Define Your Unique Self Or Else Others Will Define You...

In today's fast paced and ever changing world, the concept of "defining oneself" is more critical than ever. That is why I came up with the hashtag of #DefineYourself! It is a clarification and a celebration of what a person stands for. Let me explain further briefly below.

Each of us would like you think that we are extremely unique in this world.  WRONG.  We are more similar in our desires and needs than we would like to think. That is not to say that each of us are not unique. 

The hashtag #DefineYourself! is a designation (a marker if you will) to tell the world how you are unique relative to the rest of us.  If you type in the hashtag #DefineYourself into either 'Twitter' of 'Instagram' the results will be mainly about your physical appearance -- which is critical toward defining oneself.  Although, I would add that there exists many other 'dimensions' in which a person can define themselves which have nothing to do with appearance and are just as important -- if not more so.

In adding these multiple dimensions of 'uniqueness' -- the addition of the exclamation point "!" to the hashtag #DefineYourself.  Why you might ask?  If you type into 'Wikipedia' the phrase "exclamation mark" -- the following result is shown below in the introduction:

The exclamation mark (British English and Commonwealth English) or exclamation point (American English) is a punctuation mark usually used after an interjection or exclamation to indicate strong feelings or high volume (shouting), shows emphasis and often marks the end of a sentence. Example: "Watch out!" Similarly, a bare exclamation mark (with nothing before or after) is often used in warning signs.

The example in the excerpt is "Watch Out!" -- which is appropriate to emphasize the use of the exclamation mark.  Similarly, instead of restricting a definition of oneself to a single dimension -- i.e. physical appearance -- which is now commonly used on social media, the exclamation mark in the hashtag #DefineYourself! is a cry out to use a more 'complete' definition including the many other definitions of 'uniqueness' that each person holds in the world.

At this point, you may be wondering what type of 'uniqueness' can each of us highlight in our lives.  An example of this might be highlighting the 'unique' components of a cosmetic formulation as highlighted in the series Anti-Aging Skin Series (which I write) on this blog site.  On a more personal level, a person could write about their Mental Awareness Journey through life -- with updates and learning experiences in real time.  Another example might be a 'dimensional analysis' blog post written about the total number of Turkey's sold in the United States on Thanksgiving Holiday -- highlighting the excess of food of the meal.  Other example might be a short 'Tweet' on 'Twitter' (or other social media outlets) highlighting your unique qualities or outlook on life. The point is that the hashtag is meant to highlight your uniqueness in the world today.

With this in mind, use the hashtag and tell the world about yourself. Otherwise ... others will try to define you in their terms. Have a great day.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Anti-Aging Skin Series Post 13: Meet Mandy from XOM3 Botanical Solutions!

Have you noticed that more time has past in between posts on 'Anti-Aging Skin Series' lately?  I have let too much time in between blog posts past!  Yes, but for good reason.  I have been determining the path ahead for the series.  Remember that I started out with an extremely long blog post regarding the question: Can Science Really Reverse Aging Skin?  Out of this grew the need by suggestion from my wife to clarify through many small blog posts -- exactly what I am trying to convey.

From there, an exploration was launched into the basics of the physiology of skin - with the purpose of formulating or deconstructing a skin care formulation.  Why is a given ingredient incorporated into a formulation by a manufacturer?  Answering that question over the last few posts has been comprised of listing the ingredients in a given skin care product and giving the specific function of the ingredient known in the industry.

Of course, the question as to the intent of incorporating a given ingredient could have been resolved quite easily had I been given access to the formulator.  If I could have asked the inventor, why did you put this ingredient into that lotion -- this would have made life much easier.  Instead, up until now, I have used the information available online to show you (the reader) how to decode or deconstruct the ingredient list on any skin care formulation.

Meet Mandy...

About a month ago, I had a chance to attend (with my wife) an event at a local garden which is kept up by the public.  The event was hosted by the organization SLOLA -- Seed Library Of Los Angeles.  The seed library is composed of the seeds collected by the members of the organization.  SLOLA hosts all types of events centered around cultivating seeds and sharing tips on growing a variety of plants in a variety of environments.  The group is a wonderful resource for anyone experiencing difficulty growing a plant in your garden.  I was glad to be able to listen to a talk on 'herbal medicine' that particular Friday.  Out of that talk came an interest in exploring the 'herbal chemistry' of the components in a given skin care solution.

