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How to manage detox side-effects

Pathogen & Parasite Die-Off Symptoms: How to manage detox side-effects

Whether it’s bacteria, yeast or parasite die-off symptoms, they can be a real struggle for many clients during a healing protocol. Understanding what causes die-off symptoms, the most common die-off symptoms experienced by clients, as well as ways to reduce their severity are all an important part of managing a natural protocol for SIBO, parasites, candida and numerous other pathogenic gut infections.

Here’s everything we’re going to cover:
> The science of die-off symptoms and why they occur.
> Why not all symptoms are die-off related.
> Common causes of die-off symptoms.
> The most common die-off symptoms when treating parasites and other pathogens.
> Ways to prevent and minimize die-off symptoms naturally.

Herxheimer reaction: The original bacteria die-off symptoms

The forefather of what we call die-off is known as the Jarisch-Herxheimer reaction (JHR). A Herx reaction, as it is commonly called, was first documented by European dermatologists Adolf Jarisch and Karl Herxheimer at the end of the 19th century. Their observation related to the short-term worsening of skin lesions (symptoms) after treatment with mercury (antibiotics). After syphilis began being treated with penicillin in the 1940s, Herx reactions were observed to occur within the first 24 hours of treatment and consisted of fever, chills, headaches and worsening of skin rashes. This is also called a healing crisis and many health practitioners will inform you that you will get worse before you get better.

And while the JHR only technically relates to spirochetal infections (spiral-shaped bacteria) and antibiotics, the concept of symptom-onset or worsening after starting treatment with antimicrobials has been seen to apply more broadly in clinical practice. This is why you’ll often hear practitioners talk about a Herx-reaction, even if it isn’t scientifically accurate. But, what we call ‘die-off symptoms’ is certainly something we see commonly when clients begin addressing bacteria, parasites and yeast pathogens using natural antimicrobials.

Parasite Die Off Symptoms

The die-off process is broken down into three distinct phases:
1. Cell death
2. Immune response
3. Detoxification

1. Cell death

Simplistically, as we treat pathogens like parasites, bacteria and yeast, they begin to die. This ‘cell death’ starts a cascade of reactions in the body that often end in new or increased symptoms. But what exactly happens during the ‘cell death’ process?

Pathogen Cell Death - Die Off Symptoms.png

As shown in the diagram above, we think of ‘cell death’ as having two distinct phases; biofilm breakdown and the release of glycoconjugates. Let’s explore each one in a little more detail and explain their impact on die-off symptoms.

Phase 1 – Biofilm breakdown: biofilm is formed when individual microorganisms attach to the GI tract and clump together into a kind of colony. The biofilm acts as a shield or protective home for the bacteria, parasites or yeast living inside, making them difficult to detect and remove. Once we breakdown this protective matrix using natural biofilm busting supplements, it can release the individual pathogens out into the GI tract.

Phase 2 – Release of glycoconjugates: we try our hardest to be scientifically accurate with our posts, which is why we’ve used the term glycoconjugates instead of the more commonly used term ‘endotoxin’. This is because endotoxins really only apply to bacteria and we’re trying to cover parasites and yeast as well. But, the concepts are largely the same across the different organisms. We have lipopolysaccharides (LPS) for bacteria, GPI-anchored glycolipids for parasites and beta-glucans for yeast (e.g. candida). When each of the different organisms’ cell membranes start to breakdown, these glycoconjugates (toxins) will be released, triggering an inflammatory response.

2. Immune response

All of these various glycoconjugates act as toxins when released after the destruction of the cell wall of the main organism, which trigger pro-inflammatory responses. Basically your immune system starts working overtime to kill and clear these toxins from your body to avoid infections hanging around. LPS specifically, is also an exogenous pyrogen or fever-inducing substance, which explains the flu-like bacteria die-off symptoms experienced by many people during eradication. While inflammation is a natural response of the immune system and needed to overcome infection, it can, in the short term, lead to symptoms like aches and pains, skin rashes, headaches, etc, which we often describe as die-off.

3. Detox

All of the broken down biofilm and released toxins need to go somewhere. With a healthy GI tract, strong intestinal lining and regular motility, most of these toxins would move through the large intestine and be excreted via the stool. However, the majority of clients with a gut infection or overgrowth don’t have a healthy GI tract, but rather what we call a ‘leaky gut’.

A leaky gut is the simple term for intestinal hyperpermeability, a condition that allows macromolecules and microorganisms to get through the intestinal lining and into the bloodstream. This becomes problematic when you have a significant release of pathogens and toxins at the same time. As some of these toxins leak through the intestinal lining and enter the bloodstream, your immune system will continue to attack them and try to clear them from your body – firstly via the lymphatic system and liver, which help filter your body’s waste, before being sent to other drainage organs such as your kidneys, colon and skin.

This is not necessarily a problem in those with well-functioning detox pathways, it is what those systems are designed for and in healthy people can work just fine. Unfortunately, for many of those suffering from years of chronic digestive symptoms, these detox pathways can become blocked or sluggish. This means the body struggles to eliminate these toxins and allows them to recirculate in the body. This inability to eliminate toxins can make bacteria, yeast and parasite die-off symptoms more noticeable and last longer.

Common causes of die-off symptoms

Now that we understand the mechanisms of die-off symptoms, it’s time to look at the common causes. If die-off symptoms are the result of cell death, the release of toxins, inflammation and the body’s inability to clear these toxins, then the next question is: what causes such changes to occur? The three most common causes of die-off symptoms we see are:

> Starting an elimination diet. Switching to a real-food based diet that eliminates processed foods, sugar and other ingredients that feed pathogens will often cause the bad bugs to starve as we cut off their food supply. This effect is enhanced on certain IBS elimination diets like low-FODMAP, Paleo AIP and SIBO Bi-Phasic which are more extreme in the removal of foods that feed pathogens (e.g. sugar and other carbs).

