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!”
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?
What are your thoughts on using personal products such as lotion, deodorant, or even toothpaste? I use these daily, but it certainly doesn’t jive with my “caveman diet” philosophies.
Thanks to reader Steve for his question. It’s true, old Grok wasn’t exactly getting facials and eyebrow waxings at the spa over yonder. While he might not have been the dusty, grungy figure he’s often made out to be, he was undoubtedly rumpled and unkempt by our standards. Alas, we find ourselves in a much different age, an era of rather obsessive personal sanitization (if you ask me) and more attention to “product” than to health. Nonetheless, few of us are happy to take up residence in a backwoods shack. We’ll readily make compromises to live among the rest of civilization. But, when it comes to lotions, soaps, deodorant, etc., how can we be healthy in the primal sense but still accepted by contemporary, “polite” society? Call it the modern caveman’s/cavewoman’s dilemma.
I don’t know about you, but I think that tight, itchy winter skin is the absolute worst. It gets brutally dry this time of year in Southern California (and the fires have certainly been too close for comfort). But even in cooler climates where there’s rain and snow, indoor heat will really dry your skin out – even triggering rashes and acne for some folks. Here are some quick tips to keep your skin healthy, supple, and comfortable during the winter:
1. Exfoliate. The first time my wife mentioned that I try this, I raised a skeptical eyebrow. But a good salt scrub with almond oil feels great (I’d recommend avoiding the fragrance- and chemical-loaded store scrubs). The salt sloughs off all that old, scaly stuff, and the oil locks in moisture. I like unscented, of course.
2. Moisturize. Okay, I’m not one to slather on lotion after a shower. Please! That’s why I like using oils instead. In winter, even oily skin can handle walnut, almond, or fruit oils. Plus it’s efficient since you dunk yourself while in the shower. Avoid those mineral oils – they’re petroleum based. Look for vegetable-based oils instead.
Stress is often blamed for wrinkles, dark shadows, and tired-looking skin. But a new study suggests that psychological stress make actually impair our skin’s ability to resist infectious germs. The skin is the first line of defense for our bodies against bacteria and viruses. It’s a naturally antimicrobial surface. When researchers reporting in the Journal of Clinical Investigation exposed mice to severe psychological stress and subsequent streptococcus, the mice developed worse infections and had higher stress hormone measures than mice who were not exposed to any stress. Though it’s only a murine study, it’s worth noting!
Later today, we’ll bring you some helpful stress-reducing tips just in time for the weekend.
Over the course of the next few weeks we will be highlighting the health benefits of various herbs that offer natural healing properties.
Have you noticed the flood of moisturizers for use in the shower? These lotions come in several formulas, from moisturizing washes to rinse-off lotions. The latter confuses me a bit: is it conditioner for skin, or is it creating a protective barrier that clings even when the goop is washed away? And do I want anything that durable anywhere near my living, breathing skin? And what is with the sparkles? Lotion: the thing we use to replace the moisture we just removed with soap. Soap dries our skin out, and moisturizer – depending on the ingredients – can both replenish the moisture and form a protective barrier. While I admire the brilliant marketing – even better than meeting a need is creating one – I’m not fooled by the in-showerness of this new product category. Most of these new products contain very cheap ingredients. Despite the pennies that go into production, once they hit the shelves, these products come with some serious sticker shock. They range between $5-9. (Caress is around $5, Dove around $7.) While five bucks may not seem like much, and my healthy alternative is in the same price range, a major difference is that these in-shower moisturizers only provide a handful of uses and mine will last you all month. That is, unless you’re a person who actually follows the “quarter-sized dollop” recommendation. (Does anyone really do this? It’s like the seven chip or two Oreo serving size. Right!) And with Gatsby Ice Deodorant Shower Lotion, the guys aren’t in the clear, either. (I’m ignoring Nivea on principle.) Moisturizing on either side of the shower curtain is a bright idea. The key is to moisturize healthily. Despite the “newness” of in-shower lotions, you’ll notice they contain the same ingredients found in most lotions, soaps, bath washes, conditioners and shampoos. These ingredients are typically derived from petroleum or rendered animal fat. Shower lotions are gunked up with mineral oil, a friendly-sounding euphemism for the same stuff that makes plastic and runs cars. Naturally, I’m just dying to get this all over my skin and into my pores. Yum! I bet you are, too! Other petroleum-based products include “baby oil” and “bath oil”. There’s an alternative that is: – luxurious – healthy for you – healthy for the planet – natural – rich in vitamins, antioxidants and beneficial fatty acids – naturally cleansing and exfoliating – edible – inexpensive – completely customizable! Apples, I present, for your savings, health and shower time enjoyment: almond oil. Almond oil is excellent for your skin. Just a few tablespoons post-soapage will leave your skin glowing and soft all day long. You’ll smell wonderful, too – and naturally so, rather than adding to the office or store potpourri of artificial shampoo, conditioner, lotion, perfume, cologne, deodorant, detergent and aftershave fragrances. On top of saving money, using something really healthy for you, and looking great, here’s the best part: the personalization factor. Purchase a few different essential oils at any beauty supply or … Continue reading “My, You’ve Got Beautiful Skin!”
Worker Bees’ Daily Bites:
There’s a country where obesity is highly desirable. Mineral cosmetics may be worse for you than the regular cosmetics. And we’re all abuzz over the latest mold. (You’ll see…)
Not Exactly Rubenesque
Sugar Shock reports that in Mauritania, women are aggressively encouraged to be morbidly obese – to the point of daily force-feeding of gallons of camel milk to female children in some cases. But before you go pointing fingers at this unhealthy and upsetting cultural oddity, remember that we are living in the land of the Heart Attack Grill and the 2,700 calorie onion appetizer. The difference is that we seem to be willing to become obese.
We just can’t get over this burger. For the millionth time.
You’ve all seen those countless ads – and dozens of new drugstore products – touting the alleged natural, healthy value of mineral cosmetics. Ladies, this may be another case of quackery. We thought that whole marketing concept seemed a little weird. “Metal is healthier for your skin than…wait, metal?”
This is Kayepants’ Flickr Photo
Mold You Don’t Want to Scrape Off and Sue Your Landlord Over
We recently linked to blogger Moldybluecheesecurds’ (yes) snippet on school nutrition reform. Moldy was nice enough to review our site, so we want to give a quick shout out! Be sure to visit this thought-provoking political ‘n social commentary blog if you’re into such topics as Iraq, oil, Uncle Sam, and global warming. We’re not really political (except when it comes to health!). But if you are, you just might like this frequently updated blog.
Meet Good News!
Think getting healthy is an uphill battle that makes summiting Everest look like a walk in the park parking lot? Think again! These people did it, and you can, too!
“Formula” for Obesity
We Americans seem to be having trouble with babies these days (for the love of intact ceilings, don’t tell the Fuji). First, New Scientist reports that the weight standards for babies are ridiculously high, paving the way for widespread obesity. And rotten teeth in the tiny tots is a growing problem thanks to things like soda and “sports drinks”. Little chicks deserve better!