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 distinctive body odors. In addition to perceptible body odor, the human olfactory system can detect infection and sense illness in others, presumably an important means of preventing the spread of communicable disease.

Diet and Body Odor

The whole notion that a keto diet can cause body odor rests on the assumption that how we smell is affected by what we eat. It turns out that there is scant evidence that that is actually the case.

When I’ve taken up the question of keto diet and body odor previously, I noted that there are really only two human studies that speak to this. One small study found that women judged men’s body odor more negatively when they ate a diet that contained red meat compared to when they abstained from red meat. However, the diets differed in other ways as well. In contrast, a different study found that women rated men’s body odor more positively when the men reported eating more fat, meat, and eggs, and more negatively when they ate more carbs. Hmm.  

Besides those two small studies, evidence that diet impacts body odor seems to come primarily from studies on guinea pig urine and meadow voles—not exactly the most compelling in my opinion.

Nevertheless, the common belief persists that certain foods will make you stinky: garlic, onions, cruciferous vegetables, and spicy foods especially. However, there is no evidence that this is actually the case beyond the obvious bad breath and, ahem, flatus that these foods can cause. In fact, the one study I found on the subject reported that garlic counterintuitively improved body odor.

So, Can Keto Make You Stinky?

As you can see, there’s minimal evidence at best linking body odor to diet, and none of it has to do with the keto diet itself. Nevertheless, the belief that keto causes body odor persists…thanks to the few complaints from some in the keto community (and, just maybe, those who have nothing to do with keto but want to cause a stir). While I don’t want to dismiss anecdotal evidence out of hand, I have noticed that once people go keto, their diet is immediately to blame for every weird smell, twitch, or symptom. It’s remarkable really.

In the interest of fairness, let’s look at the explanations that are typically offered for why keto might cause body odor:

Is It the Protein?

The first hypothesis is that keto dieters smell funky because they’re eating a lot more meat. As I already mentioned, there are only two small studies that speak to this, and the findings conflict. The idea at work: protein metabolism yields ammonia as a byproduct (true), which builds up because of eating “too much protein,” resulting in body odor.  

To which I object… First of all, it’s not necessarily true that going keto means eating more meat. My version of a keto diet certainly isn’t a steak-and-bacon fest—I still eat tons of veggies. If anything, my observation is that keto folks by and large remain fearful of eating “too much” protein lest it kick them out of ketosis. (The issue is not nearly so simple as that, as I’ve explained.) In any case, even if you’re eating a good deal of meat, a healthy liver should be able to convert the amount of ammonia generated into urea and send it off to the kidneys to be excreted as urine.

Maybe It’s the “Detoxing”?

Toxins such as environmental pollutants accumulate in adipose tissue, a.k.a. fat cells, and these toxins are then released into the bloodstream when people burn fat. Because the keto diet often results in increased burning of body fat, the theory goes that the body is “detoxing” all these pollutants, and that’s what causes body odor. Detoxing is a controversial subject, and while it is true that some of these toxins can be excreted through the skin, the actual amounts are fairly small (the majority get excreted via urine and feces). Plus, it’s not evident that the toxins that are excreted through the skin cause any particular odor. And wouldn’t any diet that actually does what it’s supposed to—i.e. burn fat—be subject to the same “stinky” detox effect? I think we can safely chuck this claim.

Are Ketones a Cause?

Maybe ketones themselves make you smelly? This one has the most potential validity, as it’s well documented that acetone—one of the three ketone bodies—gets excreted when you’re in ketosis. However, it’s the cause of the familiar keto breath, not body odor per se. I’ve seen no evidence linking acetone to actual body odor.

What To Do About It

Ok, I hear you saying, “Mark, I see that you’re skeptical, but I’m telling you… I stink!” What can you do about it?

Well, since there isn’t a clearcut cause, I can’t give a clearcut answer, but I’ll tell you what the general wisdom says:

First, you can support your body’s own detoxification pathways as I describe here. Your body should be able to do a fine job taking out the garbage—it’s designed to do so and is efficient at it—but hey, why not drink some coffee and throw some broccoli sprouts on your salad. This is a “can’t hurt, might help” situation.