> Introduction or increase of probiotics. Starting a probiotic protocol can effectively kill pathogens by overpowering them with the presence of ‘good guys’.

> Starting a protocol of antimicrobial, anti-fungal or anti-parasitic supplements. This is the most common and effective way to kill pathogens quickly and typically results in the most die-off symptoms.

Why not all symptoms are die-off related

Before we get into more detail about the common die-off symptoms, it’s important to understand that not all symptoms experienced while treating parasites, bacteria or yeast overgrowths are die-off related. There is a tendency to classify all kinds of reactions as die-off symptoms, but this isn’t always the case. Here are other possible reasons for symptom flares during eradication:

> Supplement or food reactions. Food intolerances and sensitivities are common in those with gut dysfunction and a leaky gut. Food reactions are typically an immune response to the proteins in certain foods, commonly eggs, nuts, gluten and dairy, rather than pathogen cell death.

> Parasite life cycles. Parasites typically have life cycles that can last between 7 and 21 days, meaning symptoms can flare during certain phases of these life cycles. If you find that you regularly have a good week or two and then feel terrible for a few days, this could be a sign that your parasites are alive, rather than dying.

> Other sources of inflammation. Because inflammation is at the heart of die-off symptoms, many other sources of inflammation can be confused with them.These other sources of inflammation could be mental/emotional or stress-related, new gut infections, excessive exercise or other forms of stress on the body.

Common bacteria, yeast and parasite die-off symptoms

Die-off symptoms are often similar to those of pathogen infections themselves, given that they are caused by the same types of toxins. The key difference is that bacteria, yeast and parasite die-off symptoms are generally more intense as these toxins are released in larger amounts in a shorter space of time. This is why it is normal to feel worse, for a few days at least, before feeling better.

The most common bacteria, yeast and parasite die-off symptoms are:
> Fatigue
> Headaches
> Body aches and pains
> Skin rashes or reactions
> Mood symptoms (e.g. anxiety and depression)
> Respiratory phlegm or stuffy nose
> Increased GI upset
> Flu-like symptoms (e.g. fever and chills)

Die-off symptom: Fatigue

Fatigue is probably the most common die-off symptom reported by clients. Healing can be hard work, especially if your body is trying to fight a heavy load of pathogenic infections or parasites. During the early phase of an elimination protocol, you need to give yourself space to rest and fight, without placing too many additional stressors on the system.

Die-off symptom: Headaches

Detox and headaches often go hand in hand for many clients. While it can be exacerbated by the process of pathogen cell death, for many clients the biggest contributor to headaches is actually the removal of certain inflammatory foods like caffeine and sugar from their diet.

Die-off symptom: Body aches and pains

Body aches and pains are a very inflammatory type of symptom. With die-off, it is the inflammatory response of the immune system to the release of toxins that if overactive, can create these symptoms of muscle soreness and aching joints.

Die-off symptom: Skin rashes and reactions

The skin is a key elimination organ and your body may well try and eliminate excess toxins via the skin if the other systems of the body are overworked. If you’re the type of person who has skin issues, you may experience an increase or worsening of rashes, eczema or psoriasis flares, skin sores or breakouts. These are typically short-term reactions that quickly resolve themselves, but can be frustrating to manage.

Die-off symptom: Mood symptoms (e.g. anxiety and depression)

The connection between gut health and mood symptoms is well documented – we even wrote a whole blog about it HERE. As with other die-off symptoms, mood symptoms such as anxiety and depression can also flare during pathogen eradication. While these can be difficult to accept, awareness that your current mood is the result of temporary pathogen die-off and not other elements of your life circumstances, often makes riding out this phase more bearable.

Die-off symptom: Respiratory phlegm or stuffy nose

The body uses mucus and phlegm to capture and eliminate toxins. It is why we get a ‘runny nose’ when we have a cold or flu. It is for the same reason that an increase in mucus production is a common sign of die-off, as your body uses all the systems it has to help excrete these excess toxins.

Die-off symptom: Increased GI upset

With all the action happening in the gut, it is no surprise that increased GI upset is common during die-off. Diarrhea or constipation, bloating, gas and abdominal pain are often reported as pathogens die and excrete toxins into the gut. This is where the infection is and the site of their cell death. GI symptoms are also the most likely to be associated with non-die-off related causes discussed above such as food reactions and general symptom flares related to parasite life cycles, for example.

Die-off symptom: Flu-like symptoms (e.g. fever and chills)

Flu-like symptoms are the original Herx reaction observed over a hundred years ago. This type of die-off symptom is probably the most serious and is typically associated with spirochetal infection treated with heavy doses of antibiotics. A fever is also one of the ways the body tries to kill infections as most microbes can’t operate at high temperatures. Given the lower doses, longer timeframes and titration associated with natural antimicrobial herbs, flu-like symptoms are less common outside of conventional treatment.

Bacteria, Candida and Parasite Die Off Symptoms

Managing die-off symptoms

Effectively managing die-off symptoms requires an understanding of the various mechanisms causing them. This is why we spent so much time at the beginning of the post explaining the reasons why we get die-off symptoms. As a quick recap, the three difficult variables that impact die-off symptom severity are:
1. Quantity and speed of pathogen cell death – this will determine the size of the ‘toxic burden’ your body has to manage.
2. How active your immune system is and therefore the amount of inflammation your body creates.
3. How effective your detox pathways are at clearing toxins from your body.

With this is mind, our approach to minimizing die-off symptoms has three corresponding elements which we will discuss in more detail below:
1. Titration – the layered introduction of diet and supplements.
2. Reducing inflammation – helping calm the body’s immune response.
3. Supporting detox pathways – assisting the body with clearing toxins through our detox organs.

