Tag: skin/hair

5 Chemicals in Cosmetics You Should Avoid

Have you ever wondered just what’s in all those products you slather, spray, spritz, apply, and rub onto your body? I mean, who hasn’t tried to kill time in the shower by hunkering down with a good shampoo bottle ingredient list? It’s a laundry list of unpronounceable words separated by dozens of hyphens. In short, it all appears to be a big bottle of chemicals. Now, there’s nothing inherently wrong with a “chemical.” Most everything can be called a chemical; ever heard of dihydrogen monoxide? But not all chemicals are benign, particularly the manmade, industrial ones created to fulfill a specific purpose in a product. They likely do their intended job very, very well, but it’s difficult to impossible to account for any other effects a chemical might have on an organism.

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How to Take a Better Bath

The act of taking a bath doesn’t necessarily need gussying up. Simply submerging your body in hot water and rubbing yourself with an emulsifying agent will get you clean enough, with the potentially added benefits of wicking away stress and inducing relaxation. But in this age of high-tech shower heads and limited free time, the utilitarian shower has won out over the bath. You don’t have to wait for the tub to fill, you’re not stewing in your own juices, and the added pressure of the shower helps blast dirt, skin cells, and natural oils from your body. The bath just can’t compete with the shower for its cleaning prowess.

Who takes baths for cleanliness, though? Let’s face it: a bath is about relaxation. It’s about treating yourself, soothing sore muscles, catching up on a good book, and letting go and forgetting about the madness of what just transpired that day. It’s a mini-vacation. And there may even be some health benefits. Like anything with those qualities, it can probably be improved upon, or “hacked,” if you will. If we care about our health – and how much we enjoy the little things that make life worth living – we owe it to ourselves to take a better bath.

Here’s how to do it:

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Dear Mark: The Purpose of Body Hair and the Non-Essentiality of Dietary Cholesterol

In today’s edition of Dear Mark, I finally field a question that has been weighing heavily on the hearts and minds of the ancestral health community: body hair. I will tell you that there has been a lot of behind the scenes chatter between big names in the community about just how to tackle this question, and until now, no one has stepped up. To be frank, no one really knew what to say. No one wanted to commit. I certainly didn’t, but then I got this email from Natasha and I realized that something had to be done. The people couldn’t wait til the roundtable discussion on chest hair scheduled for the next PaleoFX or Loren Cordain’s keynote speech at AHS 13 on the evolutionary purpose of arm hair. They needed to know why body hair exists, and they needed to know now. After that, I cover the less exciting topic of the non-essentiality of dietary cholesterol. In other words, if we can make it, why do we need to eat it? I go over why that question misses the entire point, and more.

Let’s go:

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Dear Mark: Adding a Workout to an Active Life and Topical Wound Ointments

We’ve got a nice pair of questions for today’s Dear Mark. In the first, a young woman who’s perhaps the most intuitively active person I’ve ever heard about asks whether or not she should incorporate a dedicated, formal workout to her schedule of skiing, playing with dogs, hiking, manipulating heavy bags of dog food (in a physical sense, not an emotional sense), yoga, and rafting. You guys might be able to guess the gist of my response, but read on to find out what I say. In the second, a guy asks about topical ointments that promote wound healing. As a response, I discuss the standard over the counter ointments (antibiotic ointments, petroleum jelly-based ointments) as well as the more “natural” alternatives like honey, coconut oil, and garlic.

Let’s go.

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Dear Mark: Flexibility vs. Mobility, Orange Skin, and Radioactive Matcha

I’m going to keep today’s question and answer session rather brief. I’ll be covering three topics: flexibility and mobility; carotenoderma, or the orange-ing of the skin following ingestion of carotenoid-containing foods; and whether matcha green tea from Japan poses any threat due to radioactive contamination. For the first, I discuss whether it’s flexibility or mobility we want. Second, I explore whether getting orange skin from eating lots of carrots, sweet potatoes, and squash is something to worry about. And finally, I talk about drinking matcha from Japan in the wake of the Fukushima nuclear event.

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Dear Mark: Fenugreek and HGH, Marathons and Strength Training, Gluten and Eczema, and Insect Nutrition

Today’s Monday Dear Mark question and answer post is a fun one. I look into whether a claim about fenugreek and human growth hormone by the great Dr. Mehmet Oz pans out (hint: he’s off, but not by much). Then, I discuss how to strength train as a marathon runner (hint: short and intense), after which I explore the nutritional content of edible insects. And finally, in light of my recent posts on inflammation, I cover the connection between eczema and gluten.

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8 Natural Ways to Prevent a Sunburn (And Sunscreen’s Not One of Them)

As summer descends upon the world, a young Primal eater’s fancy turns to playful frolicking in the sunshine. And when you’re frolicking, the last thing you want to do is slather a bunch of horrible-smelling, greasy, overpriced sunblock all over your body. It makes you slippery and imbues your countenance with a deathly pallor that is very unbecoming. If you could, you’d love to avoid the nasty practice altogether. You’d love to use more alternative methods. Methods that may not have the support of the medical community, but for which supportive research does exist. Seeing as how a common refrain throughout the newly Primal is that sunburns seem fewer and further between than ever before, I’m guessing that there’s something to it. Dietary? Supplementary?

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Primal Advice for Acne Sufferers

Included among last week’s “Ask Me Anything” responses were several requests for a Primal commentary on acne. A lot of people have asked for this kind of post over the years. The fact is, it’s a great question. Acne is a common problem that gives too many people too much grief. Our medical establishment’s prescription for acne generally involves dehydrating the skin into oblivion, sandblasting it with chemicals, or pumping hormones, antibiotics and potentially toxic meds into the patient. (If any of these methods have worked for you, I mean no offense. I just think people deserve better options than these.) Is there a healthier, more Primal method to a clear complexion? In a nutshell, yes. I’m not talking rabbit-in-a-hat trick but a lifestyle approach with natural options that minimize the systemic and external conditions associated with acne. Let’s look at the full picture.

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Off-Label Cosmetic Prescriptions

Last month we brought you news (and humble perspective) on the pharmaceutical industry’s off-label marketing practices. Just a couple weeks after the fact, what before our wondering eyes should appear? News that a glaucoma drug (Lumigan) was just approved by the FDA for off-label use as an eyelash enhancer. Call us suckers, we know, but we couldn’t resist taking the bite. Finding new uses for existing poor selling drugs has become a cottage industry. Reminds me of the old SNL skit, “Shimmer. It’s a dessert topping AND a floor wax!”

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Moisturize, Moisturize, Moisturize

Conventional wisdom (our dear, dear friend) tells us that without the constant application of skin creams and face lotions and mineral moisturizers, we’ll become haggard parchment people with wrinkled mugs that’d put an elderly Sharpei to shame. It seems to have worked, too. Most bathroom mirrors conceal impressive caches of creams, lotions, and oils, and many people instinctively and compulsively lather the stuff on any chance they get (similar to our infatuation with Purell, but that’s another post altogether). But, as we’ve often wondered, is confronting a totally natural occurrence – dry skin – with unnatural methods and products really such a good idea?

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