Eradicate Ingrown Hairs

Ingrown hairs result when shaved hairs get trapped inside the follicle or grow back into the skin. Dirt and oil can build up around the trapped hair causing a bump to form under the skin. This bump, if infected, can cause the skin to become red and swollen. Afro – Caribbean men can be more prone to ingrown hairs due to the fact that curlier hair is more prone to looping back into the skin.

One of the best ways to avoid ingrown hairs is to shave properly and use the right equipment. If you don’t currently wet shave then give it a go. If you already wet shave you may want to try an electric razor or try following the steps outlined in the perfect shave. (link to the perfect shave article). Keeping the skin wet during the shaving process gives you a more effective shave and better looking skin. The hot water opens the pores of your skin and softens your stubble for more effective cutting – reducing the risk of ingrown hairs.

How to prevent ingrown hairs

o Use a facial scrub prior to shaving to remove the embedded oils and dirt from the skins surface while lifting embedded hairs from their follicles for a less irritating shave.

o Use a shave brush to apply a good quality lubricating shave cream in a circular motion. This, again, helps to exfoliate the skin and prepare the stubble for shaving.

o Always shave in the direction of the grain with a light amount of pressure on the razor

o If you suffer badly from ingrown hairs you may want to try using a double edge razor. Many Afro – Caribbean men in particular find switching to a traditional double edge razor clears up their skin and can make shaving much more comfortable. A double edge razor cuts through tougher facial hair more effectively without pulling at it and requires a lighter amount of pressure.

o A disposable razor with double or triple blades can actually increase the risk of ingrown hairs because the first blade often pulls at the hair while the second and third cuts it below skin level, this provides a closer shave but increases the chance of ingrown hairs occurring.

o Moisturising the skin after shaving will keep the skin smooth and supple while keeping the hair follicles moisturised and growing in the right direction.

How to treat ingrown hairs

o Never forcibly dig out ingrown hairs by the roots as you’ll only make things worse.

o Use a sterile needle or sharp tweezers to gently tease out and unfold the hair. Do not pull the hair out initially allow the skin to heal around the hair before removal to prevent the problem reoccurring in the same area. If hair is very long trim with scissors but do not pull out at the root.

o If area is red apply an antiseptic cream to the area.

o Do not use any product that contains alcohol, it can exacerbate the problem area by drying the skin out and closing the pores.

Growing Healthy Hair Naturally

In this article, I am going to cover some of the basic techniques that you can use to help your hair grow naturally. The techniques are commonly known to many and the idea behind the article is to help it serve as a reminder for people to help them grow healthy hair to reduce hair loss.

So what are the things you need to do to ensure that you grow long healthy hair:

Tip 1.

Wash your hair at least once a week. The reason why this is very important is that in order to maintain a healthy scalp, your scalp must be clean. Its that simple. This is especially true if you do a lot of working out. Washing regularly gets rid of the dirt and salty sweat that accumulates in the scalp.

Tip 2

This is related to tip 1. Rinse your hair between work outs. This important to stop the salt that accumulates from the sweat during a workout from stripping away the essential oils that are required by your hair.

Tip 3

Detangle your hair in the shower. This is important for people with tighter curls. Many people who have tight curl growth pattern can find it very difficult to comb hair when dry and aggressive combing or brushing can result in unwanted damage.  Use a shower comb from your local store that can cost less than $1 and after conditioning comb your hair detangle it. Detangle your curls by combing at the bottom of your hair and combing up closer to your scalp.

Tip 4

Deep condition your hair at least once a month. This is again important to prepare the hair for any hair strengtheners and gives hair extra care that is not always given to it during a regular wash.

Tip 5

Keep your hair moisturized – This is particularly important for people of Afro Caribbean origin as their hair does not benefit from the natural oils in the same way that is seen by Caucasians. The growth pattern of Afro Caribbean people’s hair restricts the essential oils from reaching the ends of the hair strands so applying extra moisturizers helps.

This is also good for people with dry hair. Even being out in the sun and wind damages your hair so it is important to moisturize not only to get rid of the dryness in the hair but also prevent split ends from forming at the ends of hair.