Titration of diet and natural supplements

Titration is the gradual introduction of a specific intervention. The faster and more intense an intervention, the bigger the release of toxins from dying pathogens will be in a short space of time. What we’re trying to do is to avoid dropping a bomb on an overgrown weed garden and then having to deal with the thousands of spores that get spread all over the rest of the neighborhood. What we’d prefer to do is go in there and weed the garden more selectively to avoid the negative repercussions.

To prevent or minimize the amount of die-off symptoms that our clients have to cope with, we use the following three titration strategies:

1. Natural antimicrobials – unlike antibiotics, natural antimicrobials or herbal supplements are typically a much more gentle approach to addressing pathogens and parasites. They are still pretty powerful and certain varieties can still cause die-off symptoms in my clients but these are generally less than typically caused by antibiotics.

2. Diet introduction – we like to start clients on an introduction gut-healing diet after our initial consultation and before we receive test results back. This typically gives us around a month for any effects of diet changes to settle down before starting a supplement protocol and introducing antimicrobials.

3. Supplement titration – we like to introduce one supplement at a time and build each product up slowly to full dose before moving onto the next. This allows us to monitor any reactions to particular supplements separately to die-off symptoms and adjust our dosing recommendations accordingly. It also means there is a slow build-up to the pathogen eradication process, reducing the quantity and speed of cell death your body has to manage. This contrasts with conventional antibiotic recommendations which start at full dose from day one, which is just one of the reasons this approach typically results in greater die-off symptoms.

Reducing inflammation

If you have a very active (or overactive) immune system, you can experience quite a lot of inflammation-related die-off symptoms. Symptoms like fatigue as well as body aches and pains are common amongst those with high levels of inflammation. There are two main ways we help to manage inflammation:

1. Rest and reducing stressors – giving your body the space to fight and heal from pathogenic infections is an important part of managing inflammation. This means prioritizing plenty of good quality sleep, especially between the hours of 10pm and 2am, as this is when the majority of physical repair happens in the body. It also means avoiding activities that will add additional stress to your body – like intense or excessive exercise. It can be challenging for your body to overcome inflammation if you are constantly adding more sources to the pile.

2. Anti-inflammatory foods and supplements – giving your body a natural anti-inflammatory boost can assist with reducing the severity of inflammation-related die-off symptoms. Our go-to anti-inflammatory supports include:
> Omega-3’s – from good quality fish oil supplements or food based sources such as flaxseed, chia seeds, walnuts and oily fish.
> Anti-inflammatory spices – adding turmeric, ginger and cinnamon to your food or having them in tea is an easy option.
> Antioxidants from green leafy vegetables and dark colored berries.
> Additional supplements like glutathione, quercetin and vitamin C can also help when needed.

Supporting detox pathways

Helping your body to clear excess toxins via our detox organs is an important part of avoiding die-off symptoms and also reducing their severity after onset. The two most effective ways we have found to support these detox pathways include:

Liver support: The liver is the primary organ we focus on to remove bacteria and their lipopolysaccharide (LPS) from the bloodstream. The same applies for other glycoconjugates from parasites and yeast. It is this removal function that helps to reduce die-off symptoms. Our goal is to support both phase 1 and phase 2 liver detoxification pathways, typically using supplements that are a blend of naturals like N-Acetyl-Cysteine (NAC), St Mary’s Thistle, Dandelion and many more. We are also able to use markers on lab testing to assess phase 2 liver detoxification to know whether additional support in this area will be required during your protocol.

GI binders: GI binders can be used to bind up toxins like a magnet and carry them all the way through the digestive tract to be eliminated in the stool. By cleaning up these excess toxins, it prevents them from being absorbed (or reabsorbed) into the bloodstream and causing further die-off symptoms. There are three different types of binders we typically use to assist clients minimize die-off symptoms:

> Charcoal – activated charcoal is a broad spectrum binder that works extremely well in acute cases of die-off symptoms. Because it can bind to microbes as well as minerals, vitamins and nutrients, it is best used on a short-term basis and taken well away from other foods, medications or supplements. It is our affordable go-to option to get on top of die-off symptoms quickly.

> Clays – bentonite, zeolite and pyrophyllite clays are more selective (less broad-spectrum) than charcoal but can still bind to some nutrients. This means they are a gentler form of binder that can be taken for weeks rather than days.

> Chlorella – an algae with a love of toxins, chlorella is a great ongoing support product to assist with die-off and toxins associated with eradication protocols. As a living organism, it binds to toxins rather than essential nutrients which means it can be used as an ongoing preventative support throughout your protocol. It is unlikely to provide relief once die-off symptoms hit, but that’s what we have charcoal and clays for.

Additional strategies to support detox and minimize die-off symptoms

Here’s a few additional strategies we often recommend to boost our client’s detox pathways and help minimize symptoms of die-off:
> Hydration – simple but effective, keeping fluids up during a protocol can help flush toxins through the system.
> Epsom salt baths – the benefits of epsom salt baths include; 1) that they are relaxing 2) can increase magnesium levels to help with aches and pains 3) will help draw toxins from the skin and 4) can increase sulfate levels which is helpful for liver detox.
> Infrared sauna – some clients have reporting benefits from using infrared sauna during a protocol. Whether it is due to their relaxing effects or their reported ability to increase your blood circulation and stimulate the sweat glands, releasing built-up toxins in the body, these results may vary from person to person. Keeping up hydration and restoring electrolytes is important if you choose to experiment with infrared saunas.

