Hi there! My name is Christa. Below you find my very extensive Luonkos review - a revolutionary beauty product that I very much appreciate. Let's start my review with an introductory story:
Imagine, you've just finished pitching your Earth-shattering idea to a potential business partner over lunch.
"We could harness the power of snow to operate hydroponics kale farms in Greenland to create these addictively delicious kale chips to nourish the world with zeaxanthin to support ocular health. The ROI is priceless! Wouldn't you agree?"
You ask with bated breath.
The guest apologizes: "I'm sorry. What was that again? I was distracted. You have a flake of dandruff on your eyebrow."
Rubbing your brows in embarrassment, you realize too late the flake is falling in slow motion into the attractive arrangement of sample kale chips.
"Honestly, our company isn't really into supporting people's vision or the nutritional benefits of kale. We might go in a different direction and put up a mass scale pig farm factory."
Disappointed you wonder if it's truly that the client prefers bacon to kale chips, yet you suspect the flake made them lose their appetite for your idea to improve global nutrition.
Frustrated by the flake, especially because you eat right and do everything you can to invest in your health. It just doesn't seem fair that you haven't been able to prevent something small like dandruff.
Before using this topical supplement, I struggled from age 35 to 45 with a medical condition affecting my eyelashes and eyebrows.
It's embarrassing to admit. Yet sharing my story with you is the best way for me to express my gratitude to Luonkos for making skin-care products that healed my lids, lashes and brows.
If you have a different area of your body with an unmet need, just know that my eyes haven't been the only improvement from testing these products, simply the most dramatic.
Please hear me out as I share the deeper underlying principles as to why it was restorative so that you can evaluate if it may also benefit you and your loved ones.
I'm allergic to eating cake made from flour. Fortunately, these sweet treats aren't made with ingredients such as flour and sugar.
As luck would have it, the main ingredient in these cakes from Finland is organic cocoa butter.
Instead of eating them, you warm the cake between your hands to melt the surface of the decadent, hexagon-shaped, super-food butter and apply it topically to your skin.
Let that sink in for a moment... your skin soaks up the chocolaty buttery emollients like a sponge... cake.
Your taste buds will be jealous of your skin for once!
How did these cacao cakes fix my chronic medical condition that multiple eye doctors had been "managing" in a losing battle over ten years' time?
Cocoa butter is the main ingredient in these skin-healing body butters, but the secret sauce is an extract of beneficial probiotic microbes extracted from the forests of Finland.
"Usually, probiotics contain a couple of different bacteria, micro-organisms, and eukaryotes at best. The new microbe extract contains thousands. The use of products containing the extract balances the microbiota – a body’s own ecosystem of sorts – and strengthens the immune system. Reconnecting Nature™ recovers a healthy connection to nature." ~Luonkos website
I was already taking an oral spore-based probiotic with ten different strains and sixty-billion colony-forming units, so I didn't think a topical supplement would be much different.
Plus, I went on long walks in the forest on weekends to immerse myself in the natural beauty of the Texas State Parks in my neck of the woods.
I'm the type of person who would say to my husband, "I just want to bring home some soil samples from the base of old oaks and pines to cultivate the beneficial diversity of micro-organisms in my herb garden."
Mark has to remind me, "Honey, we're not biologists. The state parks want you to take only pictures and leave only footprints."
Thankfully, there are scientists in Finland who read my mind and invented a way to create a safe extract that brings one of the key benefits of being out in nature to those who don't have that opportunity through skin-care products.
"Luonkos was the first cosmetics company in the world to use forest extract, which strengthens body’s microbiome..." ~Luonkos website
Quotes from their website:
"The core idea is to mimic the rich biodiversity found in forests and bring that to customers in a safe and easy-to-use form. Our microbe extract has a biodiverse, rich, microbial composition. We measure it by the Shannon’s diversity index and amount of species. In order to ensure batch to batch standardization and efficacy we use Next Generation Sequencing (NGS).
...It is mixed with or integrated to daily consumer products that get in contact with skin, such as fabrics and creams. Reconnecting Nature™ extract is about helping to prevent diabetes 1, allergies, asthma and similar diseases to develop in your children. We let our science speak for itself: it showed that the Reconnecting Nature™ extract was safe and led to an increase in gut- as well as skin microbial diversity of the study participants.
...see the full study (Nature-derived microbiota exposure as a novel immunomodulatory approach). Our extract is being patented based on this science, and our research and development continues with adjacent studies."
From the moment it arrived, the warm, greetings from Finland gave me a good feeling about their products. They had put so much heart and soul into the details of the box it arrived in and the individual product containers.
Upon further research, I discovered they use cutting-edge environmentally friendly packaging materials that have been specially invented to handle storing products like these body butters without the oil seeping into the sustainable, non-toxic packaging materials.
Each element from the printing ink to the stickers to secure the lid have all been designed with impressive foresight and care to be ecologically admirable in even the intricate details of their business decisions.
Wait! What's this about Ocular Health? Isn't this a skin-care product designed to enhance the diversity of the microflora of the face for optimal skin wellness?
It certainly is! For me personally, the area I most needed help with was the skin on the margins of my eyelids primarily and the skin under my eyebrows secondarily.
I would love to share my story with you about how the Reconnecting Nature™ ingredient in the Luonkos body-butter cakes healed the skin on my eyes.
A decade ago, I was given the diagnosis of "blepharitis." The eye doctor told me that looking through the magnification lens at my lids, he noticed inflammation that is commonly caused by specific micro-organisms.
He said that focusing on healing the edges of my eyelids would help the oil glands work better to make the surface of my eyeballs smoother and my vision clearer.
The optometrist doctor advised me to carefully remove every last trace of eye makeup every night before bed and never fall asleep with make-up on.
If I had known about Luonkos oil cakes back then, I could have used a classic one like Rebirth with its warm, relaxing scent before bed each night to follow the doctor's advice since these buttery cakes thoroughly and gently remove mascara, eyeliner and any other particles such as pollens or dust that accumulated in our lashes throughout the day.
A decade ago, I had never heard of oil cleansing, so I followed conventional wisdom to make it a priority to always use products marketed for facial cleansing that were oil-free, chemical-cleanser liquid soaps in plastic bottles.
Not only was I unaware of the side-effects of using these anti-bacterial-type soaps, but I wasn't considering the environmental impact of the chemicals or plastic either. I sincerely thought I was doing my part by putting the empty bottle in the proper recycling container.
A few months later, I developed I tiny red spot on my cheek the size of a pimple but without any whitehead or blackhead. It wouldn't heal. Once a week, the top of it would flake off only to form a new little scab the next week.
I doubled my efforts, using the facial soap morning and night to clean my skin. The red spot multiplied into two red blemishes a centimeter apart with pinkness in the surrounding area.
During this time, I had begun a new career as a certified optician selling glasses frames and cutting prescription lenses for an optometrist eye doctor.
Here I was assisting customers with selecting the most attractive frame for their face and lens prescription while feeling self-conscious of the two non-healing red spots that I tried to hide with foundation make-up.
Despite my best efforts to use that strong, cleanser soap to remove all my make-up straight away after work, I eventually developed a third red blemish that wouldn't heal.
Imagine my surprise when I had an eye exam with my new boss, and he was the second eye doctor to diagnose me with blepharitis, eyelid-margin inflammation, despite doing everything I had been told by the first doctor the year before.
My eye-doctor boss gave me samples of special eyelid cleaner products designed for this medical condition usually caused by a specific strain of minuscule microbes causing irritation and inflammation around the base of the lashes and edges of the eyelids.
I was hopeful that this highly-specialized product designed for perfectly cleaning eyelids was going to fix it once and for all, but the following year I was still diagnosed with it by the same doctor.
I was beginning to notice some unwanted changes in my eyelashes: losing lashes, some growing at an odd angle, some seemed wiggly like a loose tooth, sometimes there was even a tiny gap if a few would fall out near each other, they were more straight than before, I often felt the need to rub my eyelids when they felt itchy, and when I woke up in the morning there would be one or two tiny flakes of dandruff at the base of my lashes on each side.
Near the end of my years of working there, I started increasingly going without any eye make-up because I attributed my symptoms to wearing it during working hours.
In the realization that nothing I was doing was helping my three non-healing blemishes on my cheek, I began searching for answers on symptom checker websites. Of course, the C-word came up. I got scared because I had a history of bad sunburns growing up with Scandinavian skin a stones-throw south of the equator.