Same thing goes for taking some nice epsom salt baths, another common recommendation. Whether there is any truth to their detoxifying nature, you’ll get a nice dose of transdermal magnesium with a hefty side of relaxation. Throw in some essential oils and olive oil and soak your cares away… hopefully taking some of the b.o. with it.

You can also experiment with eating less protein and more carbs, but I do see potential downsides to both. You definitely don’t want to eat too little protein, since it serves such a vital role in healthy functioning, and you don’t want to add back too many carbs if being in ketosis is your goal. That said, especially with regard to the protein you probably have room to play around, so feel free to experiment if you want. I’m not overly optimistic that this is the answer, but I’m always a fan of finding what works for you.  

Or, take a wait and see approach. Most keto side effects come and go as people become keto-adapted. If your problem is keto breath, not body odor per se, you can try chewing on some fresh herbs or taking chlorophyll supplements, but these will just mask the issue.

Lastly, if it is very noticeable and very bothersome, you can—and probably should—consult your doctor. If you are excreting significant ammonia, which usually happens via the breath, this is a sign of liver or kidney problems that need to be diagnosed asap.

The Bottom Line…

Because switching to a keto diet can initiate a profound metabolic shift, some people might experience side effects. And, sure, it’s conceivable that transient changes to body odor might be one of them. The lack of evidence that body odor is strongly affected by diet (as well as my own experience interacting with the thousands of people in my community who have tried keto) leads me to believe that this is a minor problem at most—and one that most people won’t experience at all. If it’s affecting you, feel free to try to solutions I described above. They might not resolve the problem immediately, but at least they’ll likely have other positive benefits.

Ok, what say you? Are your friends giving you a wide berth now that you’re in ketosis, or are you chalking this up to yet another thing the haters are blowing out of proportion?

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References:

Groyecka A, Pisanski K, Sorokowska A, et al. Attractiveness Is Multimodal: Beauty Is Also in the Nose and Ear of the Beholder. Front Psychol. 2017;8:778.

James AG, Austin CJ, Cox DS, Taylor D, Calvert R. Microbiological and biochemical origins of human axillary odour. FEMS Microbiol Ecol. 2013 Mar;83(3):527-40.

Natsch, A. What Makes Us Smell: The Biochemistry of Body Odour and the Design of New Deodorant Ingredients. CHIMIA Intl J Chem. 2015 Aug;69(7-8):414-420.

The post The Real Deal On Keto Body Odor appeared first on Mark’s Daily Apple.

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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.

Take a deep breath. Nobody wants to lose their hair, obviously, but it’s probably a harmless and temporary condition called telogen effluvium (TE). Hair growth is cyclical. Each hair follicle goes through a growth phase (anagen) and a rest phase (telogen). Usually the cycles are staggered from follicle to follicle, so some are growing while others are resting and shedding. With TE, more follicles than normal go into resting at the same time, leading to noticeable hair loss.

The good news is that TE usually resolves itself within a few months. For many people the answer is simply to wait it out. However, hair loss can be caused or exacerbated by issues that you can address on your own or with the help of a medical practitioner. Let’s dig into it.

What Causes Telogen Effluvium?

TE is one of those diagnoses that describes what is happening but not why. It’s kind of a catch-all label to describe diffuse but likely temporary hair loss that could be caused by a number of factors, and it’s not terribly well understood. The general consensus is that TE can occur whenever the body experiences stress. Unfortunately, the body can interpret any big changes, even ones that feel positive like the birth of a child, as stressors. Dramatic dietary changes and/or sudden or rapid weight loss, as often occurs when starting a keto diet, are two such potential stressors. (This isn’t unique to the keto diet, by the way!)

If you think back three or so months from the time you started to notice your hair thinning, can you identify a major change or stressful life event that happened around that time? If so, it’s likely that you’re experiencing TE.

