If you won’t put it IN your body, should you put it ON your body?

Friday, April 10, 2009

Crisco Shortening. We’re all familiar with the blue can – it was probably a staple in all our childhood kitchens. And maybe we’ve given up using it to cook with because of its high concentrations of hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated oils (trans fats).

Lately, there has been a lot of chatter about the benefits of Crisco for your skin and hair. Yes, you heard me correctly. For your skin and hair. Sounds rather bizarre, doesn’t it?

But let’s look at the ingredients of Crisco: Soybean oil, fully hydrogenated cottonseed oil, partially hydrogenated cottonseed and soybean oils. So, basically, natural oils hydrogenated to turn them into solid form.

I use natural oils on my skin and hair all the time. Jojoba oil, vitamin E oil, almond oil, emu oil, squalene oil - and I’ve just ordered some avocado oil, which is supposed to work wonders for those of us who have been cursed with straw in place of hair. I love them all and they are super-moisturizing for my dry, wrinkly face. And my dimpled body. Yeah. Try not to get a visual with that one.

I have read that Crisco is used in hospital settings to treat burn victims and those with severe eczema. It has also been used on skin tears caused by edema (severe swelling due to fluid accumulation).

I read of another doctor who had this to say about Crisco: "If you want the cheapest home remedy going, use Crisco. It's a wonderful moisturizer that covers the skin and keeps water locked in. The key is to use very little and rub it in well so your hands don't feel greasy. Your skin needs only two molecules' worth [Jelly Belly interjection: WHAT?] of barrier thickness to protect it from water loss. They used to call Crisco Cream C at Duke University, where doctors dispensed it freely. It really works."

If all that’s true (and I don’t really have any reason to doubt it), then it sure sounds like Crisco could be a moisturizing mini-miracle, doesn’t it?

Outside of the medical community, countless women (and probably a few men) are using Crisco on their faces, bodies and hair – and reporting great results. And it’s cheap. Under $5 for the small can which should last a really long time (considering you only need two molecules worth and whatnot).

I ran out and bought some (hiding the can from Mr. Jelly Belly, lest he get overly excited thinking I was going to make a pie) and, feeling foolish, gave it a try. I slathered it all over my alligator legs and feet, my elbows and my hands. Then I avoided all open flames.

The result? Wow. Soft and smooth. In fact, my legs are SO DRY that it took three very generous slatherings before it stopped immediately absorbing. I didn’t have the nerve to try it on my face and hair, so you’ll have to do your own experiment if you want to know the answer to that. I have my limits.

But whenever an inexpensive miracle product is discovered, there are always going to be naysayers who will kill your buzz – and darnit, make me think about what I am doing. God, I hate that.

The argument most widely heard is that anything you put ON your body, you are putting IN your body. If you think about it, that makes sense. How else do you explain trans-dermal drugs like progesterone and estrogen creams? Not to mention nicotine patches. They work because you put them ON YOUR SKIN and they go through your skin and work internally.

Now I’m no scientist, so I don’t know if trans fats can penetrate your skin and work their way into your arteries or not. And I don’t even know how I would go about finding that out. But I’ll bet the answer lies somewhere in molecular size and structure. And that, my friends, bores me nearly to tears. But I do know that I don’t want my death certificate to list “cause of death” as Crisco.

On the other hand, people use salt on their bodies in the form of scrubs all the time - and I’ve never heard of hypertension due to excessive exfoliation, have you?

To sum it up, I’ll just say I don’t have any real answers as to the effect of using trans fats on your skin. So you just did a lot of reading for no pay off. To make it up to you, I offer you these alternative uses for Crisco:

Removal of tar and lipstick from clothing.
Removal of ink, grease and dirt from surfaces and hands.
Revitalizing the surfaces of wooden utensils such as bowls and cutting boards.
Shedding water and snow from weather gear such as galoshes and snow shovels.
Preventing diaper rash.
As a makeup base.
For seasoning cast iron cookware.

