Mar 072016

Poison Ivy Relief with Pine Tar Salve and Pine Tar Soap

Stacy wrote to me asking;

Any suggestions for one of your products to help relieve poison ivy itchiness?

Thanks for asking Stacy!  I know the pain and irritation of Poison Ivy!

You could try my Pine Tar Salve.

Pine Tar is a traditional treatment for poison ivy. I also add some other helpful ingredients for itchy skin including Neem and herbal infusion. Check out the listing for why these ingredients are good. According to my customers, my pine tar salve has been helping their hard to treat itchy skin conditions.

Keep in mind though that the Pine Tar Salve is black and could stain. Also, it has a strong smell of pine that some people like and others don’t.

You Could Try My Pine Tar Soap

Also, I have Pine Tar Soap, which -although isn’t as strong – is good for wide spread issues, scalp itchiness, will sooth skin and will also stop the poison Ivy from spreading.

Oct 152014

Acne Face Mask with White Willow Bark

Overzealous sebum secretion is a major contributor to acne. While it is natural to create some oils, too much tends to get trapped in pores, starts developing bacteria which the skin reacts to by becoming inflamed and developing pimples. Masks for acne absorb oil, wash away debris and keep bacteria away.

I developed my mask to address all the topical reasons acne develops and my customers are really happy with the product.


All you need to do is mix a teaspoon or more to a small bowl of water, yogurt or honey and spread over face.

Mix with any of the following;

  • WATER if you want maximum absorption of sebum.
  • YOGURT if you have acne and dry skin, the fat in yogurt will help keep the skin moisturized.
  • HONEY to sooth and calm your skin.

Mix a teaspoon of mask with enough liquid for easy spreadibility. Allow to dry on skin and wash off. Use once or twice a week.



This American mined clay works so well as a mask because it does three things very well.

  1. It absorbs the extra oil on your face
  2. It draws out pour blockages.
  3. It also attracts and takes in toxins that might be contributing to the bacterial growth on the face.

In fact, it has been studied for its potential to attract and absorb toxins for skin exposed to allergens, poisons, and other skin irritants.

There are many different types of clays and each contains it own unique signature mix of trace minerals like potassium, iron and magnesium which probably helps clay provide an environment inhospitable to bacteria.


This natural source for salicin is the grandfather of present day Salicylic acid and sodium salicylate — a palatable form of the very familiar pain reliever and anti-inflammatory medicine, aspirin. Salicylic acid is a major active ingredient in the popular but expensive skin care regimen, Proactiv.

Salicin is good to treat acne sufferers as it not only acts as an anti-inflammatory (say goodbye to enflamed, red skin) but is also an acid which loosens extra layers of skin and allows it to be shed away instead of clogging your pores. Its presence also prevents the growth of bacteria.

The strong relationship between White Willow bark and Aspirin means that those with allergies to aspirin should avoid ingredients containing Willow Bark, Wintergreen and Spearmint.


This lovely and clean smelling herb has shown considerable antibacterial properties in studies and makes it an excellent choice for my face mask.(


This herb is another source of base salicylic acid and methyl salicylate. Methyl Salicylate is refreshing and cooling to inflamed skin.


I can find very little reliable evidence that Spirolina is good for your skin or face yet I just can’t help feel it is the perfect ingredient to mix with the others. It is jam packed with a variety of proteins, vitamins and minerals. I’ve included the list from Wikipedia on my website at WWW.ZIRYABS.COM and I’ll continue to research this ingredient and continue to use it without evidence of its greatness for now. One of the additional benefits of Spirolina is its bright green color which is a great color for reddened skin.


Works well as an absorber of unwanted dirt as well as a gentle exfoliator when you wash off the mask. It also provides a good source of silica to the mixture.


Sea Buckthorn Powder, also known as Hippophae requires further study on its usefulness for many things including as a source of nutrition as well as medicinal potential. I found this quote calling for further study printed in Scientific and Academic Publishing (

“Rich source of natural antioxidants such as ascorbic acid, tocopherols, carotenoids, flavonoids, while they contain proteins, vitamins (especially vitamin C), minerals, lipids (mainly unsaturated fatty acids), sugars, organic acids and phytosterols. Animal and human studies suggest that sea buckthorn may have various beneficial effects: cardioprotective, anti-atherogenic, antioxidant, anti-cancer, immunomodulatory, anti-bacterial, antiviral, and wound healing and anti-inflammatory. ”

Meanwhile, we have some impressive anecdotal reports on the healing impact of seabuckthorn oil on skin, especially on damaged, scarred and burned skin. Given its high level of Vit C., I conclude that Seabuckthorn Powder would have similar benefits of a Vit C. serum on photoaging. one study concluded that their mixture of Vit C resulted in clinically visible and statistically significant improvement in wrinkling when used topically for 12 weeks. This clinical improvement correlates with biopsy evidence of new collagen formation.