Remember the last skin care solution which was deconstructed on this site -- Lush.  There were a whole host of natural ingredients which (could potentially) have 'herbal qualities' to them.  Additionally, that might have been the dominant reason for incorporating them into the formulation.  Anyways, at the talk which I attended I was honored to meet another herbalist -- Mandy.  Mandy is a super cool lady who is deeply interested in understanding the chemistry of skin care ingredients from a herbal medicine perspective.  She makes her own products which can be viewed and purchased at the website:  Check them out.

As I mentioned above, I have been taking a little time to write and think in between the last two posts.  This is due to my interaction with Mandy.  Mandy and I met and started brainstorming on learning more about the chemistry in a given product.  She is aware of the reason why she incorporates a given ingredient into her product.  And that seem to hit home in my mind.  I told her about this blog series.  She was interested in explaining the back of her ingredient list.  Yes.

Now, we can explore a skin care product and hear from the formulator why a given ingredient is incorporated into the formulation.  Additionally, this will set the stage to continue to deconstruct other skin care products aside from Mandy's and have an idea as to the reason for the ingredient on the back of the product.  That is the plan.


I will choose a product off of her site and write about the ingredient list soon.   I will ask her questions in the form of an interview and write about the answers.  Stay tuned and get ready to get the "low down" on the wonderful products at XOM3.  Have a great day!!!

Friday, October 6, 2017

Anti-Aging Skin Series Post 12: What is in "Natural Facial Moisturizer"?

Time has past since my last post on the "Anti-Aging Skin Series" -- too much time -- you might say.  What have I been up to?  During that time, I have been thinking about "natural ingredients" which are used in skin care products.  What are their true function?  Are they legitimate?  Specifically, I have been thinking about the last skin care product which I deconstructed in post #11 - which can be found here.  The front and rear of the package are shown below:

... And the backside with the ingredient list:

In this product, there are a whole assortment of "natural" ingredients.  The manufacturer went to great length to include even their 'latin' name to specify plant species.  Before I move onto another "natural" product from this manufacturer -- "Lush" -- I thought that a closer examination of the ingredients might be of use.  In the last post, I show an ingredient list.  Some of the ingredients have little to none information regarding the function (of the ingredient relative to the skin care product) which causes skepticism in my mind.

After all, a manufacturer should be able to list an ingredient with a proven or known function. Otherwise, the ingredient could be included just for show or to indicate that a number of "natural" ingredients make up the facial moisturizer.  As I mentioned, the major driving force behind the sales and success of any cosmetic product is the customer's opinion/experience.  Meaning, regardless of what sound science can be illustrated about the skin care product, the driving force behind sales/use is the customer experience.  Unfortunately, as a result, the customer is given a tremendous amount of misinformation about a product which results in money spent and improving the corporate 'bottom line' - i.e. company sales.

Not all manufacturers aim at sales with this intent.  There are legitimate skin care product companies which aim to give the customer a scientifically sound experience along with moist - soft - skin.  An example of this is my colleague and friend's company 'C&T Organics'.  I am not just saying this because she is a friend.  I scrutinize her products just as much as any other.  I ask the reasons (with a scientific basis) for adding various ingredients.  She has produced scientific journal articles with data as a result of our discussions.  Why do I bring her up at this time?

Minimum Number Of Ingredients?

The minimum number of ingredients needed to make a "natural moisturizer" are: emulsifier, water, oil, and a preservative.  This makes sense from the standpoint of the fact that in order to keep good and healthy skin - a protective layer (i.e. oil) is needed along with the hydration layer (water).  The preservative is needed or the product will deteriorate after a short amount of time...why?  Because, natural pathogens and dirt will accumulate inside of the product and cause degradation.  Either by the accumulation of dirt or the growth of a microbial community.

