Would You Rub Pork Fat On Your Face?

Do you love lard? Then this is the week for you. Make sure you come back tomorrow – I’ll be reviewing and giving away a copy of Lard: The Lost Art of Cooking with Your Grandmother’s Secret Ingredient and a one-year subscription to GRIT Magazine: Rural American Know-How, both courtesy of GRIT Magazine, the fabulous country-living focused sister-publication to Mother Earth News Magazine.


Would you put pork fat on your face?

I’ve started using a moisturizer that most people would describe as…gross. After trying it, I say it’s gross and fabulous.

I’ve always had very sensitive skin. On my face, my skin expresses it’s tender nature by being dry, scaly, patchy, and red in most places…and breaking out in all the others.

I had this idea that the 30s would be a sweet spot between acne and wrinkles, and instead I’ve learned that, like a Venn Diagram of skin woes, you get both! Bonus!

Anyway, in past lives I’ve tried all kinds of skin remedies, natural and artificial, to soothe and moisturize my skin. (You can read more about my realization that I was being lied to about skin care products here.) My quest for normal skin (I’m not looking for flawless, here, just simultaneously non-patchy and non-cystic) has taken me from drug-store acid-based acne fighters to expensive department store specialty under eye wrinkle cream to prescription  hard core zit cream and daily antibiotics.

Slumping Towards Lower Maintenance

Looking back only two constants held true. 1) The more I did to my skin, the worse it got. 2) Whenever I was wrist deep in animal fat (making lard, skimming tallow, etc.) my hands became soft and lost their deeply abused look…at least temporarily.

After the birth of my second child, hygiene fatigue combined with frugality and I started doing less and less “maintenance” for my appearance - haircuts happen on about an annual basis and the idea of browsing aisles for the perfect combination-skin calming cream when I still don’t get a daily shower is just laughable.

I took up oil cleansing, and liked it. The almond oil I used to wipe off the day’s grime really did the trick, and was cheap compared to things marketed as cosmetics, but the oil went rancid in my warm bathroom pretty quickly.

I tried coconut oil, which many people adore. The solidity of the coconut oil at room temperature required hand-rubbing to soften the oil enough to make it usable. More than this, the coconut oil I tried burned the skin on my face. This is, as far as I can tell, pretty unusual. If you love your coconut oil I’m not knocking it, just saying it didn’t work out for me.

The coconut oil experiment led to the following internal debate:

“Coconut oil is kinda like vegetarian lard. People love coconut oil, but I love lard. I could moisturize with lard.”

“That would be really gross.”

“But pigs are really close to people. Remember, there was that super creepy CSI episode where the pig is used to study the -”

“Um…stop. This is getting grosser by the second. You have terrible powers of persuasion.”

“Well, my point is, if pigs are similar in their body make-up to people, then doesn’t it make sense that pork fat would work well as a people moisturizer?”

“You’re going to do this pork-turizer thing no matter what I say, aren’t you?”

“Oh, I am so trying this.”

“Please don’t ever mention that CSI episode again.”

And so, tentatively, I dabbed a bit of clean (not yet used in the kitchen) lard onto my cheek.

Homemade Gross vs. Industrial Gross

So, ok, lard has a bad rap. I get why the idea of smearing pork fat on your skin might put people off. But consider what you probably already put on your skin if you use a standard suite of soaps, moisturizers and cosmetics.

Heavily-used fast food deep-fat frier oil (almost certainly GMO and partially-hydrogenated) is recycled for soap and make-up, and rendered animal fats and their derivatives are common in pretty much every conceivable skin or cosmetic product you might put on your face.

And the stuff that goes to the rendering plant where that fat comes from? That’s the stuff that’s not good enough for pink slime, know what I mean? It doesn’t meet even the bare minimum legal standards for human consumption. (If it did, it’d be in a hot dog, not lipgloss.) In fact, if you’re not actively seeking out vegan skin care products, you probably don’t just rub animal fat on your face…you rub industrial waste animal fat on your face.

Now, please don’t take this as judgement. I have some industrial waste animal fat lipstick in my bathroom cabinet right now. I bring this unpleasantness up to make the point that you are very likely already rubbing “gross” animal fats or their derivatives on your skin.

In contrast, the lard I’m rubbing on my cheeks is rendered in my own kitchen from the unprocessed fatback of humanely raised pigs that had a good life and one bad day. Unlike the fats used extensively in commercial soaps, moisturizers and make-up, the lard I use came from the fat of one animal, not whatever combination of road kill and dead zoo creature happened to get thrown into the rendering vat that day.

There now, doesn’t some nice home-rendered kitchen lard moisturizer seem downright Happy Hippie compared to all that? I’ve been rendering lard for quite awhile for cooking, and it seems to me that it can’t be that weird to put something on my skin that I’m already willing to eat.

Does It Work?

Other than a vague and short-lived porcine smell, my lard moisturizer is great. It leaves a thin sheen that absorbs into my skin quickly. I was already accustomed to the temporary residual shine left from oil cleansing, so the degree of greasiness from the lard doesn’t phase me at all.

At room temperature the lard is creamy and easy to rub in, and it takes very, very little to moisturize my entire face.

I’ve had no reaction to the lard, and actually it feels downright soothing on the skin. And since I’ve started smearing pork fat on my face my skin just looks better. The big dry patches are gone and my skin feels genuinely smooth. I haven’t had a problem with break-out or pore clogging. Quite frankly, I’m not sure I can think of a downside.

