G.O.O.D. Skin Care, by TK

Market research studies reveal that the skin care industry anticipates sales of $121 billion in 2018. It is a huge industry, with creams and potions promising much and not always delivering. Practicing good skin health costs less and has a better payoff.

Skin Care

Practicing proper skin care now, in preparation for economic, natural, and governmental disasters, will pay off in the long run with overall better health. Our skin is our largest organ and is vital to survival and health. It protects everything inside our bodies, regulates temperature and water loss, communicates external environmental factors through the nerve endings, and is our first line of defense in environmental and chemical exposures. Maintaining healthy skin will pay off in large returns.

Stressed Skin

When we face day-to-day stress, our bodies, including our skin, will show signs. The typical first presentation of stressed skin is a rash, hives, redness, or itchiness. That can lead to scratching that itch, possibly breaking the skin and leading to the introduction of bacteria. Adrenaline causes decreased blood flow and, therefore, oxygen to the skin. A weakened skin barrier can lead to infections and injuries.

Dry Skin

While most of us would say we have dry skin, that isn’t always true. Dry skin is defined by a lack or low production of oil (sebum). If you have any shiny spots on your skin, you have adequate sebum production. Dry skin may be helped by Omega 3 or Omega 6, which contain lipids that can increase sebum production. Clinically dry skin may require medical intervention to keep it healthy. Prescription moisturizers containing urea or lactic acid can be helpful.

Dehydrated Skin

In reality, a large portion of the population is dealing with dehydrated skin. This means that your skin is lacking water in its cells. This dehydration can occur because of medications, smoking, or UV exposure. Healthy skin will appear “dewy” and smooth, and it will be supple and bounce back when gently pinched. In contrast, dehydrated skin may appear dull, tight, and “crepe-ish” in appearance.

Good Skins Starts With Balanced Diet

Good skin care starts with a balanced diet. Vitamins A, C, E, H, and K are present in most food groups and in sufficient amounts to meet the needs of healthy skin. Fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds, and olive oil are especially good for getting and maintaining healthy skin.

Clean Skin

Keep your skin clean. True soap contains ingredients that may strip moisture from your skin. Non-soap products are generally gentler for your skin. Natural and organic, or straight off the grocery shelf, there are many schools of thought regarding cleaning products. You should use what leaves your skin clean but not feeling tight. Squeaky clean skin is over-cleansed.

Humectants and Occlusives

Dehydrated skin can be helped with humectants and occlusives. Humectants help skin attract and hold water. Natural humectants are honey, algae, and colloidial oatmeal. Occlusives lock moisture in by slowing down the evaporation rate. Beeswax, petrolatum, olive, coconut, or argan oil, and lanolin are examples of natural occlusives.

Keep hydrated as natural evaporation takes place in all climates and seasons, indoors and outdoors, and can be elevated by illness or stress. However, there are some studies that show the recommended eight glasses of water a day will not combat dehydrated skin. These studies show the greater influence is the environment, as in low indoor humidity. A humidifier can help; just be sure to follow the cleaning schedule suggested for your unit.


Exercise stimulates blood circulation, carrying oxygen and nutrients to the skin. Sweating helps to remove toxins from the skin and increases the production of sebum. Adequate rest allows a rise in growth hormones, which aid in skin repair.

Sunscreen and Skin Irritants

Use sunscreen every day, even the cloudy ones. See a dermatologist yearly for an exam of moles. Take note of any changes in moles.

Know about and protect yourself from skin irritants at work and home. Think twice about using public hot tubs, especially if you have an unhealed wound, even a small one. Wear long sleeves and pants to avoid bug bites and poisonous plants.

Bug Bites

Check daily for bug bites and ticks. Thoroughly clean the area; don’t use hydrogen peroxide, as it kills skin cells. Plain soap and water are sufficient. Fingernail polish or an “after-bite” topical lotion will stop the itch, and keep you from scratching the area and causing further harm. Thorns and splinters should be removed as soon as possible, then cleaned. and covered. Any signs of infection (redness, fever, increased pain, pus) should be addressed by a physician.


