skin

Our poor Oscar the cat has been dealing with mats for the first time this summer.   He has never had this problem before so I was surprised when several pretty large mats showed up on his back (at the tail end) seemingly out of nowhere.

It could be that he is getting old or that  Henry is no longer here to lick his back (he regularly bathed Oscar) or it could simply be because he has been laying in the dirt all summer, although that is not so unusual so who knows.

Anyway, the thought of shaving the poor guy wasn’t something I was too fond of, but he was really uncomfortable so we were looking into that.  In the meantime, I set out on a search for any other ideas out there and came across someone recommending putting baby oil on the mats and they would just fall out.

Well, I was a little skeptical and didn’t think that baby oil was such a good idea when cats lick themselves so much.  But, without much to lose I tried a little olive oil, which wouldn’t hurt him should he lick it.  With the first one, I wasn’t even really sure whether it worked because I couldn’t find it or remember exactly where it was.  So I did the largest one next and within a few days it was gone.  Hmmm.

I wasn’t sure how this was working, whether it undid the mat or made it fall off, but they were gone so I did another one.  This time we actually found the mat on the floor so it appears that they are falling off.  Strange, but a few oily days and he is mat free and a whole heck of a lot more comfortable.

So, Here it is in a nutshell..

Remove Matted Fur in Cats and Dogs

  1. In a small dish, put a tablespoon or so of Olive Oil or Vegetable Oil.
  2. Get a cotton ball or cotton swab.  It needs to be something pretty absorbent and easily squeezed.   Softness is also a key as these are very tender for your animal and being gentle is really important.
  3. Dab the cotton ball in the oil and gently dab it at the base of the mat until fully coated.  Be very gentle, but you may have to gently hold your animal in place to get this done.  You do not need to get the underside of the mat, moving the mat that much could be very painful.
  4. Wait a couple of days and check to see if it is gone.
  5. Continue to be gentle in that area as the skin where the matted fur was will still be tender for a while.
  6. Once all the matted fur is gone and your animal has had ample time to heal, give them a good brushing and don’t forget to do it regularly to try to avoid this in the future.  This last step is something I am definitely going to need to work on.

Note: If there are multiple mats you may want to treat them one or two at a time.  This is only because this is oil that you are dealing with and it can be a little messy.  By only doing a small spot at a time you may minimize the mess.  I also found that if I applied the oil right before we went to bed, I could localize most of the oil spots to the place where he sleeps at night and not all over the house.  Another tip, rub a little dish soap into the stains before washing the item with the oil spots to help loosen the oil from the fabric.

I have been a little absent for the last week or so, somewhat due to the fact that summer just boggles my mind.  I always wonder how we are going to fill the days and we strategize about how to best take advantage of the summer with trips and bbqs and house projects and then all of a sudden the summer is booked solid and half over.  It gets so busy…  How does that happen?

But the main reason for my absense has been the sickness that has run rampant through our household for the last week.  I got a really bad cold at the beginning of the week and then by tuesday Ian was throwing up.  As the week went on we both got sicker and sicker.  Mine was manageable under normal circumstances, but with him being almost scary sick, I never got the chance to rest and get better and by friday afternoon I was just in tears.  I was so damn tired I couldn’t think straight.  Thank god my mother arrived later that day and did a really impressive job of knowing exactly what would help me the most and make me feel better.  Thank-you Mom!

Ian has never  been this ill.  He is generally a really healthy kid.  I am pretty sure he got rotavirus, a very common childhood illness but it also could have been viral gastroenteritis (although none of the rest of us got sick so I doubt this).  It says that almost every child will get rotavirus by the time they are three and that in parts of the world it can be a significant cause of childhood death.  Scary and I can see if you didn’t have resources or access to decent healthcare that this could turn into something very significant for many children.

I remember Ada had this when she was about eight months old and both Karli and I got it as well.  I have also heard from several friends on their first kids that they have gotten it along with their kids recently.  Must be going around.  From what I read, you usually will not get it again or if you do it will be very mild.  When you do get it again it is often due to a new strain, which would make sense why we get it when we have kids as I am sure the strain has changed since we were kids.

So days of fever and puking and diarhea came and went and Ian aquired one nasty case of diaper rash.  Ooh, it was ugly.  We tried everything we had left over in the house and nothing was helping and he was experiencing a significant amount of discomfort.   Finally I remembered that I had heard someone at a baby shower recently talking about this amazing diaper cream you could get by asking the pharmacy.

Unfortunately I didn’t remember what it was called.  So I sent Karli to talk to the pharmacist who looked at him funny and said Uh a lot.  But finally she gave him a tub of cream called Calmoseptine.  It contains 20% zinc oxide, which is significantly higher than your average diaper cream.  It also contains menthol, calomine and lanolin among other things.

Well, let me tell you, it totally worked.  Within 24 hours the rash was really starting to look better and was all but gone in a couple of days.

I’m not sure that this was exactly what was recommended at the baby shower, but I know that I can now fully recommend it.

Mom Tip:  Calmoseptine Diaper Rash Ointment

for persistent, severe, and painful diaper rash

At our pharmacy we had to speak with the pharmacist to get this stuff, but it does appear that it is available at amazon so it may vary from place to place where you will find it.

It seems like this week has been the week of small realizations.  I was looking in the mirror this morning, washing my face, and I noticed that something was different.  I stared at myself for a few moments and realized that my skin was looking better than it has in years.

The dark circles under my eyes are lightening up and there was a few sun/age spots on the side of my face that are fading as well.  A lot of the redness is gone too, leaving my complexion more even.

I only wear makeup when I look in the mirror and say “wow, I really need to cover that up”  or when I’m going out.  When I thought about it I couldn’t remember putting makeup on, outside of last friday when I went out with a friend, in several weeks.