Thankfully, I turned to YouTube where I eventually stumbled upon a counter-intuitive, skin-care strategy called "oil cleansing."
The lady showed before and after pictures of her skin and demonstrated her discovery of a better way to clean her skin with gentle, natural, plant oils instead of harsh chemicals.
It was the first time I had ever seen or heard of anyone doing such a thing. It was so counter-cultural that it made me cringe at first.
I had been believing my natural facial oils were causing these long-term breakouts, and I was buying oil-free facial soap trying to keep my face as oil-free as possible.
The first time I tried using oil to clean my face, I was so nervous. I imagined the three non-healing blemishes turning into thirty breakouts overnight.
I imagined concerned customers would hypothetically ask, "What did you do!?"
"I rubbed oil all over my face last night." I imagined admitting in regret and watching the customer's expression change from sympathy to judgment for my foolishness.
Instead, ironically, I experienced a remarkable, rapid resolution of the issue!
Miraculously, after an 18-month-long losing battle with the red blemishes on my cheek, they improved within days and completely healed within a couple of weeks of twice-daily oil cleansing.
Oil has replaced soap in my facial hygiene routine in the decade or so since then. The oil-cleansing method did a great job of removing my eye makeup as well. It was far more gentle to my sensitive skin.
If that was the end of my story, it would be enough to recommend the Luonkos oil cleansing cakes I have been testing recently, such as Rebirth. It has proven to be every bit as effective at removing make-up, nourishing, healing, and hydrating my face.
I like it even better than the liquid plant oils I had been using, for several reasons. Chief among them is because these thick, rich, buttery products don't drip into my eyes when removing eye makeup.
They are also moisturizing without leaving my skin looking wet or greasy.
For example, I went to the dentist this week and left with several micro-tears in the skin of the corner of my mouth where my upper and lower lips meet.
My husband was coming home from a business trip, and I was concerned that if it hurt the corner of my lips to even brush my teeth, that it would hinder my enjoyment of kissing him passionately.
I used the Luonkos Rebirth oil cake as a lip balm many times a day which helped my lips heal nicely and provided additional comfort in the process.
The oil cake made my lips look soft and supple with a come-hither sheen—exactly the look I wanted to attract more kisses.
For all the benefits of only relying on oil cleansing, it was quite discouraging that the soap side-effects of disturbing my skin's microbiome allowed that opportunistic strain of micro-organism to have an unhealthy monopoly on my lash-line which grew steadily worse over the past decade.
Relevant side plot: I used to have seriously dry eyes as evidenced by medical imaging of my Meibomian glands while having my eyelids flipped inside out and video of my tear-film quality analyzed by a computer algorithm.
Irrelevant side plot: The glands lining the upper and lower margins of our inner lids were first described by a scientist named Meibom in 1666, yet later expounded upon by me here as resembling many miniature strings of sausages that are 0% meat and 100% grease.
Diagnostic medical imaging technically isn't a competition, but I objectively beat out all my coworkers for the worst dry eyes even those more than a decade my senior.
A year later, in 2017, a corneal density test that took pictures of the cells on the surface of my eyeballs, showed erosion from long-term, terribly dry eyes.
Three years ago, I started supplementing with a trace mineral that restored my eyes' lacrimal glands and Meibomian glands to normal functioning for a properly lubricating tear film.
Despite the rapid resolution of my chronic dry eye condition, I continued having ongoing eyelash issues even in the years since then. Apparently, the two issues were largely independent of each other.
Two years ago, I bought a specialty soap bar made with probiotics from cultured herbs. I did try it on my face for about 4 months because it didn't irritate my skin the way traditional commercial facial soaps had in the past, and I liked the wrinkle-reducing way it tightened the skin of my lower lids.
Sadly, nothing kept it from getting worse.
I rarely ever wore eye makeup the past 8 years, since that was what the eye doctors connected the eyelash issue to, assuming if my lashes were just perfectly product-free and sterile all the time then no micro-organisms could survive to create inflammation.
Despite following strict hygiene routines to the letter of the law, I saw no improvement in my lashes over the past decade.
I had even been on a low-insulin triggering, carnivore-type keto diet up until mid-July 2020 in hopes of curtailing any systemic inflammation since blepharitis is an inflammatory condition.
I even laid out in the mid-day sun in Texas nearly every day from mid-March to mid-November of 2020 in hopes that the full-spectrum sunshine and vitamin D production would help my lashes.
Bart from our team attended the Biohacker Summit in Helsinki, Finland where he first discovered futuristic Luonkos skin-care products in October of 2020.
He asked me to test their oil cakes that remove makeup, cleanse, hydrate, and nourish the skin with high-quality, plant-based ingredients and beneficial forest microbes.
My first thoughts were:
"First, I haven't even been wearing make-up. Second, I already use oil cleansing. Third, putting a product with microbes on my face makes me uneasy with my eyelash history. Fourth, I am already a nature lover who indulges in long forest walks on the weekends. Fifth, I already invest in top-of-the-line spore-based, multi-strain, shelf-stable probiotic, oral-supplement capsules. With all that, I might not experience any new benefits."
Silly cognitive biases that make us resistant to trying new ideas!
Thank goodness for those in our lives who introduce us to interesting discoveries, encourage us to try them, create a safe environment for experimentation, and who don't take our weak excuses as seriously as we do.
Luonkos gave me two full-sized forest cakes to test and invited me to choose others to test. I asked for a sample size of Complete for Men and Rebirth. They sent full sizes of them all perfectly packaged with care. They all arrived in pristine condition.
It was a long journey from Finland to Texas, and the first package ended up being delayed in the States and presumed lost despite Luonkos using a top-of-the-line delivery service.
They mailed out a second box of goodies to me which arrived quickly. The original box arrived a week later. I only share this story as evidence of their gracious and generous spirit.
Receiving their gift boxes was much more personable and special than an ordinary Amazon package.
Call me sentimental, but their gift boxes really made me feel special and valued as a customer. Their thoughtfulness comes through in everything they do.
(Picture from Luonkos website)
The secret ingredient that healed my lashes is Finland's forest-sourced restorative microbial extract, Reconnecting Nature™. There is so much I want to share with you about this epic ingredient.
Before I dive into the science of why it had the power to help me after all else failed, let me tell you what I like about all the cakes I was given to try.
There are a wonderful variety of indulgent oil cakes made with love by Luonkos of Finland. Two of them are called Forest Cakes containing this innovative microbial extract, and they all have incredibly indulgent and impressive ingredients with distinctive advantages to each.
(Picture from Luonkos website)
If it had the forest extract this would be my second favorite.
It has kaolin white clay and birch charcoal for cleansing, so it is less smooth and buttery but suburb for keeping your face clean and fresh.
This was my favorite cake to energize me right before work in the morning. I had been working the evening shift and needed to make a sudden switch to the early shift for my new career.
This scent felt fresh, invigorating, confident, energizing, and anchoring to the here and now like the aromas of a cheery cup of citrus bergamot tea in the one hand and chai tea with warm, exotic spices in the other.
The only thing I would change, other than adding the forest extract, is that it says, "For Men" on the box. Call me greedy in wanting all the cakes for myself, and I won't deny it.
Fair warning: If you buy this for a man, yourself or someone else, he will have to hide it from the woman in his life to keep her from using it to freshen up her face and perk up her vibe in the mornings.
Hint: If you see her looking especially bright-eyed and bushy-tailed before her morning coffee, you'll need to stash it somewhere else because she definitely discovered it.
It has the perfect color, texture, scent, and melting point for my liking. Since it does not have the forest extract, it is my third choice overall.
I used it just before my interview for a promotion to a new role within my company. It calmed my nerves like a charm. I could sense its warm, soothing, mellow scent during the important conversation and it kept me focused and self-assured. Joyously, I was awarded the new position!
This is my go-to cake for peace and calm before bed with its mysterious aroma, akin to almonds, marzipan, caramel, vanilla, amber, and some sort of floral scent along the lines of lavender or chamomile, that I can best describe as nurturing for the soul.
At first, it was a bit distracting because the scent couldn't be explained by my brain. It was reminiscent of a scent from childhood that reminded me of my Swedish-American grandma.
It was an acquired taste because familiarity increased my fondness for the scent. Now, instead of trying to analyze the components of the scent, I just enjoy it as the unique scent of this dreamy cake.
Prediction: If you would enjoy vanilla ice cream drizzled with warm salted-caramel sauce as a midnight snack for your sweet tooth, you will also crave this creamy, sweet-smelling cake as a bedtime treat for your nose.
