Static Electric, The Hair, The Skin, Our Health

Ligghtning, Huffington Post 02.03.15

Static Electricity, The Hair and Skin?

We have all experienced the effects of static energy: Getting a shock while closing a car door; After walking over a floor or carpet then getting zapped on a conductive surface such as tap, radiator or door knob. or when taking off your jumper. You might get cracking sounds when you comb or brush the hair with a nylon or plastic brush – and you’ll notice how much hair is pulled out! High levels of static, not only induce hair loss and skin trouble but can also impact on our health, so it is useful to understand the phenomenon.

What is static electricity?

Although we can’t see this static energy, it is a high voltage electrical energy field which surrounds us, clings to us and moves around with us. We notice it the most when we get an get an electrostatic shock – We can both hear, feel and sometimes see the spark, as a stream of electrons moves rapidly from our charged hair or skin to a conducting surface. Even the tiniest spark is about 500 volts. A longer spark can measure several thousand volts and burn a tiny hole in the skin. Lightning is electro-static discharge on a much larger scale.

Static charges form when different materials come into contact or even when they rub together. The charges separate when the objects are separated and then moves with the separated objects. One obect with have a negative charge and the other will be charged with the positive polarity. The charge accumulates on the skin or the hair as the inside of body has a fairly high resistance.

Examples of Static in Everyday Life

Static from Transport

Take the following scenario. We driving the car. The clothing, skin and seat are all rubbing together and working as a static (triboelectric) generator. Both the body and the seat are insulating surfaces and as we exit the vehicle we are taking one polarity of the charge with us, while the other polarity of charge stays in the driver’s seat. On getting out of a car after driving in nylon clothes, the skin voltage can have reached 21,000 volts, in wool clothes 9000 volts and cotton, some 7000 volts. No wonder it is easy to get a static shock when closing or locking the vehicle door.

Static at Home

Typically when walking on a vinyl floor, each time the soul of a rubberized shoe makes contact with the floor, it draws up negative electrons and leave a positive charge in each footprint. With a bit of scuffing and sliding the next person or large metal object you touch will get zapped. It is easy to reach a charge of 12,000 volts! Walking over a synthetic carpet can leave you charged with 35,000 volts. One solution is to go barefoot, to wear leather, suede or vegetable fibre soled slippers indoors or to change to a natural flooring surface.

Static at Work

Hospitals and industrial building / structures must be designed so that the static discharges do not cause explosions and workers with sensitive electrical and computer equipment must wear grounding devises so that the static does not cause circuit boards to short out.

Hair Static

If you comb your hair with a nylon comb or brush you can hear the crackling sound of static and the hair can become quite unmanageable. As the nylon comb has been stroked through the hair, electrons from the hair have moved to the comb. Hair will be pulled out by the comb because the comb will gain an negative charge and the hair, having lost its electrons is left with a positive charge. Because opposites polarities form an attractive force and charges of the same polarity  form a repulsive force, the hair will be attracted strongly to the comb.  Each hair now has a positive charge and each hair repels the other similarly charged hairs, sending the individual hairs apart in all directions. Not only is it unmanageable, some of it is lost to the plastic comb!

Home Experiments with Static!

In my video on a Horn and Plastic Comb Comparison, (coming soon) you will see that the plastic comb carries enough charge after combing my hair to pick up a feather. By comparison the horn comb leaves the feather just where it is. You can try this at home. It works best in a dry room.

Another way to show how plastic combs grabs electrons is to charge the comb again by combing the hair until it is static and flyaway. Now hold the comb next to a small continuous stream of water. The comb will alter the path of the water. By comparison, the horn comb has no influence over the trajectory of the water – the charge of the horn comb did not alter as it was drawn through the hair.

What is the Impact of Static on our Health?

With this accumulation of charge on the skin, subtle electrical processes in the body within each body cell, the brain, the heart, every part of the body is altered, including skin and hair health. Little tiny parts of the body use electrical signals, but they are measure in millivolts, even the walls of each cell retain their integrity due to miniscule electrical impulses.

