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Eczema: A Very Personal Struggle

Janis Covey

Baby Cameron

Considering how my daughter’s battle with eczema prompted my journey into clean skin care and later to develop my own skin care line, it’s only fitting that I write a blog about it. 

Rewind to April 2010, my youngest daughter was just three months old and suffering from irritating eczema.  Many trips to the pediatrician resulted with steroid creams and no answers.  Since her mom, me 😊, has a doctorate in pharmacy and is a compounding pharmacist, I felt I needed to find a better solution.  So, the research began.

Although eczema can be caused by several different factors, the two most common seem to be an overreactive immune system and a specific gene mutation.

Let’s start with an over-reactive immune system.  When an over-reactive immune system responds to a “threat”, it creates inflammation.  There are numerous perceived threats that the immune system can react to and no two people’s trigger is the same.  Some common triggers are:

  • Soaps
  • Household cleaners
  • Fragrances (this differs from essential oils, but essential oils can sometimes be a trigger as well)
  • Clothes made with wool or polyester
  • Isothiazolinones (a preservative agent used in personal and hair care products)
  • Cigarette or Cigar Smoke
  • Cocamidopropyl betaine (thickening agent in lotions and cosmetics, foam booster in shampoo)
  • Paraphenylene-diamine (used in hair dyes, henna and temporary tattoos)

Also, research has shown that some people with eczema have a specific gene mutation.  This gene is responsible for producing a protein called Filaggrin.  Filaggrin is responsible to maintaining our body’s protective barrier on the top layer of our skin.  Lack of Filaggrin causes loss of moisture from the skin which allows bacteria and viruses to enter.  This explains why many people with eczema have very dry skin that is prone to infection.

Proteomic analysis of filaggrin deficiency identifies molecular signatures characteristic of atopic eczema.  

Health-related quality of life in adult dermatitis patients stratified by filaggrin genotype.

So, back to 2010 and my daughter’s own struggle with eczema.  As I learned more about eczema and its triggers, I began to look more closely at the products my family was using at that time.  One thing that particularly struck me was the prevalent use of alcohol in lotions, even in natural and organic products.  Now, do not get me wrong, I understand why it is used.  Alcohol is a great preservative and can be an organic ingredient, but when you are suffering with eczema, slathering on a product made with alcohol tends to aggravate eczema patches and not help to nourish and soothe them.  

To start, I decided I needed something more of a balm consistency, something thick and protective, free of water and alcohol, and full of nourishing ingredients to help the skin heal.  The first balms I created were good, but didn't create the long lasting barrier I was hoping for.  That’s when the idea of a lotion bar became evident.  It was perfect, giving the skin all the nourishing ingredients of a balm and using none of the ingredients I was trying to avoid such as alcohol.  And, the best part was the addition of Candelilla wax to create the bar's consistency.  Candelilla wax created the protective skin barrier I was looking to replace.  Now, I needed to help prevent infection.  That’s when I really started researching essential oils and decided upon grapefruit essential oil.  Grapefruit has been shown to inhibit growth of both bacteria and fungus and has soothing effects.

Prevention of polymicrobial biofilms composed of Pseudomonas aeruginosa and pathogenic fungi by essential oils from selected Citrus species.  

The Composition, Antioxidant and Antibacterial Activities of Cold-Pressed and Distilled EssentialOils of Citrus paradisi and Citrus grandis (L.) Osbeck. 

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The difference in my daughter’s eczema with in the first couple of applications was amazing.  Even her pediatrician couldn’t get over how great her skin looked.  Even better, she was healing without the use of medications and the bar was immediately soothing. 

I offered the grapefruit lotion bar to friends and family whose children also suffered with eczema, and low and behold, their children experienced the same outcome.  And this became the beginning of what is now Kosmatology.

* These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA and is not intended to diagnose, treat, prevent, or cure any disease. *

Pineapple Perfection

Janis Covey

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Who doesn’t think of a warm tropical island when thinking of pineapples? Even though pineapples have no actual resemblance to pines or apples, they are still worth considering for things other than the fact that it can be delicious. Pineapples are one of America’s favorite tropical fruits but that isn’t the only claim to fame for this wonder fruit.

