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Kava and aging skin

Discussion in 'In-Depth Kava Discussion' started by Kavacurious!, May 13, 2019.

  1. Kavacurious!

    Kavacurious! New Member

    Hi all, I am new to kava. I have been drinking daily for about 4 weeks now. I drink tons of water, use coconut oil topically. My skin is getting wrinkly. My face and hands. Is this normal? Am I having a bad reaction? I am sad to think I have to give it up as it has been a huge help since I quite drinking alcohol 4 months ago. Any advice is appreciated.
    Intrepidus_dux likes this.
  2. kastom_lif

    kastom_lif Kava Enthusiast

    That's just kava skin. It's completely reversible and not related to aging.
  3. Kavacurious!

    Kavacurious! New Member

    So just lay off the Kava? Any way to avoid it aside from stopping?
  4. Zaphod

    Zaphod Kava Enthusiast

    Not really. Kava is notorious for drying out the skin - and in full cases of dermopathy it looks like alligator skin. Cutting back will help - along with hydration, lotion, getting good fats/oils in your diet and trying to drink less of the root particles with better strainers also helps. Microgind is the worst for bringing on dermo the fastest.
  5. Plantacious

    Plantacious Kava Enthusiast

    Can you all please tell me if any of this is possibly related to kava ?

    * scabs that seem to appear out of nowhere, and then take a really long time to heal

    * suddenly much, much more susceptible to insect bites (either mosquito and/or spider, etc) AND those also get highly aggravated on their own, and appear to either have an allergic reaction to the bite, or the appearance of infection from the bite. After a very, very long time, the bite/sore eventually goes away on its own, like the "scabs" described in the first example above.

    But I want to emphasize both of these things started after I started kava, and never used to happen before.
    Last edited: May 14, 2019
    Krunkie McKrunkface likes this.
  6. kastom_lif

    kastom_lif Kava Enthusiast

    Yup, it's that simple. Kava dermopathy is not permanent damage. In ancient Hawaiʻi people would even drink a ton of kava on purpose, and then stop and bathe in the ocean to exfoliate for more youthful skin.

    Think of kava skin as callouses that you get from all the hard work of chugging kava. Or... just listen to Nawarake's "Kava Skin" song and embrace it. With the power of kava, even white people can be ashy!
    TrevC, kasa_balavu and Zaphod like this.
  7. _byron

    _byron Kava Enthusiast

    I get really bad dermo and then my skin is baby smooth. In my opinion kava keeps your youthful.
    TrevC and Krunkie McKrunkface like this.
  8. SelfBiasResistor

    SelfBiasResistor Persist for Resistance!

    If you drink enough kava you'll end up having some degree of dermo. Dry skin, reddish/irritated areas, skin flaking (head, face, torso, legs is common), wrinkles and stretch marks are all common symptoms.

    The skin tears or openings can happen as demo advances. People will claim this is only a side effect of tudei but if dermo is ignored for long enough and consumption isn't stopped it will happen with noble kava too. They can be very painful and heal much slower than a typical cut would. I've had the skin tears and that's a big reason I've been lowering consumption (in addition to my skin health being much worse than it was when I was heavily consuming alcohol).

    Most people talk about dermo as if it's simply dry skin or a symptom of dehydration. It's actually caused by a disruption to the way your body handles oils in the skin which is much different than simply having dry skin. Sure it is reversible but if it becomes chronic then you lose a very important component to your skins general health, ability protect itself and properly heal from damage caused by other things.
  9. Zaphod

    Zaphod Kava Enthusiast

    I agree with this last paragraph 110%. It is not simply dehydration - the skin lacks oils. It is not a noble vs tudei issue either - while tudei might be worse you can still get it from nothing but noble. What would be interesting to me is to know if it is directly related to kavalactones or to something else in the root that drives it. I does appear to be tied slightly drinking more of the sediment/dried root material (the worse being microgrind). For example if you drank nothing but a pure KL extract would you still get dermo?
    SelfBiasResistor likes this.
  10. Krunʞy

    Krunʞy . Admin

    I think it would expedite the dermo as it seems to be the case with people that consume a lot of extracts.
  11. Zaphod

    Zaphod Kava Enthusiast

    Sorry I should clarify - I mean 100% pure KL either extracted and purified or however they isolate KLs in a lab. The current extracts may also have what ever component that causes dermo in it as well.
  12. Krunkie McKrunkface

    Krunkie McKrunkface Kava Enthusiast

    I still suspect dermo is an allergic reaction to something in the makas. But we still don't really know what it is or what causes it or how to prevent it. I havent had it in a couple years now so I suspect my body adapted or something, but I also avoid consuming makas.
    Zaphod likes this.
  13. Intrepidus_dux

    Intrepidus_dux Kava Enthusiast

    I use a moisturizing serum on my face. When that dries I combine vitamin E oil with moisturizer and put it on and allow it to soak in. I use cetaphil lotion in the jar for the rest of my body. Do the face stuff twice daily. If you're having a particularly difficult time with dry skin around your eyes, cut back your use a bit and also start using a humifier in your bedroom at night before you get styes.
  14. SelfBiasResistor

    SelfBiasResistor Persist for Resistance!