Rebirth is delightful, yet I value the microbial-extract ingredient most of all. If this one had the Reconnecting Nature extract, it would soar into first place!
(Picture from Luonkos website)
This was my favorite body butter for my hair because it has a thickening texturizer ingredient added to the cocoa butter which also gives it a more matte finish than the others.
It excels at cleansing. It easily and completely removed my water-proof mascara along with the eco-friendly face cloth and sponge.
"Oil cleansing is also gentle on the sensitive skin around your eyes, as the make-up just melts away from your eyes. If you have lash extensions, you shouldn’t use oil cleansing to remove make-up from your eyes. However, you can still use it on your skin." ~Luonkos website
It is seemed to help absorbing moisture, so I sometimes applied it to the skin under my clothes and bra using clean, dry hands.
The microbial extract in Vitality worked better that I imagined. It makes my skin feel the most calm and comfortable, so I am no longer distracted by tiny twinges of itchiness.
In my experience, it noticeably improved the health of my skin, not simply the appearance, or texture of my skin, but more importantly, my comfort living in my own skin.
It's like this: I repeatedly wear my favorite clothes to the exclusion of all the other clothes in my closet.
For me, comfort is everything. My favorite outfits are the ones I can put on in the morning and never give them a second thought all day long because they are so comfy.
Vitality helps my skin not be a distraction either because it is simply feeling fine and not on my mind.
This is a very practical multi-purpose cake that cleans, moisturizes, and balances my skin.
That ingredient which gives it a thicker, dryer, more textured feel is like micro-sponges within the cake to soak up anything that gets on your face during the day, like pollen and dust, to easily wipe it away.
I tried it as a face moisturizer at night which worked just fine, but that wasn't playing to its strengths as much as the other three cakes that were more moisturizing than this one.
The main thing that would make Vitality even better for me would be if it were a color that matched my skin tone like the Rebirth cake does.
Because I believe these ingredients are nourishing to my skin, especially the microflora extract, put it on and left it on my skin which shows up looking a little bit gray on me.
This one also has the most texture, a real asset for cleansing purposes, yet since I liked to use it more as a moisturizer instead, I prefer the feel of the smoothest cake, Rebirth.
(Picture from Luonkos website)
This was my all-purpose overall favorite if I could pick just one cake. I think the Reconnecting Nature extract is incredibly healing so that is the top reason.
I loved the sensory enjoyment of it melting in my hands. Its cocoa-butter main ingredient reminds me of the smell of cookie dough.
The main thing that would make it even better for me is not having the tiny specks of herbs since the are almost too tiny to notice, yet look like a half-dozen black pepper particles on my face and neck that I always remove right away.
If I had to pick just one, this is the winner!
These are perfect for face massages because they don's drip or run into the eyes. It's more controlled than pouring oil from a bottle, and it stays where it's placed.
There's no risk of it spilling if you set the cake down in its box whereas a bottle of oil can tip over and leak out.
The texture of these cakes varies depending on the type of cake. Infinity is like melted butter. Rebirth has a "softened butter" feel. Complete for Men is like room-temperature butter. Vitality is like butter with mostly-dissolved sugar in it.
The sensual texture of giving and receiving a facial massage with these is like stroking buttery soft faux leather. Ordinary massage oil is more like spandex.
Both have their place naturally, but for the face, these velvety cocoa butters are the pièce de résistance!
The scent profiles are more sophisticated than the carrier liquid plant oil with one or two essential oils added to which we had been accustomed.
I have always melted over my husband's delightful face massages. Let me tell you. These cakes elevated the experience to pure bliss.
The line for a professional massage with these body butters begins with me.
If I was a spa owner, I would buy the Luonkos sample sizes and use one per customer and roll the cost of the cake into the massage.
As a customer, I love getting to pick a new experience to enjoy that strikes my fancy. I'm the type who would try a different flavor cake each time and be highly curious about the ones I hadn't experienced yet which would keep me coming back for more.
Even after trying them all, I would want to enjoy all my favorites again. The Rebirth scent was one I increasingly appreciated with each use as the familiarity fostered deeper fondness.
Anyone can watch and learn from YouTube videos how to give marvelous face massages.
I'm telling you from first-hand experience, Luonkos face massages will make your date swoon.
Watch any classy movie with a first-kiss scene that makes you weak in the knees...
Often reaching out to touch the other person's cheek is the cause that sparks the chemistry for the effect of them getting in touch with their desire to be kissed in that moment.
It's all highly scientific... oxytocin and all. Leverage that power for your own love life.
Tell your crush you would like to give them a face massage. They'll love every minute.
Resistance is futile... they will either succumb to temptation or spend the rest of their life wishing they had.
Luonkos is plenty enticing, but I fully expect you to pull your weight in this endeavor and deliver a tender-loving-care face massage. Don't make the body butter do all the heavy lifting.
If you play your cards right, you may even get a face massage in the end. Doesn't that sound heavenly?
What's more memorable? Watching a screen together or giving each other a massage? Be unforgettable!
Time to stop daydreaming about that special someone... for now... and dive into the science.
Back to the topic at hand: Forest Cakes. They are certified by the third-party, non-profit organization Fi-Natura: "The certificate helps the consumer to distinguish a truly natural product from green-washed products."
Highlights of Fi-Natura Certification Criteria Cited from Their Site:
95% or better natural ingredients such as wild, organically grown plants
local raw materials with the most gentle processing possible
petrochemicals, ethoxylates, chemical sunscreens, and silicone
synthetic fragrances, dyes, and preservatives (with few exceptions)
raw materials of animal origin (exceptions: beeswax, honey, milk, and lanolin)
genetically-engineered raw materials
PVC and polystyrene (PS)
I respect and trust companies who go the extra mile to invest in independent, third-party certifications and meet those rigorous requirements to achieve a higher standard.
Green-washed products try to pull the wool over our eyes with labels such as "natural" which could accurately describe things like urea and petroleum which are common ingredients in skincare products.
This foundation of trust would be enough for me to recommend their oil cakes even if I hadn't experienced any healing transformation.
It's easy for convenience and cost to erode our values.
I often try to remind myself that how I invest my money is a vote for the type of world I want to live in and an authentic expression of how much I care.
"We at Luonkos wanted to the set the bar high: We would only accept the best materials, use organic alternatives whenever possible, and only use genuine essential oils and certified materials. No preservatives, no harmful chemicals, no cheating. We would use as much of the raw material as it takes for the product to actually work." ~ Luonkos website
They are investing in creating products of an exceptionally high caliber that are kind to the earth we share and considerate of their customers' wellbeing.
Their message is consistent: These products are handmade made with love.
At its heart, love wants the best for the other person. I feel that vibe when I use their cakes.
Taking the high road and sourcing the best ingredients is the standard Luonkos lives up to.
In addition to love, their ingredients include traceable, renewable, responsibly produced, 98% certified organic: superfoods, herbs, cold-pressed oils, and wildflowers.
I'm not suggesting you eat these cakes, but consider the implications and ramifications with me for a moment of eating mass-marketed, skin-care cleansers made with the standard slew of chemical goo.
Not only would it make you gag trying to eat the soapy cleansers, but your body would also make you suddenly sick to get the chemicals out of your system.
You know... your skin soaks up what you put on it. That's how things like nicotine patches or birth-control patches work. Substances on the skin get into the bloodstream.
Quote from the United States' non-profit Environmental Working Group's Website:
"EWG's Skin Deep® cosmetic database gives people practical solutions to protect themselves and their families from everyday exposures to potentially toxic chemicals in personal care and beauty products. Skin Deep®, launched in 2004, lists easy-to-navigate hazard ratings for nearly 70,000 products and 9,000 ingredients on the market. The U.S. government doesn't review the toxicity of products before they're sold. Companies are allowed to use almost any ingredient they wish without regard for how safe they are. The aim of Skin Deep® is to fill in where industry and government leave off."
I challenge you to care for yourself and your children by visiting this website and looking up all the ingredients you put on or in your body or theirs.
Really makes us pause to reflect, doesn't it? I often thought about this as I was using these Luonkos cakes.
No, they are not intended for internal consumption. However, the most common ingredients on the list are superfoods such as cocoa butter, almond oil, coconut oil, grapeseed oil, olive oil, oat oil, sunflower oil... with different oils in different cakes naturally.
Imagine if I had a bar of soap sitting out. Ants would not be tempted to eat it, would they?
