Benefits and Dangers of Essential Oils ~ Holistic Dermatology

The Benefits and Dangers of Essential Oils

Essential oils are for example the various kinds of oils that have a strong fragrance in taste that tend to be either cool or hot now essential oils can be very valuable. They have various emotional effects they also are highly antimicrobial in many instances and they can be used even in cases where there are staph infection that are resistant to antibiotics.

They can be used to keep surfaces clean of those, various bacteria and also even to treat infections on the surface of the skin. Some people have even use them internally, they are good for brushing your teeth because they kill the bacteria that are living in between the teeth but there is a down side to essential oils. And that is that you can become allergic to them and develop all sorts of reactions, either locally at the site where you having the problem or elsewhere in the body.

One fellow who I know had a rash on the side of his chest for the longest amount of time and somewhere along the line he figured out that it was being caused by the cinnamon he was eating. And he got away from the cinnamon and that rash went away but sometime down the line he found himself eating some dessert that have cinnamon in it and sure enough he broke out in those same places on the side of his chest.

Now, that doesn’t mean everybody who has a problem with cinnamon or everyone who eats cinnamon is going to have a rash on the chest it could manifest many different places or he may not have a problem at all. Sometimes this comes from just having essential oils over and over and over again not just in your teeth but in your mouth wash and your food and may be in your chewing gum over and over.

So, some people have to get away from essential oils in order to get better, those essential oils I might mention include  clove cinnamon and cloves and all those things that have a strong and also a lot of the perfumes. So one of the things you may find you have to do is take a break from essential oils.

Could You Be Allergic to Your Sunscreen? ~ Best Natural Skincare

Could you be allergic to your sunscreen?

Now, there are a lot less allergies than when PABA was being used. People did have allergic reactions to that, but there are still allergic reactions to sunscreens. Especially the combination of sunscreen and light, because there are changes chemically that happen in a sunscreen when you’re in the sun.

If you have allergies to various related compounds, other sunscreens or perhaps, sulfonamides or drugs that are related to sulfonamides like some of the anti-diabetic drugs, then you’re more likely to have an allergy to the sun screens. It would be good to look at that and discuss that with your doctor or your dermatologist to make sure that it’s not a similar compound to something that you already have an allergy to.

So, it’s possible, yes, you can have an allergy to sunscreen. Not common, but if you do, it would be best not using sunscreens at all that are related to the ones that cause trouble. Sometimes a different one will work where one isn’t allergic. You should get that figured out or test in a very small spot before you go and spread sunscreen all over your body and go out and have a generalized allergic reaction.

Could You Be Allergic to Your Wedding Ring or Other Jewelry? ~ Natural Skincare

Could You Be Allergic to Your Wedding Ring? ~ Best Natural Skincare

Could you have a wedding ring allergy?  I don’t mean to your spouse necessarily, but the ring itself.  Your wedding ring is made out of gold usually, but even eighteen karat gold can have nickel in it. It’s possible to have what we call contact hypersensitivity, especially to jewelry with nickel and rarely to gold, and also to many other things. It’s also possible to have an irritant dermatitis to the soap that collects underneath your ring.

These are all reasons that you get a red rash under your wedding ring or any other jewelry that you wear on your body. Contact dermatitis typically is in the areas where you are contacting some kind of metal or some kind of chemical in your clothing or in your environment. Typically contact dermatitis takes about two days to come on from the start time of exposure. It lasts for about two weeks.

Often people don’t notice what caused it because already a couple of days have gone by before they see it. You need to be aware that another form of dermatitis can be from external things and what we call contact dermatitis.

What is Making Me Itch? ~ Scratching the Itch Naturally

WHAT IS MAKING ME ITCH? ~ Scratching the Itch Naturally

You know “itch” is caused often by allergic reaction and sometimes by various chemicals that set off a reaction.  For instance, various kinds of bits from insects, various kinds of plants that cause allergic contact dermatitis, like poison ivy. When you have itching, it’s a sign that something is going on that needs to be remedied or avoided. It’s really important to think back about what is going on when the itching started and what was going on a few days before the itching began in case it was something you contacted with and set it off with a delayed response.