Would you ever use animal fat as a moisturizer?

To Do In The Northwest Edible Garden: June 2012
Giveaway: Lard: The Lost Art of Cooking with Your Grandmother's Secret Ingredient

Comments

  1. No. And Wow. I find myself sitting here at not even 7am, now contemplating the use of pork fat as a moisturizer. Lets put that in the “Things that I never thought would occur to me” column.

    You make a mean pro-lard argument.

  2. EarlGray says:

    Can’t say that I’ve ever thought of using lard as a moisturizer. I also suffer from the cruel combination of aging skin and acne here in my mid 30s. A few months ago, after a particularly unpleasant breakout I read about using diluted raw apple cider vinegar as a toner (might be a little harsh on your skin but you can adjust how diluted it is so that it can be more gentle). I now use it each night sometimes followed by argan oil, sometimes not, and my skin has been doing so much better. I don’t think it does anything for the aging but the acne is so much better. Argan oil as a moisturizer has worked quite nicely and hasn’t led to any additional breakouts. I do have to use sunscreen on my face each day since I have a history of melanoma so I am still tied to the man for that, but I am looking for a nice skin and planet friendly option for that.

  3. Stacy silva says:

    You are quite the colonial. Women of colonial Williamsburg used ‘rose balm’ made with hog lard as a moisturizer!

    • i would love to know where to buy some pure pork lard…. seeing as how i dont have pigs…
      is there a good source to purchase from???

      • Yes – try a local butcher nearest you. They usually sell rendered lard for a great bargain! It’s not hydrogenated and oh sooo good for you!

        • Well, in Hungary we are using a lot of old natural things as face skin improving material…if you have a dry face skin you can use a good egg-yolk with some drops of lemon and some drops of extra virgin olive oil…it is very good. If you have a dray hair,
          you can even use as a balm for your hair the extra virgin olive oil…since all the shampoos and balms are full of chemicals (you can easily get skin or other types of cancer)..

      • Mary Holloway says:

        You can buy shelf stable lard in the oil ans shortening area of any grocery.

        • It is usually hydrogenated and processed to death in the grocery store. Find a farmer, get lard from a butcher, render it yourself. It is not hard–you need a crock pot, a sieve, and a canning jar. Find directions on the internet. This is a lost art.

          Loved your blog on this, btw!

  4. You may want to try ghee as a moisturizer — it’s been working for my itchy, dry skin very well. Like lard, it has a long history of external use as well as internal.

  5. Sure, I’ll try anything once! I currently use a blend of coconut, olive, and vitamin e oils with a couple drops of tea tree.

  6. Several years ago I watched an expose (can’t remember which show) about how well anti-aging creams work. They compared the uber-expensive department store creams to the drug store creams. They’re conclusion: none work and you might as well be putting (wait for it…) LARD on your face. They didn’t actually evaluate whether lard would work though.

    I would try it. I’ve been trying to detox my life ever since reading “Breast” and learning about how pourous our bodies really are. Even the “good” products found in the natural health aisle have chemicals I don’t recognize on the ingredient list. Now to find some lard… It is not big here in NW New York yet.

  7. If I had dry flaky skin, I would most definitely give lard a try. For most of my life, I have had the opposite problem, my skin is way oily, and I sweat (like a pig, hah!) at the drop of a hat. I think you’re brilliant for just using something that seems to be working. You make a great case for it. I have no qualms whatsoever about it. And I love, “a good life and one bad day.”

    • Hi Alison, I think you should try oil (or lard) cleansing. It is very good for people with any skin type. The body is very good at compensating when it recognizes a lack. When we use soap products on our face, we remove the natural oils that need to be there and our bodies often overproduce to compensate. I’ve only been oil cleansing for a short time now and my complexion has completely even out and my acne is almost nonexistant! There are different oils that can be used for different skin types. I haven’t yet tried lard–one day, maybe–but I use a mix of apricot kernel oil and castor oil. Castor oil on it’s own is considered drying. Sometimes after washing my face with oil I have to reapply a little, because my face feels a bit dry. Give it a try! I wouldn’t be surprised if it tamed the excess oil production!

  8. ShellsBells says:

    I don’t see any reason not to use it, especially if it works! I am REALLY lucky to have pretty cooperative skin even in my mid 30′s so I don’t have to do much to it, but I may try this as a moisturizer (ya know…early and often!). I may look around some of my local shops and see if any of the butchers have “responsibly collected” lard, since we don’t go through enough meat to render my own.

  9. Daniela says:

    I’m now having a similar internal debate based on this post. Unfortunately, I don’t have ready access to local, happy-pig lard, and have yet to render my own. Once I get over that hurdle though… Stop it!

  10. Want to see something amazing? Rub extra pork fat on your face and then wipe away the excess with a white cloth/napkin/kleenex. It works really well at removing all the grime.

    • Want to see something even more amazing? Smooth some lard on half your face before you go to bed. Look in the magnifying mirror in the morning. Be amazed. =D

  11. I have skin just like yours. anywhere it’s not flaking and being dry it’s breaking out. I have about 1 good skin week per month. I’m 33 and I thought for sure the breakouts would stop by now. I’ve mainly been managing this with scrubbing and tons of moisturizer and aloe vera gel. My skin is so sensitive that any “acne” product is too harsh. Lately I’ve been just rinsing with water in the shower & using aloe & jojoba oil. At the moment that seems to work-but I’d definitely try this. I’ve tried millions of products (ok, that may be an exaggeration but definitely hundreds) so 1 more natural one couldn’t hurt.