The skin on our feet is mostly ignored but in need of the greatest care. Proper foot care is necessary for survival. Choose footwear wisely. Wash feet daily with an anti-bacterial soap and dry completely. Dead cells will accumulate if not removed daily, and bacteria feed on dead skin cells. Remove callouses with care; corns, bunions, and ingrown nails may need professional help. Moisturize daily, being careful to not use too much moisturizer between the toes, as this can lead to fungus growth. Remember that severely dry or dehydrated feet can lead to deep cracks and fissures, which can open and bleed, causing pain and possible infection. Foot powder or baking soda between the toes will also prevent the growth of fungus.

Keeping Feet in Good Shape While Bugging Out

Keeping your feet in good shape while bugging out isn’t difficult or expensive. Military studies have shown that soldiers function better on long treks if they have properly fitted shoes and are able to care for their feet in the field. The mental benefit of a dry pair of socks can’t be quantified. By keeping your mind off the pain in your feet, you are better able to maintain awareness of your surroundings.

Fixing Your Feet: Injury Prevention and Treatments for Athletes by John Vonhof is highly reviewed, and my quick perusal of it has convinced me to purchase it. This article offers some ideas on different shoe lacing patterns. Marathoners recommend Body Glide to prevent rubbing and blisters on feet, and to stop chafing on thighs, arms, and nipples.

Comfortable Shoes and Boots

Invest time to research supportive and comfortable shoes and boots. Find a real shoe store that can help you select properly fitted shoes. Running shops are usually very good at proper fitting. Socks are often an afterthought, but the material content of the sock can aid or inhibit moisture wicking. Make sure your footwear will allow you to wear two pair of socks. Proper footwear and socks can be expensive, but your feet will thank you in the long run.

In My Bug-Out Bag

In my bug-out bag, I carry moleskin, a pair of pantyhose (which the military have used to avoid chafing and blisters when walking long distances), work gloves, clean socks, powder, cleaning towelettes, sunscreen and bug spray, liquid skin, and a tick removal kit, just to mention a few. I recently found that petroleum jelly comes in a tube. It’s no mess to carry and can double as a fire starter.

At the End of Every Day On the March

At the end of every day on the march, clean your feet, dry them completely, then moisturize and apply powder between toes. A physical therapist recommended using a tennis ball to stretch and relax the arch. This is a welcomed treat after hiking all day. If you can, wear a different pair of boots or shoes the next day. And while the common thought is to not wear shoes while you sleep, there are tactical issues that must be taken into consideration.


Blisters on the hands or feet should be treated with care. Fight your impulse to pop the blister! The collected fluid is protecting the skin underneath. Allow the blister to dry and heal on its own. If the blister hinders walking or working, then pop the blister to relieve the fluid pressure (using clean equipment), but leave the skin, or roof, in place. Cover the roof with a bandage and keep it clean. If the roof is removed, keep a bandage on the wound until it is healed. Prevent the next foot blister with mole skin on the area prone to rubbing.


Treat your hands with care. Quit chewing your nails and cuticles, as this can introduce nasty bacteria into the skin. Use a rich hand cream to prevent winter chapping and cracks. I really like Working Hands by O’Keefe’s. It works quickly to repair cracks and prevents new ones. Use a “knife-proof” glove in the kitchen or in the field while dressing wildlife. Wear work gloves while working with wood. Remember that exotic-wood splinters need special care because they may become septic, and the splinters from some resin-producing domestic woods can easily become infected.

As we age, our skin becomes thinner, and as a result it’s more prone to injury. Skin tears are common in the elderly and may require medical attention. If you have elderly friends or family, keep your fingernails cut short to avoid an unintentional injury.