Now that the minimum number of ingredients are known to be around 4, we can revisit the number of ingredients listed on the backside of the "Lush" facial moisturizer cream.  According to the last post which listed the functions of each ingredient in the product, there were 24 different ingredients.  To start with, lets list the four ingredients that are the minimum in the paragraph above as categories: water, oil, emulsifier, and preservative.

Since, water is only a single molecule, water will not have any other molecules listed underneath it.


Next are the preservatives that are included in moisturizers.  The purpose of which is to preserve the formulation from attack by foreign entities (microbes) or degradation by impurities.  The preservatives that are contained in the formulation are listed below:

1) Methyl Paraben

2) Methyl Paraben

3) Benzyl Benzoate

Some of the ingredients above have a variety of uses.  Providing stability in the form of preserving the initial formulation is extremely important.  Although, if you cannot provide long term preservation, the next step is to add a perfume to mask the growth of microbes or the impurities which will inevitably collect inside of the formulation.


An easy category which is not necessarily required but added to mask the onset of degradation early in use of the product is 'fragrance' or 'perfume'.  The following ingredients are molecules that serve as perfume molecules in the formulation:

1) Farnesol

2) Linalool

3) Geraniol

4) Triethanolamine

5) Vanilla

6) Cocoa butter


In an earlier post, I introduced the "hydrophobic" concept for molecules which are 'non-polar' and incorporated into skin care formulations.  Feel free to go back and read before proceeding.  Here is a list of the oils contained in the facial moisturizer explored in this blog post:

1) Almond Oil

2) Wheat Oil

3) Coconut Oil

4) Jajoba Oil

5) Cocoa Butter

Common Ingredients

Ingredients which are used commonly across formulations usually are synthetic.  They are not naturally made, but synthesized and have been found to have the necessary functions needed to incorporate into a skin care formulation.  Of course, the list is constantly changing (or being updated).  Here is a list of the 'common ingredients' of products deconstructed in the series:

1) Glycerin

2) Cetearyl Alcohol

3) Stearic Acid


How do you get two distinct phases of chemicals (oils and water) to merge into a single layer?  The answer is to use an 'emulsifying agent' -- a molecule which is composed of both properties.  If we think of detergents used to wash clothes, emulsifiers are built into the molecular structure in order to attach water to fatty molecules.  Hydrophobic molecules can be removed with the Hydrophobic portion of the emulsifier -- while water (which is hydrophilic) will attach to the corresponding hydrophilic end of the detergent molecule.  Chemistry is amazing.  Here is a list of the ingredients that emulsify the two separate phases -- hydrophobic and hydrophilic:

1) Cocoa Butter

2) Bladderwrack Seaweed (Alginates)

These are the ingredients (all 24 of them) which are contained in the "Lush" 'natural facial moisturizer'.  As you can see, certain molecules (ingredients) have multiple functions in the formulation.  Upon inspection, there will be certain ingredients which might be perceived as "extra" or "non-essential".  In the section below, I examine the "extra" ingredients in a little more detail.

Function of Natural Ingredients

As I stated above, I usually wonder why a given ingredient is added to a product formulation.  Why add unnecessary ingredients?  Does the addition of 'natural' sounding names signify that the product is better than one formulated with synthetic names?  Not necessarily.  In some cases, adding 'natural' components together can make a formulation more toxic.  Why?  Because each ingredient might be tested individually, although, when combined with other natural ingredients, the intended action might not occur.  In any instance, customer feedback will eventually shed light on these product formulations.

My job is to lay out for the reader the supposed health benefits with references or links to references for the ultimate decision on whether to continue or begin use with any given product.  The decision is yours.  Below is a list of ingredients with various links to search for more information regarding possible health benefits:

1) Triticum Vulgare (Wheat) Germ Oil: According to '', wheat germ oil contains small amounts of 'vitamin E' -- which can act as an 'anti-oxidant'.  Of course, in order to act as an 'anti-oxidant' in the body, the vitamin E must get into the body.  This means that in the current formulation, the vitamin E must diffuse through the various layers of skin into the body.

2) Viola Oderata: According to 'Wikipedia', there are supposed health benefits -- including sleep and breathing benefits from viola.  There are skeptics, although a post on 'webmd' confirms health benefits.