One day, I brought my Infinity Forest Cake over to my office desk to apply it while starting up my computer. I left it sitting on the desk about a metre from the closed window.
Mid-day, I noticed a caravan of ants on their way to a picnic. I followed their trail... straight to the cocoa-butter super-food cake. They had navigated their way into the closed box and were feasting on buttery nutrition.
It was shockingly unexpected, but after washing everything and getting rid of them all, it was hard to blame them.
They have never eaten my other moisturizers before, but they smelled food from afar and came running to get a piece of the action.
Ants give us some indication that this product is safe to put on our skin and let it soak in.
I always feel like I'm taking the best care of myself when I nourish my skin with Luonkos ingredients.
Remarkably, the beneficial forest microbes in the forest cakes were the missing puzzle piece.
The exceptionally diverse microflora ingredient balanced the microbiome of my lids and lashes sufficiently for me to see and feel a night and day difference.
Thanks to forest cakes, my eyelashes are fuller, without any gaps, soft, securely attached, slightly longer, a bit more curled up on the ends, all growing the same direction (instead of a few growing down into my line of vision), comfortable (instead of itchy), and look fresh when I wake up (instead of flaky.)
For me, this was the most appreciated benefit of using Luonkos oil cakes, yet there were additional unexpected blessings as well. Stay tuned for those short stories...
When I began supplementation with that trace mineral in 2018, it healed my dry eyes by supporting the glands in my eyelids.
That resolved the intermittent pain of the surface of my eyeballs whilst creating a visible cosmetic improvement in the outer third of my eyebrows.
Forest cakes have further enhanced my eyebrows. Despite the improvements seen from that trace mineral, I still struggled with flakes of dandruff in my eyebrows upon waking.
I thought it was simply an exfoliation issue, so I used a mini-bristle brush to comb them into place before work each day and remove any old skin at the base of the brow hairs.
I even supplemented with vitamin B2 in hopes of reducing the dandruff flakes in my brows each morning, but the improvement from that strategy was minimal.
After topical supplementation with these beneficial micro-organisms in the forest extract, I no longer have dandruff flakes in my eyebrows.
When I first woke up before exfoliating my face and using moisturizer, I would have random flakes of dry skin between my brows and on the sides of my nose.
That issue has improved from a daily occurrence to only a couple of days a week now.
I had three problematic large pores one on my cheek and neck. It was like they were over-active oil glands that didn't know when to quit.
It is not so much that they are smaller, but they are far less noticeable because they are not over-producing oil nearly as much.
“Oil cleansing is one of the most efficient ways to take good care of your skin, and it suits all skin types. Oil cleansing works great on oily skin and skin with large pores as well, as the oil penetrates the pores and dissolves the grease from your skin." Katja Kokko, Finnish skin care guru
I'm sure it has helped all my pores in a similar fashion, but those three had the greatest improvement.
I predict the positive trend may result in additional improvement with continued use.
I generously applied it when my hair was still damp then pinned it up in curls to dry. When I let it down, the ringlets were soft, glossy, tamed, and defined. I highly recommend this outside-the-box, off-label use.
For those with light-colored, straight hair, you may want to use just a touch to smooth down any fly-away hairs.
For those with dark, wavy hair like mine, I melt Vitality in my hands about 5 times to apply in sections along the entire length of my hair.
The first time I tried it, I used Vitality on one half and my usual hair-styling product on the other side.
I asked my husband Mark what he thought of the appearance of the curls on each side. It was a blind test. After a couple of seconds, he said the Vitality-infused curls looked best.
I have naturally wavy hair that holds the curls for days, so for me personally, the Vitality curls looked even better the second day maybe as the oils penetrated deeper or something.
Provided you always have clean hands before handling the oil cakes, you can then use the oil on your hands to apply to any part of your body so desired.
You have skin on more than just your face, so I'll invite you to use your imagination to contemplate the possibilities for improving the health of your skin from head to toe.
Luonkos says their cakes last for about 60 uses. I'm going to have to take their word for it because it seemed longer to me.
I really wish I had been keeping track of every single time I melted oil in my hands to apply to my skin.
They certainly have lasted much longer than I expected.
Also, unlike some thin bar soaps that get weak in the middle and break as they shrink, these cakes are the perfect shape to prevent that from happening. The edges just become more rounded with use and the surface more flattened.
I only expected each cake to last a month, but they have all lasted several months and are only about 75% used up now.
If scientists took samples of the microbiome residing on your skin, what would they find?
The more your environment is limited to the clean indoor environments where most of us spend all our time (such as homes, cars, offices, gyms, stores, and restaurants) the more limited and unbalanced the microbiome on your skin.
We falsely assume the fewer strains of microbes residing on our bodies, the better.
Not that long ago, there were hand-sanitizer shortages, hoarding, stores limiting sales to one per person, and some selling their stash online at huge markups.
First-world cultures believe there is an old adage: Alcohol-based gel will keep you well.
Years before our furlough in 2020, I would watch my coworkers go through nearly half a bottle of Lysol disinfectant spray a day, especially in flu season/cabin-fever season.
I have watched a coworker spray Lysol disinfectant straight above her head and twirl around in it like a little girl dancing in the rain years.
Many believe in the lesser-known old wives' tale: A can of Lysol a day keeps the doctor away.
Biotoxin chemicals that are deadly to the smallest living organisms but survivable by larger beings like us have been hailed as a powerful prevention protocol.
Have we been sold a bill of goods by marketing agencies that disinfectant spray, antibacterial soaps, and hand sanitizer are the keys to avoiding illness?
I grew up in a place where there were no such products in use. Imagine that!
Down under, on New Ireland Island, people didn't struggle with first-world problems like the flu.
The vast majority maintained a healthy weight all their lives.
No child had juvenile type-1 diabetes or juvenile rheumatoid arthritis.
Grandmothers didn't have hands crippled by arthritis because autoimmune conditions were so rare.
To brush their teeth, they put ocean-damp sand on their index finger and rinsed with lagoon water then scrubbed their pot, dishes, and vegetables with wet sand.
They lived off the land, gardening every day in the jungle using a sharpened stick to dig holes for growing wild purple sweet potatoes and taro root.
They used sharpened sticks to pry the husks off coconuts to make coconut cream.
They used seashells to peel the root vegetables, put them in a banana leaf, poured thick coconut cream over them, wrapped it into a leaf package and secured it with small vines, then baked it overnight inside a big pile of smoldering limestone rocks.
Their kitchens had a fire pit in the sand and they kept their pot and dishes upside down on a chest-high bamboo table in their front yard.
They ate sitting on bamboo benches or on the ground on woven-palm branches holding their bowl since there were no dining tables.
They slept on a woven, palm mat on a beach-house floor made from local trees with a palm-thatch roof.
To wipe after using the palm-wall outhouses deep in the jungle, they used jungle leaves.
Everyone bathed morning and evening in the lagoon.
They didn't own soap, dish-washing detergent, laundry detergent, shampoo, astringent, disinfectant, hand sanitizer, toothpaste, or other common cleaning products.
Who knows if all our harsh cleansers and sanitizers do more harm than good?
Moreover, how are they avoiding chronic illness far better than citizens of first-world nations?
It begs the question: Is connecting with nature essential to your wellbeing or icing on the cake?
Emerging studies make a strong case that getting out in nature has a hormesis effect of keeping your immune system adaptable, responsive, and balanced.
The need for children to get out in nature is crucial to the development of their immune systems.
Surprisingly even our domesticated pets are prone to developing dysregulated immune systems when living in an urban environment.
Dovetailing with autoimmune diseases most people are even more familiar with common allergies and allergic reactions to foods.
Allergies can be coped with by taking antihistamines, but the downside to using meds that start with "anti-" is all the unwanted side effects.
I'm all in favor of using OTC antihistamines like diphenhydramine (brand name: Benadryl) to stop an allergic reaction in its tracks when needed in an emergency.
Benadryl has the power to neutralize my food allergy reactions when I unknowingly consume an ingredient that triggers symptoms which happens once every few years. I always keep it on hand for those unexpected emergencies.
Once an allergy has developed, we are doing our best to manage dangerous symptoms in the heat of the moment.
Luckily, I'm only allergic to various food groups which I can avoid eating such as grains and dairy thus needing to supplement with B-complex vitamins and calcium as a result.
If you have airborne allergies that flare up when you step outside, naturally you may be relying on OTC antihistamines daily.
I am still searching for a solution to my food allergies. I've tried a variety of strategies like a fruitarian diet and the carnivore diet for 6-month stretches, but none of them have enabled me to resume eating the foods that trigger my allergic reactions.