While nothing proves conclusively that Aloe Vera can heal as much as it is said to heal, I do know that I like using Aloe Vera on cuts, scrapes and burns because it feels good. My grandmother grew it and used it on her skin and, when I went to Kenya, I learned that the Samburu warriors used it to heal everything from cuts to pink eye. I use it in my mask suspecting it will help soothe and heal sore, acne challenged skin.


Cinnamon, like Turmeric, has gotten a lot of attention recently for its uses outside of flavoring food. Studies suggest cinnamon has strong antibacterial action as well as may encourage blood flow to the skin and increase collagen production. I believe it is milder then clove but caution should be used when applying cinnamon to skin as too much might be irritating.


One of my favorite ingredients, Neem is known as the tree of gold in India for it many uses including acting as both an antibacterial and an anti-inflammatory. Neem Powder is not oily.


This seaweed is a great ingredient in a mask as it helps thicken the mask while adding potentially beneficial nutrients including Beta Carotene.

GUAR GUM is also a thickener helping to bond the ingredients together when moistened and helps mixture stick to your face.

This product and the above description is not meant to claim that this mask can treat or cure your acne. The FDA protects your safety from claims of products having any medicinal benefits without scientifically recognized and approved proof.

Jul 312014

ZirYabs Oil Face Clanser

The idea of cleansing your face with oil to prevent blacheads and Milia may sound strange to some people but for some reason when I first heard about the Oil Cleansing Method (OCM) or Oil Cleansing Treatment (OCT) it made some kind of sense to me.

Oil cleans oil, I’ve known this for a long time and often use oil to remove other old or unwanted oils on objects. Oils have worked well to remove tar from my feet and even had some impact on getting it off towels. It also works to get off sticky substances off of objects or to clean hardened oil off of cooking surfaces.

Knowing this, I see no reason why oil isn’t a great substance to use on those oils blocking our pores.

Oil Can Open Blockages

True, oil is also the cause of blockages but it is internal oil called sebum. Sebum is natures way of cleansing our pores of  dead skin cells. However, sometimes this doesn’t go exactly to plan. Too much sebum or other complication can mean that the sebum clumps up with skin and hair  and gets trapped in our pores.  This can cause bacteria to develop which become pimples.

Black heads occur in a similar way, forming when our natural oil gets trapped in a hair follicle and the oil oxidizes and turns dark. While there is no infection related to blackheads, most of us would prefer not to have them.

For years I’ve been told to be careful using things that will block my pores, especially oil laden lotions and makeup. I was told to look for noncomedogenic (a blackhead is known as a comedeo) products to prevent my pores from getting clogged.

When I began getting those small white pumps around my eyes as I got older called milia ( small epidermal inclusion cysts) I was strongly urged to use only oil-free or water-based products on my face by an esthetician in order to avoid milia and blackheads. I followed her advice for several years but still got those damned white spots.

All accepted wisdom needs to be questioned every now and then. I still agree that oil laden and greasy things left on skin for too long is likely to block pores.  However, it seems to me the right oils used properly can prevent and maybe even lessen blackheads and milia by loosening up stubborn sebum and allowing it to be cleansed away.

It may be coincidental but ever since I’ve been using high quality pure oils to gently cleanse my face, I have no white bumps on my face, eyelids or around my eyes and even the bumps that are deep in my skin under my eyes are less noticeable and bumpy.

May 212014

E8304-Kosh-Kol-sea-buckthornTibetans have been using Sea Buckthorn Oil for centuries for health and the treatment of illness. I had heard that the Russians had used Sea Buckthorn oil  to treat Chernobyl radiation exposure which I didn’t think much about ether way until one of my clients was looking at my Face Serum and I started to tell her about Sea Buckthorn Oil. She nodded knowingly, a small smile on her face. With a slight accent she told me she knew of Sea Buckthorn because her father would grow it and make home made ointments out of it. I asked her where he lived and she told me he was Russian. Then I asked her what he did for a living, she told me he was a Russian Nuclear Physicist! Wow. Obviously not proof that Sea Buckthorn Oil will work to treat radiation burns but a powerful vote in its favor for that and other uses.

I began using Sea Buckthorn Oil from the berries in many of my products inclduding my Face Serum and my Lotions after buying a small amount and being immediately impressed with the oil’s color and fragrance. The oil derives it’s rich golden red almost opaque color from a high level of carotenoids.

