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Is black soap good or bad for the skin? Here’s what science says about it

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Many black soaps are marketed as being the cure for a variety of skin diseases. How true is this?

In Osun and Oyo states, Western Nigeria, a study was carried out by Igbeneghu OA to evaluate the antibacterial qualities of 20 different herbal soap brands.

The soaps were gotten from herb vendors and shops in five different marketplaces and then brought to the lab. Here’s what the outcome of his research was:

The amount of ingredients in the soaps was not disclosed by the manufacturers; however, the plant elements included shea butter, aloe vera, honey, cam wood, lime juice, palm bunch ash, cocoa pod ash, avocado oil, and palm kernel oil.

These components are antibacterial, and honey is particularly effective at preventing skin and wound infections. Aloe vera has been shown to be antibacterial, and lime fruit portions have also been shown to be likewise.

Camwood leaves are medicinally useful for treating superficial skin infections like eczema, and stem preparations from the plant have been demonstrated to have antibacterial qualities as well.

We know that soaps play a crucial role in maintaining overall body cleanliness by effectively reducing the presence of microbes on the skin, ultimately reducing the occurrence of skin diseases.

This is achieved by physically removing germs loosely attached to the skin.

So, how effective are black soaps and herbal soaps in combating skin infections?

The assessment of the antimicrobial properties of the soaps showed a clear correlation between their ingredients and their ability to combat bacteria. This shows the presence of antibacterial agents in the herbs or plant components used to make these black soaps.

The majority of soaps were more effective against gram-positive than gram-negative bacteria and fungi. This is important because this group of gram-positive organisms is responsible for many skin infections like acne, impetigo, furuncles, and carbuncles.

Local herbal soap manufacturers often underestimate the importance of this organism specific ingredients when promoting their products as a solution to all types of skin infections and problems, regardless of the organisms responsible. However, it was discovered that this claim is actually false.

The two Gram-negative bacteria, E. coli and Pseudomonas aeruginosa, as well as the yeasts that were examined, were found to be inactive against about 75% of the soaps.

All the soaps that were studied showed no effectiveness against the yeasts, highlighting the urgent need to intensify the search for antifungal plants that can be used in Nigerian herbal soaps.

The herbal soaps produced by manufacturers who prioritize the quality of packaging not only enhance the overall appeal of their goods but also ensure a strong connection between the ingredients and their effectiveness.

However, it is concerning that the remaining 65% of producers do not prioritize good packaging, as this heightens the chances of environmental contamination, particularly from fungi. Such contamination can potentially compromise the effectiveness of these soap samples in treating skin infections.

The results of this study revealed that Nigerian herbal soaps possess powerful antimicrobial properties, making them highly effective in combating and controlling bacterial-induced skin infections.

To achieve optimal results, these soaps must be carefully prepared using a precise combination of plant materials that specifically target the causative organisms.

In addition, if the soap is packaged attractively and accompanied by clear instructions on how to use and store it properly, it can greatly improve its ability to effectively treat and manage skin infections.

Health

What causes fibroids to regrow in women after surgery?

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Following Nigerian actress Ini Dima-Okojie’s announcement about her fibroids recurring after surgery, it’s important to understand what causes their recurrence.

Uterine fibroids, or leiomyomas, are noncancerous uterine growths that affect 70–80% of women between the ages of 35 and 54.

Fibroids is a risk factor of infertility in women. Some form before the age of 35 and continue until menopause, resulting in a range of very incapacitating symptoms.

  1. Heavy periods: You might soak through pads or tampons more frequently than usual.
  2. Painful cramps: Intense cramps may occur during your period or even throughout your cycle.
  3. Pelvic pressure or discomfort: a feeling of heaviness or fullness in your lower abdomen.
  4. Longer periods: Your periods might last longer than a week.
  5. Pain during sex: Intercourse can be uncomfortable or even painful.
  6. Urinary issues: frequent urination or difficulty emptying your bladder.
  7. Abdominal changes: bleeding, swelling, or a feeling of tightness in your lower belly.
  8. Bowel issues: constipation, diarrhoea, or discomfort in your rectum.

There are three basic treatments for fibroids.

A hysterectomy is a type of fibroid surgery when the fallopian tubes and uterus are removed, depending on where the fibroid is located.

A myomectomy preserves the uterus by removing only the fibroids that are causing the symptoms.

A non-surgical procedure called Uterine Fibroid Embolisation (UFE) stops the fibroids’ blood supply, causing them to shrink and eventually die.

According to the Fibroid Institute of Texas, the symptoms of fibroids usually get better following treatment; however, research indicates that depending on the method, uterine fibroids may recur or develop.

Here’s why they might come back:

  1. Microscopic cells: During surgery, some tiny fibroid cells might remain undetected. These can grow into new fibroids over time.
  2. Hormonal influences: Oestrogen and progesterone hormones can stimulate fibroid growth. Even after menopause, when these hormones decrease naturally, some women may still have residual levels that can trigger new fibroid development.
  3. Genetic factors: A genetic predisposition to fibroids can increase the chance of new ones forming even after surgery.
  4. The type of treatment: According to a study on myomectomy, up to 20 out of 100 women experienced regrowth of fibroids in the first few years following the treatment.

A woman’s future risk of developing fibroids increases with her age and the number of fibroids she had at the time of the treatment. Because myomectomies concentrate on eliminating pre-existing fibroids while sparing the uterus, they may have a higher recurrence rate.