There are so many variables, I will spend the rest of my life experimenting with potential solutions.
If there was a way to go back in time to the origin of the problem and do something to prevent it, that would have made a humongous difference in my life.
With so many divisive issues in the world, food has always been something that brings people together and strengthens social bonds.
It puts a crimp in my style to go to a party at a restaurant like Panera Bread and have to ask for an ingredients list to figure out what to order, only to make it to the end of the black binder shaking my head that every item had either wheat, corn, milk or cheese.
Turns out, connecting with nature and its countless species of microbes educates our immune systems to help safeguard against developing allergies.
From birth through kindergarten, I lived in Minnesota. During the long winters, it is too cold for little ones to play outside.
I remember dealing with painful inflammation starting around age 5 and thinking it was just normal as part of the human condition.
We moved to South Carolina when I was six where I got to play outside for many hours every day.
By then, it was already too late. My allergies had begun while I was still young.
One of the neighborhood mothers heard the little expiratory cough at the end of my sentences and called me out in front of all the neighborhood kids saying, "Stop it! You're just doing that little fake cough for attention. You're not really sick."
That was my first time noticing it because it was so habitual. It would wax and wane from week to week as I would feel a tickle in my throat, tightness in my chest, and often had to breathe through my mouth due to sinus congestion.
I stopped eating wheat when I was 29, and other grains shortly thereafter.
Suddenly my lungs felt free to breathe easy, my throat felt relaxed, and my sinuses were clear. I remember that first week being able to breathe with my lips closed and being astounded.
It has been such a blessing ever after to have much-improved health. It is completely in my control. It is socially alienating though.
So much of human interactions in every culture on earth revolves around bonding over food, sharing snacks, talking about favorite restaurants, sharing recipes, potlucks, treats at meetings, company picnics, holiday gatherings, and most importantly family meals.
If food brings people together. Allergies put unwanted social barriers between me and them.
Reconnecting Nature extract is to immersing ourselves in nature as vitamin D and red-light therapy are to full-spectrum sunlight exposure at the correct dose, duration, and frequency.
In the same way, we can now supplement with topical beneficial microbes to keep our immune systems educated year-round. Even when it's too cold for comfort or we live far removed from the great outdoors.
What can parents do for their babies and preschoolers if they can't get out in nature for months at a time?
For starters, there are oral probiotics specially formulated for little ones, but what about the importance of our skin's microbiome?
I hope to see these Forest Cakes become common baby shower gifts for all new mothers to help their infant develop a healthy skin microbiome from the beginning.
“Become conscious of the ingredients you want to put on yours and your children’s skin..."
~Piritta Fors, CEO and Co-Founder of Luonkos said in an interview with Nordic Style Mag
Even if bad weather and urban living are keeping little ones isolated from nature for weeks at a time, this topical supplement was created to bring one of the key benefits of nature directly to their skin.
New parents are so careful about how to introduce new foods to the baby gradually to isolate if there is a reaction to one of them.
What if educating the babies' immune systems to not over-react by helping them get in contact with a variety of beneficial microbes during their first few months helped their immune systems develop a tolerance to nature?
"Both forest cakes contain, in addition to the unique microbe extract, a lot of antioxidants, superfoods, vitamins, and fatty acids that your skin needs. These health cakes contain no added fragrances, making them suitable for sensitive skins, small children, babies, and those sensitive to scents. They are 100 % natural, vegan, and preservative-free." ~Luonkos website
What if infant massage with a topical supplement could support the development of their immune systems from the beginning? I suspect even being held by someone who was using the Luonkos Forrest Cakes would transfer some of the beneficial microbes to the baby.
How would the world be a better place if there was a topical supplement that could reduce the chances of a child developing a life-long allergy?
Important note from Luonkos: "Use on healthy skin. Don’t use over cuts or rash. Atopic or allergic symptoms may occur in some nursing babies during the first year. In case of any symptoms contact your doctor."
Having a holistic philosophy of health, I believe there are multiple variables like sleep, stress management, nutrition, exercise, social support, and other contributions to our well-being, not just one isolated element. Exposure to nature is a significant piece of the puzzle.
Sometimes allergies can even develop in adulthood after we experience something that disrupts our normal healthy habits like going outside to exercise daily.
Even for people like me who already have allergies, I am keenly aware that I could spontaneously develop a new food allergy at any time like what happened in January of 2021 when I started breaking out in hives from cashews which I had eaten regularly for decades.
All my life, I've deeply loved the forest. As teenagers, Mark and I used to go on nature walks in the woods when it was warm enough in Minnesota.
Nearly three decades later, we go hiking in the forests here in Texas once a week, year-round. We have invested in buying a yearly pass to our city's arboretum and Texas state parks.
I'll share my forest photographs with you throughout this article as we explore the protective benefits of being closely connected to our beautiful world.
Every chance I get, I'll smell flowers, hug trees, hold insects, pick up a fallen feather, touch mushrooms, feel the long grass glide between my fingers, and kneel on the ground to photograph wild animal tracks that cross my path.
The Japanese call being immersed in a wooded wonderland "forest bathing." It holds a whole host of health benefits for our immune system, neurology, and psychology.
"The forest cakes of Luonkos, Infinity Oil Cleansing Cake, and Vitality Body Oil Cake are totally new kinds of skincare products. Luonkos is the first natural cosmetics company in the world to bring the forest’s health effects on your skin." ~Luonkos website
I grew up playing outside in nature daily in the 80s. Our family didn't have a TV. We had one land-line phone. My dad had a PC for work, but it looked as boring as tax documents to me. I didn't even have any friends who had Sega, Nintendo, or Atari.
Our immune systems got a workout being exposed to untold hosts of microbes in nature around the globe from Minnesota to South Carolina to Texas to Washington and later in childhood along the northern coast of Papua New Guinea, the eastern highlands and also living a stone's throw below the equator on New Ireland Island.
My friends and I had the best times as kids:
Many kids in today's world don't have the same outdoor opportunities to educate their immune systems that it's not necessary to overreact to every little thing, or worse, to attack their body's joints or pancreas.
When it comes to optimizing health, it's worth doing everything in our power to invest in our health and our children's to the best of our current knowledge and ability.
Getting "in touch" with nature is a powerfully effective wellness strategy.
Ideally, we could play outside with our kids every day to contribute to their well-being and immune system development. There are countless benefits to outdoor play and projects.
Yet it is wise to have those beneficial microbial extract Forest Cakes on hand to supplement with, especially on days we can't get the entire family outside.
"If you've lost your connection to nature, you can always reconnect with these innovative skin care products." ~Uute Scientific on Reconnecting Nature the magic ingredient in the Luonkos Forest Cakes
Alas, it did not, nor does it claim to. I'm just always on the lookout for solutions.
I bought a bottle of goats' milk kefir a few days ago and drank about a tablespoon. I had unwanted side-effects from it the next day.
Do I think it's possible that someday, I'll be able to put together enough pieces of the puzzle to make my body not react negatively to dairy?
I certainly hope so. I'm on a lifelong quest to discover products like this that will collectively contribute to an eventual resolution.
I believe that if I had grown up on New Ireland Island from birth, and lived there all my life, I would not have developed food allergies.
Obviously, I cannot test that hypothesis. I can only hope that others never develop food allergies.
Sometimes I ask myself, "Where has this product been all my life?" Usually, I'm envisioning how it could have helped me starting in my teens.
With the beneficial microbial-extract in both Luonkos forest cakes, I'm wishing these had been part of my daily life since birth.
I have experienced the positive effects of enhancing and balancing my skin's microbiome, and I will never take it for granted.
My life has been touched by the heart of this company. In addition to the direct benefits of using their products, I have been inspired to implement higher standards for my buying decisions surrounding products and their packages.
For example: I used to buy a large bottle of Dr. Bronner's 18-in-1 unscented, pure, castile certified fair trade liquid concentrate hemp soap with organic oils in a 946mL plastic bottle and then dilute it with my own water in a reusable foaming pump bottle.
After researching Luonkos and their high standards for their environmental impact, I've started using a Japanese bar soap instead.
It is inspirational to me that Luonkos has successfully upheld their heart for people and our planet while creating handcrafted products, with innovative packaging, and a topical microbiome supplement ingredient that is destined to be an acorn of potential that will develop into an enormous oak of possibilities branching into all directions of natural wellness.