Carotenoids are organic pigments and there are over 600 varieties of them. I imagine just exploring the mysteries of individual carotenoids could keep a few scientists busy for a long time but there is a lot already known about the benefits of some specific carotenoids. One benefit we have known a long time is the benefit to our eyes.   As the name implies, one of the most abundant carotenoid providers is carrots. Carrots are eye food according to mothers everywhere.  While there’s little evidence that carrots can actually improve vision, there is little debate on their protective value.  For one thing,  the carotenoids in carrots protect your retina from blue and near-ultraviolet light damage.

Beta-carotene is one important variety of carotenoid.  The more intense the color of the source of beta-carotene, the higher amount it has in it. Beta-carotene is a recognized antioxidant. We hear the word “antioxidant” thrown around so much, I really want to do more research to understand what is true and what is hype about antioxidants. However, for now it is my understanding that antioxidants neutralize, capture or somehow protect us from “free-radicals”. It sounds like there is a war going on at a microscopic level going inside our bodies! Whether this is an accurate analogy or not, I am told that free radicals are damaging to cells, can cause the visual signs of aging  and that beta-carotene can stop them or slow them down. Studies and anecdotal evidence concur.

Topical vitamin A may be helpful for treatment of aging skin. One double-blind, placebo-controlled study found that a 0.4% vitamin A lotion applied three times a week significantly reduced the number of “fine” wrinkles in seniors. 42 Benefits were also seen in terms of some biochemical measures of skin health.”   NYU Langone Medical Center 

To read a great article on Sea Buckthorn Oil, both seed and berry, check out:

Feb 172014

Essential fatty acids (EFAs) include Omega-6 (n-6) and omega-3 (n-3).

Essential fatty acids are crucial to skin function and appearance.

“Topical application of oil is an effective means of delivering EFAs to the skin and, eventually, to the rest of body. Because a significant portion of ingested EFAs may be oxidized by the liver before reaching peripheral tissues, topical application may be a more efficient route of delivery for skin effects, especially during deficiency ”  

Linus Pauling Institute

It is likely, according to studies cited by the Linus Pauling Institute, that addition of various EFA-rich oils both dietary and topical Essential Fatty Acids can;

  • Have profound effects on  immune and inflammatory responses.
  • Omega-3 can protect skin from photoaging
  • Omega-6 can alleviate symptoms associated with skin sensitivity and inflammatory skin disorders
  • Decrease the inflammatory response of the skin of both the dermal and epidermal layers.
Dec 042013

I have had many requests for eczema treatments but since I do not suffer from eczema (grateful!) myself, I figured I should focus on making things that I could test personally.  I have changed my mind today.

Yesterday a client came into the shop telling me that my Rescue Me was working on his wife’s terrible eczema. He described her fight with incredible itchiness that wont leave her alone and her nightly battles with truly being uncomfortable in her own skin. It sounds so difficult that if I could make something to really help her, wouldn’t that be great?

My initial research surprised me, I had no idea just how big a problem dermatitas is.  According to, approximately 1 in 18 people suffer from eczema in the United States.  Tht’s 5.51% or 15 million people.

With that many people, you’d think there would be thousands of solutions, right? Well, yes and no. There may be a 1000 solutions but perhaps it is difficult to find one that works for each individual case.

Some of the problems associated with curing ezcema seems to be

  1. There are at least 7 types of conditions that we call ezcema (more correctly called dermitatis) each different and cause by different things.
  2. each individual and situation is different in countless ways
  3. Not all cures
    • work for everyone
    • are available to everyone
    • are known by all people.
    • are safe or suitable for the health of all people.
    • suit every person’s needs, life situation, ability to use etc
  4. Each possible treatment exists within a type of treatments (established medical treatment for instance)  and the other types aren’t considered.

I am not a Doctor, a scientist or trained herbologist. What I am very good at assimilating disparate pieces of information from an array of sources and arrive at solutions that may be just a little outside of the regular approach to a problem.  I should describe this more in another post but I suspect that really knowledgeable specialists get so close to their own subject that they need generalists like me to help translate their information to a wider arena.

Despite the challenges, I suspect Eczema is a great candidate for natural treatments since people around the world for all ages have been attempting to treat it. This means we have millions of anecdotal experiences and millions of experimenters to learn from.

First though, here’s some information I’ve found on eczema:

Names for Eczema

Eczema, Dermatitis,  Atopic eczema, Atopic dermatitis.

