Living green in Tampa Bay profile: Autana and Nurses' Glove organic skin care

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[image-1]"I found that most commercial skin care products are filled with chemicals that feel good, but actually dry the skin further. I kept investigating to discover that many of these chemicals accumulate in your body causing hormonal problems, tumors and cancers. I didn't want that for me and my family," she told me. "So, I started making my own skin care products."

"Necessity is the mother of invention" is how the saying goes, right? So Belisa decided to take matters into her own hands (pun intended) and created something to soothe her hands that was totally free of chemicals. Thus, Nurses' Glove Balm, made with 100% natural products, was born. Of course, word got round the nurses' stations about this great product Belisa was using: co-workers kept asking her to make some for them as well. Finally, requests got a little out of hand (yes, another pun) so she said, "Enough!" and decided to start selling her creation.

Next came her line of soaps, Autana — named after the tabletop mountain in Venezuela, where Belisa and her husband  Alex hail from,  that stands 4,000 ft above sea level. The tops of the soaps are meant to look like the Autana Mountain, which means "tree of life" in the language spoken in the Venezuela Amazon. The soaps are made with rich organic olive oil, teas and essential oils and available in an array of fabulous scents.

[image-2]This small, local business has definitely become a family affair, says Belisa. "We are an environment-friendly, family-owned and operated business. From the little ones to the eldest, we all take pride in what we do. Alex makes the designs and presentations and organizes, Belisa creates the products and makes Autana and Nurses' Glove, Orianna, 6, applies the labels and keeps track of the places where we sell on her map, and Oliver, 2, well he tries everything we make!"

You can find Belisa with her line of organic and all-natural skin care products almost every weekend at Ybor's Saturday Market (9 am- 3 pm) and on her website: (The soaps are not yet available on the site, but are soon to come.)

If I haven't stressed it enough before: Buy organic/all-natural and support local businesses!

While perusing the stands at the Ybor Saturday Market last weekend, eyeing the many unique handmade goods and looking for anything in the way of "green," I came upon a vendor selling some interesting organic soaps and skin care. A great story behind something (especially of local interest) always gets me and I have become a convert to (swearing by) organic and natural products on my skin. So, I felt I had to share about this particular line of products: Autana soaps and Nurses' Glove skin care.

What first caught my eye was the shape of all the soaps:  they were perfectly straight and smooth on three sides, but jagged at the top. They also offered a balm called Nurses' Glove. The vendor, Belisa, then explained the story and  inspiration behind her line of natural soaps and skin care products.

Belisa Mazzara is a mother of two and a cardiac ICU nurse at Tampa General Hospital. Her job as a nurse means she's constantly having to wash her hands to keep them sanitized. It also leads to her having dry, cracked and sore hands that she figured she'd just have to deal with, that it came with the job. But after researching the numerous skin care products she'd been using, she found that they were full of chemicals and counterproductive to truly healing her dry skin.

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