Pineapples are part of the Bromeliaceae family and is the only edible fruit that comes from this family. It is the enzyme bromelain that gives pineapple its anti-inflammatory properties which have been associated with reduction in swelling, bruising, and muscle pain. It is thought that the activity of bromelain in the body, along with its interaction with the body’s immune system, is what is responsible for the anti-inflammatory properties. The exact science behind how this happens is still being worked out, but it doesn’t mean you can’t reap the benefits.

Bromelain isn’t the only thing pineapples have to offer. Pineapples are high in Vitamin C which has been found to be helpful for immune system function. Considering most of the human body is made up of water, the fact that Vitamin C is a water-soluble antioxidant makes it a breeze for the body to use. In addition to Vitamin C, pineapples have been found to be a good source of manganese and thiamin, both which play an important role in helping the body fight free radicals.

These are only some of the amazing abilities of this fruit, and science is still working on harvesting and utilizing these abilities. Pineapples have been on the scene for many centuries and even though it’s role is ever changing, it always prevails. 

Here's one of my fav ways to incorporate Pineapple into my diet


Pineapple Salad:

  • 1 package (10 ounces) romaine lettuce
  • 1 cup cubed fresh pineapple
  • 1 can mandarin oranges
  • 1/2 cup slivered almonds
  • 1/3 cup flaked coconut toasted
  • 2 green onions chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper
  1. Chop the romaine lettuce
  2. Chop the red bell pepper and onions 
  3. Add pineapple and oranges
  4. Add coconut and almond slivers

I like to dress it with red wine vinegar, olive oil, himalyan salt and a little bit of honey.



Elderberries: The Natural Cold and Flu Fighter

Janis Covey

Elderberries are your immune system’s best friend!  They contain a plethora of vitamins and minerals to keep your immune system a lean, mean disease fighting machine. 


Elderberries are rich in both vitamins A and C which are vital to the immune system’s function. Vitamin C is required for phagocytes and t-cells to preform their disease-fighting tasks. Vitamin A is an immune enhancer that increases the power of the antibody response. It also maintains and restores the integrity and function of all mucosal surfaces including the digestive tract. 

Elderberries also contain chemical compounds called anthocyanidins which are a subgroup of bioflavanoids.  Anthocyanidins are are known to have immunostimulant effects. 

Elderberry Syrup:  A daily dose can assist you in keeping your immune system healthy and help prevent illness. 

2/3 cup dried black elderberries (about 3 ounces)
3 1/2 cups of water
2 Tablespoons of ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon powder
1/2 teaspoon whole cloves
1 cup raw honey (local is best since it can also help with seasonal allergies).  If you would like to keep the recipe vegan or are going to be giving to children under 2 you can substitute Maple Syrup.


  1. Pour water into medium saucepan and add elderberries, ginger, cinnamon and cloves
  2. Bring to a boil and then cover and reduce to a simmer for about 45 minutes to an hour until the liquid has reduced by almost half. 
  3. Remove from heat and let cool enough to be handled.  Pour through a strainer lined with cheesecloth into a bowl.  Then wring out the elderberries wrapped in the cheesecloth. 
  4. Discard the elderberries and let the liquid cool to lukewarm. When it is no longer hot, add 1 cup of honey or sweetener of your choice and stir well.
  5. When well mixed, pour the syrup into a quart sized mason jar or 16 ounce glass bottle of some kind.
  6. The finished syrup will last refrigerated for up to 2 weeks. 


  1. Prevention: 

Adults: 1 tsp one to two times a day

Children: 1/2 tsp once a day

  1. Treament:

Adults: 3 tsp up to 4 times a day 

Children: About half of the adult dose (always check with Pediatrician before starting a new treatment)


Randomized Study of the Efficacy and Safety of Oral Elderberry Extract in the Treatment of Influenza A and B Virus Infections

Elderberry Supplementation Reduces Cold Duration and Symptoms in Air-Travellers: A Randomized, Double-Blind Placebo-Controlled Clinical Trial