  12. Mary W. says:

    So are you No-Poo, too? (have stopped using commercial shampoos?)

  13. I would consider using lard, if I felt like I needed it. I used to have very flaky skin and breakouts, and fixed it all literally by doing *nothing*. Most days I *wash* my face with warm water and exfoliate with a towel. I wear very scant amounts of mineral makeup most days (just to cover red spots), and take off eye makeup with baby oil. I use a vegetable soap around my mouth to clean off food or on my whole face about once a week. It got so much better after I realized my skin could take care of itself without my help.

  14. Arrowleaf says:

    I would definitely consider trying homemade lard moisturizer IF I hadn’t wasted so many years figuring out my skin. Now that I have an effective routine (based on Ayurvedic medicine) I’m not bold enough to dabble around. I wash with a chickpea flour and powdered milk paste (face hummus), tone with a cooled green tea spray, and moisturize with almond oil. And I kinda love that if I was trapped on a desert island I could sustain myself with this!

    I admire your experimental fortitude- looking forward to reading about more homemade body products!

  15. Elizabeth says:

    First, want to make this very clear, I love reading your blog, and I will continue because it is always interesting and intelligent. BUT it is topics like this that make me wonder if anyone out there in blogosphere know of a similar blog that is based in the northern midwest states and is vegetarian/vegan leaning.

    I am all for doing want you need to do with meat, raising meat, eating meat in a humane way. It just is not something that we use. In that vein I would like to find same thinking blog and would greatly appreciate all your help in locating one, especially as I said also in the northern
    states…N Minnesota or N Wisconsin would be great. We have such a different climate that though I enjoy reading your gardening escapades they do not really lend well to what I can do here. We had frost 3 weeks ago…traditional planting around here is between Mother’s Day and Memorial Day. Seeds can go in earlier.

    Thanks for any and all answers!

    • You might want to skip tomorrow’s post. ;) Sorry, I don’t know of a blog that focuses on your area. I’m sure if you google around there’s a north midwest veggie writer out there. If not, maybe you should become one :)

    • Elizabeth, I’m in the Midwest too, so I sympathize about the gardening zone discrepancy. Have you read http://fastgrowtheweeds.com/ ?

      • Elizabeth says:

        Amy I did check out that blog. She is in Southwest Michigan which is actually a quite different zone than us. We lived there for a couple years when we were first married. Much milder. They have lots of fruit, blueberries, grapes, cherries. We order our blueberries from a farmer there…soon he will bring his truck load over here and we will have blueberries for canning and freezing.

        • Sorry for the late response, I am just now reading this post. There’s a Weston A Price Foundation YahooGroup (or there was a few years ago) that is a WONDERFUL resource for traditional foods and nutrition and based in MN… the Twin Cities, I think. Go to the YahooGroups.com homepage and search “WAPF MN” without the quotes, that should return the group. WAPF is very meat oriented, but as I recall (I was subscribed for years) however the helpful people on that list are very likely to know of resources for your area and in my experience very unlikely to judge you for your preference for Veg Lifestyle. You might also look in N MI, which should be similar and in areas around Traverse City, they are VERY active in sustainable ag and so should have a few blogs there. Be hard to beat this one tho…. but I do understand your climate issues.

  16. Go for it. I accidentally used a sheep lard lipgloss because there was fat from the lamb meat in my soup and after I ate it I had wonderfully smooth lips and realized it was the fat from the lamb! You can probably scent it with something too like lavender?

    • When making bone broth soup from whole chicken carcass after a roast chicken dinner :) I discovered the next morning, after digging into the overnight simmered soup pot to scoop out and discard the carcas/bones that the chicken fat made my aged hands SOOOO young and soft looking. So i thought it was worth a try on my face! And now whenever i can get it, i put cooked chicken fat skimmed from soup or gravy on my face and neck. Could the cooked chicken fat be the prized ingredient COLLAGEN that IS in facial products for aging skin ?? minus the awful additives like benzenes and parabens and propalyne glycol…. ALSO i discovered olive oil and coconut oil work well too, but chicken fat seems more amazing, though i have lacked the discipline to keep at it every day for a few weeks to give it a fair test….

  17. Kimberly says:

    “.. not whatever combination of road kill and dead zoo creature happened to get thrown into the rendering vat that day.”

    So, I initially took a little offense to the jab towards dead zoo creatures, but this is me being persnickety (and I otherwise love this post). In my experience, zoo animals are considerably cleaner and generally better fed than most domestic pets. They definitely shouldn’t be lumped in the same category as roadkill. I’m biased from having worked for a few PNW zoos and having seen the care given to the animals, from the produce and grain brought in all the way up to the veterinary hospital. I know that most zoo animals in Washington are cremated, or their remains are donated to museums. But Washington isn’t everywhere.

    I’ll admit that once I did some research I found that zoo animals across the country are often rendered down into a usable product for commercial use. (Here’s a text-only explanation of LA County procedures: http://animalcare.lacounty.gov/cms1_031226.pdf)

    One excerpt from the LA document I really dislike hearing: “… levels of pentobarbital residue were found to be so low that the CVM concluded that “it is highly unlikely a dog consuming dry dog food will experience any adverse affects from exposures to the low levels of pentobarbital.”