3) Bladderwrack Seaweed (Alginates): The health benefits listed on WebMD is that Alginates lower the cholesterol entering the body.  Whether the alginates actually enter the body through the skin is the question that resides in my mind.  Although, Jojoba oil is known to diffuse deep into the skin and could carry chemicals with it into contact where absorption occurs.  Which means that the stated health benefits might be useful.  The main purpose behind alginates is that the main benefit within a skin cream is the action as an 'emulsifier' between hydrophillic and hydrophobic phases.

4) Primrose Oil: According to a few sources listed below, primrose oil seems to have a few benefits, including reducing pain with arthritis and the skin condition - eczema.

5) Beeswax (cera alba): WebMD states that the benefits of Bees Wax is "anti-inflammatory".

6) Aloe Vera: There are many benefits stated on WebMD for Aloe Vera.  Check them out.


The "Lush" formulation seems to have a large amount of ingredients listed on the backside.  Although, when the latin name is removed or the excessive naming (redundant), there appears to be 24 ingredients.  As I mentioned above, 4 essential ingredients are required to make up a skin care moisturizer.  The remaining should be accounted for.  I have supplied the links and sources for you to run with and decide for yourself whether or not they should be incorporated into the formulation. There is one ingredient which is not natural which was incorporated into the product that must be mentioned -- shown below:

Benzyl Salicylate: One purpose of adding this ingredient is mainly to act as a UV Absorber -- to absorb various wavelengths in the Ultraviolet region.  Although, certain cosmetic formulators warn that rashes might arise when exposed to sunlight -- which is counter intuitive to the first sentence.  A fragrant smell is associated with this molecule and is oily which might help in stabilizing the product.

The products listed must be inspected by each consumer.  Especially, when dealing with natural products.  Just because the product is composed of natural ingredients does not mean that your body will not have an adverse reaction to the formulation.  Check with your dermatologist if you have any questions before use or after a rash appears.  Chemical safety is the utmost importance for chemists.  Each consumer should strive to learn more about each product to ensure their own safety.

Last but not least, to access the previous blog posts in the "Anti-Aging Skin Series" - click here - to see a full list.

Until next time, have a great weekend.


1) WebMD -- online medical resources

2) Wikipedia

3) Cosmetics

4) Consumer's Dictionary of Cosmetic Ingredients


Friday, September 8, 2017

Why Do I Feel Overwhelmed and Anxious With Change?

Have you ever felt overwhelmed with all the responsibilities on your plate?  If not, you are a super hero or have complete control over your life.  If so, then you can join the rest of us and feel right at home.  Lately, I have been feeling a little overwhelmed with all of the responsibilities on my plate.  Why?  I have been putting too much pressure on myself to actually write and learn about such a wide range of topics.  This blog post can serve to update the readers who follow my mental health journey -- Mike's Mental Awareness Journey.  Let me explain a little below.

Change Is Great!!!

Thinking back over the last few years, I have changed many of my behaviors to a large extent.  First and foremost, I stopped drinking alcohol -- which made available a large amount of time previously devoted to drinking.  What do I do with that new time?  This has been a big question lingering in my mind with all sorts of possible solutions.  One might call this 'lingering in my mind' the process of optimization.  Initially, I was determined to do activities and hobbies which prior to my drinking career I had not the time to do.  Activities like: more exercising and reading along with writing.  I have been exploring these activities which has been wonderful.

I have enjoyed learning and writing about topics lately.  Over the last year, I have written more and read more than in other parts of my life.  That produces a "high" in productivity.  Although, no fast paced life can proceed without a cost.  The cost has come in the form of 'pressure' which I exert on myself.  Sometimes that 'pressure' is good and at other times that 'pressure' is bad.  How does a person distinguish between each type of 'pressure'?  Personally, the distinguishing factor is based on my anxiety at various times throughout the day, week, or month.

Anxiety can be used to motivate or stagnate a person's progress on a variety of levels.  I just finished a wonderful book on reducing the anxiety in life titled "From Panic to Power" by Lucinda Bassett.  In the beginning of her book, she describes the onset and origins of each person's anxiety.  Which I found extremely helpful in my daily life.  Identifying the origins and onset can help a person change immediately before the anxiety sets in.