A little bit of a tan helps as well, but I continue to be pleased with all the effects The Gabriel Method is having on me.  Now if we could just get those pounds to start flying off.    In good time.

When Ian was just a few months old he broke out in what I thought was a rash.  He had patches of light pink bumps all over his body.   I was not familiar with exzema and this didn’t look like the red raw patches I had seen on other kids with eczema.  

I took him to the doctor and they made me go in the back door where they send the really contagious kids.  I was a little freaked out.  What did they think it was?  But, it was a simple case of eczema.  Ok, now what.   She recommended that I lotion him up twice a day and if that didn’t work I could call and get the prescription cream.

At the time Ada was taking a class at The Little Gym (a wonderful place by the way, especially for the toddler age group).  I was talking about this with the other moms there and one of them popped up.   Her son had also had eczema and she recommended
Cetaphil Cream.

She said that she had tried everything, even the prescription cream and nothing had worked very well until another mom had recommended the
Cetaphil Cream.  

Well, it worked like a charm.  I lathered him up twice a day and within a couple of days there was significan improvement and then it was gone and hasn’t really been back.  I continue to apply the cream after every bath and then when I see I little patch I go back to twice a day and it never even gets going.

I recently recommended this to a friend who was going through the same thing and was about to start on the prescription cream and she tried it and it worked great for her too.  

If your child suffers from eczema, this is definitely worth a try.  It is very inexpensive and overall a great cream.  I now use it as a body lotion because I have pretty dry skin.  

Mom Tip – Recommended Product for Eczema – Cetaphil Cream

This is the kind that comes in a tub, not a tube.  There is a lotion and a cream.  Make sure to get the cream.

I also use the Cetaphil cleanser as my everyday facial cleanser andI love it, cheap and works great.  Gotta love that.

Do you have experiences with eczema, cetaphil or other words of wisdom on this topic?  Please share by adding a comment below.

Recently, I went to get my hair done. I am pretty bad about doing this and maybe get in twice a year if I am lucky. Usually I wait on pins and needles for my stylist to tell me how damaged my hair is and how I should really be using this product or that, for sale at the salon of course.

But, I waited and waited and this comment never came. Instead, while she was cutting away, she exclaimed, seemingly out of nowhere… “Your hair is gorgeous! It is thick and soft and healthy, what in the world have you been doing?”

Well, I have never felt like my hair was anything close to gorgeous. When I was a small child, i had a severe case of cradle cap and would itch and pick at my scalp. This has left me with permanent bald spots on the top of my head, on either side of center. I have always had to compensate for this when styling my hair and it really bothers me.

My mother has thinning hair and I became really worried that as I aged, my hair would start to disappear. That being a huge nightmare to me, I started to do research about hair thinning and health as well as restorative growth of hair. I am not a big fan of pharmaceuticals or chemical treatments and so decided to try to avoid those types of products. Rogain and the like are also targeted at a specific kind of genetic pattern baldness and this is not really my issue, so skip that.

I tried several types of hair products and nothing really came of it and after wading through research and article after article of crap, I was almost ready to resign to the fact that there wasn’t much I could do. Then I came across a good piece of advice and some pieces of information that just seemed to make sense.

What do I have to lose? I thought. And so I changed two simple parts of my hair care routine and a little less than a year later, my hairdresser is giving my hair accolades and asking me, rather than telling me, what I am doing to take such good care of my hair.

So, are your squirming to know yet? Well, don’t get too excited. It is so simple. Here it is…

1. Stop washing your hair so much.

and

2. Stop using hair products with parabens in them.

That’s it!

NOTE: I am not a physician and this certainly won’t work for everyone, but I have noticeably thicker, healthier hair and even have new growth in the thin areas that have persisted since my youth. Please don’t hold me responsible for your results.

Here is a little more detail and some tips for those of you who may be interested in this.

About Washing Your Hair

It is recommended that you only wash your hair once a week, but that was impossible for me. I actually started with every other day and then lengthened the time by a day or so until my hair was so bad I couldn’t stand it and made that my schedule. I wash my hair on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Twice a weak. By the last day (especially Tuesday), my hair is starting to get on the greasy side, but hey that’s what pony tails are for.

Now, this does not mean that you can’t or shouldn’t get your hair wet in between washings. Washing your hair, in this context, means putting shampoo on your hair. In between washings, I rinse my hair thoroughly and rub down my scalp (no fingernails). I also use a small amount of conditioner (also paraben free) to help with manageability.

When you do wash your hair, you may need to use a little more shampoo than you usually do, but do not wash your hair more than once.

Paraben Free Products

Parabens are preservatives that are used in cosmetics and pharmaceuticals. They can cause allergic reactions and skin irritation. Toxins pass easily through the skin and hair follicles are active pathways. Buildup of these toxins can prevent your hair growing and regrowing to it fullest potential.

There are many paraben free products available. I use Avalon Organics Nourishing Lavender Shampoo and Conditioner., but there are many available and they can usually be found at your local health food store or easily online.

These products can often be a little more expensive, although if you shop around and look online you should be able to find a good deal on a great product. Also, if you have a Trader Joes near you, check there. I pay $4.99 for the products I use. The retail price is about $8.95. That’s a significant savings.

The only other thing I can think of to note is that you may need to use a little more shampoo on days that you wash your hair. More natural hair care products are not as foamy as those hair care products that are full of chemicals, and then on top of that, your hair is dirtier than usual and that keeps the soap from foaming as well, so just use a little more. No need to go overboard, just a little extra. Don’t however wash your hair twice. This is very damaging.

I hope that this simple two step system to healthier, fuller hair benefits you. Of course there are no guarantees and it won’t happen over night, but I can say that I have noticeably more hair where my thinning spot are and my stylist thinks my hair is gorgeous. What’s better than that?