    This basically says that residual amounts of animal euthanasia solution can be found in the rendered product, a product that is often used in dog food, or cosmetics. That’s.. that’s not really okay with me. And it’s not really okay with me to be rubbing that on my face. Hmmm.

    • Yeah…it’s pretty much worse than you think it could be, when you start looking at it, isn’t it? Thanks for that link. I’m going to be better about keeping my toddler out of the cat food, too…

  18. What a great idea. My husband went out yesterday to get some lard from the store and immediately put it back. It had so many chemicals and unknown ingredients. He ended up getting straight up uncured pork fat from our butcher. We still have to render it, but I’d rather render the fat than have a block of putrid chemical laden lard.

    I’m glad you have a source for pork fat. The only way we’ll get humanely raised pork is to grow them ourselves. We’re just not ready for that.

  19. Makes sense! When I’m on bacon baking duty at work my hands are super soft afterwards. I would probably add a little essential oil for scent, or maybe steep dried flowers in the liquid lard, then strain before letting it harden. If I ever render my own lard I’ll save a little to try this!

    I’m also in my (later) middle thirties and the skin on my face is worse than ever before. Well, until I started the anti-inflammatory eating. I’m not sure if it’s the result of less grains, dairy, soy or veggie oils, but my skin is looking great. I’ve had a few people comment on my glow (some of which I credit to a nice tan, I always look better in summer). Whatever is doing it, I’ll take it!

  20. Awesome. I love it. And I’m totally gonna try it. Also – your debate is… jest perfect. Hehe.

  21. Awesome sauce. I started making my own massage oil/moisturizer years ago and it keeps my face in good stead, but I have been looking for something for my hands that works. Thanks!

  22. Great idea. Lard from a happy pig would have vitamin D too.

  23. I think this is a very natural thing to do and there is anecdotal evidence culturally. I make pure tallow soaps and find it hard to convince people that tallow is the best moisturiser hands down. My husband and I would not use anything else now and our skin has never been better

  24. Why the heck not? Soap was (has been?) made with animal fats for, oh, forever, so it would make no sense to shun pork fat moisturizer on the grounds that it’s weird to put animal fat on your skin. If I had a source of happy pig fat here, I would be using it for pretty much everything.

    (As a pork-related side note: my husband and I went to a restaurant here in St. John’s, Newfoundland, that focuses on local ingredients, and they serve their bread with a little mason jar of warmed pork fat and molasses for dipping – obviously the molasses isn’t local, but it’s a traditional food here because we used to send salt cod to Jamaica in exchange for molasses and rum. Anyway, bread + warm pork fat and molasses = heaven.)

  25. Arrianne says:

    I’m with you! I started getting pretty bad breakouts and was told the only thing to cure it was in a tube from the pharmacy. Turns out my skin just really hates coconut oil and that was the #1 ingredient in the soaps I was making at the time. My soap recipe is now Lard and olive oil (which I affectionately call “Bastille”, bastard castille) with tea tree oil followed up with witch hazel toner. Done and done.

    But Tanya is 100% correct it’s hard to convince other people that animal tallow is good for their skin. I think of it this way, it’s closer to the natural oils my skin makes and it’s one more way to use “all of the buffalo”.

  26. I use olive oil as eye make up remover, and raw egg yolk as a face mask, and they both work great. If I ever find my skin needing to be moisturized, (I have the opposite problem at this point) I may try lard……I do rub it on my elbows while I’m processing it, and it does the trick. Your comment about the faint porky smell reminds me of a passage in Margaret Atwood”s ‘The Year of the Flood’ where a woman has a sheep hair wig surgically implanted and loves it except for a ‘faint muttony smell’ when it got wet.

  27. Brilliant. Would I? If I needed it and could get a humanely raised pig, most certainly. Great post.

  28. All I can say is my dog would freaking LOVE it if I slathered lard on my face.

  29. Both gluten and dairy consumption can cause all of the conditions you mention. After removing these 2 food groups, my skin stopped breaking out and I no longer experience dry, flaky skin. Many other symptoms (too numerous to list) also disappeared.

  30. Christina Nevin says:

    Great idea. This never occured to me. I buy LUSH moisturisers because I know they’re ethical as well as efficacious and I can get them non-plastic packaged, but this is something I’d like to give a try also.

    BTW, have had really good luck with my chemical-sensitive, psoriasis- and dermatitis-ridden skin :-P since I stopped using facial cleansers with soap in them and flouride toothpaste.

  31. Do you know how many times my husband has told me how sexy I would be if I rubbed bacon all over myself??

  32. Tabitha wa Thuku says:

    In most of African homes is a bottle of pork lard. It has been used for years. In 1991 and later years I mixed it with coconut oil as my baby oil. Its result was ever best . An hrs ago i recommended the mixers since the daughter has 4 pimples reappearance every month. I recommended lemon wash but a final kick out with my old mixers.

  33. Donna Brydon says:

    great stuff, I recently made soap from my home kill pig and the fat is so nice Iv been rubbing it on my hands and thinking this would be good on my face, so now I shall go home and use it on my face with confidence. Also I no longer use commercial toothpaste but i make a tooth powder from bi carb soda, pepperment oil and stevia-for a touch a sweetness and my teeth have never been whiter, I also nolonger use shampoo instead i use my home made pig soap and it does a wonderful job on my curly hair.There are just to many nasty chemicals in our day to day products so getting back to basics is the only way to go. My motto Keep it simple!