Pre Menstrual Syndrome (PMS) – Essential Oils – Jasmine

Premenstrual syndrome effects over 70% to 90% of women before menopause in the US and less for women in Southeast Asia because of their difference in living style and social structure. It is defined as faulty function of the ovaries related to the women’s menstrual cycle, it effects a women’s physical and emotional state, and sometimes interferes with daily activities as a result of hormone fluctuation. The syndrome occurs one to two weeks before menstruation and then declines when the period starts. In this article, we will discuss how essential oils- jasmine help to treat PMS.

I. Definition
Jasmine is a genus of shrubs in the olive family, native to Afro-Eurasia. It contains variety of chemical compound including benzoate, ceosol,, benzaldehyde, y-terpineol, nerolidol, isohytol, phytol and acetic acid. It has been used in traditional medicine in treating sexual libido. Essential oil jasmine is extracted from the flower of the plant.

II. How essential oil jasmine effects women with PMS
1. Acetic acid
a) Acetic acid is one the main chemical compound of the jasmine, it help reduces the levels of bad cholesterol and triglycerides, thereby increasing the blood flow which is essential for providing oxygen and nutrients to our body resulting in lessening the risk of fatigue and tiredness.
b) It also helps to regulate the levels of glucose in the bloodstream by stimulating the production of insulin by pancreas resulting in resulting food and sugar craving for some women with PMS.

2. Diet control
It is said some chemical compound containing organic vineager in the essential oil jasmine help to reduce appetite, thereby decreasing the amount of food intake and lessening the risk of weight gain and obesity.

3. Lymphatic system
Jasmine contains linalool alicyclic monoterpenes which are spicy and have a function to metabolites in our body fluid, thereby, increasing the lymphatic function in regulating the fluid in body tissues and kidney function in urinary secretion resulting in reducing the risk of water retention.

4. Sexual desire
It is believed that certain chemical compound of the essential oil jasmine helps to improve sexual desire for men and women alike by improving the blood circulation to the reproductive region and stimulating the production of testosterone.

5. Nervous system
It also helps to clam the nervous system by stimulating the production of serotonin and relax the constriction and dilate of reproductive system muscles resulting in reducing the risk of stress, anxiety, depression and premenstrual pain and cramps.

4 No-Fail Tips To Get Your Hair To Grow Faster

The question of ‘how can I get my hair to grow faster’ is probably the most desired inquiry among girls, women, and perhaps even men. Some people’s hair appears to grow faster then others. But the truth is that, on average, everyone’s hair grows between 1/4 and 1/2 of an inch per month. We also shed hair daily. Of course, the curl pattern of the hair, the health of it, and the maintenance practices make a difference with how much of that growth we maintain. This article is going to share with you 4 tips that are guaranteed to get your hair to grow faster.

The first tip is to trim regularly. You’re probably thinking, “You’ve got to be kidding. How can I get my hair to grow faster if you’re suggesting cutting it.” You need to ensure that your hair is healthy, with no split ends. For the natural hair wearers, be sure to get your hair cut above the demarcation line. That’s the location where your natural hair and the chemically-treated hair meet. Be sure that you’ve cut above that line to ensure your natural hair is healthy and completely chemical-free. Through the course of styling, the ends can become damaged so you want to trim it regularly.

Speaking of styling, the second tip includes using the correct utensils for your hair. This includes everything from combs, brushes, scarves/bonnets, and headbands to shampoos, conditioners, heated appliances. When selecting styling utensils, you want to be sure to stay away from ones that will cut, rip or tear your hair. There are combs that are made in molds and the mold lines can rip or tear your hair while you’re combing. NEVER use a comb with broken teeth. Be sure to use boar bristle brushes that aren’t too abrasive. For hair coverings, you want to use satin. Other materials are abrasive and suck the moisture right out of your hair. For your shampoos and conditioners, you want to use ones that are moisturizing without the harsh chemicals. If you’re really serious about growing your hair out as fast as possible, don’t put any heat directly on your hair. The most you should do is use a hooded dryer. Any of the direct heating appliances, like blow dryers, flat irons, or curling irons put undo stress on your hair and the heat will cause it to weaken and break off, even if you incorporate thermal protection products.