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Cancer Background

Cancer is a class of diseases in which abnormal cells divide without control and are able to invade other tissues. Cancer cells can spread to other parts of the body through the blood and lymph systems. Normally, cell proliferation is under tight control through many mechanisms. For example, DNA damage and repair mechanisms exist in order to decrease the likelihood of genetic mutation and cell transformation. Apoptosis is needed to destroy cells that represent a threat to the integrity of the organism. In addition, the immune system is ready to recognize and destroy cancerous cells. However these error-correction methods often fail in small ways, especially in environments that make errors more likely to arise and propagate. Accumulating disruptions in these control mechanisms lead to progressive error accumulation until unregulated proliferation and cancer forming.

Cell Cycle Background

The cell cycle is an ordered set of events, culminating in cell growth and division. The cell cycle of eukaryotes can be divided in two brief periods: interphase, during which the cell grows, accumulating nutrients needed for mitosis and duplicating its DNA, and the mitosis (M) phase, during which the cell splits itself into two distinct cells, often called “daughter cells”. By studying molecular events in cells, interphase is divided into three stages, G1, S, and G2. Thus the cell cycle consists of four phases: G1, S, G2, M.

G1 phase is from the end of the previous M phase until the beginning of DNA synthesis, and G stands for gap. During this phase the biosynthetic activities of the cell, which had been considerably slowed down during M phase, resume at a high rate. This phase is marked by synthesis of various enzymes that are required in S phase, mainly those needed for DNA replication. An important cell cycle control mechanism activated during this period (G1 Checkpoint) ensures that everything is ready for DNA synthesis.

DNA replication occurs during the ensuing S (synthesis) phase. To produce two similar daughter cells, the complete DNA instructions in the cell must be duplicated. Thus, during this phase, the amount of DNA in the cell has effectively doubled.

The cell then enters the G2 (gap 2) phase, which lasts until the cell enters mitosis. During the G2 phase the cell will continue to grow and produce new proteins. At the end of this gap is another control checkpoint (G2 Checkpoint) to determine if the cell can now proceed to enter M (mitosis) and divide.

After the interphase, during which the cell grows and accumulates nutrients, the cell begins mitosis. Cell growth and protein production stop, all of the cell’s energy is focused on the complex and orderly division into two similar daughter cells. As in both G1 and G2, there is a Checkpoint in the middle of mitosis (Metaphase Checkpoint) that ensures the cell is ready to complete cell division.

Nonproliferative cells in multicellular eukaryotes generally enter the quiescent G0 state from G1 and may remain quiescent for long periods of time. The G0 phase is even indefinitely for a cell that has reached an end stage of development and will no longer divide (e.g. neuron).

Early work in frog and invertebrate embryos suggested that cell cycle events are triggered by the activity of a biochemical oscillator centered on cyclin-CDK complexes. The cyclin/CDK complexes induce two processes, duplication of centrosomes and DNA during interphase, and mitosis. The roles of individual cyclins were tested by adding recombinant proteins to cyclin- biologidepleted extracts. Cyclin E supports DNA replication and centrosome duplication, cyclin A supports both of these processes and mitosis, and cyclin B supports mitosis alone. In the cell cycle, Cyclin D/CDK4, Cyclin D/CDK6, and Cyclin E/CDK2 regulate transition from G1 to S phase; Cyclin A/CDK2 is active in S phase; Cyclin B/CDK1 regulates progression from G2 to M phase.

It is widely accepted that the central cell cycle oscillator is based on cyclin/CDK complexes. However, this view of cell cycle regulation was challenged by evidence fora cyclin/CDK-independent oscillator in budding yeast. Haase SB and Reed SI. observed that oscillations of similar periodicity in cells responding to mating pheromone in the absence of G1 cyclin (Cln)- and mitotic cyclin (Clyclin B)-associated kinase activity in the budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae. It is indicated that a previously unrecognized oscillator may play an integral role in regulating early cell cycle events. In addition, Orlando DA and colleagues discovered that a network of sequentially expressed transcription factors could regulate the bulk of the periodic transcription program and function as an oscillator independent of Cyclin B/CDKs.

Cancer Biomarker / Tumor Biomarker

Cancer biomarkers are present in tumor tissues or serum and encompass a wide variety of molecules, including DNA, mRNA, transcription factors, cell surface receptors, and secreted proteins. Cancer biomarkers can be used for prognosis: to predict the natural course of a tumor, indicating whether the outcome for the patient is likely to be good or poor (prognosis). They can also help doctors to decide which patients are likely to respond to a given drug (prediction) and at what dose it might be most effective (pharmacodynamics).

Sino Biological offers a comprehensive set of tools for cancer biomarker related studies, including recombinant proteins, antibodies (rabbit mAbs, mouse mAbs, rabbit pAbs), ELISA kits, and ORF cDNA clones.

Cancer Stem Cell (CSC) Marker

Sino Biological offers a comprehensive set of tools for study of cancer stem cells. These include recombinant proteins, antibodies, ELISA kits and gene cDNA clones directed towards molecules which are identified as cancer stem cell (CSC) markers or involved in CSC proliferation and differentiation pathways.

Cancer Stem Cell (CSC) Background

A cancer stem cell (CSC) is a cell within a tumor that possesses the capacity to self-renew and to generate the heterogeneous lineages of cancer cells that comprise the tumor. Bonnet and Dick isolated a subpopulation of leukaemic cells that express a specific surface marker CD34, but lack the CD38 marker. It is the first conclusive evidence for cancer stem cells. Later studies discovered that some other malignant tumors, including cancers of the: brain, breast, colon, ovary, pancreas and prostate, can also be composed of morphologically and phenotypically heterogeneous cell populations with varying self-renewal capacities, degrees of differentiation, and clonogenic and tumorigenic potentials. These observations have led to the development of the cancer stem cell theory, which points that many tumors, like physiologic tissues, can be hierarchically organized, and that cancer stem cells are essential for their propagation.