Carrying high voltage static around with us can cause malaise and disturb the body. More and more people are reporting symptoms of Electromagnetic Hypersensistivity (ES)  or (EHS). Many people have the sensitivity to some degree, especially when the electro-magnetic pollution is taken into account. Electomagnetic pollution is caused by Wifi, microwaves, mobiles, TV, fluorescent lighting etc.

Electromagnetic energies are emanated by electrical devises, but here we are just discussing Static Electric, caused by contact / movement of different surfaces together.  Both electro-magnetic and static of energy have a negative impact on our health and wellbeing and contribute toward ES.

What Can You Do to Reduce Your Body Levels of Static?

General

Introduce more humidity to heated rooms by airing the room each day. Even in the winter it is good to open the windows for ten minutes a day to air each room.

It is also great keeping lots of houseplants which also detoxify and humidify the air in the house and they look so wonderful.

Try to favour clothing made from natural textiles which tend to absorb humidity and accumulate reduced charges compared to synthetic textiles.

Consider carefully what you wear on your feet. It is best to choose conductive, rather than insulating soles.

Take time to go outside everyday and use natural techniques for grounding the body.

Hair

Use a horn comb for the hair! Horn combs do not collect electrons or alter the charge of the hair because they are the same material as the hair, keratin and no charge is induced with contact between materials of the same type. Beside reducing hair loss, reducing static and flyaway hair, there are many more reasons to use a horn comb and you are invited to read about them on the Horn Comb product page.

Balance the Wash  / Conditioning of the Hair. Be aware that hair conditioners often contain synthetic anti-static agents. You can make a natural hair conditioner from Scottish Seaweed which has some natural anti-static properties!

Body / Skin

Try the Body Ionic Brush, which has bristles of copper and horse hair on the skin to remove any charges from the skin surface. The brush delivers negative ions which are massively important for health and wellbeing and neutralizes charges on the body surface.  Also one or two strokes with this ionic brush, can give electrons to the hair and calm intensely flyaway hair.

A full brushing of the body with the ionic body brush is a profoundly healthy routine and due to the movement of lymph fluid which is also very electrically conductive, even brushing on the skin surface has deep effect further in the body!

Wash the face and body in Rhassoul Clay which has natural anti-static and static dispersing properties.

Laundry and Cleaning

Fabric conditioner and many cleaners contain synthetic anti-static chemicals. We prefer to wash the clothes in soapnuts which have some natural anti-static properties! Soapnuts can also be used for many household cleaning tasks.

I hope that you enjoyed learning about static and that you will get a chance to do your own experiments. Who knows, you might be the next Tesla, finding ways of harvesting of all this free static energy!

More detail, if you are still awake, or if you really, really want to know more!

What Causes Static Charges to Separate?

The core of atoms are made up with protons and neutrons. Protons have a positive charge and neutrons are without charge. Around the centre of the atom are series of shells containing electrons spinning in layered orbits, called shells. The electrons have a negative charge. The electrons in the outer shell are often mobile.

If the atom is composed in such a way the there is room for further electrons in the outer shell, nearby electrons will take up orbit in the shell and the atom will be more stable. Equally, there are atoms which are willing to give up electrons from their outer shell. Depending on which atom any specific material is composed, the material has have a tendency to either donate or accept electrons. Only contact or friction is necessary for these Olympics to go on.

When electrons are lost from a material, the material will be left with a positive charge. Conversely when a material accepts electrons, the material may take on a negative charge.

What Materials are Involved in Charge Separation?

Materials are arranged in hierarchical series, called the Triboelectric Series. This list shows the propensity of materials to donate electrons nearer to the top with those materials willing to accept electrons near the bottom. It is not the full list! This flow of electrons happens when the different materials are in contact or are rubbing together.