    From the research I've seen there does seem to be a link between dermo and the KLs. I do believe that other compounds have an effect that enhances or reduces the damage to the skin. There are papers like this ( ) that suggests a link to KL activity affecting certain CYP enzymes that effect lipid formation in the skin.
    Krunʞy and Zaphod like this.
  15. Zaphod

    Zaphod Kava Enthusiast

    I wish we could get over spending so much of the limited scientific dollars spent on kava on classifications, and liver non-toxicity and maybe a bit more on understanding its one true side effect.
  16. kasa_balavu

    kasa_balavu Yaqona Dina

    Hmmm. Ni-Vanuatu consume very little makas in their fresh kava but by all accounts appear to suffer dermo as much as other Pacific Islanders who drink kava reconstituted from dried powder.
    kastom_lif likes this.
  17. kasa_balavu

    kasa_balavu Yaqona Dina

    Islanders don't care as much, but I'm sure as US kava consumption grows, the science will follow. The future is bright.
    TrevC likes this.
  18. sɥɐʞɐs

    sɥɐʞɐs ‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾ Review Maestro

    I believe dermopathy can be achieved with fresh or dry kava...but you will get it much quicker with dry powder, quicker yet with dry unpeeled kava and micronized kava or poorly strained kava. Fresh seems to give you a lot more leniency. Anecdotally, @Nemo used to say he'd go drink massive amounts fresh kava in Vanuatu everyday for a week or two and be fine...but if he ever decided to find a bag of dry powder when he was back home, the dermo would kick in fast. Others have made similar claims. Also, when you search online about kava dermopathy, Fiji seems to be the most referenced place for the condition and google images brings up images of Fijians with extreme dermopathy. Plus, as you know, there are several Kani Kani creams marketed in Fiji, but not elsewhere in the pacific as far as I'm aware, which at least suggests a higher frequency or severity of dermo there. -- Because of the kava forum discussions, the US might surpass Fiji in dermopathy references, but that would make sense since we are also drinking dry powder and drinking regularly. None of this is the evidence I'd really like though, I really want to see a twin-study where Twin "A" drinks drinks 8 Tbsp kava everyday for X amount of time, Twin "B" drinks the equivalent amount of fresh kava for the same duration. Both are drinking the same cultivar, from the same farm, with the same ratio of waka:lawena. Variations on the same test would be great too...waka vs. lawena, heady vs. heavy, peeled vs unpeeled, tudei vs high DHM noble.
    @Kavacurious! Hands seem to show it the quickest, I used to think the hands got it worse from being submerged in the kava water when preparing the beverage, but I don't really think the whole hand gets submerged when I knead kava...just the fingers really. Anyway I've been drinking a lot of kava for many years and my hands are the only things I'd say looked aged or more wrinkly. I get dermopathy all over my body sometimes which has annoying prickly and itchy dry skin sensation associated with it, when that calms down then skin starts showing it's little dry lizard skin pattern and starts coming off like dusty dandruff. Sometimes certain areas get a kind of satin shimmer or sheen, that's usually the whitest sections of skin, like from my waist to my knees. When I get it really bad, sometimes I get dry patches on my face, but not too bad and I personally don't notice my face getting more wrinkly from it. Dermo left unchecked and un-lotioned can start making more raw rashy sections, beyond that of the dry, prickly skin...for me it usually happens under the armpits.

    Anyway, I'm not sure the wrinkliness and kava-dermopathy are exactly the same. My wrinkle hands seem to persist whether or not I feel like I have dermopathy. With the exception of that, when I'm at the end of a major full body dermo...when the top layer of skin is all dried up and dying and it's barely clinging can make the skin so thin and dry that even smooth baby-skin on the underside of my forearm can looks like it has fine wrinkles if I move it the right way. But it goes back to normal after skin falls off.

    Another tid-bit..I recently got my friend into kava and he had only been drinking for about two weeks when he told me his hands were looking aged and dry. He showed me and sure enough, his palms looked weather beaten and the tops looked more wrinkled. He was also getting dry spots near his eyes and mouth...that was a really fast onset.
  19. SelfBiasResistor

    SelfBiasResistor Persist for Resistance!

    That would be the logical result but in the US herbs are very under-studied. The entities who have the ability to fund research into medicinal plants lack the incentive to do so. Now I know kava isn't completely medicinal but that is the best path for research as "recreational" plants are typically considered "drugs". The few recent exceptions are cannabis, which has an illegal status federally while 2/3 of the states have medical programs for it and kratom which as we know is a target for a potential federal ban while being researched for it's medicinal/anti-opioid addiction properties.
  20. Alia

    Alia 'Awa Grower/Collector

    Great commentary! Somewhere on these Forums we posted a paper which suggests Cinnamic acid as a "skin-drying" factor.
    Cinnamic acid is found in kava beverage.
    I also wonder if folks who use non-traditional, solvent-based kava extracts get the dermititis ??
    Quote from study-- "Cinnamic acid has been
    shown to elicit immediate contact dermatitis, a mastcell-
    mediated process, and to mobilize calcium in pancreatic
    beta cells (Smith et al., 2000)".
    Anyone for Cinnamon Rolls to chase the 'awa?
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2019
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