What’s Your Spirituality Have to Do with Your Skin?
I’d like to talk about spirituality and skin disease from a holistic dermatology perspective. What does spirituality have to do with skin disease? We know skin disease is related to your skin, it might be related to allergies, it might even be related to the food you eat and what you absorb. So what does spirituality have to do with that?
Let me start with the process of digestion. Digestion breaks down your foods so that they get absorbed as single amino acids or small peptides. Molecules that are so small that they don’t set off a reaction; they don’t cause an allergy. But if you don’t break your food down into small molecules, big pieces get through; molecules big enough to set off an immune response. The receptor in the lymphocyte sees a big peptide in, say 8 amino acids, and it reacts. So we want to avoid having big peptides getting into your bloodstream and your lymphatics. And the way we do this is by enhancing digestion.
If you’re eating and you are on the telephone and you are buying something on the internet or you are worrying about your classes, or your career, or your income taxes, or what your friend said on Facebook, or any number of things, you’re interrupting your digestion. If your mind is in that place, you are in a reaction mode, or stress mode, which we call a flight or fight response. That’s known technically as Sympathetic Response. And if you are in Sympathetic Response mode, you shut off your digestion. Because evolutionarily, thousands of years ago, you didn’t need good digestion if you were being chased by a tiger. You needed to get away and use your muscles and shut off your digestion–or you’d get digested yourself.
But if you are in stress mode when you are eating or you are watching a TV program that has some horrendous scary thing going on, you are back in stress mode, and you are not going to digest your food optimally. And if you don’t break down your food adequately, then you are going to absorb bigger pieces, molecules, food substances that are big enough to set off an allergic response where they hit in the skin. Or these molecules might put you to sleep and make you drowsy or other kinds of things.
So, the old-fashioned method of taking a moment before you eat is good. Relax and let go of your thoughts, your worries and cares, and then take an additional moment and become thankful for the universe providing this and filling your whole body with that thankfulness. And then fill your body with the joy of the food you are about to eat. That gets the digestive juices flowing, and that’s very important for breaking down allergens and for preventing allergic disorders of all kinds especially skin diseases.
Looking for the best natural skincare? First, let me say there may be a lot of information out there that is true and good. I don’t want to dismiss that, but the big problem is when a person relates their story about healing a skin condition, yet they do not give you enough information on why that particular product made a difference.
Often, even if they are telling the truth, you do not know that they are leaving something important out. Even if they are telling the truth and are not leaving anything out, they may still not be giving you enough background to understand what made their condition made better. You don’t know that the particular thing that they said helped, is really going to help you as well.
Sometimes you can go off on a tangent with self-help medicine for long enough to do other kinds of damage. You may have avoided treatment that would be helpful. When you are reading health blogs, read them with a little bit of extra care. Be sure you do not take that information as the absolute knowledge of what will make your skin better. See a doctor for signs of anything serious or chronic.
I’d like to talk a little bit more about slowing aging. One of the things that happens in aging is that the collagen breaks down. Collagen is the part that gives skin its tough surface and lasting quality. It gives the skin the ability to come back to its original shape. Collagen breaks down with age. The collagen breaking down is often seen as cellulite or less elastic skin.
What breaks down the collagen? There are enzymes in the skin that break it down, and those enzymes get activated by a variety of things. One of those things is inflammation, and another one is by something called glycation which comes from an excess of sugar and fried foods.
So if you want to look old faster, eat a lot of sugar. Eat a lot of foods that are high in glycation, like fried foods. These will all help set those enzymes into action, chomping up your collagen. Now, it doesn’t happen overnight. But over a period of years, it makes a big difference. So a healthy diet really makes a big difference over time.
A diet that includes a lot of fresh vegetables, a lot of fresh fruits and foods that are cooked a lower temperature. Sometimes you want a treat of course, but let the cake be for a special occasion, rather than for a meal. If you live on chips, on junk foods, and fried foods, and things heated to high temperature, and lots of sugar, it takes its toll. And you have to decide. Is that fun worth more than looking great for a longer period of time?