The top of the series

Rabbit fur (also Cat fur)
Hair and Oily Skin
Dry Skin and Nylon
Cotton other vegetable fibres ( these materials wick humidity and so reduce the accumulation of static, because moisture conducts static and it flows away)

Materials from the top of the series give up their electrons readily, meaning they acquire a positively charged field. Rabbit fur is known for being left with a strong positive charge after being rubbed with a material lower down the scale such as wool or more so plastic.

The middle of the series

Wool

Lower down the series

Acrylic
Polystyrene
Vinyl
Latex (Natural Rubber)
Teflon

These materials gain electrons readily.

The further apart the materials are on the triboelectric series, the more static or charge separation is created. Unless this field is discharged on a conducting surface, the invisible static field clings around our body and moves around with us. Because static is conducted away by moisture in the air, we are more likely to get static shocks in dry environments and on days with low humidity.

Notice that fur is very high up the triboelectric series. The more active the rabbit or cat, the dryer the day, the less it washes, the more likely the fur is to accumulate a high positive charge. Cats are very prone to getting shocks from static discharge and if I was a cat, I would dread being combed with anything comb made with materials which would cause static. I would insist on being combing with a horn comb!

Please note that my explanation is on a very basic level and physics and quantum science offers more sophisticated and compelling adventures about energy, electrons, sub atomic particles quantum energy and waveforms!


Downshifting: Mrs Everybody’s Tiny Garden

Tiny Gardens for Birds & Bees?

Mrs Everybody has been in her tiny front garden. She is not the only visitor. Passing bees hum around the flowers and birds stop to lie down, eat or just stand around here… It is a green, flowery and fragrant oasis.  Sadly it is one of the very few little green refuges along a car lined,barren, treeless street, hemmed in by paving slabs and concreted front gardens. A neighbour tells me that she has seen just one bird on the street in the last seven years. She should visit Mrs Everybody’s tiny garden, a few houses down more often. At the moment the bees are enjoying the hyacinth flowers, and few days ago a pair of blackbirds came visiting at the same time.

Mrs Everybody has been getting lost in thoughts in her tiny front garden. Mrs Everybody what have you been thinking?
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Primrose and grape hyacinth These plants are looking a bit friendly. I hope that they don’t hybridize. The grape hyacinth grows wild in East Anglia, this region. They have the most gorgeous, intense scent.

Primrose and grape hyacinth These plants are looking a bit friendly. I hope that they don’t hybridize. The grape hyacinth grows wild in East Anglia, this region. They have the most gorgeous, intense scent.

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‘My front garden is just over 9m2. That’s pretty tiny. Reduce it further by a path, space for two recycling boxes and a water butt. Make sure in your mental image you leave room to swing the garden gate and step inside. They you have it, a table-cloth-sized, oh, and north facing front garden. Yet this little patch of ground is always green in the winter, and in the spring, cottage flowers, some British natives, so beloved of the village gardens, hedgerows and verges of my childhood are encouraged to run amok. I want to breathe the scent of the flowers and shrink down to their size to be among them. When other creatures and people pass by, I am happy for them to enjoy it in their own way.’

Imagine if every front garden was planted with native species all up and down the terrace rows in cities and towns. Surely planting a wild garden for bees must help avert the immediate threat to their survival? I am sure this is not a new idea. With International Down Shifting Week 18th-24th April, why not get organised, take up those slabs, bring in some topsoil and compost and go native? Just think of all those packets of British wildlife seeds on shelves, and spring plants in pots waiting to live and be nurtured!

Tip: While gardening, Mrs Everybody protects her hands with gloves. She washes her hands in soothing rhassoul clay and applies argan oil to her hands and nails afterwards! You can view the offer the rhassoul clay and argan oil offer if you like.

Recommendations: Give life back to a front garden (may be yours) this Downshifting week!

Other ideas for joining in the fun (and seriousness) of International Downshifting Week can be found here. Mrs Everybody would like to show you some plants from her tiny garden, all of which are much loved by bees. You can get many more ideas for bee friendly plants from this link at the Royal Horticultural Society.