The third tip pertains directly to the styles you choose for your hair. Protective styles are the best. These include: twists, braids, cornrows, afros, and wash ‘n’ go. Twists include 2-strand, 1-strand, or coils. With these, you start with wet or damp hair and style. Braids and cornrows are great for protection, as well. Be sure that your stylist doesn’t braid or cornrow it too tight. This will put tension on the edges, causing them to break off, which would be counterproductive for your hair growing efforts. Afros and wash ‘n’ go styles are basically the same. These can be achieved from undoing your twists or braids and finger styling the hair. Or you can wet it, add some styling/moisturizing products, and let it air dry. There are many variations to these. The possibilities are endless and limited only by your imagination and boldness.

Last, but certainly not least, is the importance of water – outside and inside. A common misconception is that water dries out your hair. Nothing could be further from the truth. The only true and complete moisturizer is water. Nothing moisturizes you or your hair more than water will. It is important to drink at least 8 glasses of water per day to keep your body (and hair) hydrated from the inside. In addition, using water on your hair will help you with styling and moisturizing. It is advantageous to rinse your hair in the morning, style it, then leave it to dry. If getting your whole head wet everyday doesn’t fit into your styling routine, you can spritz it with a bottle of water infused with oil. Extra virgin olive oil is great for virtually all human uses because its’ pH matches ours very closely. Its not heavy so it wont weigh your hair down. It’s great for the scalp because it soaks in quickly.

Meet Cuban Author and Playwright Teresa Dovalpage

Please welcome my special guest, award-winning Cuban playwright and novelist Teresa Dovalpage. She’s here today to talk about her novel, Habanera.

Teresa has a Ph.D. in Latin American Literature and is the author of five novels, three in Spanish and two in English, and a collection of short stories in Spanish. Her plays has been staged in Chicago by Aguijon Theater and in small theaters in Miami. Her articles, reviews and short stories have appeared in Rosebud, Latino Today, Afro-Hispanic Review, Baquiana, La Peregrina, Letras Femeninas, El Nuevo Herald and other publications. She currently works as a freelancer for The Taos News and the bilingual paper Mas New Mexico.

Teresa presently lives in Taos, New Mexico, where she teaches Spanish and Spanish Literature at UNM-Taos.

Q: Thanks for this interview, Teresa! When did you decide you wanted to become a writer?

A: Thank you, chica! Now that I think of it, I probably decided to become a writer when I was a teenager. I grew up in Havana during the 80’s and entertainment options were quite limited then-camping out in rustic settings or going to Saturday night parties. I was never the cheez boom bah type (in fact, I was a nerd) and was afraid of snakes so I stayed home in the company of books. After reading thousands of pages, there came a time when I thought, “Hey, I bet I can write one too.” And I began to write…some really awful stories, according to my mother.

Q: Did anyone in your family write or have creative interests?

A: My grandfather used to have long conversations with himself and he often wrote them down. He transcribed them carefully, in dialogues between two characters “Yo” and “Mí mismo” (I and Myself). I don’t know if this counts as creativity, though… I tried to depict a few of his eccentricities in Ponciano, the main character’s grandfather in my novel Habanera, a Portrait of a Cuban Family.

Q: Did you have any struggles or difficulties when you started writing?

A: While I lived in Cuba I didn’t think there would be any opportunity for me to publish my books so I just keep writing for the love of it, por amor al arte. But I knew I would eventually leave the island, which happened in 1996. Once I came to “La Yuma,” as we call the United States, it was quite a smooth road. I didn’t even have an agent when I began, just sent the manuscript of A Girl like Che Guevara to as many publishing houses as I could think of. “Someone is going to pick it up, someday,” I figured.

Q: Did you have any mentors?

A: Pues claro! There are two writers that I greatly admire and consider my mentors, mis maestras. One is Lorraine Lopez, author of The Gifted Gabaldón Sisters and a finalist of the 2010 PEN /Faulkner Award. I always learn a lot about plot development and structure from reading her books. And my fellow Cuban Ana Cabrera Vivanco, currently living in Spain and author of Las Horas del Alma, a brilliant novel that I expect to see translated into English soon.

