Natural Inspirations

4 Skin Loving Benefits of Coconut Oil

Julie Ekelund1 Comment

Coconut oil is one of Mother Nature’s best kept beauty secrets.  It has long been touted as being one of the healthiest foods on the planet helping with weight loss, heart disease and the immune system. What you may not know is this tropical trooper is also a miracle ingredient for natural beauty treatments. The coconut tree is considered the “tree of life” in much of Southeast Asia, India, the Philippines and other tropical locations.  There are over 1500 studies proving the health and beauty benefits of coconut oil. 

Here are 4 ways coconut oil can leave your skin baby soft and beautiful!

1. As a Natural Moisturizer for Dry Skin 

No one likes dry skin and that’s where coconut oil comes in! Medium chain fatty acids (MCTs) provide humectant properties for the skin. What does this mean? MCTs in coconut oil help to hydrate while preventing moisture loss through the skin, since coconut oil helps to provide a protective barrier on the skin's surface. Once you’ve tried a lotion with coconut oil and see what it does for your skin, it’s pretty hard to ever look back!

2. As a Natural Moisturizer for Problem Skin

Coconut oil may provide intense hydration to very dry skin, but it can even be used on acne prone skin without causing further breakouts. This may seem confusing as we’re often led to believe that oil will only cause more oil! The fact is, though, that coconut oil contains Capric acid, Caprylic acid and Lauric acid, all of which offer powerful antimicrobial properties. This simply means they help to heal wounds quickly as well as keep the skin clean and disinfected which is very important when dealing with an inflammatory skin condition such as acne.

3. To Naturally Fade Scars and Stretchmarks

Let’s be honest, scars and stretch-marks can make any woman feel self-conscious! The truth is that all of us have them, even though some are more visible than others. They can be hard to prevent and may seem even harder to treat. What’s your best defense? Vitamin E! This powerful antioxidant rich vitamin is essential for tissue repair and will help to both prevent and fade scars and stretch-marks so that they are hardly noticeable. Coconut oil is a great source of Vitamin E and the best part is that it’s completely natural! Thank you Mother Nature!

4. To Keep Your Skin Young and Radiant

Model, Miranda Kerr, swears by consuming a tablespoon of coconut oil every day for a keeping her skin youthful...and it’s easy to see why! Antioxidants in coconut oil help to fight off free radicals, which are the main cause of aging. Free radicals come from many sources, most notably unhealthy food and environmental pollution. Vitamin E helps to fight off those free radicals by repairing skin and restoring collagen which keeps your skin plump and glowing. Coconut oil is the consistent ingredient in all our hand and body lotions at Natural Inspirations, alongside Shea butter for an intense moisturizing boost! We do not believe in chemicals or synthetic ingredients, but rather providing you with natural ingredients compliments of Mother Nature. Coconut oil and Shea butter form the perfect hydrating base that will leave your skin deeply hydrated and silky to the touch. 

Our lotions come in 4 unique, fresh essential oil-based fragrances with a fragrance free option for sensitive noses. 

Eucalyptus Rosemary Mint is perfect for waking up the senses and leaving you feeling super refreshed!

Apply our Lavender Ylang Ylang lotion at night and say goodbye to a stressful day as you drift off into dreamland!

Fragrance free option for those with sensitive skin. The moisture you want without the irritating scent.

Feeling a bit low? One whiff of our Grapefruit Bergamot lotion will instantly lift your spirits.

Our Orange Ginger lotion is perfect to start your day as it stimulates the senses and gets you ready to go!

These are a few of the wonderful ways coconut oil can make your skin simply gorgeous. Beautiful skin makes us feel more confident, and that confidence will shine through!

Linking Breast Cancer & Hormones

Julie EkelundComment

breast cancer

If you’ve watched any of the NFL games lately, then you know from the pink shoes, pink socks and pink ribbons that October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. Some people are tired of all the pink. I’m not. For me, it’s a reminder to be diligent in choosing a healthy lifestyle, and an opportunity to continue my ongoing discovery on how to do that. So, during this month of Pink, I’ll share with you some of the things that I’ve learned about how to reduce our risk of breast cancer.