More images:

Coltsfoot The coltsfoot, a British native herb appeared in the garden on its own and has naturalised. It is a truly weird plant. The flowers look a bit uptight in this picture, but I will get some more flattering photos of them!

Bleeding Heart I spotted this plant growing up the road in a 97 year old man’s garden, then found it in a pound shop. This plant is also truly weird and beautiful. Even the name is peculiar when you think about it a bit. What will they think of next?

Hyacinth and Cyclamen The hyacinths reflect light so intensely that they appear over-exposed compared to the cyclamen. The pink hyacinth seems awfully brazen. No wonder they act as magnets for birds and bees.

Cowslip and Hyacinth The cowslips are just beginning to flower!

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Would you like visit Mrs Everybody’s tiny front garden later on in the year to see what the plants, birds and bees have been up to?

STOP PRESS: Just as Mrs Everybody was making the final preparations to the blog, Mr Everybody called Mrs Everybody into the front room. ‘Listen,’ he whispered, ‘listen to the birdsong’ Unbelievable. A blackbird sat on Mrs Everybodys tiny garden wall and sang through the twighlight. He resolutely remained on the wall and sang for the evening as people, cars and cyclists passed. We hope that he comes again soon.

The videos and photos of this beautiful blackbird are a bit shaky and don’t do it justice, and the sound recordings aren’t much good. Lucky the blackbird left some other evidence!

The videos and photos of this beautiful blackbird are a bit shaky and don’t do it justice, and the sound recordings aren’t much good. Lucky the blackbird left some other evidence!


Strip Washing with Rhassoul Clay and Alum

Strip washing with Rhassoul Clay in one of the World Tiniest Spaces (without turning it into a mud wrestlers changing room).

Mrs Everybodys new blog is all about reducing the environmental impact of living.

Strip washing, using a flannel and a basin of water to wash just the parts which need routine washing: face, neck, armpits, the nether regions and feet is one of the greenest ways of washing, saving litres of water and the huge energy costs in heating the water. When Mrs Everybody was a child, growing up in the sixties and seventies, strip washing at a sink was the way she washed every day. She had a bath once a week whether she needed it or not! Only the newly built houses had showers.

The other day Mrs Green, an avid clay user asked Mrs Everybody how she managed to strip wash with clay without creating a huge mess in the bathroom. Hmmm! She hadn’t actually had a strip wash since she had left home. Over to Mrs Everybody:

I had memories of luke warm water, soggy flannels, damp towels, a soggy carpet, a cold bathroom, and tepid water dripping up my arms. However this is 2009 and I had just brought my tiny downstairs shower room into commission. It is a warm room with hot water, a large mirror and good lighting. So location sorted. The tiny shower room with basin and loo was built on one side of my former galley kitchen where the hob had been located. So think small. Think aircraft loo and basin!

Well Mrs Green, this is exactly how I did it. I made up some rhassoul clay in a bowl, with a wooden spoon and hot water. While it was hydrating, I changed into my dressing gown in my bedroom and I brought the following things into the little room:
I took my watch and dressing gown off and noted the time. I had given myself 15 minutes for my first strip wash in about 25 years. I filled the sink (the size of a dinner plate) with hot water and hesitated. How indeed was I going to avoid making a huge mess?

Mrs Everybodys strip wash kit, towel, flannel, rhassoul clay, wooden spoon, pot, and alum crystal.

Mrs Everybodys strip wash kit, towel, flannel, rhassoul clay, wooden spoon, pot, and alum crystal.

A towel, flannel, headband, hair clip (to keep long hair out of the way), my alum crystal, argan oil, and a mat to stand on, oh, and a fruit smoothy.

With my hair out of the way, I smoothed a fine layer of clay on my face and neck, some under my arms and then my nether regions. Rinsed my hands, and then massaged the clay on the face, underarms, and the other parts in that order, keeping the clay moist.