Not only is finding the source of cancer cells necessary for successful treatments, but if current treatments of cancer do not properly destroy enough cancer stem cells, the tumor will reappear. Therefore, the successful elimination of a cancer requires anticancer therapy that affects the differentiated cancer cells and the potential cancer stem cell population. Indeed, cancer stem cell-targeted approaches have shown promise in preclinical models. These approaches include direct strategies, such as ablation by targeting molecular markers of cancer stem cells or cancer stem cell-specific pathways, reversal of resistance mechanisms, and differentiation therapy, and indirect strategies, such as antiangiogenic therapy, immunotherapeutic approaches, and disruption of protumorigenic interactions between cancer stem cells and their microenvironment. A number of studies have focused on identifying specific cancer stem cell markers. Pancreatic cancer stem cells express the surface markers CD44, CD24 and epithelial specific antigen (ESA). It has also been identified that liver progenitor cells share molecular markers with adult hepatocytes and fetal hepatocytes. In addition, markers frequently used to identify adult stem cells within the prostate, breast and intestine include CD44, CD133, ESA, CD69, p63, as well as some stem cell antigen, such as CD34, c-kit, Flt-3, NCAM, and Thy-1.

Growth Factor & Receptor Background

The term growth factor encompasses a complex family of polypeptide hormones, steroid hormones, or biological factors that are capable of stimulating cell growth, proliferation and differentiation. Growth factors are important for regulating a variety of cellular processes, including regulating tissue morphogenesis, angiogenesis, cell differentiation, and neurite outgrowth. Growth factors typically act as signaling molecules between cells. Activities of growth factors are mediated via binding to transmembrane receptors that often contain cytoplasmic tyrosine kinase domains. For the last two decades, growth factors have been increasingly used in the treatment of hematologic and oncologic diseases and cardiovascular diseases like: neutropenia, myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS), leukemias, aplastic anaemia, bone marrow transplantation, angiogenesis for cardiovascular diseases.

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Healthy Skin Remedies

Skin treatment products available in the market are expensive. Not everybody can afford expensive skin care creams, moisturizers, lotions and balms. However, taking care of your skin is very important. This post throws light on homemade facial masks and body masks that do wonders to your skin.

Skin treatment products available in the market are expensive. Not everybody can afford expensive skin care creams, moisturizers, lotions and balms. However, taking care of your skin is very important. This post throws light on homemade facial masks and body masks that do wonders to your skin.
The skin tone of every individual varies. Using creams, moisturizers, balms and lotions that suit your skin tone is exceedingly important. Visiting the spa frequently for skin treatment can cost you a fortune. Face masks, facial masks, and body masks made from ingredients available at home save a lot of money. Homemade facial packs and body packs when used regularly improve skin condition. Fruits have vitamins and minerals that are beneficial for healthy glowing skin. Enzymes present in fruits react differently on various skin textures.

