Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Recipe (kind-of!): Home-Made Hard Lotion Bars (Plus Psoriasis Woes)

I know I have alluded to my "Psoriatic Challenges" in previous posts, and I'm debating whether to add another category/sub-heading on my blog for "Psoriasis."

On the one hand, I really don't want this to be a place where I come to b*tch about how crappy I feel (And trust me when I say "I feel REAL crappy - almost all of the time!"), but OTOH, there seems to be a dearth of info out there in internet-land about how psoriasis-sufferers "cope."

Ehh, I guess I can add the sub-heading and see what happens.  But I DON'T want this to be an ongoing "theme." (Hell, I just want it to f**king STOP ruining my day-to-day life!!!)

Anyway...  I am trying a variety of "things" to see what might help.  I am on numerous prescription salves/ointments/creams/blah-blahs (mostly steroidal - which doesn't thrill me);  I've been thru NUMEROUS dermatologists (I'm up to Derma-Doc #5 now); and I've tried several different treatments (we're getting ready to move-up to "Biologics" aka "Immune-Suppressants") ("Yippee F**kin' Skippy!").

Pretty much, treatment of psoriasis seems to be mostly a Crap-Shoot:  "Try this for a few months..."  "Did it work?"  "No."  "Okay, try THAT for a few months..."  "Did it work?" "No."  "Okay, let's move over to THIS for a few months..." Lather (with unscented/hypo-allergenic whatevers). Rinse. Repeat.

I've ALMOST lost track of all the "Try This" medications (No, I do know what I've tried!).  The worst part is the intervening "few months" between each "experiment" - where I have been rendered a virtual invalid.  P*sses me off - more than you can imagine because I am NOT - I repeat: NOT - a "sedentary" person!

Oops.  This is bordering on "Ranting" now, isn't it?!  Okay, I'll stop :-)

So ANNNNYYYYWAAAAAAYYYYYY...  Every once in awhile, I feel like I need to "take a break" from all of the pharmaceuticals ('cuz, honestly?! All that sh*t is POISON, IMHO).  I've made several trips to our local Health Food Store (a little Mom 'n Pop shop - that I really, really like), and I've elicited gasps of (horror?) from the store owners when I remove my gloves and show them my hands... (and let's not *even* talk about my feet, which are "barely-functional" for walking appx half of the time).

I had a helluva time finding any Aloe Vera Gel products that didn't contain alcohol (Alcohol on open sores?! I think NOT!), so I bought my own Aloe Vera plants.  I have tried a few herbal/all-natural preparations and I will say that they don't AGGRAVATE the condition (and I *can't* say that for the pharmaceuticals!), but they don't do much to improve it either.

So somehow, somewhere along the line, I stumbled onto a "recipe" for all-natural, hand-made hard-lotion bars.  And I pinned it for future reference, right?

Well, last night, I decided to make-up a batch of hard-lotion.  I decided to keep it simple for the first batch and pretty-well followed the directions to-the-letter from this site, and this site.

I procured most of my ingredients from Glory Bee Foods.  Again, I get no "spliff" for posting, but I'm happy (so far) with what I got!

I did not do a pictorial step-by-step - this time around (since I didn't know what the hell I was doing and had NO clue if it would work), but I *am* including a photo of the final product, at least!

I measured-out 3 oz. each (by weight) of:

  • Coconut Oil
  • Cocoa Butter
  • Natural Beeswax

Now my beeswax came in a BIG 1 lb "chunk" and cutting it was a challenge - to say the least!  Not sure if I'd go with "granulated" - or if I feel like investing-in (and storing) a dedicated cheese-grater for making my own granulated beeswax.  I *knew* I wanted super-pure beeswax with no funky fillers, so I went with the 1lb chunk.

Cocoa Butter, likewise, was "challenging" to handle since it was basically a solid mass in a jar.  I ended up removing the lid and plunking the jar into a pot of boiling water on the stove so I could melt and pour it out.

Coconut Oil was easy.  It's like Crisco Shortening and very easy to scoop out of the tub!

Anyway, I combined equal amounts of all three ingredients into a 1 QT Pyrex  Measuring Cup.  I set a large-ish pot of water on the stove and brought it to a boil, then placed the Pyrex Cup into the boiling water (think "Poor-Man's Double-Boiler, right?!).  Key point here:  You DON'T need a lot of boiling water in your water-pot.  I over-estimated and ended up with boiling water splooging-out all over the stove top!

Sadly, I can't give you exact measurements, but you only need an inch (or so) of water in the bigger pot because - DUH! - it will "rise" when you put the Pyrex cup in it! (Damned Physics!).

Alternatively (and this would probably be the better solution - if I decide to make this on a regular basis), I'd like to purchase a solid-glass 2 QT saucepan from the local thrift-store and just dedicate it to things like Lotion- and Soap-making (and if I ever decide to move more into home-made soap, I would also like to buy a dedicated immersion-blender for that purpose).  I went with the Pyrex measuring cup because glass SHOULD clean-up easily and the cup can still be used for cooking.  Had I opted for one of my Teflon saucepans, it probably would have been ruined...

Anyway, I started out with the large-ish pot of water.  Brought the water to a boil on "High," then stuck the Pyrex cup with oils/butters inside of the Pyrex measuring cup.  I lowered the heat to "Low" and stirred 'til everything melted.  The beeswax (which was chopped into LARGE chunks) took the longest to integrate (or dis-integrate - depending on your perspective!).  Once everything was a nice, liquid consistency, I grabbed an oven mitt to remove the Pyrex Mixing Cup and poured everything into a Silicone Mold (I think it was a Wilton Candy Mold).  9 oz. of "stuff" yielded 4 "bars" of hard lotion.

I really like the Silicone Mold because it was SUPER-easy to pop the lotions out, the next day.

Now I didn't add any scents or other "additions" this time around.  I wanted to see how a Bare-Nekkid Batch would come out.

First Impressions?  Very nice!  It's kind of like a "greasy" chap-stick (and, in fact, I really like rubbing it on my lips - to tell you the truth!).  When you rub the bar in your hands, it melts and coats your skin, quite nicely.  It *does* take a little while to soak into your skin, but - honestly - I like it!  It is VERY soothing, after it soaks in. (Until it soaks in - you might want to avoid opening the sliding GLASS door! lol) (But it beats the HELL out of some of the Rx ointments I've been using - where I feel like I'm leaving an Oil-Slick behind, EVERYWHERE I go!!!).

Anyway, I really *do* like it.  I especially like that I can - not only recount - but PRONOUNCE all of the ingredients in this lotion!  "Beeswax, Coconut Oil, and Cocoa Butter!"  (Compare that to "Tocopheryl, blada-blada" "Humunha-Humunha" and F, D &C Red #5!")

So, I'm gonna give myself a 1-week "Pharmacological Break" and just stick with this stuff.  No, I don't expect a "cure" - but I KNOW it won't make things any worse!  Then I'll go back to the NASTY-Rx Stuff and hope for the best...

Next time I make this:  I think I'll go for a 50/50 mix of Cocoa Butter and Shea Butter (Shea Butter, evidently, is more "sticky" in texture so, hopefully, slightly less "greasy?").  I may also look into adding Chamomile Essential Oil (it's supposed to be very soothing), and I might also cut the Coconut Oil with Aloe Vera Oil.  Lastly, I'll try to "squirt" part of the batch into lip-balm tubes because - honestly - this stuff is THE BOMB as far as Lip Balms go!

Sorry for the incessant rambling this last couple-three posts, but, well, that's "where I'm at" these days!!!  Hopefully things will improve at some point and I can go back to more "CONTENT!"



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