I’d like to talk about a concept that has been developing in my mind over the past few months, that I call “the gap”. The gap contains the potentially helpful treatments, often based on scientific literature and capabilities of various healing systems, but not proven in the medical literature by double blind studies or evidence-based studies. Some of these are accessible only by extreme or serendipitous circumstances, such as a particularly skilled acupuncturist, or in the jungles of Brazil. Others are accessible by working via a combination of medically and scientifically based concepts through the perspective of integrative medicine and concepts borrowed from other healing traditions. It may employ energetic or other perspectives, such as Applied Kinesiology, which I use, to corroborate, point out, or refine diagnostic data and choice of treatment.
It has been my experience that people who are guided using methods as above have a good chance of healing skin issues that were otherwise designated as incurable, or as treatable only with medications with potentially life-threatening medications. Those medications or more invasive treatments may be crucial and lifesaving in some instances. But that space of “nowhere to go” when reasonable applications of integrative methods could control the condition, is what I call “The Gap”.
I have been fortunate in my career to have been helping a lot of people who have fallen into “the gap”. I hope that this kind of help, and the support that goes with it, will become a lot more available in terms of capable practitioners, insurance coverage, and available products. Besides safety, correcting underlying conditions to clear skin issues also improves other inflammatory conditions that have led to a multitude of problems often not even mentioned in a detailed medical history.
In the next several blogs, I will discuss this issue of “the gap”, the contributing issues, and what the benefits are of narrowing “the gap”.
“The medical term for excessive sweating is hyperhidrosis, and while it’s not very common, it can be debilitating. If you have an inkling that you may be suffering from hyperhidrosis, start by looking at the circumstances under which it happens, says Dr. Alan Dattner, MD, a New York-based holistic dermatologist.” (from Schmidt’s Natural’s website)
Got a problem with sweat? Don’t want to get expensive Botox treatment to stop your sweat or use aluminum-based deodorants? I recently talked with Schmidt’s Naturals about sweat. Take a look at the article here.
I recently saw a young woman complaining of bad dandruff. I agree with my dermatologist colleagues that Malasezzia yeast living in the follicles causes inflammation leading to this condition. My own perspective differs and jumps beyond.
I believe that overgrowth of other kinds of yeast like Candida in the digestive tract, and the presence of yeast byproducts in food. These foods include bread, beer and wine, rile up the immune system for a cross-reactive attack against the Malasezzia yeast in the follicles, in an inflammatory ruckus that causes the skin overgrowth we see as dandruff.
This conceptual leap in understanding the cause leads to new and effective dietary and other natural treatment. Although it may take some time to correct those issues that have been present for years, it occasionally results in a rapid improvement in conditions like dandruff and flaky, dry skin, as shown below.
Here is an email I just received from someone who followed my program, using diet and associated supplements, with great success. (I have changed names for privacy purposes.)
“Hi Dr. Dattner,
AMAZING news: after following your advice, Susan’s dandruff problem is completely gone. You will recall she had a drastic scalp condition which you diagnosed as seborrheic dermatitis. You advised her to eliminate yeast and sugars from her diet and add more vegetables as well as supplements. She followed your advice and within a week there was not a flake to be found on her scalp! I was flabbergasted! I thought for sure it would take many months to see a small change.
We are very grateful to you for your time and advice.
A lot of people notice that they had dry scaly skin and assume that’s all it is. They put creams and various things on to try to make it better. However, a number of people with skin that’s dry actually have what’s known as eczema or atopic dermatitis and that’s an allergic condition, as well as a conditioner for barrier function.
There are also people who come in with dry skin, who have seborrheic dermatitis, which is really commonly known as dandruff and those are conditions that need different kinds of treatment in dry skin. So in addition, there are more unusual and rare conditions that present as skin that’s dry, such as ichthyosis. And that usually is seen in patients with fish-like scales on the fronts of their legs. So it’s important if you have dry skin and it’s not clearing up, to have somebody who is more expert in skin diseases, such as dermatologist.
Take a look and see what’s going on. If you want to find the underlying causes, you may also want to have someone with a holistic view point. Someone like this doesn’t just try to suppress it, but also tries to correct the underlying causes.
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.
Many ways to tell is if your acne starting with a hormone change such as puberty, especially in women. Another way especially if women, is to see if it is related to the menstrual cycle, may not be every time.
It could be every other month, but it can usually start before the period begins or at some point during the period or even at the time of ovulation. Observing if this is cyclical activity of your acne is very important in understanding which hormones contribute to that condition.
The other thing is that we get a lot of hormone-related products in our environment, everything from pesticides, petrochemicals to various kinds of preservatives in our skin care products. All those things have small amounts of hormonal activity and they may also be disturbing your system and leading to hormonal acne. Examining this and starting to discover your own acne triggers is the start of the best natural acne treatment.