Types of Eczema


The term ‘atopic’ refers to a personal and family tendency to develop eczema, asthma and/or hay fever.


Contact dermatitis is the most common type of work related skin disease.


Seborrhoeic eczema tends to affect the scalp, face, torso and flexures in both adults and children or babies.


Discoid eczema is very distinct with ‘coin shaped’ discs of eczema the size of a fifty pence piece.


Gravitational eczema (also called varicose or stasis eczema) is common later in life.


Also known as “eczema cracquelée”, Asteatotic eczema almost always affects people over the age of 60.


The key characteristic of pompholyx eczema is blistering that is restricted to the hands and feet.

Once I read the above descriptions I realize i have suffered from eczema, I just didn’t know it. I had the last one, pompholyx dermititas on my hands for one year at college.

Description of Causes of Eczema

I found a great description of what eczema is at the National Eczema Society here.  Here is an excerpt:

If you have eczema, your skin may not produce as much fats and oils as other people’s, and will be less able to retain water. The protective barrier is therefore not as good as it should be. Gaps open up between the skin cells because they are not sufficiently plumped up with water.

Moisture is then lost from the deeper layers of the skin, allowing bacteria or irritants to pass through more easily. Some everyday substances contribute to breaking down the skin. Soap, bubble bath and washing-up liquid, for example, will remove oil from anyone’s skin, but if you have eczema your skin breaks down more easily, quickly becoming irritated, cracked and inflamed.

Because it is prone to drying out and is easily damaged, skin with eczema is more liable to become red and inflamed on contact with substances that are known to irritate or cause an allergic reaction.

Home Remedies for Eczema

Now I begin my research on home remedies. The first listing I found:

I’m going to focus on topical remedies though. As i come across suggestions I will try to remember to lsit them here. In 10 minutes I found:

  • Coconut Oil
  • Olive Oil
  • Aloe Vera Gel
  • Flax oil
  • Evening Primrose
  • Neem Oil
  • Oatmeal
  • Menthol
  • rosemary oil
  • vit e
  • Sea Salt (more info see:
  • Magnesium
  • Cod Liver Oil
  • echinacea root
  • comfrey leaf
  •  plantain leaf herb
  • calendula flowers
  • yarrow flowers
  • rosemary leaf

To be continued…

Nov 192013

When developing my own Face Serum, I had an idea of what I wanted to include in the recipe however when it came to pricing, I wasn’t sure what was  reasonable. I wanted to make sure my serum was comparable (or better!) then the best face serums out there. I also wanted to make an affordable face serum.

This led me to do a face serum comparison according to ingredients and price. I actually looked at many other face serums I don’t include here but the ones I included are the ones I picked for quality ingredients, good ratings and good reviews.

I even added a link where you can buy these face serums.

The Face Serum Comparison

Dr. Haushka Normalizing Day Oil, $42.95.  RMS Beauty Oil, $74 Aesop Fabulous Face Oil, $55
ZirYab’s Rose Petal Serum $20
  • Anthyllis Vulneraria Extract
  • Apricot Kernel Oil
  • Sweet Almond Oil
  • Peanut Oil
  • Carrot Root Extract
  • Hypericum Perforatum Flower/Leaf/Stem Extract
  • (Sunflower) Seed Oil
  • Calendula  Extract
  • Wheat Germ Oil
  • Melia Azadirachta Leaf Extract
  • Jojoba Seed Oil
  • Wheat  Bran Extract
  • Fragrance (Parfum)
  • Linalool
  • Citronellol
  • Citral
  • Geraniol
  • Farnesol
  • Benzyl Benzoate
  • Limonene
  • Eugenol
  • Benzyl Salicylate
  • Cocoa Seed Butter

Purchase: Dr. Huashka Normalizing Day Oil


  • Jojoba Seed Oil
  • Rosehip Seed Oil
  • Herbs Infused in Jojoba) Seed Oil:
    • St. John’S Wort
    • Horsetail
    • Marigold
    • Country Sarsaparilla
    • Turmeric
    • Ashwagandh
    • Licorice
    • Olive Leaf
  • BuritiFruit Oil,
  • Tamanu Seed Oil
  • Tocopherol (non-GMO)
  • Vanilla) Extract

Purchase RMS Beauty Oil

  • Macadamia Seed Oil
  • Sweet Almond Oil
  • Camellia Japonica Seed Oil
  • Evening Primrose Oil
  • Ylang Flower Oil
  • Wheat Germ Oil
  • Juniperus Communis Fruit Oil
  • Hazel Seed Oil
  • Tocopherol
  • Jasminum Officinale (Jasmine) Oil
  • <%