One last thought on wound care. The medical pendulum has swung away from letting wounds air dry and scab over. A wound kept moist with petroleum jelly, honey, or antibiotic cream should be covered. The presence of moisture allows skin cells to spread, leading to the wound closing quicker and with less pain. “Liquid skin” bandages will keep minor cuts moist, again aiding in quick healing. Colloidial silver and tea tree oil also show some benefit in skin healing.


As an advisory, these thoughts are in no way meant to diagnosis, cure, or treat any ailment. Heredity, ethnicity, and medical history play a huge role in your skin health, and you should always follow your doctor’s advice. Skin supplements are available, but please talk to your doctor about any medications you take, as some vitamin supplements can interact with prescriptions. In addition, I do not work for O’Keefe’s.

SurvivalBlog Writing Contest

This has been another entry for Round 79 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest. The nearly $11,000 worth of prizes for this round include:

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Round 79 ends on November 30th, so get busy writing and e-mail us your entry. Remember that there is a 1,500-word minimum, and that articles on practical “how to” skills for survival have an advantage in the judging.


  1. Animal fats in your diet work wonders, especially pastured beef. Get rid of grains, soy and corn, soy and canola oils. Eczema and dry skin in general should go away.

  2. I’ve completely changed my diet and all of my skin problems have disappeared over a period of months. Lots of natural fats from nuts, vegetables and fruits, supplements including high quality D3 and I use organic raw coconut oil on my face, arms and hands (even hair) at night. Skin injury healing time has been cut in half and I feel great. I’m 50 and quite frankly I refuse to become one of the out of shape, overweight couch potatoes with developing chronic health problems that are so common around here. Skin health is just one overall health area I focus on but it’s important.

  3. Exposing skin to the sun is essential to vitamin D production. Northerners tend to be very D deficient in general. Vitamin D deficiencies are associated with most cancers as well has many chronic diseases like MS. Using sunscreen ensures that you will be D deficient while exposing you to potentially toxic skincare products.

    Use a brimmed hat to cover areas prone to burning. Use loose fitting clothing to minimize over-exposure. And do expose every patch of skin to several minutes of sunlight every day it is available… for your vitamin D sake.

    As already suggested in comments, getting enough of the right fats in your diet is extremely important. Grain oils like canola which are high omega-6, low omega-3, tend to be inflammatory and have shown to contribute to migraines, etc. High omega-3 oils, extra virgin olive oil and coconut oil seems to consistently win the vegetable oils category. Dietary animal fats from healthy animals do not typically cause cholesterol problems. Industrial food, margarine, canola oil and trans fats in general do however cause problems, in spite of industry advertising.

    For skin care, I use the very same coconut oil, olive oil, and animal fat renderings that I have in the kitchen.

  4. I have several comments. First is that anything you put on your skin is absorbed by the body, which is why I use organic coconut oil as a moisturizer. It absorbs in seconds and is surprisingly effective and nice to use. Read the ingredient list on most skin lotions and ask yourself if you need those chemicals in your body for some reason.

    Another suggestion is that if you have any kind of questionable mole or growth, find a good dermatologist and have it looked at. I had two very small dry patches on my face for years, that would come and go. I basically ignored them. One of them started getting a little bigger, then got a little scab. I still ignored it. Finally after a couple of years of ignoring, something had to be done, and I went to the dermatologist. The smaller patch was removed in about three seconds using cryotherapy (basically freezing it off with a spray of cold air). The one that had gotten worse had to be biopsied, then surgically removed in a 4 hour outpatient procedure using local anesthetic, one of the least fun days of my life, and leaving me with an unpleasant scar. If I had been smarter and gone to the dermatologist a couple of years ago, it all would have been over in about six seconds. I confess my failing in order that someone else may possibly be motivated to take needed action based on the example of my stupidity and tendency to procrastinate.