The clay started to dry around my eyes – the clay should always remain wet on the body, so I wetted the flannel in the hot water, wrung it well and placed it on my face. It gave me the loveliest feeling and somehow made me want to take up a yoga pose. I begun to consider how I could get into the tree pose, about the only pose possible in this space, while keeping the flannel on my face – then I remembered the time, plus strip washing is associated with austerity, not pleasure!

No mess so far, but now for the rinse. The sink was too small to fit my face anywhere near it and perhaps this is the key – I couldn’t rinse by the ‘splashing technique’ but needed to use the flannel. So I stretched the flannel all across the face and with both hands drew it down, removing almost all the clay in one go. I rinsed the flannel and continued, removed the clay from the neck, remembering to clean behind my ears! By this time the water in the sink looked like a puddle which a tank had just driven through. I let the water out and refilled the sink, rinsing the under arms and all the other parts. On finishing, I let the water out of the basin, and wiped the basin out with the flannel (destined straight for the washing machine). The sink was cleaner than it had been in the first place, no splashes on the mirror. Zero mess.

I completed the wash by applying, some alum deodorant under the arms, argan oil on my face and nails, combed my hair and brushed my teeth. Time check: 15 minutes. However I realised that I forgot to do my feet. I will have to work on that!

In the meantime, with World Water Week coming up on March 22nd and with everyone wondering how we are going to save the planet from the carbon crisis – Why don’t you give it a go? Or, if you are already using clay and alum already in this way then share your insights here!

Tips: The Everybodys make the clay into the yoghurt like consistency, but some people may prefer it a little bit thinner, especially those with very hairy skin! Sometimes the Everybodys make up the clay for several days in advance, which is really helpful when they are in a hurry.

Technical Info: Mrs Everybody’s shower (not a power shower) releases 12 litres of water per minute, so that’s 120 litres of hot water for a 10 minute shower. For her strip wash she used just two small basins of water, total of 4 litres, that is 30 times less hot water than used in showering. Switching to strip washing will decrease her energy bills and carbon footprint. You will find a table showing you how to calculate your water flow on the Rhassoul and Alum Crystal page. For this water flow experiment you will need a bucket, a measuring jug and a watch or mobile as a timer. There will also be more about measuring water flow in the next blog.

Recommendations: Find out how Mr Everybody copes with clay in his beard and hairy arms.
Challenge others to strip wash and gather feedback and tips Take part in your own Strip Wash Challenge, buy Rhassoul Clay and Alum for £11.00
Check on how the journalists are getting on with their strip wash challenges. See the Very Lowest carbon Footprint Strip Washing Challenge to Journalists

Notes: Let’s find out how Mrs Green is getting on now that she has been challenged back!


Welcome to the Everybody’s Blog!

Mr and Mrs Everybody.

Mr and Mrs Everybody laughing at something.

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Hello World, Welcome to the Everybody’s Blog.

Let me introduce you to the Everybody family. Mrs Everybody runs Natural Spa Supplies, a company which encourages people to take up Green, Prehistoric or Tribal washing (hence our pen name). Mrs Everybody believes that many of the world’s best Green Living solutions have already been invented thousands of years ago and she wants to help people to rediscover them. Mrs Everybody uses the Archaeology and Anthropology bits in her education as her excuse for continuous research into traditional living. If you subscribe to this blog you may one day find yourself washing in clay!

Mr Everybody is an architect and builds eco-friendly houses. At least this is what he does when he is not helping Mrs Everybody. Oh, I nearly forgot. There is also the cat, who only has a first name, Boudi. She likes to help with the packing, especially when string is involved. Boudi has also been helping test some of the horn combs and she is desperate to tell you about them. However she is asleep at the moment. In the meantime we will publish the next blog about a very eco-friendly personal washing technique. We think everybody should know about it.

We hope that you will enjoy reading the blog and that you will make comments, subscribe to the RSS feeds (please don’t ask me to explain how they work to you) and share the ideas and links with your friends.

My thanks to Mrs Green of http://myzerowaste.com/ for her inspiration!

Yours truely,

Mrs Everybody (and Mr Everybody)