One can become overwhelmed with choices and costs in a world filled with expensive topical products such as lotions, shampoos, and conditioners.
Skin and hair cells require high cell metabolism (read: cellular respiration producing CO2, not lactic acid) for energy production. There are a few hacks one can use to nourish these cells without breaking the bank. Cells make organs, and organs make organisms. Take care of your cells first. Fatty acids, regardless of type, interfere at varying degrees with cellular glucose metabolism. Therefore, products high in oil content, especially unsaturated oils, interfere with the health of skin cells, and should be avoided.
Avoid the following
Avoid products with high polyunsaturated fat content such as soybean oil, corn oil, canola oil, etc as these fats easily oxidize, can penetrate and pollute cells reducing cellular metabolism and health. Many shampoos, conditioners and lotions use these as a major ingredient.
Avoid products with sunscreen (unless it is a physical barrier – zinc oxide) unless you have to be in the sun all the time. The best sunscreen is having cells with high cellular saturation index (achieved by a diet with a high saturation index), high cellular metabolism and high levels of nutrients, like vitamin E, that oppose lipid peroxidation. Consuming large amounts of copper (liver) and tyrosine (dairy) will also help your body develop a tan and a natural defense against the sun. Consuming oral Vitamin D may also help your body produce a tan.
I like this Neem shampoo and conditioner. Not so much because of what is good in it, but because it doesn’t have the bad and is low in oil all together as most of the major ingredients are aqueous extracts, not oils. Neem is an herb that has been used for thousands of years. It has anti-androgenic properties so it probably should not be used internally for men. It has also been used as a contraceptive for women. Azadirachta indica, commonly known as neem, has gained worldwide prominence because of its medical properties, namely antitumor, antiviral, anti-inflammatory, antihyperglycemic, antifungal, and antibacterial activities. Analysis of tumor tissue and plasma samples from mice treated with SENL indicated 28-deoxonimbolide and nimbolide as the bioactive compounds. Data suggested that the anticancer activity could be mediated through alteration in androgen receptor and calreticulin levels in prostate cancer.
If you aren’t on board with that shampoo and conditioner, consider trying baking soda/water rinse for shampoo and then washing it out with apple cider vinegar. This will leave some scent that flashes off, but releases a lot of CO2 on the scalp for healing and is a cheap, low-oil option. Brushing your hair regularly will help pull oil from the scalp to nourish your hair as well.
Using refined coconut oil can work great as a lotion as long as you don’t mind looking greasy. I like this lotion because it doesn’t have any highly unsaturated vegetable oils or sunscreens. The main ingredient is coconut oil. It also contains vitamin E, papaya, cocoa butter and shea butter – all known to help the skin. The only downside is it makes you smell like a baby in a meadow.
The following items can be added to your lotion or shampoo to enhance their effects on skin and hair cells. When considering additives, it’s important for ease of use and to ensure they are easily soluble.
Caffeine, a potent dopamine agonist and enhancer of cellular metabolism, can be used topically in shampoos, conditioners and lotions. Caffeine has been found to increase the protective steroid hormones progesterone, pregnenolone and allopregnenolone synthesis in the brain. Applying to skin helps bring benefits to capillaries and possibly reduces some of its potential negative effects on arteries. Some people even have success regrowing/thickening hair using caffeine topically. It may also slow the graying of hair as one ages as it stimulates production of peroxidase which breaks down hydrogen peroxide in the body. Add one teaspoon per 8 ounces of condition and shampoo. Adding to lotion works as well. Buy here.
Niacinamide is a reducer of free fatty acids (in serum) and therefore, an enhancer of cellular respiration. This is commonly found in most expensive creams and lotions made by Oil of Olay. Their products are very popular because they work for most people, but also come with a lot of unknown chemicals. Add one teaspooon per 8 ounces. Niacinamide powder is soluble.
Vitamin E, in the form of mixed tocopherols, serves as an estrogen antagonist, is anti-inflammatory and enhnaces energy production that can be bought relatively cheaply and easily added to products. Purchase liquid mixed tocopherols at LotionCrafters. Add one teaspoon per 8 ounces.
Vitamin B-6 (Pyridoxine HCL) is a great topical dopamine agonist, and prolactin and serotonin antagonist. It also reduces your body’s sensitivity to stress hormones and because of this protects the structure of your skin, bones, and hair. Add 1/4 teaspoon per 8 ounces. Keep in mind that excess dosages of B6 can result in nerve damage that curtails after excesses wear off. Experiment and see what works for you.