Eating in a big caloric deficit and eating too little protein might also trigger TE, and both are potential (and easily remedied) issues for keto dieters. When the body has limited resources to devote to building, repair, and maintenance, hair growth will go on the back burner, since it’s a non-vital process. Specific nutrient deficiencies have also been implicated in TE, particularly iron and zinc. The link between iron deficiencies and TE is stronger for women, while zinc deficiencies might affect men more, but the evidence for both is mixed. In part, it is hard to pin down dietary causes because the same foods that are the best sources of iron are also rich in zinc and amino acids.

Why Doesn’t Everyone Lose Their Hair When They Go Keto Then?

Great question. Whether or not your body interprets any given situation as too stressful is complicated. It’s a factor of your chronic stress levels, other acute stressors that happen to co-occur, your physical health and hormone status, and probably tons of other things. Your mindset undoubtedly has a lot to do with it, too. You can inject stress into a situation with how you think about it, whether you worry or try to micromanage, whether you feel optimistic or pessimistic. It’s also possible that some people who experience TE don’t really notice it because their hair loss is fairly minor.

Is There Anything I Can Do?

First, prevention is the best medicine. There is no way to guarantee that you won’t experience TE when starting keto, but The Keto Reset Diet approach is specifically designed to mitigate stress. Whereas other methods of keto induction involve severe carb restriction and sometimes multi-day fasting to body slam you into ketosis, the Keto Reset is a kinder, gentler process (not to mention a more nutrient-dense approach). First, you get fat-adapted, then gradually lower carb to ketogenic levels to avoid an acute shock to the system. This is also why we ask people to take the midterm exam in the book before even starting keto. The midterm exam looks for signs that you are already stressed (poor quality sleep, for example) in an attempt to prevent your “stress bucket” from overflowing (and the hair from shedding!).

If you’re already thinning, and it’s pretty clear what probably initiated it two to four months prior, then chances are you can just wait it out. Within a few months you should be seeing regrowth, and in six months to a year you’ll be past it. Yes, I know it’s easier said than done to just wait six months to see if your hair is growing back, so if you want to be more proactive, here are a few ideas.

  • Manage stress. While TE usually follows more acute stressors, chronic stress can also contribute. Whatever you can do to reduce your day-to-day stress might help your hair loss and if nothing else will improve your overall quality of life.
  • Look at your diet. If you are eating in a caloric deficit, especially if it’s greater than 20% of your baseline calorie needs, perhaps try adding back some calories. You’ll know if you overshoot it if you stop hitting your weight loss goals or if you start gaining if you were at maintenance already.
  • How’s your protein intake? Too many keto dieters have been scared away from protein by the gluconeogenesis boogeyman. The Keto Reset Diet recommends starting with 0.6 to 0.8 grams of protein per pound of lean body mass. You can increase to 1.0 gram/lb/LMB if it seems appropriate for your situation.
  • Make sure you’re incorporating plenty of iron- and zinc-rich foods. Even though the evidence is not conclusive as to whether iron and zinc are linked to TE, they are still vital for health. The best sources are red meat, seafood (especially oysters), and poultry. You’ll notice these are all animal products, which means if you’re vegetarian or vegan, you have to work extra hard to get these nutrients. Leafy greens, nuts and seeds, and legumes (if you choose to incorporate them) can provide some of what you need, but they are not the best options.

A well-formulated multivitamin/mineral is worth considering if you don’t already take one, but get your iron and zinc levels tested before supplementing either of those on its own. With both, there are concerns about over-supplementing and developing toxicity. Iron overload such as that caused by the genetic condition hemochromatosis can also cause hair loss, so consult a doctor before taking iron supplements. Lastly, some people also swear by adding biotin, a member of the B vitamin family. While biotin is associated with nail and hair health, there is not empirical evidence to support biotin supplementation for TE.

When to See Your Doctor

Now that I’ve spent all this time telling you it’s probably TE and nothing to worry about it, I must add the caveat that TE is only one of many potential causes of hair loss. Be sure to enlist the help of a medical professional if you are experiencing any other unexplained or disruptive symptoms, or if there isn’t an obvious reason why you might be experiencing TE. Do not ignore symptoms such as unexplained weight gain or weight loss, fatigue, sleep disturbances, feeling cold all the time, menstrual irregularities, or digestive issues, especially in combination with significant hair loss. Depending on your symptoms, your doctor may want to test you for nutrient deficiencies, sex hormone imbalances, or thyroid issues.  