As a sexual lubricant [oh, I can picture the Google hits already], it has been popular for some 40 years, as it is long-lasting, cheap, and does not exude a strong odor. However, as with other oil-based lubricants such as Vaseline, it can degrade latex and is unsuitable for use with latex condoms.

For episiotomy prevention. [I am totally NOT going into details on that one; use your imagination – it involves “seasoning” like the cast iron skillet.]

Okay, now all I have left to do is cutely alter my Crisco can in such a way that it won’t lead to behind-my-back gossip if people spot it in my bathroom.

39 comments:

MizFIt said...

man I remember having this can ALWAYS out in my childhood.
I thin k my mom used it for EVERYTHING including cracked heels.

(cue memory montage)

Tanya said...

I would have never ever have thought of this. How interesting! I have used olive oil for things like this in the past, so why not? What an interesting read!

Anonymous said...

I use coconut oil. It smells better.

Heather said...

Thanks for the...uh...interesting uses for Crisco. May have to try a few out.

Cindy Lou said...

I have used Crisco in lots of things but never thought of any of these ways to use it!!! May try out a few of them! First time on your BLOG but really enjoyed it!!!

tammy said...

I'm going to have try this for my dry, dry legs! Who knew!? Thanks for sharing that...and good luck altering the can. Imagine the talk if someone DID see it in your bathroom! OH MY!! ;)

Patty said...

Great post! Very entertaining and informative. I think about things like this all the time, and how much we put on our skin without considering the ingredients must be getting in to our blood stream. I can no longer bring myself to use commercial lotions or bug sprays or sunscreens...scary stuff!

Sadiebug and her Mom said...

Huh. Who knew Crisco was the miracle cure? By the way, I love your Eek! A Flasher picture. Hysterical!

Jill of All Trades said...

Fabulous post!!!

Brandy said...

I haven't bought any crisco in years. Literally.

Which means that I skip some really good recipes b/c of my lack of Crisco. Who knew I was also missing out on softer skin...and some other stuff??

LOL!

Shelley said...

My mom used this when I was a kid...I wonder if she still does? Phone call is in order!

Momma Miller said...

Not all that surprising. I have a specialist doctor who has had me using olive oil for similar reasons. She even told me one time that olive oil was, by far, the best (and most healthy) sexual lubricant out there. It is more expensive than Crisco, of course. :)

Housewife Savant said...

First I thought you were gonna tear it up. Then you extolled the proverbial virtues Then with the trans fats. Always with the doggone trans fats.

Why can't it be short for fats that TRANSport from lumpy thighs to lovely curves and luscious boobs?
It could use a little work in the wordage, but the general idea is brilliance.

Pseudonymous High School Teacher said...

A friend recently told me that her great skin comes by olive oil and sea salt scrub every night and white vinegar rinse in the morning.

Declutter Your Life said...

Thanks for that post, it was awesome! I had no idea Crisco had so much to offer! haha maybe my husband will appreciate it...JUST KIDDING! Just stopping by from SITS, have an awesome day!

Sheryl said...

You're right we always had a can in the kitchen cupboard. However, I really do think my mom only used it for cooking.

Here is a tip I received from my husbands 95 year old grandma, I thought she was nuts. Windex takes stains out of your carpet-grape juice, punch, tea, grease, animals presents that have been left behind. I have personal used it to take out the above mentioned stains.

Have a great weekend.

Mommy (That's my name, don't wear it out.) said...

What a great post! I arrived via SITS and I am really enjoying my visit! Nice, nice blog!!

Michelle said...

Ummmmm....I think I'd rather just make the pie. ;)

Michelle said...

A miracle in a can!! I keep some in my house strictly for pie crusts. Never have thought to use it as a moisturizer....hmmm. Sounds kinda funny, but may be worth a try.

