Dry, red, itchy skin? Chances are you have eczema. Or rather, chances are you have one of the many skin conditions that doctors lump together under the term “eczema.” It’s extremely common, affecting up to 20 percent of children and 5 percent of adults (and considerably more in some parts of the world). And it’s also incredibly frustrating when you’re trying to find solutions.
People of any age can develop eczema, but it’s more common in babies and children. I’ve frequently had readers write to me over the years expressing their frustration and dismay over their inability to solve their children’s—or their own—eczema puzzle. Unfortunately, treating eczema is tricky for several reasons. The underlying causes aren’t well understood. People have idiosyncratic triggers that can be hard to identify. Sometimes, recommended treatments actually make symptoms worse.
Diet & Nutrition, Recent Articles
Psoriasis is a skin disorder in which your skin cells reproduce too quickly, leading to scaly skin, rashes, or blisters. With plaque psoriasis (the most common form), red, flaky patches rise on the scalp, face, knees, elbows, lower back—anywhere on the body, really. Other types present differently. Inverse psoriasis, for example, appears as smooth red blotches mostly in skin folds, while the relatively rare erythrodermic psoriasis causes skin peeling on large areas of the body. Psoriasis can also affect fingernails and toenails.
Not only is psoriasis often itchy or painful, it can take a serious emotional toll. Patients report feeling embarrassed or stigmatized because of their skin’s appearance. Although there are a number of pharmaceutical, over-the-counter, and natural treatments available, there is no cure for psoriasis. The goal of treatment is to manage symptoms and put it into remission, but flare-ups can (and for many people do) occur regularly.
For folks living with psoriasis, it can be hard to find relief. Some aspects of a Primal lifestyle may be able to help.
Primal Lifestyle, Recent Articles
Acne is a common problem that gives too many people too much grief. Many conventional acne (or acne vulgaris) treatments—antibiotics, oral steroids, hormonal birth control pills, and isotretinoin (sold with brand name Accutane)—have serious, sometimes downright scary, side effects. There may be cases when these nuclear options are necessary, but I know many folks would prefer to try diet, lifestyle, and more natural interventions first.
The good news is that as common as skin issues like acne are today, they are not an inevitable part of the human condition. Grandfather of the ancestral health movement Loren Cordain asserts that acne is basically unheard of in traditional-living societies. This strongly suggests that modern lifestyle factors underlie much of what we see today. And if that’s the case, then there are steps we can take to cut acne down at the source.
Diet & Nutrition, Gut Health, Recent Articles
The average person spends thousands of dollars a year on skincare products—lotions, creams, serums, tonics, and ointments designed to moisturize, heal, and fend off the outward signs of aging. For most people, the foremost consideration when choosing skincare products is, “Does it work?” However, the growing popularity of so-called clean beauty products indicates that more people are also caring about the quality of the ingredients they slather so liberally over their faces and bodies.
Why does it matter? Skin is the largest organ of the human body. It is also permeable. Anything we put on our skin makes its way inside, so we certainly don’t want to be applying harmful substances to our skin. We also rely on our skin to provide a barrier with the outside world, keeping harmful organisms where they belong. When it’s healthy, skin plays an important role in the immune system. In part, it does this by housing its own microbiome. The skin microbiome is distinct from the one you might be more familiar with in the gut, but just like the gut, the skin microbiome can be disrupted. When that happens, a host of health issues can follow Thus, we want to protect the skin microbiome, and one way we do that is by not applying harsh, even toxic, substances.
Primal Lifestyle, Recent Articles
You care about what goes in your body, right? Read food labels? Avoid questionable ingredients? Invest in the best quality animal products and produce you can? Well then, it only makes sense to care about what goes on your body as well. It’s easy to treat skin health like it’s somehow separate from overall health—as if the important stuff happens inside your body, and the skin just holds it all together. You may take steps to keep it looking youthful and prevent burning, but do you consider skin care part of your wellness routine? Perhaps not, unless skin conditions force you to think about it. Yet, skin is your largest organ. It’s a major gatekeeper of what does and does not enter your body. We know now that the skin hosts a living microbiome that not only protects skin health but also plays a role in systemic immunity and inflammation. Mark has touched on safer skincare in the past, but today I’m offering up something a little different. What if I told you that you can use one product to clean and moisturize your skin and fry your eggs in the morning? It’s true. Oil cleansing is nothing new in the natural beauty space. Heck, people were using oil to wash their faces and bodies thousands of years ago. More people have become interested in it in recent years because it is a staple of Korean skincare routines, which have exploded in popularity worldwide. (Maybe you’ve noticed how you can find sheet masks in practically every store now? Thank the influence of Korean skincare, or “K-beauty,” for that too.) While oil cleansing can be as simple as washing your face with whatever cooking oil you have in the kitchen, there’s a little more to it than that. Here’s what you need to know to get started. Oil Cleansing: What is It, and Why Should You Try It? Very simply, oil cleansing takes advantage of the “like attracts like” principle of chemistry. When you wash your face, the goal is not only to remove dirt but also excess sebum and oil-based makeup, sunscreen, and environmental pollutants. Sebum is an oily or waxy substance secreted by sebaceous glands in your skin, especially on the face and scalp. It’s part of your skin’s natural defense system, but it can also build up on the skin, become trapped in follicles, and contribute to acne. We all know oil and water repel each other, which means water is not the most effective way to remove oily substances from the skin. To combat this, the soap and cleansers you’ll find in the skincare aisle of the drugstore use surfactants and other ingredients that can irritate and dry out the skin. Oil cleansing works because the oil binds with the grime on your skin so you can wipe it away more easily. For those with sensitive skin, the biggest benefit may be what oil doesn’t contain: parabens, sulfates, phthalates, dyes, fragrances, and other suspect ingredients. This … Continue reading “Oil Cleansing: The Best Natural Skincare Technique You Haven’t Tried Yet”
Habits, Personal Improvement, Recent Articles
Today’s post is offered up by the good people at Joovv, a company devoted to researching and harnessing the science of red light therapy. I’ve gotten to know (and love) their technology over the last year, and my family has, too—especially my daughter and son-in-law. Today I’ve invited Scott Nelson and his team to share some of their research into red light therapy, a topic I’ve written about now and then over the last few years. It’s an area of ancestral health I find fascinating—and one where modern science can help us recreate or even enhance natural ancestral inputs to foster better well-being today. Enjoy—and be sure to check out the giveaway below.