Is there a link between hormones and breast cancer?

Yes, there’s a link between hormones and breast cancer. High amounts of estrogen in the blood may increase a woman’s breast cancer risk*1. The hormone estrogen is created naturally in a woman’s body and is essential to the development of the female reproductive system. From our first menstrual period until menopause, estrogen stimulates normal breast cells. It has many non-reproductive functions as well. For example, it helps lower cholesterol, regulate mood, and keep our bones and heart strong. Most estrogen is produced in the ovaries, but smaller amounts are produced in the liver, the adrenal glands, and the breasts. After menopause, estrogen is produced mainly in fat tissue. According to the National Cancer, elevated estrogen levels are a risk factor for breast cancer.*2

How do hormones contribute to breast cancer?

Many of the cells throughout our body – both healthy cells and potentially cancerous ones – contain hormone receptors. These receptors stimulate cell growth when they come in contact with certain hormones. For instance, as estrogen circulates through our bloodstream, it attaches to the estrogen receptors in cancerous cells, causing the cancerous cells to divide and accumulate in our body. In the absence of estrogen, these same cells would stop growing and eventually die. That’s why we need to limit our exposure to hormones. The amount of time our body is exposed to these hormones may increase our risk of breast cancer, as the increased hormones can help cancer cells grow. Circumstances that raise our estrogen levels may include:

  • Early menstruation – before age 12.

  • Taking oral contraceptives in the past 10 years.

  • Giving birth to your first child after 35, or not having children at all; because pregnancy suppresses estrogen levels.

  • Not breastfeeding, since breastfeeding, like pregnancy, suppresses estrogen levels.

  • Late menopause – after age 55.

  • Taking hormone replacement therapy in menopause.

  • Being overweight, especially after menopause. The body makes some of its estrogen in fat tissue, so higher weight means more fat tissue and higher estrogen levels. In fact, some studies suggest that being overweight in menopause can increase your risk by 30-60%.

  • Environmental or artificial estrogens – synthetic substances that behave like the hormone estrogen when they’re absorbed by your body. You may be exposed to these environmental estrogens in some plastics, certain skin creams, some cleaning products, pesticides and weed killers. It’s not yet clear what role these artificial estrogens play in the development of breast cancer, but there is evidence that it is a negative effect.

What can I do to limit my exposure to excessive hormones?

Think Twice

Consider how your non-medical choices can also enhance your overall health—and your personal risk of breast cancer. Every time you eat, drink, or use products, you have an opportunity to make healthy changes in your life.


It’s best to avoid exposing your body to extra hormones, such as estrogen, which are contained in medications such as birth control pills and menopausal hormone replacement therapy. Consider non-hormonal solutions, such as an intrauterine device (IUD) for contraception, lubrication for vaginal dryness, and meditation and acupuncture for hot flashes. If you feel that you require hormonal medication to improve or maintain your quality of life, talk to your doctor. You can limit your risk by taking the lowest dose for the shortest time possible.

Choose Safe Personal Care Products

It’s best to buy products that are made without toxic chemicals. What goes on us can go in us. Ingredients including hormone extracts can be absorbed into the body. Avoid parabens, sulfates, phthalates, petrochemicals and artificial dyes. Some of these chemicals have been shown to increase the risk of breast cancer. Instead of a moisturizer with ingredients you can’t pronounce, choose products that have natural ingredients, such as coconut oil or shea butter and botanical extracts. For information on safer ingredients and product options, visit

Change is a journey. You have to start somewhere. Whether it’s making the choice to avoid unnecessary hormones or rethinking your personal care product choices, roll up your sleeves and get busy. Some changes may be easy to make. Some may feel out of reach. You can only do the best you can—and you should feel good about your efforts. Whatever first step you take is one in the right direction. One step leads to two steps and then more. Small changes can make a big difference!

1 Susan G. Komen “How Hormones Affect Breast Cancer”

2 National Cancer Institute

Exfoliating the Facts About Body Care Products

Julie Ekelund2 Comments

Why Should I Use Natural Body Care Products?

