Tag Archives: Skin Ingredients

Create A Healthy Glow With Gentle Exfoliation

You’re exfoliating for the first time. The devil inside you says, “Wow, this is great. It looks like I took off about ten years in two minutes. I should do this every day. At this rate, I will look 18 by the end of the week.”

The angel says,”No way, this exfoliation rough stuff. You’re going to scrub your face off.”
Devil: I heard Beyonce’s makeup artist says Queen B exfoliates every day and look at her.”
Angel: You’re no Beyonce. You’re going to scrub your face off.

Exfoliation can be very gratifying, but as with all other things, there can be too much of a good thing and the key is finding that happy medium. You want to make a difference, but if you go too far, your cells will stop regenerating and the effects won’t be as gratifying. Here are some tips for gentle exfoliation for a healthy glow.

Woman exfoliating skin
Rules of Exfoliation

Give Priority to Rough Skin Patches
If you begin to see rough patches, you should follow the advice of Ole Henriksen, the founder of the eponymous skincare brand. Go outside in the daylight with clean skin and bring a mirror. This will help you to understand what is going on and the areas where you might need help. I believe that everyone should be their own skincare expert, and this is an essential step for getting to know your skin. ” Exfoliate concentrating on places in which your skin is dull, uneven, or flaky.

Exfoliate in An Upward Circular Motion
Henriksen says, “I think the biggest mistake people make is being heavy- handed. A little goes a long way- let the exfoliating particles do their job. You just want to facilitate the glide access the face, that way your skin feels great and you don’t over treat it.” Henriksen suggests limited exfoliation to twice weekly, and, if you have frail capillaries, it may be a good idea to apply a face oil before you scrub, for extra protection. Vermen Verallo-Rowell, MD, dermatologist and founder of VMV Hypoallergenics recommends virgin coconut oil, which is inexpensive and safe for all types of skin. If you continue to notice redness and sensitivity, you may want to cut down exfoliation to once a week.

If you are looking for a scrub that won’t harm your face with harsh beads, Henriksen recommends mild jojoba beads, adding that, “you want to be sure …that the beads are perfectly round spheres.”

Exfoliating brushes may be a good tool for some, but you should keep a close watch on your skin’s reaction to this treatment and limit use if irritation occurs.

Follow with A Hydrating Moisturizer
To make sure your skin retains moisture, you follow up your exfoliating routine with a good thick moisturizer. Wash your face with warm water and pat it dry with a towel. Apply a cream or anti -aging serum before hitting the hay. Your morning you will thank you.

Exfoliation techniques
Exfoliate At Night
Night is the time when your skin is most receptive to treatments, especially when it comes to speeding cell turnover. This is the best time for the application of topical treatments with retinol and vitamin C.

If You Overexfoliate
If you overdo it, not to worry, just give your skin a break for about a week, Use a cleanser with Vitamin C or green tea that is free of drying agents. You can tone down redness with an over-the-counter cortisone cream.

What rules for exfoliation do you follow? How do put the “X” in exfoliation? Let us know!

Try These Ingredients To Brighten Skin

Why would anyone want “bright skin?” As a civilization, we are obsessed with reversing the effects of time, especially with regard to our skin. As we age, the skin that we were born with becomes darker, due to exposure to the sun and light. Although we may never hope to return our skin to the state from whence it came, there is promise of returning it to a healthier, simpler state, before the evil sun did its damage.

Woman with bright glowing skin

Skin brighteners defend skin against post- inflammatory hyper pigmentation, or any type of inflammation on the skin, specifically, blemishes from acne. Dr. Deborah S. Sarnoff, MD and senior vice president of The Skin Cancer Foundation says,” When the acne resolves, sometimes the skin stains, which is causing too much pigment to be released. That’s a common issue where a skin brightener may help. In addition, skin brighteners help target age spots and brown spots, which are caused by ultraviolet rays.”

The Ingredients
Although most brighteners contain similar ingredients, they may work entirely differently depending on the formula. Here are some ingredients found in most skin brighteners and what they do.

While it may be 50 years old, “prescription hydroquinine is still the gold standard in bleaching,” according to Pearl Grimes, professor of dermatology at UCLA . The drug works to fade spots and block enzymes used to create new ones, and can lighten skin blotches in about four to six weeks when used in combination with a nonprescription retinal or retinoid.

Azelaic Acid
If your skin tends toward redness, this ingredient is for you. Often used as a treatment for rosacea prone skin, it “only targets melanin, so it doesn’t lighten healthy skin,” says Jeannette Graf, assistant professor of dermatology at the Mount Sinai school of Medicine.