Finding out the cause of an inch is a detective game that you are the deputy detective here and you need to start looking back at what was going on and put that information together so you can present it to your doctor or your dermatologist. Now, if this is been a complex long-term problem, it can take some real serious detective work.  This is when digging in deeper to the causes can make a real difference. This is where real holistic dermatology begins.

The Vaccine Controversy.

When I was young, Summer brought the threat of Polio, with the possibility of spending time in an Iron Lung, and having a limp if you survived.  Polio vaccines have greatly reduced the incidence of this dreaded disease. Unfortunately, some of those who got the vaccine, got an unwelcome virus along with it; SV40 monkey tumor virus. One definite risk traded for another unknown possible risk.

There has been an increase in the administration of vaccines for other viruses, based on this success. Undoubtedly, many have been spared of the devastating effects of the illnesses they prevent. Unfortunately, there has been an observation among the public that occasional infants and toddlers get sick with a high fever immediately after vaccination, and when they recover, they loose the ability to speak and regress in their development, and are diagnosed with autism.

Most of the medical authorities believe that there is no relationship between the development of autism and the reaction to vaccines. Indeed, good scientific studies show that the children who develop autism already have a predisposition to it well before the vaccines. The concern is that predisposition plus viral “antigen” exposure, sometimes in the form of a vaccine might be a cause of autism.

Many of my patients refuse vaccination for their children and themselves. A recent outbreak of measles has created a strong government response with guidelines for mandatory vaccination. Creating widespread immunity is good public health policy. But forcing people who are likely to become cripples to themselves and society if they are susceptible to develop neurologic or other disease from the vaccine, is also poor public health policy.

The first question I would like to pose an answer to is how could a dead or attenuated virus cause damage to the brain. The virus may not even reach the brain, but it could incite an attack against itself or the material that it is combined with.  If some aspect of the brain tissue resembles a portion of the virus, then the unfortunate individual with that similarity will find they get an immune attack against their brain cells.  Such attack could result in neurologic problems such as autism.

First, we know that a small percentage of autism cases are precipitated by a virus, so the model I proposed has already been shown in autism.  Second, the brain develops by pruning of circuits and leaving those that matter.  The cells that do that pruning are microglial cells, related to the immune system.

I believe that we are reaching the time when those susceptible to neurologic disease such as autism from a specific vaccine should be screened in a way that can determine who they are, and those are the ones that should avoid immunization. Techniques that we developed at the NIH nearly 40 years ago could serve as models for the first screening, and then more efficient techniques could be progressively developed to do this screening much more efficiently. I do not see this sort of screening being discussed. It's time we look into this more deeply.

To your health,

Dr. Alan M. Dattner, MD

Holistic Dermatology & Integrative Medicine

Autism: Trying Most Things, But Not Everything

6a00e55255b462883401901b97af0f970b-200wiI recently read a column in the New York Times by Jane Brody titled “Trying Anything and Everything for Autism.” In it, parents of an autistic child find success with alternative treatments, but are unsure whether the treatment relates to the child’s improvement. The article quotes a physician from England who suggests that alternative treatment for autism like avoiding dairy is like returning to the Dark Ages.

What emerges from Jane Brody’s column minimizes the two important positive responses that the boy, Casey showed to the alternative treatments of dairy-free diet and hyperbaric oxygen. The difficulties of avoiding certain foods are emphasized, but compared to the Behavioral Approach, which is promoted but requires working with a child for 30-40 hours per week, dietary restriction should be relatively simple.
Nothing is mentioned about the science related to casomorphin from milk affecting brain function, nor anti-gliadin antibody levels indicating wheat sensitivity.
Other non-conventional treatments are also based on scientific data. Genetic defects found in some autistic children in a biochemical pathway called “methylation,” respond to correction with a combination of B-vitamins and other
supplements. Yeast overgrowth in the intestines irritates the lining and allows undigested food molecules to leak into the circulation and irritate the immune system.  This can be corrected by diet changes and supplements. Since specialized immune cells are involved in the nervous system, it is not hard to imagine that improper dietary stimulation of the immune system could interrupt proper brain development.  Far from the Dark Ages, we can begin to understand multifactorial Autism by connecting scientific basis to anecdotal evidence.