It has been an absolute pleasure to enjoy these attractive cakes have helped balance the largest organ of my body—my skin—in particular the skin around one of the most useful organs—my eyes.
The benefits have been more than cosmetic. My physical comfort in my own skin has improved.
Beyond the body benefits, my spirit has been lifted, my heart warmed, my vibe energized upon waking, and my peace enhanced at bedtime.
The memories I've made with my husband giving each other face massages with these cakes are priceless and unforgettable.
These cakes have met or exceeded my expectations in every area. I have learned so much about the importance of our skin's microbiome from researching this product to share it with each of you in our community.
My heartfelt thanks and admiration to the ladies of Luonkos for being inspirational, creating products that are so delightful, and enhancing my wellbeing through the wonders of nature.
Wishing each of you hope, love, joy, and peace in your wellness adventure!
Also, my journey is just beginning. If you're interested in learning where I've based my blog post review upon above, read the studies I've collected on the topic below. The studies I've listed below will give you an excellent justification why Luonkos is taking the beauty & cosmetics industry to the next level:
Grab Your Scuba Gear for a Deep Dive Into the Scientific Studies in a Blue Sea of Quote After Quote Below.
The research I've listed below shows you where I've based my opinion upon in the very long blo post I've written so far.
- "There are about a hundred different types of immune-mediated diseases, such as asthma, allergies, or diabetes 1. In the EU alone, the cost of immune-mediated diseases is around € 100 billion a year, and it continues to grow as people move to cities at increasing rates."
- "The ADELE ecosystem project... funded by Business Finland, has reached a stage where daily natural exposure, which regulates the functioning of the defense system and protects against immune-mediated diseases, is obtained directly from Finnish cosmetic products."
- "The first cosmetic products containing Uute Scientific Oy's Reconnecting Nature ™ natural microbial extract will be [were] launched on October 15, 2020."
- "...microbial change due to biodiversity loss is associated with an increase in immune-mediated diseases."
- "...inadequate immune defense training leads to immune-mediated diseases."
- "Reconnecting Nature™ microbe extract steps in offering a helping hand.
"The immune system is comprised of a variety of cell types that must act in unison to maintain a healthy balance. White blood cells called CD4+T cells play a dual role within the immune system. Some CD4+T cells activate immune responses, whereas others, called regulatory T cells, function in the opposite direction by constraining immune responses. This duality is important because uncontrolled immune responses may result in immune system attacks against the body’s own cells and tissues, which occurs in allergic and autoimmune diseases. One of the hallmarks of uncontrolled immune responses is excessive tissue inflammation."
"Autoimmune Diseases: Types, Symptoms, Causes, and More"
"A 2015 study focused on another theory called the hygiene hypothesis."
"...children today aren’t exposed to as many germs as they were in the past. The lack of exposure could make their immune system prone to overreact to harmless substances."
"There are more than 80 different autoimmune diseases. Here are 14 of the most common ones.""1. Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus 2. Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) 3. Psoriasis / Psoriatic Arthritis 4. Multiple sclerosis (MS) 5. Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE) 6. Inflammatory Bowel disease (IBD) 7. Addison’s Disease 8. Graves’ Disease 9. Sjögren’s Syndrome 10. Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis 11. Myasthenia Gravis 12. Autoimmune Vasculitis 13. Pernicious Anemia 14. Celiac Disease"
“They are all connected,” Erik Wambre, PhD, principal investigator [at Benaroya Research Institute], says of the relationship between the two. “It’s a mistake of your body’s own immune system, whether it’s autoimmunity or allergy.”
- "... increasing levels of indoor and outdoor pollution, changing lifestyle, poor dietary habits, and rapid urbanization across the world. These factors are driving the growth of the market across the world."
- "The rising cases of allergies are expected to increase the demand for diphenhydramine..."
- "...allergies are the sixth leading cause of chronic illness... more than 50 million Americans suffer from allergies each year."
- "There is an increase in the number of people suffering from food allergies among both children and adults, globally."
- "However, this medication [diphenhydramine] may cause blurred vision and may impair thinking or reactions."
"Don't take Benadryl every day for allergies. Long-term use of this class of drug is risky."
"Besides having side effects including drowsiness, confusion, and urinary retention, a new study shows that frequent, long-term use... are associated with an increased risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease."
"Those types of drugs are known as anticholinergics, and they block the substance acetylcholine, which is involved in learning, memory, and muscle contractions."
"Pharmacology of Antihistamines"
"The older first generation H1-antihistamines [for example: diphenhydramine marketed as Benadryl and the ingredient in generic sleep aids] penetrate readily into the brain to cause sedation, drowsiness, fatigue and impaired concentration and memory..."
Sleep Drugs Often Prescribed for Kids
"Aug. 1, 2007 -- Children with sleep problems are likely to be prescribed a sleeping pill or other medication approved only for adults, according to a new study."
"When researchers from The Ohio State University and the University of Missouri evaluated 18.6 million children's doctor visits for sleep problems, they found that 81% of visits included a prescription for a medication. The study appears in the Aug. 1 issue of the journal Sleep."
"Antihistamines were most often prescribed for the children's sleep problems, given in 33% of the visits, followed by blood pressure drugs (26%), benzodiazepines such as the sleeping pill Restoril (15%), antidepressants (6%), and nonbenzodiazepine drugs such as the sleeping pills Ambien and Sonata (1%)."
"Doctors prescribing the medications that are not approved for use in children did so "off-label," a legal and common practice."
- "All OTC sleep drugs rely on older antihistamines..."
- "Most only increase total sleep time by about 20 to 30 minutes..."
- "In addition, the older antihistamines used in OTC sleep drugs can cause confusion, constipation, dry mouth, and trouble urinating."
- "Indeed, research shows that older people who take sleep drugs are more likely to fall and suffer broken bones and brain injuries."
"Incidence of fatal food anaphylaxis in people with food allergy: a systematic review and meta-analysis"
"Life-threatening asthma is associated with food allergy, and fatal food anaphylaxis may present with acute wheezing . A subgroup of fatal asthma cases occurs rapidly with less marked eosinophilic airway inflammation [24,25] – if some of these cases are fatal food anaphylaxis, then we may have underestimated fatal food anaphylaxis incidence due to miscoding as fatal asthma. A Swedish study found 11 of 37 (30%) fatal asthma cases at ages 1–34 were triggered by ingestion of a food allergen, raising this possibility ."
"Today [ January 31, 2020] the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Palforzia... ...to mitigate allergic reactions, including anaphylaxis, that may occur with accidental exposure to peanuts. Treatment with Palforzia may be initiated in individuals ages 4 through 17... Those who take Palforzia must continue to avoid peanuts in their diets."
“Peanut allergy affects approximately 1 million children in the U.S. and only 1 out of 5 of these children will outgrow their allergy. Because there is no cure, allergic individuals must strictly avoid exposure to prevent severe and potentially life-threatening reactions,” said Peter Marks, M.D., Ph.D., director of the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research. “Even with strict avoidance, inadvertent exposures can and do occur."
“The Karelia Study”
"In this study, it was observed that the incidence of diabetes 1 in 0-14-year-old children is six times lower in Russian Karelia than that in Finland! And, a range of additional immune-mediated diseases of those children clearly showed to be several-fold more common in Finland than in Russian Karelia."
"One of the sharpest welfare gradients worldwide exists between the populations of those two regions, which are separated by a land border between Russia and Finland. The lifestyle in both regions is very different from each other. The occurrence of microbial exposure is a consequence of the lifestyle. In Russian Karelia, several microbial exposures are known to be substantially more common than in Finland."
“Autoimmune and allergic diseases have become a major health problem in the Western world during past decades. The hygiene hypothesis suggests that decreased microbial exposure in childhood leads to increasing prevalence of these diseases. This review summarizes epidemiological evidence and current immunological knowledge concerning the hygiene hypothesis. Recent results from Russian Karelia and Finland imply that environmental factors have greatly contributed to the increasing prevalence of immune‐mediated disorders. Exposures, or rather the lack of them, may indeed be strongly involved in the development of both autoimmune and allergic diseases.”
"Abstract of Review Article “The ‘Hygiene hypothesis’ and the sharp gradient in the incidence of autoimmune and allergic diseases between Russian Karelia and Finland” in Journal of Pathology, Microbiology and Immunology from 2012; full article available through https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/apm.12023."