  34. Even though people obviously consume meat they have a weird aversion to putting animal products on their skin. I’ve deliberately had to make my handmade soaps vegetarian due to this fact though I’d have loved to be able to use locally produced tallow in my recipes.

  35. I would, but the oil cleansing method and coconut oil works fine for me.

  36. Floramy says:

    Great post! I’ve gone through the same thinking process a week ago and decided to try pork fat as my only facial cream and it is great. At the moment, we have high temperatures in this part of Europe and i was i affraid i would have breakouts but i has been fine.

  37. kristinc says:

    A handful of years ago I had a cat with severe chronic skin irritation (he was horribly allergic to fleas, apparently). Almost his entire face ended up covered with huge scabs. Poor baby.

    I massaged his face with lard. Mostly because I wasn’t sure how good for him it would be to regularly clean off (and consume) Vaseline, lotion or vegetable based oils. He absolutely loved it, leaning into the massage and purring, and although the vet was pretty sure that cat would recover from such severe scarring with bald spots, his fur grew back thick and healthy.

    I would absolutely use lard on my own skin, but I prefer coconut oil and raw shea butter for their smells.

  38. Sure. Goose fat is even lighter and more pleasant, though.

  39. Enjoying your blog and wanted to say thanks for the excellent idea. We raise our own pastured pigs and I rendered lard from their fat last year. My husband has psoriasis and I’m going to get him to try some of our lard on his patches to see if that helps.

  40. Yes! I have used chicken fat on my hands! Laughingly, I have also seen a tv star cook talk about chicken fat for your skin also!

  41. I like the point you made- you’re already eating it, why not put it on your face? I’m vegetarian so I wouldn’t, but I’m always slightly amused at meat eaters who get grossed out by animal stuff… And as far as the pork smell, I’m sure a few drops of essential oil will clear that right up!! Way to problem solve!

  42. Well, I’ve not used pork fat on my face yet, but I might. I have used Lanolin on my breasts while breastfeeding. And Lanolin (wool grease) is justa yellow waxy substance secreted by the sebaceous glands of wool-bearing animals. Lanolin’s role in nature is to protect wool and skin against the ravages of climate and the environment. If it’s good for the sheep, it’s good enough for me!

    ~Lisa
    Tijeras, NM

  43. I love skin care products you can eat! I use the oil cleansing method (olive/castor) and it’s marvelous. Between oil cleansing and eating low carb and ridiculously high fat my skin is looking and feeling better than it has in a decade. Dry elbows are history, haven’t used body lotion in months and I think my wrinkles are actually reversing. Eating tons of saturated fat does my body good! Why not spread it on the outside too?

  44. People who raise emu for meat render the oil and employ it in the production on skin care products.

    I’ve used it with great results; it does help heal some skin problems and conditions. And it’s a wonderful all-around skin moisturizer.

    BTW, I’m allergic to jojoba. Has anyone else had a bad reaction to it?

  45. If you guys didn’t know, Pork Fat is really good for burns, if you don’t want the burning scars on you forever then you should start applying the pork fat on the affected area (after it healed a little bit) and you will minimize the scar.

  46. I love lard for skin care. I decided to try it when I figured out that lard soap was the only thing my face and hands liked! And I find the lard soap and also the lard cream to be slightly firming on my skin as well as moisturizing. I eat a paleo diet so this seemed a logical thing to do! The only problem I have is that my home-rendered lard still smells piggy on my skin even with EO’s and so right now I’m using grocery store lard… but it works just as well… hope I don’t die ;)

  47. oh and using scented lard for the oil cleansing method works great! feels like a satiny, smooth cold cream but not as greasy (surprise!) as my home-made cold creams that contained plant oils!!!

  48. Hi!
    I love the lard moisturiser! Lard makes great soaps. Duck fat too.

    I just don’t really like the smell of the lard on its own and for the moisturiser I do a 80/20 lard / cocoa butter mix and it smells of chocolate!

  49. Great post, I just inadvertently used lard to moisturise my hands while baking (rubbing lard into flour) and really liked it! I am not sure I want the porky stuff on my face as my hands do smell a bit sausagey. Also I don’t have a pig farm, but the way you describe it makes me wish I did…

    Thank you!

  50. I’m a bit late on this but we render lard from our pastured piggies and tallow from pastured beef. After using coconut oil we started using lard a few months ago and LOVE LOVE LOVE beef tallow. I usually use it plain but a few drops of essential oil can make it pretty as well. I love it for my baby and toddler as well since I know there are zero chemicals and they can eat it for a dose of vitamins and good fats and I dont have to worry about all the hormone disruptor

  51. melanie peterson says:

    Melanie, a guide at Chelsea Physic Garden, London, England says:

    A most interesting and useful article as I have started rendering my own pork fat – which by the way for all you people in the States, costs £6 a kilo in my butcher!

    Who has tried scenting the rendered pork lard with rose petals/violets/lavender? I believe this was the traditional method for creating scented face creams.

  52. I found your post as I researched about putting animal fat on the skin. I have a very “difficult skin” like you do (although your picture shows a great complexion), and coconut oil didn’t agree with me either. A few days ago, I just glanced at my beef tallow jar and the idea of trying it popped into my head. It actually feels great too! My skin is very thin and dry, especially under the eyes. The tallow felt very protective. Today I tried adding an essentiual oil from Corsica.
    It made me curious to try mutton tallow as well, and why not lard.
    Now I want to make a body mosturizer….