    And lastly, everyone in middle age or older needs to know about shingles, a horrible nerve rash associated with chicken pox, and about a surprising antidote for it which I now keep on hand. I never in my wildest dreams thought I would get shingles, but last summer I did, and it was truly awful. I thought it was a heat rash at first but it had a sort of zigzag pattern and was only on my right side. By the third morning I knew what it was by comparing with internet pictures, but by that time even if I had gone to the doctor the anti-viral medication window they would have prescribed had closed. I fought with every natural medicine I could think of, including vitamins, colloidal silver, Bentonite clay, calamine, comfrey, anti-viral herbal support, anti-inflammatory foods. I spent hours on the internet looking for help. I accidentally came across a study that had found that Tagamet, an over the counter antacid, is one of the most effective treatments for shingles. The medical profession can’t prescribe it (profit from it) so they rarely share the information, even though many studies now show its effectiveness. https://lifeextensionvitamins.com/tatotrheands.html has dosage recommendations as well as a great explanation of how it works. I now keep Tagamet in the house and try to inform people about its effectiveness for treating shingles. I’m not a doctor, just someone who wants to share a useful bit of knowledge.

  5. Ladies: When overseas for a total of almost 8 years (fobbit), I had to simplify routines and products. Tiny living areas, problems shipping in and storing heat-sensitive products, etc. were good practice for a shtf type situation. My routine became washing face in the morning with water only. Moisturizer was putting a few drops of oil (evening primrose or jojoba oil, with a little frankincense added) on my palm, rubbing hands together, then patting the barest amount of oil onto my face. A small amount absorbs pretty quickly. Nightime was using a few drops of the oil on my fingertips to remove eye makeup then wiping that away with a tissue. Then I applied a few more drops of oil to my palms and massaged that onto my face, before using a small amount of plain soap and water to remove the oil from my face. Use enough soap to get the oil off but not so much that you strip/dry the skin. If needed (mostly just in the drier winters), pat on a light layer for overnight. I use this oil for an occasional hot oil treatment for hair/scalp. This oil is expensive to use on an entire body, so I used either coconut oil or olive oil. When traveling for a week or so, I would just take a bar of mild soap and my face oil – saves a lot of space in a backpack.

  6. I would question the use of sunscreen all the time. As one who is fair skinned , I ll burn before I tan usually. But there are chemicals in sunscreen and our bodies do absorb them. I try to keep most of my body loosely covered and use sunscreen on the exposed surfaces when I have to spend a lot of time outdoors.

  7. During about 30 years in the Redoubt, I tried to always wear a hat with at least a 3 to 4 inch brim: AKA a Cowboy Hat. And 80 percent of the time I wore long sleeve shirts. It worked. No skin cancer. A co-worker of mine always wore ball caps. Several times he had pieces of cancerous growth removed from his ears, and quite often would be displaying ears with tops that looked like raw hamburger.

    Likewise when it gets below 30 degrees, wear head protection and gloves to finish out your wardrobe. One tough guy I knew refused to wear gloves at -5 F. The next day he went to the medical clinic. Huge bubbles on the tops of his fingers between the joints, where the frost had thawed and was now collecting fluid. Other friends who refused earflaps in cold temps lost bits and pieces of ears and cheeks. Loss of skin integrity.

    I won’t say that north Montana is cold, but when temps lower sometimes to -10 and slide down
    to -37 F, it lacks a bit of heat.

    My BOB has a pair of USGI forest-green leather gloves. Lightweight, good for a bit of protection for cooking, as well as working and a bit of heat retention in bitter cold. https://www.amazon.com/Mil-Tec-Tactical-Leather-Gloves-Medium/dp/B00L5DN8SC/ref=sr_1_33?ie=UTF8&qid=1540399716&sr=8-33&keywords=green+leather+gloves+men

    I highly recommend further skin protection like this https://www.amazon.com/Terramar-Adult-Thermasilk-Glove-Liner/dp/B000V5BCGU/ref=sr_1_6?ie=UTF8&qid=1540399448&sr=8-6&keywords=thermal+glove+inserts&dpID=41eddRPhkpL&preST=_SY300_QL70_&dpSrc=srch

    Finally, for good skin, I remind people to ‘Eat a tablespoon of lard every day’.

    Thanks for the article TK, it is a nice change of topic.

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