Woman with glowing skin
This enzyme has come a long way from its original purpose of whitening paper. Melazyme is the only ingredient capable of dissolving melanin on the surface of the skin. (Other enzymes impede the melanin production, blocking pigments from the surface of the skin.) The mushroom derived ingredient usually works within four weeks, as compared with the one or two months it takes for most brighteners to take effect.

Kojic Acid
Kojic acid is a white powder used often used in Japan as a natural treatment for reduction of skin discoloration. Studies by the American Academy of Dermatologists have shown its clinical ability to fight hyperpigmention by limiting the tyrosinase, the protein which produces melanin. Kojic acid is also an antioxidant, suitable for sensate skin.

Alpha Arbutin
Alpha arbutus is one of the most effective skin lightening ingredients available and has been proven to work on all skin types. The chemical properties inhibit tyrosinase from producing melanin, which is responsible for creation of pigment and outperforms all other bleaching agents. Alpha arbutus is found in a powder form and is pure and water soluble.

Beta Arbutin
Often referred to simply as Arbutin, beta arbutin, or bearberry extract lightens skin by inhibiting activity of tyrosinase. It is no as strong as its alpha counterpart, but has been used to treat skin pigmentation and brighten skin.

What do you know about brighter skin? Do you have any secrets to share? We love to hear them!

Best Ingredients For Face Masks

It has been said, ” Behind every mask, there is a face, and behind that a story.” What story is your face telling? Is it the story of dryness, or of oiliness, or is it is a combination of both. Do you want to change that story? It all revolves around finding the right mask. When it comes to choosing the right mask for your skin type, it’s all about the ingredients. You need to know what is in your mask and what that means for you. Here are some of the best ingredients to look for in a mask and what they do.

Not for nothing did Cleopatra spend her days applying this golden delight to her skin. Honey has loads of antioxidants to fight damage caused by free radicals that lead to skin cancer and aging. It also has antiseptic properties to fight acne. Oily or dry, your good to go!

What better to go with honey than oats? It is with good reason that oats are a commonly found ingredient in all skin products. They cleanse pores to unclog dirt and bacteria making for great exfoliation, and also can be soothing to skin affected by sunburn or other inflammatory conditions.

Aloe Vera
There’s very little this miracle plant can’t do. It is a great ingredient to look for in facial masks because of its ability to soothe sunburn and combat effects of aging. In addition, aloe vera is a known moisturizer and acne reducer.

Avocados Avocado
Great for you inside and on the surface, avocado is loaded with healthy fats to hydrate skin. It offers the antioxidant power of vitamin C needed for the creation of elastin and collagen for structure and firmness and carotenoids to improve skin’s density and tone.

The antiseptic properties of mint are what makes it so beneficial in face masks. It unclogs pores to leave skin cleansed and tingling and is also effective in preventing breakouts.

Vitamin E
Vitamin E plays a vital role in the production of healthy collagen and elastin in the skin, preventing sagging and wrinkling, Additionally, it offers skin protection against free radical damage caused by the oxidation of fats in skin cells which causes skin to age.

Clay or Mud
Clay and mud are known for their ability to pull impurities from skin, which is great for all skin types. It can also be an effective way of reducing breakout and adding moisture.

We hope that the story of your face is a happy one. We’d love to hear all about your favorite facial ingredients and why you love them!

Your Four Part Beauty Regimen

The ears of the skin care obsessed will most definitely perk up when they hear of a new beauty product comes from the East. To many, the word “eastern” is enough to validate any snail bee oil cleanser or mineral infused canola honey serum on the market, hence the preoccupation with ten-step Korean skin care regimen. Those of us seeking the ancient secrets of the east will shudder at the thought of anything less than the double cleanse of the ten-step, or going to sleep sans ceramide gel.

Yet, there is something to be said for simplicity and not all of us have the time, space, and correct variety of applicators to devote to ten different products. For those of you who consider getting out of the house in a timely fashion while staying beautiful among your priorities, we bring you the four step beauty regimen.

Woman cleansing face

1. Cleanse
Cleansing is a key component and the most basic part of any skin care routine. Cleansing should be done twice daily, in the morning and the evening to wash away debris left by makeup and other impurities that form on your skin during the day and while you sleep. Dampen skin with warm water and apply cleanser to your cleansing brush or fingertips. Rub it gently into your neck and face in a circular motion until a thick lather begins to form. Rinse with warm water and pat dry.