As a co-founder of Natural Inspirations, I'm asked this question all the time. In fact, it was the question I first asked when a friend's cancer diagnosis made me acutely aware of what we put in and on our bodies. It prompted an appreciation for the shift in body care products to natural. From her diagnosis to treatment to recovery, I learned many eye-opening things, including that up to 65% of what we put on our skin can be absorbed into our bodies. Yikes!

Now, think of how many body care products you use a day -- everything from cleanser, moisturizer, body wash, to lotion, deodorant and toothpaste.  Mine totals up to 11 products; how about you? Well, research shows that the average woman uses nine personal care products a day, with 126 chemicals.*  Think about using these products every day. For years. The toxins can build up in our body and can have a negative effect. So the chemicals in our products matter and can make a difference in our health!

My friend's cancer diagnosis served as a catalyst for trying a whole range of natural products. While I felt better about what I was putting on my body, the products themselves weren't as pampering as my then go-tos. The body washes didn't lather, the lotions were runny, the body crèmes didn't sink into my skin, and everything was sticky! I wanted products that had the "good" ingredients with an equally good (read: luxurious and indulgent) experience. It seemed like eliminating the "bad" ingredients in my body care products was going to force me to use products that I didn't like as well. Instead, I put my skin in the game, so to speak, and devoted my days to creating what I couldn't find: natural body care products that pamper.

How Can I Find the Best-For-Me Natural Body Care Products?

Through our Natural Inspirations blog, we'll help you wade through the pros and cons of the choices we have when choosing body care products.  Hopefully the information shared will help you begin to make healthier choices!

Our mantra at Natural Inspirations is "Indulge in the good...Eliminate the bad." What exactly does that mean? It's pretty simple. Use products that contain the fabulous botanical ingredients that nature has to offer, and eliminate the harsh toxins. Here is a list of the top ingredients to avoid in your body care products, and why:


A stabilizer used in cosmetics to prevent ingredients from binding with other ingredients to cause unwanted changes to a product's texture, odor and consistency. Though clinical data indicates that disodium EDTA is not well absorbed by the skin, it has been shown to enhance the dermal penetration of other ingredients contained in the product making it easier for undesirable ingredients to enter your body.


Often shown on an ingredient list as methylparaben, ethylparaben, propylparaben, or butylparaben, parabens are a common synthetic preservative in beauty products.  Continued use of parabens as preservatives has been linked to hormone-disruptive activities, breast cancer, and skin irritation and there are studies that suggest possible carcinogenicity.


The abbreviation of polyethylene glycol is a mixture of compounds. They function in three ways: as emollients, emulsifiers, and as vehicles that help deliver other ingredients deeper into the skin. Because of this penetration enhancing effect, PEGs make it easier for undesirable ingredients to enter your body.


Petroleum based substances covering a wide array of chemicals. Some of these chemicals can cause photosensitivity and skin problems by creating a chemical barrier that prevents skin from "breathing."  This leads to chapping and dry skin.


These chemical plasticizers that soften plastics are also found in beauty products (shown on the ingredient list as diethylphthalate (DEP)) where they stabilize the fragrance, increase spreadability and enhance absorption of skin care products.There may be a relationship between phthalates and adverse effects on human reproduction or development as well as cancer.


Also known as Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) or Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES), these chemicals dissolve the oils on your skin which can cause a drying effect. Used for their foam-building abilities, they cause eye irritation, skin rashes, and allergic reactions.


Labeled FD&C or D&C, they are used to make a cosmetic “pretty”, synthetic dyes are linked to skin allergies and sensitivities.

To learn more about body care ingredients, check out our Ingredient Glossary.

Every week, I hear a new story from a friend, customer or retailer who has chosen to make the change to natural ingredients by trying Natural Inspirations. I'm amazed at the positive impact the right ingredients can make in how our skin reacts.  Small changes can make a big difference! To see for yourself and inspire others, be one of the first 10 people to share this post on Facebook and I'll give you a sample to experience the Natural Inspirations difference!

*2009 Environmental Working Group Study