What’s the best holistic skincare treatment for eczema? Eczema is related to other kinds of allergic diseases like asthma and hay fever. Usually there’s a family history of one of these conditions, and people who have it truly actually end up with dermatitis. There is an increasing incidence of eczema in the past decade, suggesting that some kind of environmental changes are a factor. It is aggravated by not only allergies in some people but also by various foods in some others.
Eczema is also aggravated by secondary infection, which people get from scratching, opening up wounds, and having oozing cerium. This can gets a culture of staph and other kinds of germs growing on it. Those kick the immune system up into high gear, and more and more of the skin problem appear.
It’s important to break the itch and scratch cycle. Keep the skin lubricated to calm down the inflammation. In functional medicine, we seek out the various causes that are contributing to the eczema and deal with each one. Doing all of that can make a dramatic difference.
Leaky gut use to be a bad phrase in medicine, because it was considered to be kind of hokey. But thanks to Doctor Fasano, who has studied and documented it, the condition is now well-established.
The inside of the small intestines has bonds between the cells that form a barrier. But in leaky gut, the breaking of those bonds allows materials to get between the cells and invade both the blood stream and the lymphatic tissue that surrounds the small intestines.
These materials get transported out to the rest of the body in a way that is not often good. Some of those substances have information to, say, put you to sleep, some of them have allergens and can cause an immune attack and inflammation of the body, and some of them are toxins that can cause the whole variety of changes that shouldn’t be happening. One of the most common causes of leaky gut is gluten in ordinary wheat and barley.
Lesser known is a substance called Zonulin, It’s is released when gluten comes in contact with that area of the intestinal barrier. Zonulin has a role in opening up the barrier and breaking the bonds. So there are a lot of people now who are finding themselves getting a leaky gut situation from eating gluten. They may not have a reaction to the gluten itself in other parts of the body, but other substances make it through the barrier and cause trouble in the blood stream. This double action causes a lot of people both to be confused and to be sick.
So leaky gut now is a real thing, thanks to Harvard Medical School physician Doctor Fasano. We are now learning more and more about leaky gut and how it could be bothering you.
What’s the Difference Between Conventional and Natural Acne Treatment
Interviewer: Give us an example of how a Conventional Dermatologist would treat acne as compared with methods you employ with Holistic Dermatology.
Dr. Dattner: As a Conventional Dermatologist depending upon the severity of the acne, I might use some topical Benzoyl Peroxide. This opens up the clogs and calms down any infection in the area. If it’s worse, I’d go to antibiotics, and if it’s worse still, I might even go to Retinoids or oral Retinoids.
In my practice I did a little of those things before I started using more alternative methods. But I began to see some problems with people who had been to dermatologists and been on antibiotics for a long time. They started developing yeast overgrowth, chronic fatigue, and various other problems.
Dr. Dattner: So as a Holistic Dermatologist for the past three or four decades, I work on the digestive tract. I try to get the intestinal organisms more normalized. I try to enhance the digestion. I try to fix leaky gut and inflammation and fix the liver and… I keep working from the bottom up until I have gotten to the skin.
Interviewer: Right, and then the skin is going to react.
Dr. Dattner: Yes.Then I’ll help with drainage products to help the skin. And I get a longer cure when my patients have learned how to take care of themselves.
Interviewer: Yeah, I mean it’s not just putting something topical on–it’s about getting rid of the cause of the problem and following through, right?
Dr. Dattner: Right
Interviewer: And it’s a lifelong change.
Dr. Dattner: Right. And they can still use topicals, but as a part of a larger holistic program of natural acne treatment.
“I began seeing Dr. Dattner after I started breaking out all over my face for no apparent reason. My skin had always been acne-free, even as a teenager, so I knew there had to be a reason for this unprecedented skin problem. I was concerned that if I went to a conventional dermatologist, she/he would likely just attempt to treat my skin topically instead of determining and treating the underlying issue. I found Dr. Dattner after a quick Google search, and while working with him, I realized that my skin began acting up after I accidentally ingested gluten (I have an intolerance).