For natural skin whitening lime is used in several homemade masks. Skin condition deteriorates if you experiment with too many beauty products. One should realize that changes in skin condition do not take place overnight. A mistake many women make is change a product before it begins to show results. You cannot expect to have healthy glowing skin instantaneously. Give your skin time to get used to a product to show results.
Homemade facial masks and body masks for soft, smooth, and healthy skin
Papaya and Pineapple face mask
You will need 150g of fresh papaya, 150g of fresh Pineapple and a table spoon of honey for this facial mask. Place diced Papaya and pineapple in a blender and blend until you get a thick consistency. Transfer the thick paste in a bowl. Add a tablespoon of honey and mix well. Add the paste on your face with circular rubs gently. Keep the mask on for 10 to 15 minutes. Wash the fruit mask with splashes of cold water. You can also use this fruit pack on your hands and legs. This fruit pack is excellent for a soft and smooth complexion. You can use this fruit facial mask depending on your need and requirement.
Banana, Almond and Yogurt facial mask
You will need 2 medium sized bananas, 5 almonds powdered, and 50g yogurt. Place the bananas and yogurt in a blender/mixer and blend until you get a thick slimy consistency. Transfer the thick paste in a bowl. Add 5 powdered almonds to the paste and mix with a spoon. Apply this mask gently on your face and keep it on for 5 to 7 minutes. Wash with splashes of cold water. This mask can be used daily. If you have extremely oily skin avoid using almond powder in this facial mask. This mask adds radiance to skin and gives skin an even tone.
Avocado and honey face mask
You will need 1 avocado and 1 tablespoon of honey to make this mask. Scoop the flesh of the avocado and mash it till you get a thick pulp. Add a tablespoon of honey and mix well. Cleanse your face with lukewarm water before you apply the face pack. Apply the paste gently on face and neck. Let it remain for 8 to 10 minutes. Wash thoroughly with splashes of cold water. This face pack nourishes the skin. Avocado and honey face pack can be use in winters and summers. This face pack is recommended for individuals that have oily skin. Avocado and honey have minerals and vitamins that have various skin benefits.
Gram flour and yogurt mask
You will need half cup besan/ gram flour (chickpeas) and 50g yogurt to make this face mask. Take the gram flour in a bowl and add the yogurt to it. Mix well to form a paste of thick consistency. If you don’t want a paste of very thick consistency you can add two tablespoons of milk. Cleanse your face with lukewarm water. Apply the paste gently on your face and let it remain for 10 minutes. Wash off the mask with splashes of cold water. This mask removes dirt from pores and prevents outbreaks of acne. For individuals that have a bad acne condition two drops of tea tree oil should be put in the gram flour and yogurt paste. This face mask cleanses pores thereby preventing blackhead formation and outbreak of acne.
Turmeric face pack
To make a turmeric face pack you will need a 20gm turmeric powder, 4 table spoons milk, 30gm gram flour, 1 teaspoon almond oil, 2 table spoons of honey. Mix all these ingredients in a bowl to form a thick paste. Wash your face with water before you apply the paste. Make sure you keep on this facial pack for 10 minutes before you wash it off will splashes of cold water. You can also apply turmeric mask for legs and hands. Turmeric pastes that contain coconut milk and honey are used on hands and legs because they give radiance and glow to the skin. In India and many other Asian countries women that are soon to be married apply turmeric paste that contains coconut milk and honey on their hands feet and face to ensure their skin is soft, smooth and radiant. This facial pack is also used a lot for skin fairness treatments.
Apple face mask
You will need 1 apple, 2 tablespoon milk, and 1egg yolk. Skin the apple and put it in a blender. Add the milk when you get a thick pulp of the apple and mix well. Then add the egg yolk and blend once again. Transfer the paste in a bowl. There will be a smell that you may not enjoy, but be assured this face mask does wonders to the skin. It makes the skin soft and gives it a glow. Let the mask remain for 7 to 10 minutes. Gently wash with splashes of lukewarm water.
Cucumber face mask
For making a cucumber face pack you will need 1 cucumber, and 1 tablespoon of honey. Peel the cucumber and cut into small pieces. Place the pieces of cucumber in a blender/mixer and then add a tablespoon of honey. Mix thoroughly. If you want the mixture slimy, blend for a longer time. Once you have your desired consistency transfer the mixture in a bowl and refrigerate for 45 minutes. Apply the concoction evenly on your face and neck. Let the face mask remain for 7 to 10 minutes. Wash the mask with splashes of cold water. Cucumber moisturizes the skin leaving it supple and soft. This is one of the most popular face masks used by women all over the world. This face pack is recommended for individuals that have dark circles and blemishes. Individuals with dark circles under their eyes can place medium hot green tea bags on eyes closed 2 hours after finishing with this facial mask. Also individuals that are continuously exposed to sunlight should use a cucumber face pack because it rejuvenates skin and prevents discoloration and skin darkening due to sun rays. This face pack is good for both normal skin and oily skin.
Tomato and lime face pack
To prepare this facial pack you will need 1 1/2 tomato and 1 lime. Place diced tomato and a peeled lime into a blender. If you find it uncomfortable to peel a lime simply squeeze the juice into the blender that contains the diced tomato. Blend these ingredients till you get a thick puree. Transfer the mixture in a bowl. Take the amount you need in a smaller bowl and add gram flour in accordance with your requirement to make a thick paste. Apply the paste gently on your face and let it remain for 10 minutes. Wash off the face pack with gentle splashes of cold water. You can refrigerate the remaining puree for 3 to 4 days and make a face pack using gram flour or corn flour whenever required. A tomato and lime face pack is recommended for individuals that are exposed to sun daily. Individuals that suffer from heavy skin darkening because of the sun should apply a tomato and lime face pack. Lime and tomato are ingredients that are used in various masks for skin whitening.
Sandal wood face mask
You will need 2 table spoons of sandal wood powder and rosewater. Mix the sandalwood powder and rose water to form a paste. Clean your face with water before you apply the paste. Let the sandal wood mask remain for 15 to 20 minutes. Wash your face clean with splashes of cold water. A sandal wood face mask softens skin giving it a natural pink glow. This face mask is excellent for removal of blemishes, and prevention of acne outbreak. This face pack is used in spas for fair skin treatments.
Cream, honey and castor oil face mask
You will need 50g fresh cream, 1 tablespoon of honey and 1 tablespoon of castor oil. Mix all the ingredients in a bowl. Before you apply this face mask make sure you wash your face clean with water. Apply the mixture of cream, honey and castor oil on the face and let it remain for 10 to 15 minutes. If you want a thick concoction you can peel a small piece of raw potato and make a paste in a blender and mix it with other ingredients. Raw potato helps remove skin blemishes. Wash face gently with splashes cold water. This face pack prevents skin from losing its natural elasticity and developing wrinkles. Skin aging process is slowed considerably with this face pack.
Tips for applying and removing a facial mask
Do not keep experimenting frequently with various facial masks or body packs. Stick to ingredients that work well for your skin. Ideally a facial mask should be applied after a bath. Make sure your face is washed clean before you apply a facial mask. Wash your face every day with splashes of cold water and be gentle when you use your fingers to clean your face. When you get back home after a day’s work clean your face with a cotton swab along with a face cleanser to get rid of impurities that clog pores. If pores are clogged due to fine environmental debris, makeup, or sweat, blackheads are formed and acne outbursts are sudden. Before you apply a facial pack you have to make sure your face is free from impurities and dirt. If you do not want to use your fingers to apply a facial mask or body mask, the best way is to use the bulging base of a spoon to spread pastes or thick concoctions evenly.
Remember, to remove a facial pack, use gentle splashes of water. Do not rub your skin rigorously to remove a face mask. First use splashes of water to moisten a face mask and then gently use your fingers in a circular upward motion to get off the face mask. Fruits are full of minerals, vitamins that keep skin healthy and glowing. The masks mentioned in this list can also be used on hands and legs. Consult a dermatologist if skin irritation occurs after use of a facial mask or body mask. Various skin products available in the market use harsh chemicals that can be damaging for the skin. Natural skin products are gentle on the skin and are rich in nutrients that help in exfoliating dry skin. Natural face masks moisturize condition, revitalize and nourish skin leaving it soft, healthy and glowing. Keep in mind you will not develop a clear and smooth complexion overnight. For some, results may show within a few weeks, whereas for others it may take longer. Give the face pack you use time to work its magic.
Oils good for the skin
Here’s a list of oils that are excellent for the skin. However, oil applications in facial masks should be used in accordance with dry, normal or oily skin. An application of tea tree oil in homemade face masks can be used by individuals that suffer from varied acne conditions. If you’ve got very sensitive skin consult a dermatologist before you use an application of oil in facial masks or body masks.
• Olive Oil
• Almond Oil
• Avocado Oil
• Tea Tree Oil
• Coconut Oil
• Hemp Seed Oil
• Castor Oil
• Hazelnut Oil
• Cranberry Seed Oil
• Pomegranate Oil
• Grape Seed Oil
• Wheat Germ Oil
• Rosehip Seed Oil
• Sesame Oil
• Camellia Oil

Tips for healthy glowing skin
To breathe new life in skin wash your body every day with splashes of water. Make sure you wash off make up completely before you apply a facial pack. A balanced diet is essential. Avoid consuming deep fried foods if you have a severe acne condition. You intake of fruits, vegetables and meat should be balanced. Consume fresh fruit juices. Eat all types of fruits. Fibrous fruits, vegetables, and salads should be a part of your daily diet. The best drink for the body is water, have plenty of it during the day. Protect skin from the sun. Wear an herbal sunscreen lotion when you move about in the sun.