Vanilla extract (vanillin) is a Carbonic anhydrase inhibitor. Carbonic anhydrase is an enzyme that facilitates the reaction of CO2 + H2O into H2CO3. Healthy wound healing is controlled by CO2 to O2 ratio. The higher the CO2 to O2 ratio, the better. This is why training at high altitudes produces higher performing athletes as it raises serum CO2 concentrations. Because vanillin inhibits carbonic anhydrase, it helps maximize CO2 levels on the surface of the skin. There are some stories of kids fully regrowing cut off finger tips by restricting oxygen supply with bandage or thimbles. This is also contained in the lotion linked to above. If you don’t like that vanilla extracts typically contain alcohol, boil the alcohol out and then add to your products.
Lithium – Because it is in the same column within the periodic table as sodium, lithium is similar in its ability to energize cells and suppress prolactin and serotonin. This can be ground with a coffee grinder and easily absorbed into shampoo or conditioner. Due to it’s ability to keep reduce serotonin uptake velocity, it enables maximum CO2 (as serotonin suppresses CO2 breaking out of platelets) levels at the surface of the skin and has been proven as an effective treatment for graying or thinning hair. Can be used orally, but many are unsure of its long term effects on brain health. This brand is food based and seems relatively suck free. In pure form, it should be easily soluble.
Zinc Oxide – Can be added to lotion to provide a physical barrier sunscreen that doesn’t wreak havoc on your endocrine system the way petrochemical sunscreen chemicals do. SPF 20+: Use 20% zinc oxide; prefer non-micronized, un-coated which can be bought here. Dan Wich also recommends these sunscreens that look great to me. Obviously, don’t add this to all of your lotions or you’ll always have to deal with it. Only block the sun when planning to deal with it during the most intense hours of the day – between 10am and 2pm
Magnesium Chloride – This is the form of magnesium the body prefers. Using it on the skin helps reduce some of the negative side effects of magnesium such as diahrea. Because of high levels of IGF-1 in the scalps of people with hair loss, it may be recommended to use magnesium topically to enhance the skin cells’ sensitivity to IGF-1 and insulin. Unfortunately, this does make your hair extremely greasy. Recommend adding to shampoo only and letting it soak in prior to rinsing out. You can also use this on your torso to reduce the activity of aromatase converting testosterone to estrogen.
Aspirin Powder – Aspirin is highly anti-inflammatory and relatively soluble in water-based products. According to Ray Peat, Aspirin is an antioxidant that protects against lipid peroxidation, but it also stimulates mitochondrial respiration. It can inhibit abnormal cell division, but promote normal cell division. It can facilitate learning, while preventing excitotoxic nerve injury. It reduces clotting, but it can decrease excessive menstrual bleeding. These, and many other strangely beneficial effects of aspirin, strongly suggest that it is acting on very basic biological processes, in a coherent way. I recommend getting a good powder and adding 1/2 tsp per 8 ounces of liquid or as solubility permits. You don’t want to deal with grainy texture products. This can be added to shampoo, conditioner and lotions.
Updated (20 September 2014)
Sugar – As you increase the cellular metabolism using the ingredients above, sugar will provide fuel to cells. Perhaps this is one reason honey has long been popular for use on the skin. I’m not sure if skin cells have the capacity to process sucrose (table sugar), but I doubt that they do so using things higher in free glucose is probably better such as honey, grape sugar, date sugar or pure glucose if you can get your hands on it. Add 1 tbsp per 8 ounces or whatever works for you.
Salt – As mentioned above, sodium energizes cells. This is perhaps a clue to why salt water is considered therapeautic in many schools of thought. Add 1 tsp per 8 ounces or until it stops dissolving. Salt water solution is also great for cleansing and killing bacteria – I don’t recommend adding too much to lotion as salt may excessively dry out your skin due to its hydrophyllic properties.
Thyroid – Thiroyd and Thryoid-S are both naturally desiccated thyroid glands that are available on PimPom Pharmacy. It contains both thyroid hormone T3 and T4, both of which energize your cells. This is similar to why people frequently recommend using iodine topically in hair products. These are both easily soluble in fat or water. Add 60mg per 8 ounces of liquid. If you decide to go this route, definitely add sugar of some sort to your product as your cells will need fuel.
I’m sure there is more to consider for this topic, but at this time, this is what I think is the easiest and most effective steps one can take to cheaply improve the health of their skin and hair with minimal side effects. Please comment if there are other lotions, shampoos or conditioners that fit my basic criteria.