Why choose the primal way, in skin care?
Why did we go the primal route in skin care and why did we have to create it ourselves? First, a little background. Life, and biology.
What do all humans have in common? We have been shaped by evolution for billions of years. Not thousands, not millions, but billions. Cells and bacteria, which is what we are technically made of, are around 6 billions years old. That's a terribly long time. During that time random evolutionary mutations and sexual selection has worked together to create a species that is highly fine tuned to its environment: Human beings, on planet earth.
What is special about evolution is that it takes thousands and thousands, maybe millions, of years to evolve a new successful trait. 99.99% of mutations do not work. They cause disease. They make us weak, and that person ends up not having a child. But sometimes we get a second arm. A stronger leg. A bigger brain, etc. This happens so slow that we have a hard time witnessing these small gradual changes. For example lactose digestion is still not fully possibly in about half the global population - Milk consumption was probably less common there, so that evolutionary trait isn't there.
What evolution also does it fine-tunes the species to it's evolutionary environment. We know that 99.99% all species that ever lived on planet earth, have gone extinct. It's a miracle that we are still here! A fantastic miracle. It fills me with awe just to think how lucky we are. Earth is brutal place, nature is always out to get us in some way - too hot, too cold, too wet, too dry, too many snakes, not enough food, etc. We have had to consistently evolve into a very specific and fine-tuned machine to survive here: The human body.
What do we know about the human body? Not once during it's evolution did it need these substances to survive, or thrive.
Interesting breakfast ingredients, right?
Above is a list of common ingredients in modern skin care, created by modern science. What is striking is that almost none of these (some exceptions) exist in nature. They can not be plucked from a tree, dug out from the ground, or found in this form in an animal. We had to create them in a lab. We had to synthesis them. We had to patent them. Mostly, we had to create them out of thin air, so that someone, somewhere, could make some money selling them.
I have a friend who works in the cosmetics marketing departments. He told me a few years ago how it works: "It's all the same stuff. They buy the cheap, and I mean incredibly cheap, pre-made mix that travels around the country on rail-way cars. Then they sprinkle a little of whichever hyped up chemical is trending this month, into that mix, add a new smell, new bottle, new label, then they empty the rest of the piggy-bank on me and say "Sell this""
"But they work and they are safe". they say. The funny, and sad, thing about the cosmetics industry is that it is completely UN-regulated. It is supposedly self-regulated. Which means, you can say and do anything. As you scroll through cosmetics ads there are hundreds of claims, left and right, "improves skin", "fights inflammation", the list is long. Nowhere does it say "We don't really know". And that's a problem.
Humans are prone to making mistakes. Most new ideas are bad. It just takes time to find out. Too much time, unfortunately. Chemical ingredient studies are short, a few weeks at most. They don't test these new chemicals over long time. They don't test everything, either. They don't even have to in the cosmetics industry. So we remain skeptical.
The cosmetics industry isn't worried about the unintended consequences of these chemicals. How would anyone ever know how it is affecting them? Biology is still mostly a mystery. So is modern medicine. But we are swamped with chronic diseases: cancer, diabetes, auto immunity, neurodegenerative diseases, etc. And they are rising, fast. Especially in the last hundred years. But finding a cure or cause is hard. So what can we do?
Trust evolution: Evolution is like the longest study of a particular behavior, over the longest time, possible, ever done.
Did you know Primal and Paleo humans did not have these diseases. They were practically not existent. How do we know? Weston Price documented lots of tribal peoples health during the early 1900s, and he found almost no disease. They had no cancer. They had perfect teeth. They didn't have acne. No psoriasis. No rosacea. They had strong, tan skin. They were tall. They were happy, not depressed. They lived long lives. Did they have problems that we have solved? Of course. Breaking a leg was extremely dangerous. Child-birth could be deadly. Hunger. Thirst. All deadly. But they had no chronic disease, like we do.
What were they doing differently?
Well, they ate mostly paleo foods. No seed oils. No trans fats. No carbohydrates during winter - because that's not when they grow. They lived mostly outside, in the sun, exposed to nature. And it was rough times. It was too hot, too dry, too cold. So what did they do to care for their skin?
A wise tradition in tribal communities I once herd was this one:
If something is broken in your body, you must replenish the building blocks of that part to help repair it.
Sounds a little weird, and simplified, but sometimes the simplest ideas, are right?
When the engine of your car breaks, you don't add lost of gasoline to fix it. You replace the engine with the same engine.
Maybe they were on to something. When our skin, which is the bodies largest organ, is suffering in any way, we can help it by replenishing it with what it is made off. What is it not made off: Anything on the list above. We did not evolve with those chemicals. They are too new. It is just not possible.
So what is the skin made off? It is made of various layers of skin: Mostly various types of fat. Saturated, mono-unsaturated, poly-unsaturated. It is a blend which various a little from person to person.
So what are we to do if we are to follow the wise traditions: Replace it with Human fat! No, we can't.
But we are an animal. Not a seed, especially. And our skin resembles the composition of tallow closer then any other fat. It is almost a perfect match, but it can be tweaked a little: Adding avocado and olive pulp oil, and a little beeswax, helps it get even closer. And Calendula flowers provide free radical scavenging carotenoids, which exist naturally in the skin already.
Whatever we put our skin is also absorbed into our blood in minutes. It is almost like we are eating it. So another test is simple - if it is not good for us to eat it, it is not good for us to put it on our skin. Every ingredient we use is also considered edible. Most of them actually taste pretty good!
So that's how we created the Shwally Balm recipe. It is simple. It is natural. The ingredients have existed for billions of years on this planet, and they have been tested, not in a for-profit lab, but by our healthy, strong and wise ancestors, who used these ingredients because they worked.
How do we know it worked?
Because everything they did, worked.
How do we know?
Because we are here today, to tell the story.