Have any follow-up questions? Join the Keto Reset Facebook community for answers to all your keto queries! Thanks for stopping by today, everybody.

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References:

Abdel Aziz AM, Sh Hamed S, Gaballah MA. Possible Relationship between Chronic Telogen Effluvium and Changes in Lead, Cadmium, Zinc, and Iron Total Blood Levels in Females: A Case-Control Study. Int J Trichology. 2015; 7(3):100-106.

Harrison S, Bergfeld W. Diffuse hair loss: its triggers and management. Cleve Clin J Med. 2009; 76(6):361- 367.

Malkud, D. Telogen Effluvium: A Review. J Clin Diagn Res. 2015; 9(9): WE01–WE03.

Moeinvaziri M, Mansoori P, Holakooee K, et al. Iron status in diffuse telogen hair loss among women. Acta Dermatovenerol Croat. 2009; 17(4):279-284.

Rushton DH. Nutritional factors and hair loss. Clin Exp Dermatol. 2002; 27(5):396-404.

The post Explaining Keto and Hair Loss (and Why Any Dietary Change Might Cause It) appeared first on Mark’s Daily Apple.

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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.

What’s some of your favorite dinner menu items? What’s the latest you like to eat dinner?

My dinners are straightforward.

Favorites include:

  • Medium rare ribeye cooked in cast iron with sautéd spinach.
  • Steamed giant shrimp with melted butter (for dipping), broccoli, and asparagus.

I’ve been eating those for years, and they haven’t gotten old.

Latest I like to eat is 7:30. That changes if it’s a special occasion as when I’m out with friends or I’m on vacation.

If I’m not that hungry, I might end my eating window well before evening. I’m doing some light experimenting with “early time restricted feeding” (eat breakfast, skip dinner) and “sleep low” (don’t fully replenish carbs or calories after a tough workout; sleep on it and let fat burning maximize).

Mark,

What is the best way to test and experiment with different foods, nutrients, and supplements on an individual basis? I read a lot about different things that work, but how can I test that for my body to determine if it makes a significant difference? Thanks.

One way is to just trust the stats. If—based on research, nutrition data, and evolutionary perspectives—a particular food just seems really, really healthy, you can integrate it into your diet and rest assured that it’s doing good things for you. Foods that fall into this category include red meat, leafy greens, colorful berries and veggies, pastured eggs, wild caught fish, and cruciferous vegetables, where the totality of evidence that they contain very helpful nutrients is overwhelming.

Another way is to determine what biomarker or health outcome the particular food, nutrient, or supplement purports to influence, and then track that biomarker before, during, and after you take the food, nutrient, or supplement. This gives you a baseline value (before) and allows you to observe the trend.

I’d love to know how often you eat particular supplementary foods, such as oysters, liver, & seaweeds

Oysters: I like the smoked oysters in olive oil from Crown Prince. I’ll do a can every week or so. If I’m out at a restaurant that has oysters (and it’s reasonably reputable), I’ll usually order a half dozen as appetizers. Sometimes I’ll get a hankering for oysters and have the fish guy at Whole Foods or wherever I am shuck a few behind the counter and slurp ’em down in the store.

Liver: I try to eat some form of liver once a week. Maybe a quarter to a half pound, usually closer to a quarter.

Seaweed: I throw dried kombu into broths and soups. If I’m out for sushi, I’ll get seaweed salad. I snack on nori once or twice a week.

Does collagen supplementation halt, or even potentially reverse hair loss? Also, what are your thoughts on the appropriate dosage? Is a larger dosage more appropriate when recovering from an injury?

Though it’s an important factor in hair strength and durability, I don’t know about collagen helping with hair loss. Perhaps it could by balancing out our methionine (from muscle meat) intake to promote a more anti-inflammatory, homeostatic internal environment.

A good dosage depends on what you’re looking for.

To get the amount of glycine (3 grams) used in studies to improve sleep quality, you’d need about 13 grams of collagen protein, or a scoop and change of my Collagen Peptides.