2. Tone
This step will help to keep your skin’s pH level regulated and will open pores, helping your skin prepare to receive treatment. Toning should follow cleansing in both the a.m. and p.m. Just splash some toner on your palm or on a cotton pad and massage over your face and neck to bring out that inner radiance.

Woman treating skin
3. Treatment
Treatment generally refers to toners, serums and exfoliants and application instructions differ with formats. As with cleansing and toning, skin treatment should be done day and night. although you will want to be careful about overusing exfoliants. In general, treatment products should be applied evenly using upward strokes. Look for treatment products with Vitamins A, C and E and hyaluronic acid for anti-aging results.

4. Moisturizer
Moisturizer is vital for the hydration and vitalization of the complexion. Eye cream should be applied in a tapping motion using the ring finger, beginning at the inner eye and moving to the outer area and gradually forming a circle around the eye.

For the rest of the face, chose a moisturizer with SPF or add an SPF to protect skin from UV rays. Use a pea sized drop of lotion and cream and spread in to your cheeks, chin and throat in a circular motion moving upward and outward. Go for something lightweight that your skin can easily absorb. If you are applying SPF separately, layer it over your moisturizer during the day, giving the moisturizer adequate time to set.

And remember, if you still want to to go ten step, feel free! Just let us know how it goes. Tell us all about your beauty routine. We love to hear it.

Cold Weather Tips for Clean Skin

If cleanliness is close to godliness, does that imply that dirtiness may be close to sexiness? Lately, that seems to be the case.The Japanese have practically made an art form out of looking disheveled in their new makeup trend aimed at stimulating the facial signs of a rough night. And lo, heroin chic has always had its appeal. But, before you start looking at the You Tube tutorials of recreating the effects of a hangover, remember the holidays are coming and a squeaky clean face is definitely in order.

Certain cleansing practices can dry skin and, in the cold, you have the extra challenges of dry air and low humidity. However, by with the right tips for clean skin, you can cleanse your skin without the chapping , itching, and redness associated with dry, winter skin.

Woman exfoliating face
To keep skin as hydrated a possible, beauty expert Julyne Derrick suggests moisturizing freshly exfoliated skin to ensure you are penetrating the deepest layers of your skin and not just the peeling outer layer. When you do exfoliate, do so often, and try to use products with natural ingredients like olive oil and sugar.

Avoid Water
Think like the Wicked Witch of the West and stay away from the H2O, even cool water. According to Prevention Magazine, water upsets the balance of skin causing dryness. Those at the magazine suggest keeping contact with water to a minimum, washing hands and face as quickly as possible and choosing lukewarm water to avoid stripping too many oils.

Use a Simple Soap
If you are looking to retain moisture, you probably want to skip fragrance based soaps and go for cleansing bars with a petroleum base.

Keep Lips Moist
You never know who you will meet under the mistletoe! Keep lips exfoliated with a mixture of olive oil and sugar and use lip balms with avocado oil, shea butter, coconut butter and olive oil.

Woman using face product
Use the Right Cleanser
If your current cleanser contains glycolic or salicylic acid, it may be extremely drying to your skin. Try switching it up with a more hydrating product with moisturizing ingredients. It is also a good general rule of thumb to moisturize within 30 seconds of cleansing to avoid dehydration. Hydrating toners are also a good idea.

Moisturize Immediately
Moisturizers work best on damp skin, so you’re best advised to slather it on directly after washing to seal in hydration. Keep a bottle of it within arms reach of your shower stall.

Choose The Right Moisturizer
Make sure your moisturizer is oil- based and has natural ingredients. Beware of petroleum and water based solutions that can actually dry skin out. Look for hydrating ingredients like chamomile, lavender, and jojoba

Remember, you can still be a dirty girl (or boy) with a clean face. We’d love to hear from all the dirty people out there. Let us know how you clean up for the holidays!

Signs That You’re Using the Wrong Product

We all want the lotion, cream, or serum to be the one that leaves your skin rejuvenated, wrinkle- free and beautiful, but sometimes, you just need to walk away. Here are some signs that the skin product you’re using may not be the right one for you.

Woman looking at skin rash

You’ve Got Rashes
While rashes can be caused by a variety of things, they can sold be symptoms of an allergic reaction to a cosmetic product. Beauty formulas can contain inactive ingredients that can contribute to the look and smell of the product, but these ingredients can be allergenic and cause irritating skin rashes. Dermatologist Tsippora Shainhouse says, “Consider getting allergy patch testing at your dermatologist office to determine the offending agent and them you’ll know which ingredients to look out for in the future.”