I have struggled with a sensitive stomach, acid reflux, and several food intolerances for the last few years, but I did not consider that they might be related to my new skin problems in any way. Dr. Dattner diagnosed me with leaky gut syndrome and began treating me with supplements and an anti-inflammatory diet.
Within a couple of weeks, my stomach issues began to improve and my skin began clearing up. A few months later, my skin is 100% back to normal and my stomach has never felt better. While under his care, he has also helped me understand and treat my tension headaches, sciatica, and back pain. I have honestly never had a better experience with a health care provider. Not only is his holistic approach to health incredibly effective, he is a uniquely thorough and attentive doctor.”
The basic two types of inflammation. They are the immediate hypersensitivity and the delayed hypersensitivity.
The immediate hypersensitivity is mediated by antibodies, especially of the IGE class. These are the antibodies involved when you take a whiff of a flower or pollen and start sneezing, and develop hay fever.
The other type of inflammation comes on a day or two later. This type is mediated by lymphocytes: white blood cells that are in your body that distinguish what belongs and what doesn’t belong. Then, they set up a reaction to it by dividing in the lymph nodes and bringing an army of cells out to destroy the targets.
They destroy especially two kinds of targets. One target is you, modified, so if you have some poison ivy on your skill cells that get recognized as “you, modified”. The other kind of “you, modified” could be if you have a tumor that’s arising and the cells look a bit different than they should. Your body uses a very sophisticated arm of the immune system to distinguish those differences and set up a reaction to destroy them.
And your body is doing that all the time – getting rid of those tumors. And that is the delayed hypersensitivity system. Both of these systems can recognize a problem and get rid of it. For instance, hypersensitivity will attack virally infected cells or chemically modified cells as well as tumors, or even the fungus-modified cells. So if you have a fungus they’re involved in that attack as well.
However in some instances, your body’s immune system does something different. Once it has recognized some target that seems to be a problem, it may start to recognize some other parts of your system modified that look like the original target. And your body will attack that and cause destruction and an inflammation there as well. This we call cross-reactive attack because of molecular mimicry.
So the body’s immune system has two different major systems and many, many variations. Information has been growing since I started studying this decades ago. But these two basic types still prevail and are good starting points for understanding react to different things.
If you’re looking for the best natural acne cure, consider this: a lot of you probably go right after the first pimple that comes up and make sure you get rid of it, so that the area is a little bit flatter and it shows less.
Probably, you get away with that some of the time, but I see many people who have various crust and scars all over their face where they pop their zits. The bigger problem is that if you squeeze a lesion which has a good part of itself under the skin, you may break that lesion under the skin. The material coming out is as much as a foreign body that can put a splinter under your skin.
That can lead to an even bigger cyst. A cyst that grows so much, that when it finally goes away, there is scaring and a depression that’s left. It takes fairly serious treatment to get back under control. I think it’s much better to use a treatment that draws acne out, rather than popping and exploding lesions under the skin because once they go bad, they are going to leave marks that are almost permanent. This is part of my natural acne cure.
In functional dermatology, we examine the entire system of the organs and the body as a whole. We see that inflammation is the cause of most of the rashes and skin conditions with itching and redness in the skin, and with scaling, and even blisters. There are different kinds of immune responses that lead to each of these conditions and there are also different kinds of responses where the tissues themselves cause individual reactions you see as very different skin conditions.
It’s important to understand both how the physiology of how your skin works and how the immune system is reacting when you have inflammatory problems. This is the place where a good understanding of immunology is very helpful.
I have been very fortunate to have been involved in the area of cellular immunology and delayed hypersensitivity for many decades. It’s helped my perspective and seeing how conditions can be improved by getting at the underlying conditions that are there and causing difficulties. Be sure you find someone who understands this when you are trying to dig deeper to get to the cause of your inflammatory condition and treat it and get it better so that your whole body improves as well and including inflammation that can cause damage to other organs in your body.
Use your skin as an indicator of your health so it can lead you to the best overall heath possible.