For basic maintenance in a healthy body, we need 10 grams of glycine each day. Our bodies make roughly 3 grams each day, on average, so we need to get at least 7 grams from our diets. If you aren’t getting any collagen through your food (an unrealistic scenario, especially for a Primal eater), that means taking around 30 grams of collagen protein, or 3 scoops of my collagen.

1-2 scoops, or 10-20 grams of collagen is a good safe range for most people.

When you’re recovering from an injury, you’re rebuilding tissue. That means your baseline requirements discussed earlier go up, and it’d be a good idea to push supplementary collagen toward the 20-30 gram range.

I’d love your suggestions for the best supplements to help ease the pain & inflammation associated with chronic IBS & Crohn’s disease.

Dealing with IBs or Crohn’s isn’t quick or easy. There are no magic solutions or pills.

That said:

Curcumin (from turmeric) shows promise, inducing remission of ulcerative colitis combined with medication (mesalamine) and helping patients in remission maintain remission. Smaller doses (450 mg), however, don’t seem to work as well as larger doses (3 grams).

Dairy, particularly yogurt and milk, shows promise. Yogurt reduces inflammatory markers in inflammatory bowel disease patients and prevents intestinal inflammation in mice injected with an agent designed to inflame the intestines. And in a recent observational study among Europeans, those who ate the most dairy and drank the most milk had a lower risk of inflammatory bowel diseases.

The best bet, again, is a full shift away from the standard way of eating. The Specific Carbohydrate Diet, which greatly reduces fibrous foods and eliminates grains, sugar, dairy, and processed food, performed well in a recent study of kids with Crohn’s. Ketogenic and even carnivorous diets get a lot of anecdotal support online as well. The key appears to be the initial removal of fermentable and other types of fiber, if only until things heal and you’re able to incorporate more and more.

And of course, stress, sleep, and all that other good stuff play big roles in the severity of and our susceptibility to these digestive disorders. You have to address all areas of your life.

Thanks for reading, everyone. Take care, be well, and leave a comment, ask or answer a question, and have a great rest of the week.

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Morning, everyone. Hope you all enjoyed a happy and safe holiday. I’m turning over the reins to one of our Worker Bees today as I spend some time on a book project (more to come on that). I know many of you have asked about natural skin care ideas in the comment board, and we’ve got some great suggestions today. I hope you’ll welcome our Worker Bee to the fold (she just joined us recently) and offer up your own ideas below. (And for those who may have missed it, I shared several of my own favorites last spring.) Have a good end to the week. 

Spend any amount of time perusing the shelves at your local supermarket or beauty supply store and you may notice that all the skin care products have something in common: a long ingredient list. I’m afraid to say most commercially-packaged bottles, jars, and tubes contain potentially harmful ingredients in the form of preservatives, stabilizers, artificial colors, and/or added fragrances, which could have negative long-term health effects when absorbed through the skin.

Thankfully, there are plenty of all-natural skin care options out there that not only provide better results, but usually cost a fraction of what you’d pay for the store-bought version. Here are 10 skin care solutions backed up by research (and self-experiment).

1. Scrub With Sea Salt

Sea salt is one of the best all-natural exfoliators, and chances are it’s already hiding in your kitchen cabinet. While most of the time we can let nature take its course, now and then we might exfoliate as a means to remove layers of dead skin cells when our skin is itchy and flaky or to encourage skin cell turnover for a fresher appearance. Sea salt is also full of nutrients found in sea water—and in our bodies—including calcium, magnesium, and potassium. Combine sea salt with raw honey or coconut oil and gently rub it into your skin. Just be sure to check the texture of the salt before you use it on your face: the salt should be smooth, with no rough edges. You want it to gently remove that layer of dead skin cells, not rub your skin raw.

2. Heal Skin With Raw Honey

Raw honey is widely recognized for its antimicrobial properties, and has long been used as a natural treatment for wounds and burns. This sweet, golden nectar contains a variety of proteins, amino acids, vitamins, enzymes, and minerals, which all work in tandem to speed the healing process. After cleaning skin, apply a layer of honey directly onto scars, cuts, and burns. Make sure to choose raw, unprocessed honey, as the commercial honey you’ll find in most grocery stores is highly processed and lacking in nutrients.