My medical colleagues who specialize in autism treatment use the above science-based and other forms of analysis and therapy.  It would be a shame if parents, physicians, and researchers don’t vigorously pursue these connections that may lead to effective treatment.

To your health,

Dr. Alan M. Dattner, MD

Holistic Dermatology
New York, New York


As always, the content of this blog is for information and education purposes only, and should not be used to prevent, diagnose or treat illness; please see your physician for care.


Natural Skincare: Have a Sweet Holiday…

6a00e55255b4628834017eea9532aa970d-200wiBut not too sweet! 

The Holidays are a time for parties, celebrations, and special treats.  Candies, cookies and cakes appear as gifts and thank you’s at all sorts of homes and businesses at this time of year. It is not uncommon to hear a nudge to eat that “forbidden treat”- “Go ahead, it’s the holidays.”  In the process, a lot more sugar gets eaten at this time of year. Other rich foods, like egg nog, and alcoholic drinks, and even foods suspected of being allergic, get consumed as well. 
Some people date the onset or aggravation of their skin problems to this time of year. Sugar aggravates acne and other conditions by a variety of different pathways. It
favors overgrowth of yeast in the digestive tract, which leads to leaky gut, absorption of allergens from food, and inflammation of oil glands. 
A spike in blood sugar is answered by a spike in insulin levels, and then a rise in Insulin-like growth factor  (IGF). This IGF has been shown to affect the follicular area in more than one way that leads to acne formation. This is just one way in which too much sugar can lead to a skin problem.
Other rich foods, alcohol, and allergy producing foods all have ways in which they can aggravate not only acne, but other skin problems. 
So I wish you a sweet New Year and Holiday season, filled with love and deeper joy, but light on the sugar in its many forms. This is the one of best possible natural acne treatments.

To your health,

Alan M Dattner, MD


As always, the content of this blog is for information and education purposes only, and should not be used to prevent, diagnose or treat illness; please see your physician for care.

Treating Food Allergy: Holiday Party Food…

6a00e55255b4628834017eea950612970d-200wiTreating food allergy, Candida overgrowth and sensitivity, and leaky gut, has been a cornerstone of my holistic dermatology practice. I’m sure that there are a lot of my patients out there who struggled with those diets, who will chuckle to hear that I recently got a “dose of my own medicine”. I want to share my experience in a short series of ongoing emails and blogs, in hope of inspiring others to make progress, and tell their own stories of success.

A few years ago, my own doctor heard about my own digestive issues, ordered some tests, and found our that I had antibodies in my blood diagnostic of a gluten sensitivity. Since that time, I have been on a fairly strict gluten-free diet, never eating wheat, barley oats or rye, but perhaps getting small amounts of gluten from Chinese restaurant soy sauce, hidden flour, or a crumb here or there that sticks to the bottom of an occasional desert. I have been well, except for a slightly active digestive system at times, and a little arthritis in two finger joints.

Recently, a repeat food test for allergy was done in thanks for giving blood to use to evaluate new testing methods for wheat sensitivity, by a lab that tested me before. The list had enlarged considerably from the first test, taking away some 50 of my favorite foods. Still reasonably cheerful, I went to the produce store in New Rochelle and bought the vegetables and foods which were still permitted on my list, and found out that I could put together some delicious but simple meals.

I also found out that I could use what was allowed to make some really tasty snacks with allowed ingredients I had never put together in those ways before. I used orange juice instead of lemon, ginger where I would have used garlic, and sesame paste to make my salad dressing.

The problem came with going to a big celebration, and then ordering food the next day. I did not notice any immediate change from all of the foods I ate out, but did get very tired after eating food with my problem soy sauce. The day after, I ate one piece of the dish, permitted by my food test (but interestingly, not by my tribe), and immediately felt a kind of heaviness and faint fogginess overtake my head.