  53. I’ve use bacon fat as moisturizer, and sometimes ghee. We are animals, I may be pushing the logic, but I think it absorbs easier and better than vegetable fat and nut oils and strange chemicals in tiny jars with too much packaging sold for lots of money. People find it odd, but in the end, who doesn’t like the smell of bacon? and vanilla is my favorite scent, so in general I’m pretty edible smelling :)

  54. alexandra says:

    i dont have the first clue about how to render pork fat, except maybe the fat after cooking bacon. I really want to try it tho! so do you know any brand or place to get lard that is clean? also does it even go rancid? like could i use bacon fat and leave it on the counter and it would stay good?

  55. It very much makes sense to me to only use things on the skin that one can eat so even before reading this I tried lard on hands and face and find it is wonderful! I use it after patting on some aloe. Absorbs after a bit and the skin is glowingly nice, soft – wrinkles seem to disappear. Both olive oil and coconut oil seem fine for a bit but then tend to dry my skin too much.

    My husband is the underweight equivalent of extreme obese (i.e. life-threatening) and I came upon lard in my search for bringing him back to health. It has only been a few weeks but we both feel it just might be the answer.

  56. I’ve heard of this but never tried it. Seems to be very positive reactions from the comments here. I’m going to give it a try, it has to be better then the synthetic ingrediants in commercial lotions.

  57. Some Japanese people use horse lard for any kind of ailments, such as burn, eczema, dry skin, insect bites, etc. Packaged “horse oil” products are sold as cosmetic products. I use horse oil, and it works wonder for me.

  58. Michelle59 says:

    Oh my gosh. I just rendered my first batch of pork fat today, from my first sustainably raised, non-corn, non-soy, non GMO, etc. pig purchased from a local farm. All went well, and as I was pouring the lard into mason jars, I thought to myself, “hmmmm, I think I read somewhere that animal fat was good for your skin”. I went through a few seconds of further thought like “the vitamin A and D content must be good for skin, right?” So, I poured a little into the palm of my hand and rubbed it on my face and neck, immediately after which I had a mini-panic attack and realized I must have surely lost my mind!!! So I googled “pork fat as face cream”, and thankfully found your wonderful post and webpage!! Thank you for the reassurance!!! I plan to spend the rest of my evening reading your site for more hints and tips! I have to admit I was also slightly worried that my dogs might try to eat my face off, or at the very least lick me to death, but for anyone else with this worry all was fine and they seemed not to even notice – too bad for them!

  59. I love lard cleansing cream. I live in the desert and make soap as a pasttime. When I had some left over melted lard, I made it into a cleansing cream to die for. Drops of a stronger EO took care of the piggy smell to it. I used ylang ylang. 1/2 c. melted lard, 2 tablespoons of soy wax – melt together. Blend 1/4 c. boiling water with 1/4 t. borax. Cool to an equal temp, blen together and pour into an 8 ounce flat side wire jelly jar. Its’ the same recipe I formerly used olive oil.

  60. WOW! Yea! Good info., and yes I would use pig fat on my face. In fact I am rendering some beef fat as I write this for tallow to use in my soap making, face cream, balms, & whatever. For 13 years I’ve been making my own soap and always have used vegetable oils, but now I’m going to try tallow. I already also make my own face cream and would use NOTHING else. I get irritated at all the marketing, lying and promises of perfection….and we just fall for it…..I better not get on the ‘ol soap box! Thank you for posting Erica.

  61. Nice post. My high school Chem 2 students and I discovered in the Handbook of Chemistry and Physics that lard and human depot fat have the same fatty acid composition. They loved making Granny’s Old Timey Lye Soap with lard in chemistry lab.

  62. I recently ran out of my expensive prescription cream for my eczema face patches. One weekend morning I was frying up some bacon when a big flake of eye brow dandruff fell into my glasses and stuck there blurring my vision. I don’t know what possessed me other than to keep any flakes from falling into the pan, but I swiped my finger in the bacon grease and rubbed it on my eyebrows and lo and behold but if it didn’t seem to moisten and soften the redness! It doesn’t seem to work as well as the expensive RX cream. The flakes were still there the next day. But maybe for some people this would work! And so much cheaper!

  63. You completed numerous good points there. I did specific searches about the
    issue and found many individuals can relate with along with your blog.
    Fantastic post!

  64. yES, IT IS A FANTASTIC MOISTURISER! MY SKIN WAS DRY BUT SINCE I STARTED USING PORK LARD, THE DRYNESS IS ALL GONE!! TO ADD ON ITS AFFORDABLE!

  65. Like some others folks here, I just happened to be making bacon and had a bout of dry skin at the time (I have eczema). Since my last flare up, my use of cortisone really dried out my skin in an effort to rid me of it. Naturally, that skin is now really dry, or at least dries faster than it did before. I was cooking bacon for a bacon and spinach salad when I decided fat is essentially an oil so why not try rubbing it on the dry bits? So far, it feels much more long lasting than conventional lotions for me and hopefully it seeps deeper and helps that new layer of baby skin cells break through finally. I actually found this blog by googling bacon fat and skin care because, like some other folks, I thought I must be nuts putting bacon fat on me!