Below are a couple excerpts from the ending of her book on dealing with anxiety.  After taking the steps to identify the triggers of anxiety, each of us naturally start to change toward becoming a new person who is less anxious.  Although, beware, becoming a new person can bring changes too as noted in the excerpt below:

It's time to get familiar with the new "you" who is confident, positive, and an inspiration to yourself and everybody around you.

People are not aware of the "new person" they become after a large transition -- whether that be a lifestyle change, or image change, etc.  Those changes take time to become comfortable with.  Even if you are not the person who has changed.  Making changes in your life might even put pressure on others around you -- which in turn can take time to adjust toward.

When change is on the horizon, there is a certain amount of anxiety associated with the change.  Here is an excerpt regarding anxiety and recognizing the origin:

We can only imagine a stress-free existence; stress is a necessary part of life.  The only way to live without it is not to be alive at all.  The dictionary defines stress as: "a physical, chemical, or emotional factor that causes bodily or mental tension and may be a factor in disease causation," or "a state of bodily or mental tension resulting from factors that tend to alter an existing equilibrium."
Stress results from negative experiences such as arguments, scary thoughts, depression, exhaustion, divorce, and death.  It also can be the by-product of positive experiences such as the birth of a child, going back to school, getting married, or receiving a long-awaited job promotion.  Winning the lottery, as magical as it might be, also can cause a certain type of stress.  So can environmental factors such as extreme weather conditions, toxic air pollution, and the people around you.
It is important to recognize the stressful contributors to your life.  Only then can you eliminate some, minimize others, and change your reaction response to whatever cannot be changed.  If you tend to react to anxiety with heart palpitations, dizziness, perspiring, or nervous and spacey feelings, your symptoms of stress will most likely be similar.  What you do with the stress in your life will determine whether or not it will turn into anxiety.

That excerpt is extremely powerful and has spoken to me over the last couple of weeks.  The beginning of the academic semester is underway with the ending of summer.  Naturally, each of us had "so much to do over the summer" which we were unable to accomplish.  This is an enormous source of anxiety -- if I let the anxiety build with the line of thought.  Instead, I can just let go of all of the planned activities for the summer (which is in the past) and start planning for the future.

I Am A New Person?

As stated in the excerpt above, with every lifestyle change, there could be a certain amount of anxiety that comes with that new change.  Although, after reading the book by Lucinda Bassett, I feel that my tool box for dealing with anxiety has been updated and is now equipped to deal with even more situations (and more effectively) than before.  I highly recommend reading her book.  The book is less than 300 pages in length and is filled with numerous tips on how to spot and deal with anxiety and stress.

With the knowledge gained from the book, I have stepped back from overwhelming myself with "self-imposed deadlines" for pumping out blogs on both "Kaiserwellnesscenter.blogspot" and "jmkthought.blogspot".  This time has allowed me to evaluate a pace (if that is possible) for writing that is healthy.  Prior to reading Lucinda's book, I was placing the same time restriction on each blogpost.  This is unreal?  Why?  Because the blog posts are on separate subjects and require different amounts of content.

Writing a blog post on current events requires getting the content from the news source and adding commentary (a relatively easy task).  Whereas, writing a blog post with dimensional analysis (math) inside requires more time to generate figures (illustrations) and equations.  Furthermore, writing a blog post regarding chemicals inside of skin care products takes even longer.  There is a certain amount of research that is entailed which takes time for me (for anyone for that matter).  The learning curve is different for each.  I am not trying to make excuses for irregular schedule of blogs.  I am offering an explanation though.

I am learning to take these hobbies down to a normal pace and not incur too much stress writing about subjects that I love to learn about.  Speaking of which, I am looking forward to returning to the last post on natural skin care products with quite a range of 'herbal' ingredients.  I am researching more into their origin and use for the incorporation into skin care products.  Why would the manufacturer include them in the formulation?  Sometimes the answer is not easily discernible.


The past couple of months have been quite eye opening for me.  I look forward to continuing my writing on both blog posts.  If you have any suggestions on blog content, please feel free to e-mail me:  Until next time, have a wonderful weekend.