The first type of health food that can aggravate acne is the natural looking product that really is a bad product. That would include various types of chips that are coated with oil and heated to high temperature in an oven rather than a fryer, so they say they are “baked and not fried”.
The second kind of health food that can aggravate acne is part of the sugar that come from wonderful natural sources like a guava or honey because they really are sugar.
Another type of health food that can aggravate acne especially to people who have sensitivities to various types of yeast are foods like kombucha, vinegar, or apple cider vinegar. It is important to know that many of the kinds of things that might be promoted on the internet or the health food store, may not be the ones that are good for you. Your body ecosystem is unique; different foods are good for different people. Find out what’s right for you by noticing how you feel after you eat.
Interviewer: So what are some of the common uncommon conditions you treated successfully with Holistic Dermatology?
Dr. Dattner: Well, anything that involves inflammation and most skin disorders do, I have had success. Some people say, “well, did you ever treat this before?” And I say, “no, but I think I can help you.” And they want to know I have treated 100 cases, but the truth is that the methodology when you are dealing with inflammation is really very much the same. So, I had a patient call me with a condition, they had a child with Lymphomatoid Papulosis.
Dr. Dattner: Which when you hear that word Lymphomatoid, you know that there is about 10% that converts to Lymphomas and there is some concern. There are hundreds of lumps all over the body and I wound up hearing the story. I did a few things and made some improvement and then I heard the story again, and actually this was I need to get to see them in person. And then I heard the story more carefully, listed in some information and found out it was by the holidays and [1:02][inaudible] came under the sugar and I changed the diet dramatically, used some supplements, the next phone call, 95% better. They were recommended to go on Methotrexate which is a…. you know….
Interviewer: Yes, sure
Dr. Dattner: Cytotoxic drug for two years.
Interviewer: Wow, you saved that person.
Dr. Dattner: So, I really feel that’s the kind of thing that warms my heart. I can save this poor kid for two years of Methotrexate, she would have spend the rest of her life dealing with this. You can have the possibility of side effects from that.
Here’s a Natural, Functional Medicine Perspective on tiredness…
Are you tired all the time? I think I understand that feeling. Of course, the biggest cause of feeling tired all the time is not getting enough sleep and that can either be because you have trouble sleeping, or because you’ve got too much to do, or you want to do too much. Of course, those are problems that need to be corrected by doing what ever it takes to manage to get more sleep.
Sometimes, even taking catnaps can be very helpful in restoring your energy when you haven’t had enough asleep at night. Because to push straight through really puts a strain on your adrenals and a strain on the rest of your body.
There are other reasons why people are tired all the time and one of them is chronic fatigue. Chronic fatigue can be caused by chronic infections, by food allergies and by inflammation going on in your system. It drains your system of its energy because it’s so busy fighting the various targets that it thinks needs to be dealt with. If that’s the case, you really need to take care of improving your digestion, getting the inflammation calmed down and dealing with the underlying causes such as leaky gut and often dealing with the various hormonal issues that have arisen to compensate for the problems that have been going on such as supporting the adrenals or even the thyroid gland. In that way, you can begin to restore yourself and your energy.
I’ve seen people with everything from thyroid disease to just food allergy and inflammatory conditions that lead to tiredness and fatigue all the time, completely change their lives to the point where they just thought before, that tiredness was natural, a natural statement. They were amazed to get the amount of energy that they regained. That can be a really wonderful thing, because it can allow you to live more your life more joyously, so you are not dragging yourself from one place to another.
You can translate that into becoming more productive as well, having more time for you and more time to earn your living. Making the investment, working with somebody who does holistic and integrative medicine could be a big benefit, getting you back to your normal god given energy and back to actually enjoy your day.
Do you often wonder, “Does chocolate cause acne?” The old time physicians used to believe that chocolate was related to acne. Someone came along in the 1960’s and did a study and showed that chocolate did not cause acne. That study was part of Harvard dermatology resident bibliography.
And so the training programs all over the country in the early 70’s taught those residents; taught those dermatologists in training that acne had nothing to do with chocolate. Which was of course a great news for all kids because people love chocolate. The problem is, that acne can be aggravated by chocolate in a significant number of people. And so for a generation or so we used antibiotics to suppress the acne that was being caused by the chocolate. In the past a dozen years or so somebody came along and re-examined that study and showed that, that it was not true. The conclusions were not based on sound data, and that there is some aggravation of acne by chocolate.
Now it could be for several different reasons. It could be from the chocolate, it could be because a lot of chocolate is milk chocolate, and some people react to milk. And it also could be because of the amount of sugar, and also because people who are eating chocolate are eating other sweats with sugar in it. So there are a number of things that tie chocolate eating to acne. So it’s important nowadays for people who have acne to seriously consider removing chocolate from their diet and seeing if that makes a difference.