  66. I am very, VERY sensitive to all things cosmetic. I have huge problems with anything petroleum and also with bee’s wax (not that common an allergy). Years ago I began using just plain lard. I can also use coconut oil, but it’s too light for me, really. My husband has used coconut oil for many years. I now use lard most of the time. I render my own not only for quality, but out of concern for animal welfare. When I go to the massage therapist, I carry my own jar of lard. It can be scented just like any other cream or oil… with a few drops of your favorite Essential Oil, my favorite is plain old lavender. For a vegan alternative, when I lived in Greece decades ago, many of the women with the most beautiful skin there used only olive oil for all cosmetic moisturizer needs including removing makeup and for tanning (it was ages ago.)

  67. I ran across this blog thread researching whether anyone else had used goose grease for moisturizer. Turns out that one can buy a couple of ounces for $18–or, you can buy a goose, cook it and (except the vegans here, of course) eat it–and KEEP the rendered fat. I found out by accident years ago that goose grease does not dry and crack, but is absorbed into the skin and cleared up my dry, cracked hands in winter. Now that I’m older and EVERYTHING is drying out, I wanted to do a little research before finding myself a goose. Done. I’ll try lard also for comparison, but if you have a goose, don’t throw away the grease/fat/uh, moisturizer sounds so much better doesn’t it…

    • My grandparents also used goose drippings (fat rendered during cooking) for a bread-spread, like butter. Same for beef marrow. As an aside, duck fat makes the best fried potatoes! More to the subject of this discussion, I suspect duck fat would be very similar to goose also, both for cooking and for moisturizer although I have never used it as such. “Moisturizer” does indeed sound far more socially acceptable to the modern ear, but I am loathe to use it because it strikes me that it’s being PC solely and only to spare squeamish modern feelings… strikes me as being far too disingenuous, and not the least, very disrespectful to the animal from whom we have derived the product.

      Incidentally, this linguistic gymnastics has been going on for hundreds of years. That’s why we eat Pork (derived from the French) instead of Pig (Old English), Beef rather than Cow (same derivations,) etc. Although, back then it was more about sounding upper-class and presumably educated, rather than sparing anyone’s feelings.

  68. I didn’t read all the comments since there are so many, but I wanted to add a couple thoughts. I have been using beef tallow for night cream for about a year and the results are nice, however, it has a grainier consistency than lard. I’ve rendered my own leaf lard for 6 years but didn’t think of using it on my face. Now I will.

    And that brings up the other comment I wanted to make. You say you use fatback for the lard you render. Have you ever tried leaf lard? It’s the fat around a pig’s internal organs and is the purest, whitest, least porky fat on it’s entire fat body. Ask for leaf lard from a mobile slaughter/butcher and see what you think. Pastured piggies only of course.

  69. I have not tried lard for moisturizer but a few months ago after chewing on my cuticles for years I was desperate to find something that would stay on my fingers long enough to actually heal the skin. I’m not hoping for hand model, just no open sores into which lemon and salt get in the kitchen. And that is the thing. I cook a lot so my hands are in water a lot.

    After finding an article on the Weston Price Foundation website I tried making beef tallow salve. I used just a bit of avocado oil to loosen it up and then some essential oil (just in case…) Wow! It works so well to heal my hands and it even stays on my hands through several handwashings. It is not greasy at all and sinks right into my skin. Yes, it needs a bit of rubbing to warm it but this is a small price for such a great product. I’ve now started using it on my face and my middle-aged skin is starting to really glow. I’m now wondering if I want to put a bit of lard in my next batch since you are certainly correct about pigs being closer to us. I’ve also considered experimenting with goose fat. I’ll never buy commercial moisturizers again.

  70. Trish Tompkins says:

    Does this really work?
    I’m ready to put a product on the market that’s all natural, if indeed it works.
    I’ll put 1million into it, every woman deserves to have it at a low cost..
    I’m all about encouraging women everywhere to be beautiful and feel better about themselves.

    I look forward to hearing from you.

    Trish Ziglar Tompkins
    832-405-5983

  71. Coming late to the conversation…but yes, I would do it! Actually was googling lard body cream when I found this…. after someone in one of my groups mentioned how much she loves her cream made from tallow. I have no source of tallow but a great source of lard from a small local farm.

  72. Maybe pork oil helps our skin, because we have similar genetic characteristics. I know this is weird, here it is in the Daily Mail. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2515969/Humans-evolved-female-chimpanzee-mated-pig-Extraordinary-claim-American-geneticist.html

  73. Hi – interesting article. How do you store this? I assume you’d have to refrigerate it to avoid spoilage but you say you use it at room temp? Thanks

  74. I have Lupus. For years I have been told its dermatitis and nothing can be done. I had rashes around my eyes, nose, lips etc. Funny story one year my neighbour decided to raise couple of pigs. It was good year for plums and pears and apples and harvest was good in general and those piggies ate nothing but healthy greens and spend all year outside. Pigs place was just near the retirement home and one day a lady was saying as I was passing by throwing piggies some plums and apples; Oh those piggies would make such lovely hand cream!
    To make it short. I paid double money to buy half of that pig. I rendered lard and leaf lard. It smelled really nice. I added some plants extracts. It cured me from Lupus!
    I use it ever since and I will never again buy facial or any other cream. I mix lard with good home pressed olive oil to make body lotion and I add salt to make body peeling. It work wonders.

    • Interesting Katja. All the crazy diseases and ailments we now get have to be due to the dizzy turn our diet took since the sixties. Keep listening to your body and you will continue to do well.