You’ve Got Hives
If you’ve been noticing red welts popping up on you’re skin, it may be hives, Hives are another sign that you may be having a negative reaction to your beauty products. Certified aesthetician Heather Wilson, explains, “People can be allergic to ingredients in a skin care product, so hives can definitely occur. Unfortunately, this doesn’t means the product wrong for your skin type or concern, but that the reaction is a sign that you should discontinue the product, most likely due to an allergen.”

Woman applying skin product to face

Your Skin Is Oily
If you’re not prone to oily skin, but begin to notice increased excess moisture on your skin, it may be the effect of the product you are using. Harsh cleansers can strip the natural oils from the skin, causing it to go into a repair mode, producing oil to make up for the damage. Wilson recommends decreasing the amount of oil absorbing skin care products within your routine and looking for, “serums and gel cream moisturizers that are infused with hyaluronic acid, which provides hydration without adding oil.”

Your Skin Is Dry and Peeling
Peels and face washes can contain strong acids that are harsh on the skin. New York dermatologist Debra Jaliman, MD. says, “If your skin is peeling too much, you’re probably using too many acids. Don’t combine alpha-hydroxy acids with salicylic acids and retinol. One acid may be enough.”

You Notice Brown Spots
Brown spots are usually the result of long term sun exposure. If you are using a sunscreen product, but are still noticing brown spots, it may be time to look for a new sunscreen. Dr. Jaliman says, “If you’re getting brown spots on your face and uneven pigment, maybe your sunscreen isn’t giving you broad-spectrum protection, Choose SPF 30 or above with zinc oxide or titanium dioxide.”

Your Face Burns
Although some products may cause a tingling sensation, they should not cause a painful burning. Some products can be too strong for sensitive skin. Dr Jaliman cites certain anti aging products which contain strong retinoids with ingredients that can cause a stinging sensation. “If your skin is burning on application of a retinol,” says the doctor, “talk to your dermatologist about changing to a gentler anti aging ingredient like vitamin C or resveratrol.”

Finding the right skin care may be just as challenging as finding someone who is single and good looking. We hope you have found the right one for you. We want to hear all about it. Please write with your experiences and concerns whether they be romantic or cosmetic.

Helping Your Skin Deal With Gravity and Free Radicals

In the book, Nature Stories, by Balachandher Krishan Guru, it reads, “Gravity is the force that attracts everything towards the center of the earth. Who or what is the cause of this force of gravity?…The best answer I can come up with is Mother Nature….Similarly, the sun shines on everyone regardless of any form of discrimination. By the way, what is the sun? It is just another part of Mother Nature.”

Ok, Guru, so it may be true that gravity and the sun are two great gifts, but, appealing to Mother Nature as a woman, why did she have to provide us with the two biggest natural components of premature aging?

Woman looking at skin
Effects of Aging on Skin
The aging of skin depends on various factor including diet, lifestyle, personal habits, and heredity. Smoking is an example of a personal habit that can produce free radicals that damage cells and cause wrinkles. Other things that cause aging? Stress, facial movement, obesity, sleep position and, of course, gravity.

Changes Occurring with age
As the skin ages, it is common to experience roughening of skin, development of lesions and benign tumors, slackening of skin and the loss of elastin tissue, increased skin transparency caused by the thinning of the epidermis, increased fragility caused by the flattening of the part of the skin where the dermis and epidermis meet, and, lastly, tendency to bruise more easily.

Changes may also occur beneath the skin. There may be a loss of fat beneath the skin in the temples, nose and eye area resulting in a sunken eyed, skeletal appearance. Bone loss, usually occurring after the age of 60, may become apparent around the chin and mouth causing the skin to pucker around the mouth. Loss of cartilage in the nose may cause the nasal tip to drip and enhance the nose’s bony structure.

Woman in the sun
Sun and Skin
Ultraviolet (UV) light from the sun damages the skin’s elastin, causing skin to stretch, sag, and lose its resilience. It also bruises and loses its ability to heal quickly. Sun exposure early in life may lead to damage later in life. The best ways to protect yourself from skin cancer and sun exposure are by covering up, wearing a hat, applying sunscreen, and staying out of the sun in general.

