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.
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.
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.
Let’s talk a little bit about a vegan diet and your skin from a holistic dermatology perspective. Now, a vegan diet has some wonderful aspects to it. First of all it is much more humane and many people like to subscribe to it for that reason. The second this is it avoids a lot of the various kinds of toxins that are present in meat and fish and diary products. These toxins potentially cause trouble for the skin and other parts of the body.
And also it avoids being vegan even milk which an aggravator for acne in a significant percentage of the population. So vegan diet can be a great boom to causing improvements in the health.
On the other side of it, when you go on a vegan diet, you limit tremendously your sources of protein. One way that that causes trouble is that you maybe lacking specific amino acids that are important for making complete protein. And we talked about a concept called the protein efficiency ratio.
So that means that if you are eating a whole variety of amino acids but you are lacking a few of them like, lysine and some amino acids. You are not going to make complete protein and you are not going to keeps the parts that you have assembled. You are going to get rid of those and you have to start all over again. So some diets have small amounts of meat in them that have traditionally being used in places like China, which compliment a mostly vegetarian diet.
So there are problems for some people using just a vegan diet if they are missing particular amino acids. Another problem is that if you have a diet which requires that you avoid gluten or grains you become tremendously limited in what you can eat, and so it’s very hard to get enough protein. And another aspect of a vegan diet that can be real problem is that, there are other things in foods that cause issues according to especially your blood type.
So for example if you have a lot of beans in your diet, you have certain kinds of proteins that come on those beans called lectins. Notice lectins grab onto the sugars on your red blood cells, and in many people also on your other cells. This can cause a reaction to occur inside those cells or punch holes through those cells, causing reactions that are inappropriate.
And they can be inflammatory reactions, so that they can cause leakage through membranes like the gut. So for many people a vegan diet may present an awful lot of challenges in getting enough of the right amino acids and avoiding various things are setting off inflammation. So it requires a lot of extra planning and in some cases a reconsideration of the diet in order to get rid of various diseases.
I want to speak about the condition that is so bothersome and horrendous that some people can’t even go to work and go out and function normally. The spectrum includes mild forms that are just plain disturbing, to other forms that completely make it difficult to want to be part of a society.
Hidradenitis is an accentuation of what acne is, especially occurring under the arms, in the groin area and elsewhere of the body such as below the breast. This condition is called Hidradenitis Suppurativa. I call it acne from hell. Sometimes involves draining lesions that can be as big as a golf ball or even as big as a baseball.
And the lesions may be draining chronically. It’s not fun. Some of the conventional treatment for this involve cutting the entire area out down through the fat. Current treatments for Hidradenitis are some of the new drugs, which poison the dividing white cells. And those are called biologics. For some they are successful ways of treating their acne.
But I fortunately have been able to treat some of these patients in the way that I treat acne. We avoid foods that are causing inflammation. By making a whole variety of changes in the diet and in the digestive tracks, in the hormones using supplements that contribute to the inflammation involved. So here is another inflammatory disorder that can be controlled by changing the underlying conditions for the inflammation. So, working to reduce inflammation is the one of the best cures for hidradenitis.
How do you treat dandruff naturally? Let’s talk about it. Dandruff in its aggravated form is technically know as subarea dermatitis. It involves scaling of the scalp with redness, and when it gets bad, scaling of the eyebrows, of the forehead, and sometimes even of the chest. It’s caused by a reaction to a yeast that lives normally in the skin known as malassezia, previously called pityrosporum.
And it is know that that yeast is a problem many of the shampoo cure that yeast. It’s just not the yeast that is there, but the attack of that yeast by the immune system and that is caused by overgrowth and overexposure to yeast in the body. So it’s important to make changes to what’s in your diet that is contributing to the overgrowth of that yeast and to the yeast that are leading to the attack on your hair follicles that is causing the dandruff. See my blog for more videos on what specifically to do for altering your diet, to lower the yeast in the body, and treat dandruff naturally.
Let’s talk about a very common chronic form of folliculitis called Keratosis Pilaris and what it has to do with holistic dermatology. That involves red bumps along the air follicles of the extensive aspect of the body especially on the backs of the arms, and sometimes on the backs of the legs too. Now this disorder has been conventionally treated by things that loosen up the plugs like retin-A or vitamin A.