3. Moisturize With Avocado Oil

Pure avocado oil is a great stand-in for commercial creams and lotions, which are usually loaded with questionable ingredients you can barely pronounce. There’s no secret as to what you’re getting in a bottle of avocado oil: pure, fatty goodness. It’s packed with good-for-your-skin nutrients, like carotenoids, healthy fat, and vitamins A, D and E. Together, these nutrients can boost collagen production, fade age spots, calm inflammation, and treat sunburns. Pour a few drops in your hand and work it into clean, dry skin. (By the way, it’s part of Mark’s personal daily routine.)

4. Clean Skin With Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar is a potent anti-fungal solution that’s especially helpful for acne prevention. To make it, producers ferment cider so the sugars turn into alcohol, and ferment it again so the alcohol turns into acetic acid. It’s this acetic acid—as well as the lactic acid, citric acid, and succinic acid—that makes apple cider vinegar such an effective cleanser. Some studies have even shown that these acids can prevent acne-causing bacteria from growing. Soak a cotton ball in apple cider vinegar and use it as a facial toner morning and night.

5. Treat Acne With Tea Tree Oil

In a recent pilot study published in the Australasian Journal of Dermatology, researchers found that a treatment of tea tree oil gel was more effective at improving mild to moderate acne than a face wash. You can a find pre-made tea tree oil cleanser or make your own by adding a few drops of pure tea tree essential oil to honey. In general, tea tree oil is well-tolerated, but it may cause peeling and dryness for some people.

6. Soothe Redness With Aloe Vera

For soothing sunburns, fighting inflammation, and tempering itchiness, look no further than the aloe vera. This tropical plant contains a host of good-for-you ingredients including vitamins, minerals, fatty acids, and enzymes. What’s more, aloe has been shown to have anti-microbial effects, making it the ideal all-natural therapy for healing skin. Look for aloe gel with at least 97.5 percent aloe (or keep your own collection of aloe plants in your home or garden).

7. Moisturize With Shea Butter

It’s no secret: Shea butter smooths dry skin like no other. This fatty substance—packed with stearic, palmitic, linoleic, and oleic acids, as well as vitamins E and A—has already been incorporated into commercial creams and lotions. Like most things, however, shea butter is best when used in its purest, rawest form, so seek out unrefined shea butter. It can be used as is or mixed with essential oils. Just keep in mind that those with tree nut allergies should avoid shea butter. An added bonus: a study in the American Journal of Life Sciences suggests that shea butter can also boost collagen production.

8. Remove Makeup With Jojoba Oil

Swap out commercial makeup removers—which usually contain harsh chemicals—with a healthier option: jojoba oil. You can even use jojoba oil to wipe away eye makeup. It’s not only safe to use on sensitive skin, including the eye area, but it’s moisturizing. Apply jojoba oil to a cloth or cotton ball and use it to gently clean off makeup and bacteria.

9. Shave With Coconut Oil

Commercial shaving lotions and creams often fall short on their promise to protect the skin from irritation and razor burn. A very link layer of coconut oil can deliver on both fronts—plus, it smells amazing! Thanks to its low molecular weight and ability to bond to proteins, coconut oil can sink deeper into the skin than other oils. Scoop a small amount into the palm of your hand to warm it up and apply directly onto the area to be shaved. I’d recommend washing your hands with soap and water before picking up the razor, however, since coconut oil will leave your hands slippery.

10. Protect Skin With Lemon Essential Oil

Lemon oil, like other citrus oils, has powerful antioxidant properties (and a fresh, energizing scent). One natural compound in lemon essential oil in particular has been shown to be capable of protecting skin against the aging effects of free radical damage. Lemon essential oil can even fade scars and age spots. Safely dilute for everyday use by mixing a few drops of lemon essential oil with a simple “base” like jojoba or avocado oil and massage into your skin.

Here are ten ideas to try. What would you add? Share your recommendations in the comments below, and thanks for reading.

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