"Analyzing atopic sensitization (i.e., allergic disposition) in a random sample of adolescents living in a heterogeneous region of 100 × 150 km, we show that environmental biodiversity in the surroundings of the study subjects’ homes influenced the composition of the bacterial classes on their skin. Compared with healthy individuals, atopic individuals had lower environmental biodiversity in the surroundings of their homes and significantly lower generic diversity of gammaproteobacteria on their skin. The functional role of the Gram-negative gammaproteobacteria is supported by in vitro measurements of expression of IL-10, a key anti-inflammatory cytokine in immunologic tolerance, in peripheral blood mononuclear cells. In healthy, but not in atopic, individuals, IL-10 expression was positively correlated with the abundance of the gammaproteobacterial genus Acinetobacter on the skin. These results raise fundamental questions about the consequences of biodiversity loss for both allergic conditions and public health in general."
"Urban, Westernized populations suffer extensively from noncommunicable diseases such as allergies. However, the overlapping effects of living environment and lifestyle are difficult to separate. Intriguingly, also our fellow animals, dogs, suffer from analogous diseases. Therefore, we suggest that pet dogs, sharing their environment and lifestyle with humans but having a comparatively simple life, provide a valuable model for understanding origins of noncommunicable diseases. We show that living environment and lifestyle concurrently, but still independently, shape both the skin microbiota and the risk of allergic disease in dogs. Urbanized lifestyle, featuring restricted animal contacts and small family size, is allergy promoting both in rural and urban dogs. Hence, both environment and lifestyle seem to influence the microbiota and, probably consequently, immune tolerance."
"The manufacturer of animal products FinnTar Oy brings a new product line containing microbial extract to animals under its own Arctic Vet ™ trademark. At the same time, Reconnecting Nature™ microbial extract expands vertically from cosmetics to animal products."
“As soon as we heard about the ongoing ADELE Prevall baby study, we found that this invention can also be exported to animal skin care products. Our pets also suffer from a lack of resistance. More and more dogs live in urban conditions, which means that reduced resistance and allergies are commonplace for our pets as well,” — Kirsi Suhonen, CEO of FinnTar Oy"
"Finnish science-based Uute Scientific Oy brings natural microbes to cosmetic products - the possibilities of using the extract are huge""Uute Scientific Oy's microbial extract contains thousands of species compared to one, or at most a few species, which, for example, are already more familiar as probiotic products that have been on the market for a long time. Most of Uute Scientific Oy's microbial extract is slow-growing microbes that cannot currently be grown in laboratory conditions."
"In addition to bacteria, unicellular nucleated micro-organisms as well as genuine nuclear microbes are also involved. Together, this diverse spectrum of microbial species can provide the immune system with a complex stimulus on the skin that cannot be achieved with the use of only a few species."
“The potential for our microbial extract is huge in the future; it could be added to edible, drinkable or wearable products, or it could also become medicine', says CEO, Co-Founder Kari Sinivuori."
"Perturbations in the human microbiome may have profound effects on the host, which may result in developing chronic inflammation and disease, especially in genetically predisposed individuals."
"Trillions of microorganisms thrive on and inside bodies..."
"The relationship between humans and their microbiota is truly mutualistic, with microorganisms playing a significant role in host digestion, metabolism, and the immune system." ~Dr. N. Fyhrquist
"It is possible that the generic diversity of a bacterial class is a more constant feature than its relative abundance."
"...biodiversity can be surprisingly strongly associated with atopy, a common immune dysfunction of modern era."
"Interactions with natural environmental features not only may increase general human well being in urban areas (45), but also may enrich the commensal microbiota and enhance its interaction with the immune system, with far-reaching consequences for public health."
"Biodiversity intervention enhances immune regulation and health-associated commensal microbiota among daycare children""As the incidence of immune-mediated diseases has increased rapidly in developed societies, there is an unmet need for novel prophylactic practices to fight against these maladies."
"This study is the first human intervention trial in which urban environmental biodiversity was manipulated to examine its effects on the commensal microbiome and immunoregulation in children."
"We analyzed changes in the skin and gut microbiota and blood immune markers of children during a 28-day biodiversity intervention."
"The intervention diversified both the environmental and skin Gammaproteobacterial communities, which, in turn, were associated with increases in plasma TGF-β1 levels and the proportion of regulatory T cells. The plasma IL-10:IL-17A ratio increased among intervention children during the trial."
"Our findings suggest that biodiversity intervention enhances immunoregulatory pathways and provide an incentive for future prophylactic approaches to reduce the risk of immune-mediated diseases in urban societies."
"Children who play in forests and parklands rather than gravel yards have stronger immune systems, study suggests"
"In their study... They overhauled the previously 'bare' concrete-, sand- and gravel-covered yards with the introduction of wood-like elements including grass, mosses, small shrubs, planting boxes, and natural forest floor."
"Over the course of 28 days, the children attending the nurseries — each aged between 3–5 — spent 1.5 hours each day in the green renovated spaces playing games, planting vegetation and crafting with natural materials."
"The kids also developed a higher ratio of anti-inflammatory cytokine IL-10 to the pro-inflammatory cytokine IL-17A — suggesting that exposure to the more natural environment and dirt had stimulated their immunoregulatory pathways."
"While similar results were observed from the three centres where children were routinely taken out to play in nature, those attending the three centres whose yards were left more bare got no immune boost — and their microbiota declined."
"We performed a pilot study in which healthy adults were exposed to the varied microbial community of a soil- and plant-based material. The method was safe and feasible; exposure was associated with an increase in gut microbial diversity."
"Conclusion: If these findings are reproduced in larger studies nature-derived microbial exposure strategies could be further developed for testing their efficacy in the treatment and prevention of immune-mediated diseases."
32,22 € 60 ml
"Luonkos oil cleansing cake is a 4-in-1 product that cleanses the skin, removes make-up, and balances and nurtures your skin. Like all Luonkos Oil Cleansing Cakes Infinity is vegan, free from water, preservatives, plastics and packaged in glue-free biodegradable cardboard.
"Infinity oil cleansing cake contains no added fragrances, making it suitable for sensitive skin types. The cleansing cake contains a lot of antioxidants, superfoods, vitamins, and fatty acids that are vital for your skin. Infinity also contains Reconnecting Nature™ forest microbe extract, developed in Finland, which enhances the skin’s protective barrier and restores the balance of the microbiome while soothing the skin.
"By using the product daily, you can revitalize the skin’s moisture balance. At first, the impurities might activate, but your skin will calm down when it gains back its natural balance. Double cleansing is also recommended for those whose pores clog up easily.
“Just two weeks of exposure to nature can improve the microbiota diversity for a person living in a city.” *– MD, PhD, Professor of Virology at Tampere University, Co-Founder of Uute Scientific Heikki Hyöty
"Oil cleansing cakes remove even waterproof make-up easily and effectively. You can use the product for cleansing your entire face.
"The cake is handmade, and its colour can be irregular. The ingredients are 100 percent natural, but remember, the oil cleansing cake is meant for your skin to enjoy, not for eating. Store the cakes in under 25℃ in a dry place, on a tray, or in its case away from direct sunlight. This is especially important in the summertime, as the cakes contain oils and will melt in high temperatures.
"One cake usually lasts for 2 to 5 months, for around 60 uses.
"Theobroma Cacao (Cocoa) Seed Butter**, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil**, Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Oil, Olive Squalane, Hippophae Rhamnoides (Sea Buckthorn) Berry Oil, Ricinus Communis (Castor) Seed Oil**, Humus Extract, Tocopherol (Vitamin E), Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Camelina Sativa (Camelina) Seed Oil, Betaine"
26,57 € 60 ml
"Luonkos Vitality Body Oil cake – with Forest Microbe Extract – for All Skin Types
"Vitality is an innovative product that nurtures and softens your skin and brings the forest nature’s health effects on your skin. The cake contains Reconnecting Nature™ microbe extract, developed in Finland, which enhances the skin’s protective barrier and restores the balance of the microbiome while soothing the skin.
"Vitality Body Oil Cake contains a lot of antioxidants, superfoods, vitamins, and fatty acids that are vital for your skin. Vitality Body Oil Cake contains no added fragrances, making it suitable for sensitive skins, small children, babies, and those sensitive to scents.
"Reconnecting Nature™ is like a lovely forest bath brought indoors. Use the product daily, and enjoy from diverse exposure to nature.
“Just two weeks of exposure to nature can improve the microbiota diversity for a person living in a city.” *– MD, PhD, Professor of Virology at Tampere University, Co-Founder of Uute Scientific Heikki Hyöty
"* The Adele project of the universities of Helsinki and Tampere develops solutions for preventing immune-mediated diseases. Exposure to nature regulates your defense mechanisms and protects you from immune-mediated diseases, and the project wants a future where consumers can use consumer products to get their daily exposure to nature.