And products and various kinds of mullions-like containing products. Those treating for a period of 9 months or so can make some difference. But my feeling is, there is something going on to have that much inflammation in the follicles.
And it’s really important that if this is a chronic condition, to see if you can take the steps that fix the inflammation. Materials being excreted from the follicles are altering the way they should be normally be functioning. And that might be a very worthwhile step, for not only treating the keratosis pilaris but for treating other forms of inflammation that you may not even know or going on and even related to that process.
I want to talk a little bit about farmed fish and how this may be causing a variety of problems even beyond skin diseases. One of which is diabetes. Now I think you all kind of gotten the idea that sugar and simple cars are related to diabetes.
Carbs and sugars certainly are related to diabetes and in this culture we are over the top with eating sugar-related foods. I mean we eat 150 pounds of sugar per pounds per person every year. Now not everybody does that so you could imagine how much sugar some people are eating in this country to balance out the ones who aren’t be causing diabetes. But what else is causing diabetes?
Well, there have some studies done that show that chlorinated pesticides; and we are talking about Roundup and other pesticides that are very commonly used in this country can contribute to formation of diabetes. So you say well, it was a little bit in the vegetable that we eat. That’s not such a big deal, is it? Well it turns out that when we have farmed raised fish, we feed them pesticide grown food. And they concentrate those pesticides in their flesh. And there is a correlation between eating those fish and the concentration of chlorinated pesticides in individuals and the development of diabetes.
So here we have a hidden way that we are aggravating the development of diabetes in that, those inappropriate responses to insulin are contributing to skin diseases and other diseases in the body. So I want to strike a vote here for seeing what we can do to reduce the concentration of chlorinated pesticides, in not only our vegetables but in our fish and in our meats.
Curious about Natural Acne Treatment? Integrative Dermatology
I want to speak briefly about what goes on in acne from a Holistic Dermatology standpoint. Acne is caused by inflammation in the hair follicle, oil gland, sweat gland apparatus. And that apparatus is known as the pilo sebaceous unit has inflammation and attack by white blood cells that lead to the formation of pus, the redness and the swelling that you see. Part of that process involves inflammation and attack of the normal bacteria that live in the skin, the acne bacteria, corany bacteria and acnes.
But my understanding of acne is that there are other things that are being secreted in that area that we know and other things that are being attacked that comes from your digestive system or come from outside. From outside it could be cutting oils, from inside it could be any kind of food you eat. Changing the diet is extremely important in reducing the inflammation that leads to acne.
Let’s talk about signs that you have a leaky gut. Now it’s not as easy as looking underneath your car and seeing where the grease dripped on the driveway. But there are a lot of things you can do to tell if you have a problem with leaky gut. Well the first one is, if you have obvious food allergies. And the second one is if you have a food allergy, such that when you switch from one food to the other, so you become allergic to that food. Now that’s a really good sign of a leaky gut.
What is food allergy? It’s a reaction that occurs anywhere from a few minutes to a few days after you eat a particular food. And it happens fairly consistently. The reaction could be on your skin or it could be bloating, or it could be arthritis. All of those could be signs of a food allergy. Now I’m using food allergy in the loosest manner. Because strictly speaking, there are many physicians who consider a food allergy only to be an immediate allergic response in IGE mediated response. But I look at this in a bigger context with any kind of food sensitivity.
So other signs that you have food allergy could be any number of types of inflammation that are chronic and repeated. Not proof that you have a food allergy but certainly requiring you to look and figure out if that’s what’s going on. That could be auto-immune diseases,that could be recurrent headaches and migraines. It could even be neurological problems. These things all suggest that you should be looking in that arena as well as other arenas. Not diagnostic but suggestive that, that could be going on. But digestive symptoms are really big part of many food allergies.
So if you’re getting bloating after you eat, if you get tired after you eat, and you have to lie down and you can’t keep your eyes open at 3 o’clock in the afternoon. If you are having other kinds of reactions or you are getting an after taste or reflux, those could be signs also of food allergy.
So I think it is important to keep this as we say, in your differential diagnosis, the possible causes of what’s going on. You should consider food allergy when you have a number of these things from allergy to auto-immune stuff to breaking out with acne and rashes that are explained. And not caused by something from the outside. All these are signs of a possible food allergy and should be explored as such.