In this issue:
Science isn't just about what happens in a lab - it's in every corner of your daily living! When you put lotion on your hands or chapstick on your lips, you're taking advantage of science to take care of your body. Using the projects below and in our At-Home Spa Day Guide, you can mix up concoctions to make your skin healthier, stronger, and more up to the job of protecting your body. And these all-natural recipes help you avoid the chemicals that are used to help commercial products last longer.
>> Download our At-Home Spa Day Guide for several natural skin and hair-care recipes!
Not just the scents are at work here to make your bath more relaxing. Try this project and learn what salts can do. (Adult supervision recommended.)
Note: the salts and glycerin can also be found at drug stores.
Rosemary: stimulating, invigorating, deoderizing
Lavender: deoderizing and antibacterial
Note: Essential oils have different grades and must never be taken internally or applied directly on the skin. Use as directed.
Most likely you found it easier to form lather (and more of it!) when using the water with salt rather than the water with no salt. This is because of the difference between hard water and soft water.
Most households in America have hard water. Hard water has a high mineral content, usually with calcium and magnesium, whereas soft water contains less of these minerals. Calcium and magnesium ions in the hard water react with the soap, forming insoluble gray flakes called soap scum rather than a lather. This means you need more soap to get clean and the bathtub gets a grimy ring around it from the leftover soap scum. One way to soften hard bath water is to add bath salts. The calcium and magnesium ions in the water are replaced with sodium and potassium ions from the salt, allowing the soap to lather much more easily. (If your home has soft water, you may not notice too much of a difference in how well the soap lathers in the water with your bath salts and the water without the bath salts. However, the salt and essential oils will still have a beneficial effect on your skin.)
Another benefit of adding bath salts to your bath has to do with osmosis. Osmosis is the movement of water through a membrane (such as your skin) to achieve equilibrium. Your body contains water and salt, whereas an ordinary bath contains mainly water and very little salt. Therefore, water passes through your skin in an effort to balance the concentration of water and salt in you and in your bath. This excess water causes "pruning" (your fingers and toes wrinkle). Adding bath salts to the water causes a more equal balance of salt and water in both you and in the bath, so less water enters your skin and less wrinkling occurs. Salt is also thought to draw impurities and toxins out of your skin and soothes sore muscles!
Great Gift Idea!
Our lips have thin skin that doesn't produce protective oils like the rest of our skin. This means it's very easy for them to dry out with heat and cold and become chapped. Use the following recipe to make a natural lip balm that will moisturize and protect your lips! Most of these ingredients are available online or at health food stores. (Adult supervision recommended.)
Lip balm helps provide a protective layer on the lips that locks moisture in and helps heal chapping. The various ingredients in this lip balm work together to keep your lips soft and moist:
Learn to make your own soap--in fun designs and colors--with information from teachsoap.com.
Check out this list of 66 natural cleaners and see what new uses you can find for common household products!.
Visit ScienceBuddies to find great ideas for a science fair project on cosmetic chemistry
Many spa products use Dead Sea salt. Sea salt has a higher mineral content than table salt, and the Dead Sea contains some of the saltiest and most mineral-rich water on earth. It is nearly ten times saltier than the ocean!
Did you know that your skin is actually an organ? It has several important jobs: it covers your body and protects it against damage, infection, and drying out. It also helps keep your body at a constant temperature, removes waste, and makes vitamin D.