Other Changes
Secondary factors contributing to changes in skin are facial movement, gravity, and sleep. As skin elasticity decreases, gravity leads to drooping of the eyelids and eyebrows and the looseness go the skin under the jaw, chin, and earlobes. Facial movement causes lines to become more visible and may appear vertically over the root of the nose, horizontally on the forehead or as curved lines on the upper cheeks, temples and around the mouth.

The position in which you sleep may also influence the way your skin ages. Sleep creases are most commonly found not the side of the forehead, above the eyebrows to the hairline and on the middle of the cheeks. Sleeping on your back may be one way to prevent them, or stop them from becoming worse.

Bottom line: gravity and free radicals are bad news for your skin! Stay away from cigarettes, protect yourself from the sun, eat well and sleep on your back! Let us know how you resist gravity! We love to hear from you!

Planning Your Favorite Guy’s Makeover

  Handsome man getting ready .

You’re walking down the street and you think you see your boyfriend.  It’s pretty sunny, but you’re pretty sure those are his legs and ,whoever it is, it looks like he’s about your boyfriend’s height and the haircut is definitely similar.  You prepare yourself, trying to look cool and make just the right amount of eye contact so that, if it’s him, you can act like you spotted him from miles away and if it’s not him, you can pretend that you spotted someone else that you knew walking behind him.  As you get closer, you can see he is definitely looking at you.  It has to be him.  You get ready to make eye contact and he says, “Miss, can you spare a dollar?”

   Have you noticed that your man is getting to look more and more like a homeless person each day?  You expected that he might get a little more lax about his look after the two of you were kind of a confirmed item, but this is really pushing it.  Face it, your guy needs to get with it!  These days, everyone needs to look their best.  Here are some tips on the top products and techniques that can keep your man looking like the arm candy you deserve!

Drinking water is a must for skincare for both sexes.  Your guy needs to eat his veggies and make sure he gets plenty of Omega 3. Also, make sure your fun time ends at a reasonable time because he is going to need his be
auty sleep, but before you let him go, make sure you give him a good workout because he’s also gonna need to get plenty of exercise.  Skin is a major indicator of health.

Your man needs to be cleansing every day.  Have him invest in a face wash and a scrub to keep his pores free of toxins. In addition, make sure he has a good Night Cream to apply before bedtime. Try some anti wrinkle moisturizer or face and eye serum.

A well-groomed man should get a trim every two weeks and use hair product.  “Vitamin Hair Food”  is a good choice because of its high-quality ingredients and DHT blockers that make hair grow thick and healthy, especially when left in overnight.  Pomade is also an option if you like that slick Ryan Gosling type look.

Facial Hair
Like it or not, facial hair is definitely something the well-groomed man must pay close attention to.  There are salons available catering to any type of facial hair your man may choose to, or not to, sport.  This includes eyebrows, if your guy is in need of threading and shaping maintenance.

Who doesn’t like a man with a tan?  Fake tanning lotions do wonders for a man’s look. (Think about Brad Pitt) and how about some manscaping.  Many modern salons offer male manis and pedis and even waxing.

After you get your man into shape, think of how envious your friends will become.  You will introduce the concept of a trophy husband to the 21st century! And if you’re a guy looking to improve your life exponentially, do not take these tips lightly!  What are you waiting for?  Get to work, boys!

Cool Ways To Use Aloe Vera

Aloe Vera

After God created the world, he created a  beautiful garden.  This Garden was full of beautiful flowers and succulent fruits and small animals.  And in this Garden, God made Adam and, from Adam’s ribs, God made Eve.  And somewhere in this beautiful garden, God made aloe vera.  And God saw that it was good.

Ok.  So maybe aloe vera is not mentioned in the story of Adam and Eve, but it sure has a long history.  Ancient Chinese and Egyptians used it to treat burns, wounds and reduce fever.  It is said that Alexander the Great conquered the island of Socotra off Africa to get aloe to treat his soldiers for battle wounds.  Egyptian beauty queens, including Cleopatra, used them to enhance their complexions  and, in 1944, Japanese used it to soothe their wounds resulting from exposure to the A-bomb.

What is Aloe Vera?
Known as the natural healer, aloe vera  is most commonly found in warm and dry climates.  Although it looks like a cactus with thorny leaves, it is actually a member of the Lily family.  It possesses the unusual ability of being able to close its pores to prevent moisture loss and stays moist while other plants die.  ( Can we invent something so that humans can do this?) The lower leaf of the plant is used for medicinal purposes and, when sliced open, produces gels that can be applied to the skin. The leaves and seeds are edible.