Other Articles by Realityspeaks

For the second segment on Home Remedies for Healthy Glowing Skin, click the link below

For a detailed perspective on Apple Cider Vinegar Home Remedies and Health Benefits click the link below

For home remedies to get rid of dandruff click the link below

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Habit of Doing Something Now

“AMONG the other things you intend to “cut out” in your New Year’s resolution, include the word (Impossible!)”  Napoleon Hill

“I have accumulated nothing but experience and knowledge and a few debts, and the reason, while it may not be sound, is easily explained. The truth is that I have been so busy all these years in trying to eliminate some of my own ignorance so I could intelligently gather and organize the data that have gone into the Law of Success philosophy, that I have had neither the opportunity nor the inclination to turn my efforts to making money.” Said Napoleon

Then the words hit him and he thought, “I had made one of the most embarrassing admissions of my life; I had laid my soul bare, admitting temporary defeat at almost every cross-road which I had passed in my struggles, and I had capped all this off by admitting that an exponent of the Law of Success was, himself, a temporary failure!

How incongruous it seemed! I felt stupid, humiliated and embarrassed as I sat in front of the most searching pair of eyes and the most inquisitive man I had ever met.


This thought struck me so forcibly that I expressed it in words.”

“No man is a failure who creates a single idea, much less an entire philosophy, that serves to soften the disappointments and minimize the hardships of generations yet unborn.”

How many of you are waiting until you have enough knowledge to complete a task, Waiting until you finish (or start) that degree, waiting until you’ve finished this great biik that has all the answers.  The truth is if you keep waiting for the right time it’ll never arrive.  It’s always today, NOW in fact, tomorrow never comes.  So whatever you can do today to get yor self ahead wil be better than waiting until tomorrow.

20min walk today is better than an hour walk you keep putting off because you don’t have the time.  One page of your novel is better than a 3000 word session.   Taking your kids to the park for 10 mins is better than not.  So what ever it is you have been putting off until the perfect time. -Stop and do it now.  Or a least do a part of it now.  You’ll feel so much better for it.

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Known as atopic dermatitis and for parents it is the most painful disease to watch your children suffer from.  Most doctors want to medicate or put cortisone cream on the already inflammed skin.  Yes this may calm the skin in some cases, but in all case it pushes the disease further into the body and these children later develop asthma, a far worse disease as it is life threatening.

So what can be done?  As a mother who watched and cried along with my baby when I couldn’t give him the relief he was looking for over 4 months.  Luckily I have natural medicine training and four years a naturopathy studies and one year of acupuncture  told me one thing.  -Don’t listen to the doctors and NEVER put cortisol cream on his skin.  I tried herbs and  acupuncture with out much success.  – Yes I took my 6month old to acupuncture every week for a month and syringed  chinese herbs into his mouth even through the protests. He did get better slightly and we both got a couple of hours sleep. But you’ll never believe once I found the correct natural alternative his torso was clear of eczema in a week and he hasn’t suffered since.  He is now 10 years old.

Please contact me if you want to know more


Causes, incidence, and risk factors

So what

Atopic dermatitis is due to a hypersensitivity reaction (similar to an allergy) in the skin, which leads to long-term swelling and redness (inflammation) of the skin. People with atopic dermititis may lack certain proteins in the skin, which leads to greater sensitivity.

Atopic dermatitis is most common in infants. It may start as early as age 2 to 6 months. Many people outgrow it by early adulthood.

People with atopic dermatitis often have asthma or seasonal allergies. There is often a family history of allergic conditions such as asthma, hay fever, or eczema. People with atopic dermatitis often test positive to allergy skin tests.

However, atopic dermatitis is not caused by allergies. The condition tends to get worse when the person is exposed to certain triggers.

The following can make atopic dermatitis symptoms worse:

  • Allergies to pollen, mold, dust mites, or animals
  • Cold and dry air in the winter
  • Colds or the flu
  • Contact with irritants and chemicals
  • Contact with rough materials, such as wool
  • Dry skin
  • Emotions and stress
  • Exposure to too much water, such as taking too many baths or showers and swimming too often
  • Feeling too hot or too cold, as well as sudden temperature changes
  • Fragrances or dyes added to skin lotions or soaps


Typical skin changes may include:

  • Blisters with oozing and crusting
  • Dry skin all over the body or areas of bumpy skin on the back of the arms and front of the thighs
  • Ear discharge or bleeding
  • Raw areas of the skin from scratching
  • Skin coloring changes — more or less color than the normal skin tone (See: Skin abnormally dark or light)
  • Skin redness or inflammation around the blisters
  • Thickened or leather-like areas, called lichenification, which can occur after long-term irritation and scratching

Both the type of rash and where the rash appears can depend on the age of the patient:

  • In children younger than age 2, skin lesions begin on the face, scalp, hands, and feet. They are often crusting, bubbling, or oozing rashes that itch.
  • In older children and adults, the rash is more commonly seen on the inside of the knees and elbows, as well as the neck, hands, and feet.
  • During a severe outbreak, rashes may occur anywhere on the body.