Q: Let’s talk now about your novel, Habanera, which has garnered some rave reviews. What is it about and what was your inspiration for it?

A: It started as a memoir, but at a given moment I realized I had reinvented history too much. After some prodding from my mother, who called me a liar among other things, I decided to turn it into fiction. It is loosely based on my own family, though I added many events that never happened in reality. (There was no ghost at home, at least that I knew of.) But the characters are inspired in my parents and grandparents who were-and are-a weird and motley crew.

Q: Habanera combines quirky humor with compelling drama. How do you decide when to incorporate humor in this type of novel? Is it a conscious decision or does it come natural?

A: Well, some things that people find funny were never intended to be humorous at all, hehehe…

Q: One of the reviewers wrote: “Dovalpage is a master of quirky, lovable characters, and emotionally resonant narrative.” How do you create your characters and make them genuine? How do you make your prose shine with emotion?

A: In this case, I copied most of the characters from reality so creating “genuine” characters was relatively easy. After all, I knew the models well… As for the emotion part, I try to give as many details as I can, to get inside the characters’ heads and let hem do the talking.

Q: What was your writing process like while working on Habanera? Was it difficult to go back in time and relive that experience?

A: Since I started it as a memoir the writing process was like keeping a journal backwards. I wrote down a series of episodes as they came to my memory (the unfortunate event with the Christmas pig at home, the visits to the cemetery…) But when I decided to turn it into a novel I changed the timeframe, from the 80’s to the 90’s, so I had to go back and rewrite some scenes… In general it was fun to relive my childhood experiences. I could see for the first time how quirky it really was.

Q: Tell us what the revision process is like for you. Do you edit as you write or do you edit later?

A: Both. I edit as I write and when I finish the manuscript, I have someone read the final draft too, particularly when it is in English. Ay, these pesky prepositions! My husband Gary has been very helpful in that respect.

Q: How was your road to publication?

A: It hasn’t been too difficult. After my first novel in English, A Girl like Che Guevara, was published by Soho Press, I had three more novels (in Spanish) published-Posesas de La Habana Posesas de La Habana, (Crazy Ladies of Havana, PurePlay Press, 2004), Muerte de un murciano en la Habana (Death of a Murcian in Havana) that was a runner-up for the Herralde Award in 2006 and El Difunto Fidel (The Late Fidel) that won the Rincon de la Victoria Award in Spain in 2009. It was a little more complicated to find a home for a collection of short stories in Spanish, Por culpa de Candela and other stories, but I finally did. And then came Habanera…

Q: What do you love most about the writer’s life?

A: The fact that I can write at home when I feel like it, surrounded by my cats and dogs…And wearing my moo-moo, though I only do that when my husband isn’t around. And most importantly, to hear from the readers, to get the personal feedback that makes all the butt-hours spent in front of the computer worthy. There is a fan of Cuban Literature in Spain who has created a website called La Biblioteca Cubana de Barbarito (Barbarito’s Cuban Library). When I get a message from him or from another reader, I feel in seventh heaven…

Q: What Latina authors have inspired you?

A: Many of them! But I want to mention Elena Avila, who sadly passed away last March. She wrote Woman Who Glows in the Dark, a national bestseller about curanderismo, and several beautiful plays. I used Woman Who Glows in the Dark as a textbook in my Santeria and Curanderismo class at the University of New Mexico and it inspired me to write a book on that topic, 101 Questions to a Curandera, that I am presently co-authoring with an eight-generation curandera, Patricia Padilla. The only thing I regret is not having been able to meet Elena in person.

Q: Did you establish a connection with other Latina writers when you started writing? How important do you think is a supportive community for budding writers?

A: Bueno, we have a very supportive and active community in NuncaSolas! I also have a wonderful circle of Latina writers and we trade first drafts and give each other advice. It is an invaluable help.

Q: What advice would you give aspiring writers?

A: Don’t store rejection letters… I have heard that some writers do it but can’t imagine anything more depressing, plus it seems like bad Feng Shui. And above all, keep writing!

Visit Teresa Dovalpage’s website at