"Rub the body oil cake between your clean, dry hands, a apply the oil from the cake on your skin. For the best result, pat your skin dry after a shower and apply the cake then. This way your skin will absorb the maximum amount of moisture. Let the oil absorb for a minute before getting dressed or going to bed. You don’t need to apply a thick layer: one cake lasts for a really long time.
"The cake is hand-made, meaning its colouring can be irregular. The cake’s ingredients are safe, preservative-free, and 100 percent natural, but do remember, they are meant for your skin to enjoy, and not for eating. Avoid getting the product in contact with your eyes. Keep the product away from children and pets. Store your cake at room temperature, below 25°C, in a dry place. Remember to protect it from sun and sauna. For more information and tips for use, visit luonkos.fi.
"Pro tip: Scrub your skin regularly. Scrubbing removes the dry, dead skin cells from your skin, helping your skin to absorb more oil.
"Theobroma Cacao (Cocoa) Seed Butter**, Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Oil, Hydrogenated Simmondsia Chinensis Seed Oil (Jojoba Wax)**, Olive Squalane, Humus Extract, Avena Sativa (Oat) Kernel Oil, Tocopherol (Vitamin E), Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Hordeum Vulgare (Barley) Starch, Betaine"
11,21 € – 12,02 €
"Complete Oil Cleansing Cake is suitable for all skin types and gently cleanses and moisturises the skin. This oil cleanser can also be used as a calming aftershave and beard oil."
24,15 € 60 ml
"Luonkos Rebirth Oil Cleansing Cake for dry and normal skin
"Rebirth is designed for demanding skin that requires extra attention, and it nurtures the skin and removes the make-up gently yet efficiently.
"Luonkos oil cleansing cake is a 4-in-1 product that cleanses the skin, removes the make-up, and balances and nurtures your skin. Raw cacao cleanses impurities and brightens the skin. Almond oil softens and nurtures your skin, making it elastic. Coconut oil and cacao butter help to remove any make-up and impurities from the skin. Raw cacao contains revitalizing caffeine and theobromine, and huge amounts of antioxidants. It brightens and revives tired skin.
"By using the product daily, you can re-establish and equalize the skin’s moisture balance. At first, the impurities might activate, but your skin will calm down when it gains back its natural balance. You can distinguish a dazing sweet richness and tones of a chocolaty dessert in Rebirth’s scent.
"The cleansing cakes remove all make-up easily and effectively. You can use the product for cleansing the entire facial area. The product is also suitable for removing water-proof make-up.
"The cake is handmade, and its colour can be irregular. The ingredients are 100 percent natural, but do remember, the oil cleansing cake is meant for your skin to enjoy, and not for eating. Remember to store the cakes in room temperature (max. 25°C) in a dry place, on a tray, or in a case. This is especially important in the summertime, as the cakes contain oil and will melt when it’s hot. So do remember to keep them way from sun.
"One cake usually lasts 2 to 5 months, for around 60 uses.
"INGREDIENTS: Theobroma Cacao (Cacao) Seed Butter **), Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil **), Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil **), Theobroma Cacao (Cocoa) Extract **), Styrax Benzoin Resin Extract, Parfum (natural), Citronellol*, Geraniol*, Limonene*"
*Allergens in natural essential oils **Organic ingredients
"Women’s Bank supports women’s livelihoods in Africa, Asia and the Middle East according to the principles of sustainable development."
- 16 countries in which we have improved women’s position
- 59000 women, girls and men involved in our projects
- over 1000 village banks founded
- 10000 volunteers across Finland and abroad
- 1 woman, family and community at a time
Radiant—for dry and sensitive skin with no added fragrance
Healing—for oily and combination skin
Innocent—all natural with no added fragrances
Delicious—all skin types
Celebrate—with safe and beautiful glitter sea-buckthorn oil and Vitamin A
"This set includes Infinity forest oil cleansing cake, Vitality forest body oil cake, ecological sponge, Helli Cleansing Cloth, and a card."
"The world is filled with creams, serums and masks which promise a more elastic, cleaner and beautiful skin. We are in a spiral where our bathroom cabinets fill up with plastic packages, the contents of which we do not even understand with a dictionary." ~ Luonkos website
"All of our cleansing cloths have been pre-washed with a scent-free ecological detergent, and the cloth is ready to use." ~ Luonkos
"Water, fillers, additives, plastics or microplastics, endangered plants, synthetic chemicals, fragrances, preservatives, colorings, polluting chemicals such as phthalate or paraben, animal fats or proteins like carmine, lard, tallow, or various animal collagens, silicones, or mineral oils like paraffin or Vaseline, genetically modified ingredients (GMOs), chemical sensitizers, aluminum, chlorine, irradiation, endocrine disruptors, sulphates/sulfates, chemical UV filters or formaldehyde releasers, common contact allergens like linalool, limonene from essential oils." ~ Luonkos website
"Miia has a strong ethical and ecological vision, and she constantly strives to find innovative and efficient solutions for our products."
"Jonna is a natural resource producer by trade, and she is well versed in plants, their effects and use."
"Piritta is a futurologist, life and business coach, professional photographer, and a female awareness mentor."
Here's a Nordic Natural Beauty Podcast's Interview with Luonkos CEO and Co-Founder Piritta Fors.
Interesting side note: Piritta is a popular Finish name from the namesake St. Birgitta of Sweden (1303-1373) who was the beloved central figure at the heart of the history of this lovely community where Luonkos is handmade with love.
History of the birthplace of Luonkos:
"The construction work for the abbey, Vallis gratiae (`Valley of Grace'), started in 1443. Nådendal was the name of the village (in Finnish 'Naantali') that quickly grew up around this thriving monastic community."
"The spiritual life of the cloistered nuns of Nådendal focused on contemplation and prayer, but they had a reputation also for their skillful handwork. Their lace products were especially famous."
"Centuries ago the hometown of Luonkos, Naantali in Southern Finland, was a safe haven for a thriving Bridgettine monastery, and as the monastery’s courtyard filled with lush, fragrant herb gardens, the connection between women, nature, and well-being flourished." ~ Luonkos website
"The herbs were a source of well-being, health, and beauty. And following the footsteps of the Bridgettine ladies, the Luonkos ladies were on a quest for answers, combining contemporary knowledge with ancient wisdom." ~Luonkos website
Here's a 360degree Tour of their boutique in downtown Naantali, Luostarinkatu 18.
"There is QR-code on the package’s label: scan it for a stroll in the woods, a bit of forest yoga, an enchanting forest story, a glimpse into the Luonkos world." ~ Luonkos website
“The acquisition of Kotkamills is an ideal complement to our existing carton board business. It strengthens our business model as a dedicated carton board and folding carton producer with a reinforced position in virgin fibre-based carton board which has good growth potential."
“Kotkamills adds significantly to our sustainability strategy, offering innovative solutions for plastic replacement. We have great confidence in the top-class team of Kotkamills to shape a promising future together.”
Kotkamills CEO, Markku Hämäläinen, comments: “From Kotkamills’ point-of-view this acquisition is a perfect match. Mayr-Melnhof Karton will provide Kotkamills a strong foothold in the carton board market with the barrier coated FSB solutions which can replace plastic and polyethylene-coated board.”
"Since 2018, Kotkamills has used its technology to produce barrier boards for hot cup and food packaging end uses, in addition to folding boxboard grades. The company says that its new water-based dispersion barriers make the paperboard compostable, repulpable and easy to recycle; the fibres used are from PEFC and FSC-certified sources."
Åland Archipelago, Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Faroe Islands, Finland, France, Germany, Gibraltar, Greece, Greenland, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Isle of Man, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, Netherlands, North Macedonia, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, San Marino, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom
Example: shipping international delivery 5 items to United Kingdom (UK): 18,00 €
FREE SHIPPING to Europe on orders over 80€!
"TIP! If you can’t give the gift in person, you can also order it directly to the recipient’s home address. If you wish, we’ll fill in the card for you. Just add your greetings to the “Order comments” -field. We’ll write the message on the beautiful card." ~ Luonkos website
This article was written by Christa Rucker. Christa has been biohacking her own physiology for two decades now. She loves to geek-out on researching scientific studies that connect different habits to measurable health outcomes. She also has extensive clinical experience assisting patients which has fueled her passion for prevention.
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