  75. Hi All!

    I’m a vegetarian, but my husband is a meat eater…

    He eats the cow, and I use the fat for soap and body lotion. I haven’t used lard, yet…there’s something about pigs – yes, they are close to us, and so intelligent, that I feel like a cannibal, using pig products. This from a Hindu upbringing, where you would think the other way around!! LOL. But I wear leather shoes, and believe in using every part of an animal that has sacrificed for you.

    My skin has been uber-brilliant, using tallow. I’ll never go back. It’s cleared up my husband’s constant dermatitis issues as well.

  76. Mary Holloway says:

    I was also googling lard vs tallow for hand softening when I ended up here. I too am detoxing my life in body products and food. I have been using a body butter mix from Scratch Mommy for about seven months now, mostly using it on my face and it has helped the dry skin tremendously. I tried olive oil for over a year but it was not enough. Then I tried coconut oil for a few months and it was drying or even causing tiny bumps around the chin. But coconut blended with other oils like cocoa butter, almond oil, jojoba seems to work better. I did just buy lard the other day after reading about tallow for hands somewhere. I was able to find lard easily but not tallow. I would like to make it smell better. I may try rendering it and add essential oil. I believe I will try it on my face also.

    • Mary Holloway says:

      Yes, I see that my shelf stable lard is hydrogenated and bht, bha added. Ok, I’m still learning. Not what, feed it to the birds?

      • bht is a toxin (liver/kidneys/lungs) …I would not feed it too anything. I buy my leaf lard at the farmer’s market…pure luck that I found a source already rendered last year. If that fails there’s always rendering it yourself. No doubt there are online sources if you don’t mind the extra expense.

  77. Great idea, really. But the best way to feed your skin is to get enough healthy oils in your die. And no, polyunsaturated fats aren’t the real deal. We need all the poly we need from pigs, poultry and fish and a little olive. There’s even some in naturally raised bovine. Going back to grandma’s recipe book is the way to health after sixty years of propaganda begun by Ancel Keys in the 50s, and thanks to Ancel, we have become a vey sick and fat world.

    Now I’m a guy and really rarely look in the mirror (hitting sixty, some things lose their draw) but if the skin is the mirror to one’s health, I do get complements on my healthy looking skin. My sister and her husband cut all the fat off anything they cook and that is obvious just looking at their hands, necks and thin skin faces. But who listens when the medical professions rant agains fat and tout carbs? I basically follow a ketogenic diet as I suffer mood swings and weight gain if I so much as have some popcorn or a sandwich from even a quality bread. So the path wasn’t difficult to chose.

    I was using coconut oil or almond for my eczema and these oils are quickly absorbed into the skin, but the oink oil does a better job for the eczema areas as they have been kept pretty much at bay for the year I have been rubbing the areas with lard.

    I do like that you mentioned rendering one’s own lard. Tis simple. I use the water method and then freeze it in parchment paper in sealer jars. The horrid bleached white stuff I wouldn’t use in or outside my body. If you can find a good butcher (if you can’t try finding a Chinese grocery) render your own and see a glorious improvement in your health.

    For those with taboos against hogs, bovine is a good way to go. I don’t render beef fat. I just dice it up and toss into my pan and once the oil has seeped out, I begin cooing what every I desire and the crunchy bovine bits are scrumptious. Chicken, I don’t think I would want to try that on my skin. Somehow I think chicken fat might not be good for one unless it is cooked and eaten, and even then, only taken for the tummy (inside, not out).

    Our world is changing. I believe Sweden just recently revised its food guide and has gone low carb, and higher fat, moderate protein. Sixty years on high carbs has rendered the world fat and unhealthy. About time we told the doctors to do some studying on the matter of fat and health. But then, their incomes come from the ill, not the healthy.

  78. Andreane says:

    Thanks a lot for sharing this information.
    I now use pork fat as a morning mask and it is a great moisturizer.
    As a retinol mask i sometime switch to fermented cod liver oil.
    By comparaison my bacon morning face rub smells delicious. :-)

  79. I am 65 and have been in the business world for, wait, too much information. Let’s just say I have been around. My passion is science, chemistry, and food, using all of these to make my life happier, healthier and less complicated. I make and use lard in my soap. I haven’t bought shampoo or conditioner in years. My hairdresser wants me to sell my soap in her salon right next to all the bottled junk. She can’t believe the condition of my hair. I travel extensively and never have bottles of stuff in my luggage. One bar of soap does it all. My family and friends all stand in line on soap making day. Do I buy makeup, you betcha. Wish I didn’t have to, but, well you know. Do I use commercial antiperspirant, not in this lifetime. I don’t consider myself a pioneer woman, or necessarily a tree huger. I hate waste and love to experiment.
    I say you are on to something here girl. Keep on keeping on and let us know your next great thing.

  80. Gayla Catrett says:

    I rendered beef fat to make a tallow cleanser yesterday. I mixed it with olive oil and a little glycerin. I liked the way my skin felt after….and my cats definitely liked the way it tasted. I finally had to lock them out of the bedroom. ;-)

  81. A guy here, so not super concerned about my appearance, but since switching to a high-fat diet to support my endurance cycling hobby, I definitely need skin moisturizer a LOT less.

    So I believe it :)

    One of these days I will go to the trouble of finding humane fat back and rendering lard, but for right now I’m relying on bulk olive oil for nearly all of my cooking.

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