Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Natural Coconut Simplicity

Many of my close friends and family know that for the last year+ I have been grappling with extremely dry skin that was flaking off in ridiculous amounts, leaving a "trail of Joe" in rooms, in cars, on chairs, on couches, just about everywhere I'd go.  While my loved ones would tell me not to worry about it, and that it "wasn't that bad", leaving a cloud of (what I thought was) dead skin anywhere that I stayed for any length of time, it was hard to not get very grossed out by the flaking and "snow" my arms and back and face were shedding, constantly.  A close look in the mirror, and all I could see was hundreds of "hang nails" all over my fore-head, cheeks, ears, earlobes, chin, neck and arms.  "How can any human shed so much skin?" - I'd ask myself, frequently.

Turns out, it wasn't skin, for the most part at least.  It was dried moisturizer that had gone from liquid to solid and then was being shed by my skin as it tried to breathe beneath the rapidly drying hypoallergenic coating.  My dermatologist had recommended I use Vanicream lotion, so I did, by the tub - $16 a tub, about once a week - a white paste that was rather oily and sticky.  Vanicream makes a "Lite" lotion, in a pump bottle, that is less thick, less oily, and leaves less residue.  Only thing is... the flaking persisted.  And the flaking was still gross.

Concentrated Epsom Salt baths (3 lbs in about10 inches of water), every 3 or 4 days, soaking for 30 minutes in the luke-warm water (not warm, just tepid, so as not to aggrevate my skin further) helped to ex-foliate and "slough off" the flakes.  And the 30 minute soaks were / are a nice form of meditation to slow heart rate, breathing, and lower blood pressure.  So it had secondary health benefits as well...  but there had to be a better way.

Turns out, my mother-in-law had a better solution all along.  Coconut Oil.  She'd been trying it for some time and kept telling Dr Desert Flower I should use it for my flaking.  On Monday, I switched over from slathering myself in Vanicream, to dipping my fingers into the Trader Joe's virgin, organic, $5 a jar coconut oil, pulling out the hard white paste which instantly begins to melt with body temperature, and put it on my face and arms.  Fantastic!  It feels soothing.  It smells awesome.  It is completely natural.  It calms urticaria (welted up, hives).  It doesn't stain clothing.  And it doesn't generate even 1/10th as much flaking.  Yes, some skin still sloughs off, in a very small amount.  The Vanicream cream was horribly flake causing.  The Vanicream lite, about 1/2 or 1/3rd as much "white snow" generating.  The coconut oil...  less than 10% as much as the Vanicream lite.

Look at the ingredients...  and then work backwards as to what is causing the white flaking.  It's not dead skin.  It's dried lotion... as I was going through crazy amounts of moisturizer every day.  And the Vanicream required re-application several times an hour.  That's several times an hour in my office.  Several times an hour while driving for 3 days to South Carolina.  Several times an hour while flying back from South Carolina to California.  Now, I am applying a very small amount of pure coconut oil to my face and arms about once every 3 or 4 hours.  I have the pleasant fragrance of coconut instead of the medicinal scent of moisturizer (even though it is all hypoallergenic) wafting up to my nostrils.  The coconut oil doesn't seem to block my pores so my face doesn't over-heat and dry out as it did with the moisturizer.  The coconut oil also has antibacterial properties that have helped my irritated, red, dry, cracked eye lids to heal up and stop being so unpleasant.  The coconut oil leaves no paste or dried residue on the skin, that would (inevitably) cause more itching, which would then (in turn) cause more redness, more scratching, more release of histamines and a continuation of the vicious & destructive cycle.

Additionally, the Saturated Fatty Acids (SFAs) that make up 85% of the coconut oil are far better for humans than the poly-unsaturated-fatty-acids that are in some nuts and margarine and most cooking oils.  Not only will I continue applying it to my skin, but I will be cooking with it, and ingesting it as well.

Natural remedies, when proven over centuries, and when not allergic, are typically far better than industrialized, artificial, expensive, patented and mass-marketed commercial solutions.  Stevia is FAR BETTER for humans than Nutrasweet, Sweet-n-low, Equal, or the laboratory created "Truvia" which is really just a pointless recreation of what already grows naturally, stevia rebaudiana.  Coconut oil, I now see the same way.  Far better than aisles and aisles of moisturizers and creams that Target and the local pharmacies all carry.  And much cheaper, much more pleasant, less annoying.

One of my favorite Coconut References...  from Zombieland...   "It's not the taste, it's the consistency!"

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