On the other hand, hysterectomy—whether whole or partial—is uncommon since there is no uterus. The hazards involved in hysterectomy prevent many women from having one.

When compared to fibroid surgery, UFE does offer a rate of 90% success. Although it is possible, after this type of treatment, women’s fibroids usually do not grow back.

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Health

5 things you should never do during pregnancy

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Pregnancy is a whole journey that requires lifestyle changes in order to ensure that both the mother and baby are in perfect health.

Most pregnant women focus on what they should do—like eating a balanced diet and attending regular prenatal appointments.

But then, it is also important to be aware of what they shouldn’t do.

Here are some key things to avoid during pregnancy:

Consuming alcohol during pregnancy can lead to serious complications, including fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS), which can cause growth deficiencies, facial abnormalities, and central nervous system disorders. It’s safest to avoid alcohol entirely to eliminate any risk to your baby.

Smoking during pregnancy can result in preterm birth, low birth weight, and developmental issues. It also increases the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). If you smoke, seek help to quit as soon as you find out you’re pregnant.

Not all medications are safe during pregnancy. Always consult your healthcare provider before taking any prescription or over-the-counter drugs, including herbal supplements. Some medications can cause birth defects or other complications.

Certain physical activities can be dangerous during pregnancy:

– Contact sports: Activities like soccer, basketball, and hockey pose a risk of abdominal injury.

– High-risk exercises: Avoid activities with a high risk of falling, such as skiing, horseback riding, and gymnastics.

– Heavy lifting: Lifting heavy objects can strain your back and abdomen, leading to potential complications.

High levels of stress can negatively impact your pregnancy. Practice stress-reducing techniques such as yoga, meditation, and deep breathing exercises. Also ensure you have a support system in place.

In addition to the above, it is also important to pay attention to the foods you eat during pregnancy. This is because some foods can pose risks due to bacteria or toxins. Such foods include raw or undercooked seafood and meat, unpasteurised dairy products, raw eggs and excessive caffeine consumption.

By avoiding these potential hazards, you can help ensure a healthier, safer pregnancy.

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Health

5 things every man should do at least once a week

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In day-to-day life, it’s easy for men to neglect their well-being.

Balancing work, family, and personal commitments often leaves little time for self-care and personal development.

However, adding certain activities to your weekly routine can significantly enhance your physical health, mental well-being, and overall quality of life.

Here are five things every man should do at least once a week:

Regular physical exercise is crucial for maintaining good health and vitality. It not only helps in managing weight and building muscle but also improves cardiovascular health and mental well-being.

Benefits:

– Physical health: Reduces the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, and hypertension.

– Mental health: Releases endorphins, which improve mood and reduce stress and anxiety.

– Energy levels: Boosts energy and enhances overall stamina.

Whether it’s a gym workout, a run in the park, or a game of basketball with friends, make time for physical activity to stay fit and energised.

Mindfulness and meditation offer a way to achieve mental clarity and reduce stress. Spending even a few minutes in quiet reflection can have profound effects on your mental health.

Benefits:

– Stress reduction: Lowers levels of cortisol, the stress hormone.

– Improved Focus: Enhances concentration and cognitive function.

– Emotional health: Promotes a sense of calm and emotional balance.

Add mindfulness or meditation into your weekly routine to improve your mental clarity and emotional well-being.

Maintaining strong relationships with family and friends is essential for emotional health. Social connections provide support, reduce feelings of loneliness, and enhance overall happiness.

Benefits:

– Emotional support: Provides a network of people who can offer advice and support.

– Stress relief: Sharing experiences and feelings with loved ones can reduce stress.

– Happiness: Strong social bonds contribute to a sense of belonging and contentment.

Make it a point to spend quality time with loved ones, whether through family dinners, phone calls, or outings with friends.

Engaging in hobbies or activities you are passionate about can provide a welcome break from daily responsibilities and foster a sense of fulfilment.

Benefits:

– Creativity: Stimulates the brain and fosters creativity.

– Relaxation: Offers a chance to unwind and de-stress.

– Personal growth: Provides opportunities to learn new skills and improve existing ones.

Whether it’s painting, playing a musical instrument, gardening, or reading, dedicating time to your hobbies can enrich your life.

5. Plan for the week ahead

Taking time to plan your week can help you manage your time effectively and ensure you stay on top of your responsibilities.

Benefits:

– Organisation: Helps prioritise tasks and manage time efficiently.

– Goal setting: Allows you to set and achieve personal and professional goals.

– Stress management: Reduces the anxiety of last-minute tasks and deadlines.

Spend some time each week organising your schedule, setting goals, and planning activities to stay productive and reduce stress.

Adding these five activities into your weekly routine can significantly enhance your physical health, mental well-being, and overall quality of life.

By engaging in regular exercise, practising mindfulness, connecting with loved ones, pursuing hobbies, and planning your week, you can achieve a balanced and fulfilling lifestyle.

Prioritising these activities not only contributes to your personal growth and happiness but also helps you navigate the demands of modern life with greater ease and satisfaction.

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Bodex F. Hungbo, SPMIIM is a multiple award-winning Nigerian Digital Media Practitioner, Digital Strategist, PR consultant, Brand and Event Expert, Tv Presenter, Tier-A Blogger/Influencer, and a top cobbler in Nigeria.

She has widespread experiences across different professions and skills, which includes experiences in; Marketing, Media, Broadcasting, Brand and Event Management, Administration and Management with prior stints at MTN, NAPIMS-NNPC, GLOBAL FLEET OIL AND GAS, LTV, Silverbird and a host of others

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