When I bothered to check my chart, two out of three of the vegetables were not permitted, along with the soy sauce (which has traces of wheat and possibly corn starch to thicken it). So much for easy ordering and eating. I will have to prepare food from scratch. 

To your health,

Dr. Alan M. Dattner, MD

Holistic Dermatology
New York, New York



As always, the content of this blog is for information and education purposes only, and should not be used to prevent, diagnose or treat illness; please see your physician for care.

Think you know about chocolate and acne? Think again… More on natural acne treatment.

6a00e55255b462883401a73d90a99a970d-200wiNatural acne treatment is complex, and there are a number of factors determining what will cure your acne, as compared with someone else’s.

Here’s one issue: there have been a number of studies regarding acne that have confused rather than clarified the understanding of what to recommend for acne problems. One of the biggest confusions comes because acne sufferers differ in what causes their acne: this is not a single condition with a single cause.

Studies on acne and chocolate have been done because there are many people who, over the years, have observed acne outbreaks after eating chocolate. For some of those people, eating chocolate occurs when they also binge on sweets or eat poorly and leave out vegetables from their diets. These factors are often left out of studies.

One key study on the effects of feeding chocolate bars, versus similar-tasting bars without chocolate, was published by Dr. James Fulton in 1969. The study observed no difference in acne in those who ate the chocolate versus the placebo bars, and concluded that chocolate had no effect on acne. Thus, an entire generation of dermatologists was trained to believe that chocolate had no effect on acne based on this and other studies. That study is now considered to be flawed in its methods, and its conclusions not valid.

Clearly, there are some people who break out from eating chocolate, some people who beak out from binging on chocolate, and others who seem to have no outbreak. Some may be additionally aggravated by the milk products, sugars, or oils in milk chocolate, or be eating the chocolate to deal with stress or depression, any of which factors could aggravate acne.

So, the relationship between eating chocolate and acne is not a simple matter, and should not be dismissed with a simple statement, but rather be evaluated in the larger context of the overall habits and responses of the individual. If there is a suspicion of a relationship (between a particular food and an outbreak), and you want to treat acne naturally, without drugs, chocolate should be stopped, and re-added later to see if it causes outbreaks.

To your health,

Dr. Alan M. Dattner, MD

Holistic Dermatology & Integrative Medicine

Get rid of acne, eczema, migraines, and fatigue, naturally.

6a00e55255b462883401901b97a4d5970b-200wiI recently read an article in the Science Section of the New York Times by Tara Parker-Pope entitled “Telling food allergies from false alarms”. The article focuses on the efficacy of food allergy antibody tests (only one of many kinds of allergy tests there are.) It suggests that people avoiding a number of foods face malnutrition and inconvenience.

The article overlooks the great value in helping patients eliminate foods which trigger a wide variety of conditions, most of which have an inflammatory etiology. Any blood test, be it of antibody reactivity, neutrophil change, or lymphocyte response, may be helpful to point out foods to test for potential clinical improvement by elimination and challenge.

I have seen numerous conditions including acne, eczema, irritable bowel, hidradenitis, migraines, and fatigue improve with food elimination. A physician experienced in multiple forms of food testing can help associate symptoms with exposures, choose appropriate tests, and interpret results. This kind of natural acne treatment is a lot cheaper than prescription drugs.

One things I do agree on is that allergy tests can give a wide variety of food and allergen sensitivities which may or may not indicate the cause of a patient’s presenting condition.

The absolute best way to learn what foods are causing skin or any other problems is to eliminate all possible trigger foods, check to see if the problem clears, and then every few days, add a food back to the diet to find out which is the culprit. The value of trials of food elimination to improve disease should not be overlooked for lack of definitive testing in major centers.

To your health,

-Dr. Alan M Dattner, MD


As always, the content of this blog is for information and education purposes only, and should not be used to prevent, diagnose or treat illness; please see your physician for care.