Thanks for swinging by my blog again. Glad you're liking the pink (it is new BTW). Now that I've got things back to normal (mostly). I'll be able to get back to blogging.

Whew...that was a long comment!! Have a great weekend!

WhisperingWriter said...

I never knew Crisco did so much.

I just use it to make chocolate chip cookies.

And now I'm craving cookies..

Casey said...

Stopping by from SITS...My mom used to use it on me when I was a kid. I recently found a new product, well my mother in law found it and sent me a jar. It is called genes vitamin e cream and after 27 years of seriously dry skin this is the first stuff that I have used that actually works. My mother in law got it at Sams but here is a website

http://www.genesvitamine.com/Vitamin_E.htm

Juls said...

Wow.....you learn something new every day...and trust me, if I would have known about crisco/episitomy prevention 12 1/2 years ago....well, let's just say a few dozens stitches could be erased from my history book. Oh well....
Also-please let me know about the avacado oil and if it works. I have thick, straw hair...and am veryinterested in knowing if that helps! :) Great blog-stopping in from Sits to say howdy, by the way. Totally caught my attn.

Sue said...

This post is a hoot... and informative, too!

Marywin said...

Stopping by from SITS. Very informative read - thank you :)

Joanne + Michelle, kookie girls clothing said...

what a great article.. may secretly sneak it in the cart next time!
thanks for the visit!!
Joanne

Camevil said...

My mom always had an industrial-sized can of this in the kitchen. The lid was always off and a spoon was perpetually stuck in it for future mining. There was usually hair and crumbs that got stuck on the surface.

I'm sure more Crisco memories would resurface if I slather some of it on my face.

Ree said...

Do you smell like uncooked pie dough?

;-)

kristisummer said...

never used it neither did my mom, but this is a good idea.

Merrily Down the Stream said...

Okay - so did you try those last two? If so please elaborate! (o;

Ms Cupcake said...

Hoppy Easter everyone!!!

Have a great day. Best wishes.

Ms. Cupcake
Zen Cupcake

Julie said...

Hmm...I work in a hospital. Think I'll take a can of crisco and start putting it all over the patients. Wonder how they would feel about the butter flavor :)

Karen Brown Letarte said...

My poor mom has psoriatic arthritis-- yes, it's not bad enough just to have the arthritis, she has to get psoriasis over the affected joints, too-- which causes her skin to crack and split. The dr.'s recommendation for the cracks and splits? Crisco. (Not, he cautioned, the butter flavored kind.) It's the only thing that has worked for her. When it's really bad, she puts socks and gloves on over the Crisco and sleeps that way. Oy....

Mama Bear June said...

Yeah, my mom used it in all of her baking - and she did a LOT of it. She would also use it to put on burns.

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Dr. Phbalance said...

ROTFL! Great Review! :D

Fran Barnes said...

OH BOY--this is first time I've been moved to post on a site...one of my RN friends suggested I try Crisco for my clinically severe dry skin, as she said her patients use it. Of course I had to Google, it and when I read you I was both reassured and got many a laugh. Transfats? Oh brother...sure they must be absorbed but how much transdermal does it take to get a heart attack? I'm off to the grocery store first thing in the morning. Thank you

Christy said...

May sound funny but don't judge, it really does work, when i was little the dr told my mom for me not to use water for bathing but to use cetaphil and crisco. I have always chicken bump-alligator skin which goes away in the summer but now my skin is crepey in areas too and am going back to the crisco again. I haven't used it since my 20's ,, 20 years ago. It can make your clothes rancid smelling if not washed with a good laundry detergent and hot water. I use it on my face too for me it was fine and didn't get the dry feeling after 2 hours after application, works better than coconut oil, shea butter, eucerin in the jar, roc, other pricey creams,etc. Pure lanolin works well but hard to put whole body cause its sooo thick, but is great for heels and hands especially when they are cracked, it heals them and helps pain. Ok back to the crisco, give it a try!