Itching, which is sometimes intense, almost always occurs. Itching may start even before the rash appears. Atopic dermatitis is often called the “itch that rashes” because the itching starts, and then the skin rash appears from the scratching.

Signs and tests

A physical exam will be done. A skin biopsy can be done to confirm the diagnosis or rule out other causes of dry, itchy skin.

Diagnosis is based on the:

  • Appearance of the skin
  • Personal and family history

Allergy skin testing may be helpful for people with:

  • Hard-to-treat atopic dermatitis
  • Other allergy symptoms
  • Skin rashes that form only on certain areas of the body after exposure to a specific chemical



Taking care of your skin at home may reduce the need for medications.

Avoid scratching the rash or skin:

  • Relieve the itch by using a moisturizer, topical steroid cream, or other prescribed cream and taking antihistamines to reduce severe itching.
  • Keep your child’s fingernails cut short. Consider light gloves if nighttime scratching is a problem.

Keep the skin moist (called lubricating or moisturizing the skin). Use ointments (such as petroleum jelly), creams, or lotions 2 – 3 times a day. Moisturizers should be free of alcohol, scents, dyes, fragrances, or other chemicals. A humidifier in the home will also help.

Avoid anything that makes your symptoms worse. This may include:

  • Foods such as eggs in a very young child (always discuss with your doctor first)
  • Irritants such as wool and lanolin
  • Strong soaps or detergents, as well as chemicals and solvents
  • Sudden changes in body temperature and stress, which may cause sweating and worsen the condition
  • Triggers that cause allergy symptoms

When washing or bathing:

  • Keep water contact as brief as possible and use gentle body washes and cleansers instead of regular soaps. Short, cooler baths are better then long, hot baths.
  • Do not scrub or dry the skin too hard or for too long.
  • After bathing, it is important to apply lubricating creams, lotions, or ointment on the skin while it is damp. This will help trap moisture in the skin.


At this time, allergy shots are not used to treat atopic dermatitis, although there is evidence that they may benefit certain adults with atopic dermatitis.

Antihistamines taken by mouth may help with itching or if you have allergies. Often you can buy them without a prescription.

  • Some antihistamines can cause sleepiness, but they may help with scratching while sleeping.
  • Newer antihistamines cause little or no sleepiness. Some are available over the counter. These medications include fexofenadine (Allegra), loratadine (Claritin, Alavert), and cetirizine (Zyrtec).

Most causes of atopic dermatitis are treated with medications that are placed directly on the skin or scalp (called topical medicines):

  • At first, you will probably be prescribed a mild cortisone (or steroid) cream or ointment. If this doesn’t work, you may need a stronger steroid medicine. You may need different strengths of steroids for different areas of skin.
  • Medicines called topical immunomodulators (TIMs) may be prescribed for anyone over 2 years old. TIMs include tacrolimus (protopic) and pimecrolimus (Elidel). Ask your doctor about concerns over a possible cancer risk with the use of these medicines.
  • Creams or ointments that contain coal tar or anthralin may be used for thickened areas.
  • Barrier repair creams containing ceramides

Wet-wrap treatment with topical corticosteroids has been shown effective for atopic dermatitis, although it can have side effects such as infection.

Other treatments that may be used include:

  • Antibiotic creams or pills if the skin is infected
  • Drugs that suppress the immune system, such as cyclosporinemethotrexate, or mycophenolatemofetil
  • Phototherapy, a medical treatment in which your skin is carefully exposed to ultraviolet (UV) light

Expectations (prognosis)

Atopic dermatitis is a long-term condition, but you can control it with treatment, by avoiding irritants, and by keeping the skin well-moisturized.

In children, the condition often clears beginning at around age 5 – 6, but flare-ups will often occur. In adults, it is generally a long-term or returning condition.

Atopic dermatitis may be harder to control if it:

  • Began at an early age
  • Involves a large amount of the body
  • Occurs along with allergic rhinitis and asthma
  • Occurs in someone with a family history of eczema


  • Infections of the skin caused by bacteria, fungi, or viruses
  • Permanent scars

Calling your health care provider

Call for an appointment with your health care provider if:

  • Atopic dermatitis does not respond to moisturizers or avoiding allergens
  • Symptoms get worse or treatment does not work
  • You have signs of infection (such as fever, redness, or pain)


Studies have shown that children who are breast-fed until age 4 months are less likely to get atopic dermatitis.

If the child is not breast-fed, using a formula that contains processed cow milk protein (called partially hydrolyzed formula) may decrease the chances of developing atopic dermatitis.


  1. Excema and hand dermatitis. In: Habif TP, ed. Clinical Dermatology. 5th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Mosby Elsevier; 2009:chap 3.
  2. Atopic dermatitis. In: Habif TP, ed. Clinical Dermatology. 5th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Mosby Elsevier; 2009:chap 5.
  3. Greer FR, Sicherer SH, Burks, W and the Committee on Nutrition and Section on Allergy and Immunology. Effects of early nutritional interventions on the development of atopic disease in infants and children: The role of maternal dietary restriction, breastfeeding, timing of introduction of complementary foods, and hydrolyzed formulas. Pediatrics. 2008;121:183-191.
  4. Lewis-Jones S, Mugglestone MA; Guideline Development Group. Management of atopic eczema in children aged up to 12 years: summary of NICE guidance. BMJ. 2007;335:1263-1264.
  5. Ascroft DM, Chen LC, Garside R, Stein K, Williams HC. Topical pimecrolimus for eczema. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2007 Oct 17;(4):CD005500.
  6. Bath-Hextall FJ, Delamere FM, Williams HC. Dietary exclusions for established atopic eczema.Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2008 Jan 23;(1):CD005203.