Cool Ways to Use Aloe Vera
Is there anything this plant can’t do? While most commonly known to treat minor wounds and burns, the aloe vera plant can also be used to treat:

  • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS):   A study done at the Royal London Hospital found an improvement of 38% of   patients suffering Ulcerative Collitis who were treated with aloe vera., as opposed to 8% who were given a placebo.
  • Asthma:  Boil some leaves in a pan of water and breathe in.
  • Constipation:   The aloe juice taken from the tubules are dried, becoming granules that are dark brown in color.  (Do you get where this is going?)
  • Aging skin: After being absorbed in the skin, aloe vera stimulates fibroblast cells that produce collagen and elastin. Drink in a tea or apply directly.
  • Bad breath:  A 2014 study showed that the vitamin c in aloe vera can block plaque, provide relief to bleeding gums and freshen breath.
  • Bacteria on Fruit: A recent study showed aloe vera, when used to coat tomatoes and apples was able to block many types of bacteria.  It could be used as an alternative to harmful chemical to keep fruit fresh.
  • Diabetes:  According to a study in Thailand, two tablespoons of the juice per day caused blood sugar levels to fall in people with type 2 diabetes

Well, hallelujah!  I don’t know if this stuff is sacred or not, but I am definitely a believer!  Also good for cancer, arthritis and looking lovely in the home or office as a plant, aloe vera is a miracle!

Coconut Five Ways

Coconut is a surprisingly versatile food with many potential benefits and uses. You’re probably familiar with coconut oil, or have at least heard of it, and maybe you’ve even heard of or had some coconut water before, but what about coconut milk, meat, or flour? Each has its uses, and they can all be used in cooking and baking to replace other common ingredients. Let’s discuss how to get the best use out of coconut regardless of the form it comes in.

Coconut oil

Far and away the most well-known form of processed coconut product, coconut oil is a thick, translucent white fat that’s solid at room temperature, and becomes a colorless liquid if heated. It is a saturated fat, meaning you should take care not to over-indulge, but using it to replace vegetable or canola oil in cooking and baking or adding a tablespoon to smoothies, cocoa, or even coffee is perfectly fine, just treat it with the same caution as any other fat, and use in moderation.

Coconut oil does contain some antioxidants, but the amount is negligible and infinitesimal compared to a single glass of red wine or any variety of darker fruits. Coconut oil does also contain the “good” kind of cholesterol that helps clean arteries, but it also contains plenty of the “bad” kind that clogs arteries, and at best, the effect cancels out. In short, coconut oil has advantages over other oils if you’re going to use oil anyway, but don’t eat gobs of it just because it’s marginally more healthy.

That said, outside of its use in cooking, it’s excellent on your hair and skin. Just rub a moderate amount in wet hair or a small amount on your hands, face, and anywhere else that needs some moisturization. It will absorb quickly and leave your skin and hair silky smooth.

Coconut water

Coconut water is often hailed as a health drink due to its high potassium and electrolyte content, low sugar and fat and cholesterol free status. Coconut water is the liquid trapped in the center of the coconut and has a sweet, nutty taste. It is much better than a lot of sugary sports drinks and sodas due to its comparatively low sugar content, but it does contain 60 calories per serving, which can add up. Ultimately, it does have health benefits, but they are often exaggerated greatly.

Coconut meat is high in manganese, iron, phosphorous, and zinc, essential minerals you need to function. It does, however, contain a lot of fat and carbohydrates, so use with caution. Shredded coconut meat can be used as a dessert topper and a breading for fried shrimp or chicken, among other delicious uses.

Not flour in the typical sense, coconut “flour” is a grain-free powder that can be used to replace wheat flour in most recipes, and is naturally gluten-free, a useful trait for those with actual gluten sensitivity, though gluten-free foods have no health benefits for those with no gluten sensitivity. Because it is made from coconut meat, coconut oil is relatively high in carbohydrates and fat, but it also contains a healthy dose of fiber and protein, so use in moderation in place of flower for a nice boost, but, as is becoming the running theme in this article, don’t overdo it.

Coconut milk

Coconut milk is made from the firm white meat of the coconut. It is high in calcium and offers a good alternative to dairy milk for anyone who’s lactose intolerant or just doesn’t like dairy milk for one reason or another. Coconut milk itself contains a large amount of coconut oil, and its health benefits—and drawbacks—are almost identical as a result. Have a cut or two a day, no problem, but don’t overdo it.