Diet and fitness are the pillars of a healthy life built on ancestral principles. But food, water, and exercise aren’t the only factors that affect your health and function on a day-to-day basis. Natural light is also a major pillar of a healthy, ancestral lifestyle, and unfortunately, many people don’t get nearly enough of it.
You can complement your diligence in the kitchen and your hard work in the gym with the “nutrients” that come from natural light. This post gives an overview of photobiomodulation (aka “red light therapy”), a natural health intervention that’s helping people get the light their bodies need for optimal health and fitness.
Diet & Nutrition
I’m continuing my crusade of keto mythbusting. Recently, there was keto crotch, then keto bloat, and today I’m returning to one of the O.G. myths—keto body odor. Yes, it seems detractors of the keto diet are hell-bent on making you think your body will become a stinky, bloated mess if you dare to drop your carbs below 50 grams per day…but is it true? Here’s the spoiler: Yes, people in online keto diet forums occasionally complain about an unpleasant change in body odor when they first go keto. There is no scientific evidence that it actually happens, nor a clear, compelling explanation for why it would. Moreover, the anecdotal (and it’s all anecdotal) evidence suggests that if it does occur, it is rare and temporary. In other words, the whole idea of keto body odor seems to be exaggerated—shocking, I know. That said, significant dietary changes can result in other physiological changes that may manifest in a variety of ways. Since nobody wants to be the stinky kid, let’s take this opportunity to look at what might be plausible about keto body odor and what to do if you think you’ve been afflicted. What Causes Body Odor? First, let’s clarify what’s meant by “body odor.” In the medical literature, the term is used in reference to aromas associated with breath, urine, feces, vaginal secretions, sweat (usually from the axilla, or armpits), and general bodily essence as it were. Because it’s such a broad term, the causes are also extremely varied. For the purposes of this post, I’m going to use the term “body odor” to mean aromas from sweat and general bodily funk, since that’s what’s usually meant by keto body odor. Body odor arises when odorless compounds leave the body through glands in the skin and interact with microbes living on the skin’s surface. The microbes then release chemical compounds—what we actually detect as body odor. Typically, commercial deodorants target both pieces of the equation by using antiperspirants to minimize the excretion of the odor precursors and by creating an unfavorable environment for the microbes living on the skin. There is also a genetic component to how much individuals secrete compounds that cause body odor. Although a huge industry is built around trying to help people mask their natural odors—and suggesting that body odor is always the result of poor hygiene—bodily scents are actually quite important. Just as other animals do, humans use olfactory cues for recognizing kin, making judgments about others’ personality traits and attractiveness, and even for detecting fertility. Although we rarely recognize it, the data suggests that smell probably factors into all our face-to-face social interactions. Body odor can also result from illness. Before the use of sophisticated modern disease detection techniques, doctors were taught to use their sniffers as a diagnostic tool. Even today, smell can be an important clue that an individual is unwell. Often these odors emanate from the breath or urine, but certain infectious and metabolic diseases can be associated with … Continue reading “The Real Deal On Keto Body Odor”
Diet & Nutrition, Keto, Low Carb Diet, Recent Articles, Weight Loss
So you start your keto diet, and things are going well. You’re dropping excess fat, your carb cravings are noticeably reduced, your energy is steady throughout the day… and then one day you start to have the sneaking suspicion that you’re shedding more hair than usual. After a few days, it’s unmistakable: your hair is definitely falling out at an alarming rate.
Diet & Nutrition, Keto, Recent Articles
Much has been made of avocado oil’s ample nutritional benefits; however, its healing properties for skin and hair are too often overlooked. Sure, it’s hard to compete with improving lipid profiles and combating systemic inflammation, but this clean eating elixir offers advantages beyond interior health. While Mark has mentioned using avocado oil as a regular skin moisturizer, in truth there are many applications to nurture both skin and hair. Whether you’re interested in natural cosmetic ideas or simply basic skin and hair health, avocado oil offers a nutritive, non-toxic tool for your care routine.
Primal Lifestyle, Sun Exposure
For today’s edition of Dear Mark, I’m answering several questions from the comment section of a previous post about my training supplementation. There were some fantastic ones.
I explain my favorite dinners and the latest I’ll eat it. After that, I give a couple ways to test (or not) the effects of these supposedly beneficial foods, nutrients, and supplements we all like discussing. I also tell how often I eat oysters, liver, and seaweed. Finally, I discuss collagen dosage and supplementation for IBS and Crohn’s.
Dear Mark, Diet & Nutrition, Supplements