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.
What are the dangers of diagnosing your own skin problem?
Well, the first one is you may get the wrong diagnosis. You might be trying to link it up to some picture on the Internet or something you saw in a book. And just be off a bit and you might as a result have some condition that gets worse before it has its chance to be taken care of properly.
The second one is that when a dermatologist looks at the skin condition, they think there are a number of different possibilities and it may be one of the possibilities that is lower on the list that you might miss when you’re looking online.
There’s always the possibility that this skin condition might partake of more than one actual diagnosis and may have something in between. Finally, it’s possible that there are underlying problems that are involved that you will miss when you just come across the name of a condition. This is something where somebody who takes a more integrative dermatology or holistic viewpoint can be very helpful.
Paleo has become a real popular diet. How does it relate to natural skincare?
One good thing about a Paleo diet is that it avoids a lot of the kinds of prepared foods and chemicals that bring things into us that our bodies may not be able to deal with.
Another good thing about the Paleo diet is that it tends to be one which avoids grains as there are a number of people who are sensitive to not only gluten, but to a lesser extent whole grains. Avoiding that can be very helpful for those people.
Eating a lot of vegetables is a very healthy thing. For many people having a Paleo diet with meat and vegetables is a healthy way to go. But it’s not the only answer and for each individual there are usually specific sensitivities that also have to be addressed. If simplifying your diet by taking away many of the major aggregators makes a difference, if going Paleo takes the sugar out of your diet and makes a difference that way, you’re going to do better.
But if there are also other allergens, you need to have a closer look at that. Either watch what’s going on once you’ve gone to the Paleo diet and see what else is causing you to react or you need to go further in terms of finding out what your specific sensitivities are that are related to the problems that you’re having.
Hi for some people the wrong diet can cause a lot more than just inflammation of the skin or of the other organs. For those people various substances that come from the food and get out into the system can cause neurological and psychological problems as well. It’s known that one of the end molecules from gluten that is, the component of bread that gives the thickness and stickiness can cause a variety of problems.
And in some people it can even cause psychological and behavioral issues. Besides gluten sensitivity, there are some individuals who are sensitive to a whole variety of different grains. This was pointed out in a few different books by Dr. Allaine Gutshrack who was the one who came with what is called the specific carbohydrate diet. She found that there were some individuals who had to remove all grains from their diet. Not just gluten containing grains in order to get better, in order to have their psychological issues, their ADHD, even their schizophrenia or their autism improved.
So since that time, and she has passed on a few years ago, there have been a number of people who have taken up her specific carbohydrate diet and made various modifications and given it different names, including the GAPS Diet. The Paleo Diet is similar in some ways. And whatever name you call it, removal of grains is important for a certain sub-group of people. Those people have symptoms that have been going on for a long time that may also include inflammatory symptoms as well as the in emotional or neurological condition. And they do very well once an elimination occurs. In some cases they need other things eliminated further such as the GAPS diet. A gluten-free elimination diet is good for some people and other people need to take out other grains as well.
Let’s talk about the sign of too much sugar in your diet. One of them is reaction to the sugar, so you get a boost when you eat the sugar and then you crash shortly afterwards which we call reactive hypoglycemia. Another one is of course pre-diabetes. This is where various changes occurring in your body and reflected in blood test showing elevated blood sugar and also elevated sugars, bound to different molecules in the body.
Now how can you look at that? There is a test called hemoglobin A1C or glycocilated hemoglobin. Now those big words mean that the hemoglobin which is a protein has sugar that stuck on to it, and the blood cells stick around for about 3 months so this gives you a picture of what’s going on in your body over a window of time of 3 months. If there’s too much sugar over that 3 months you’re going to have more of that glycocylated hemoglobin or hemoglobin A1C.
That’s the blood test your doctor can do if they suspect that you may have sugar overload. Now, of course let’s go on other signs: cavities in the teeth can be a sign of sugar overload. Also, various kinds of reaction, after you eat sugar–craving of sugar can be a sign of repeated cycle of too much sugar, with the crash requiring more and more afterwards. And finally if you get so fat that your arm can’t reach out and touch the refrigerator door to get more that’s a sign of too much sugar.
I’ve spoken about sugar in the past and so you probably wondering what kind of sugar substitutes I would recommend. Well for people who don’t have diabetes or problems in that direction but want to cut back on their sugar and use something else as a sugar substitute or sweetener. I have another suggestion, and that is to consider using ribose. Ribose is a sugar that’s part of the molecule of information that makes up our genetic material. Ribonucleic acid and the sugar in ribonucleic acid is ribose.
Ribose seems to be a very useful product for people who have issues with the heart. It’s one of the different ingredients that can be very helpful for the heart, so it’s one thing to use on occasion. On the other side of the argument for ribose, is it’s a very sticky sugar. So for people who have problems with too much sugar and too much stickiness in their bodies and their cells and their molecules too much glycation, I would not use huge amount of ribose. But keep it in mind it’s something that supportive of the heart and also sweetens your food.
I also like stevia, monkfruit, xylitol, and in small amounts, maple syrup, or honey.
Organic Food: 3 Natural Dermatology Reasons Your Skin Wants It
Organic food is really important, and I’d like to say a bit how it fits into health and fits into treatment of skin disorders with holistic dermatology. Now if someone has been eating a lot of foods sprayed with pesticides, it’s really important to let the body get a break from that. And one way of course is to eat organic foods.
Now when we say organic foods, really that’s a technical definition in this country. The term organic allows certain kinds of pesticides to be used. And when I think of organic foods, I think of foods that are grown without pesticides or toxins at all. And that’s my favorite. So there are probably some places that have wonderful foods that are grown without pesticides that are not registered as organic, because the registration process is expensive. But they could be even better for you than the ones that have the organic label but are grown with the allowable level of pesticides. So that’s one of the questions you need to ask when you are at the farmer’s market or your grocery store.
The next thing is that there are certain foods that are heavily sprayed and apparently soak up more chemicals than other foods, and those are the ones to definitely choose organic. Leafy vegetables, celery, strawberries and just a few of those. Find places to shop for your fruits and vegetables where you can learn what sorts of chemicals are being used. Because if you can wash the off with soap and water or a food detergent (found in your local health food store), that may be acceptable.
So using organic food can be beneficial because it avoids toxins. And some of those toxins inhibit the process the body does to suppress allergic reactions. So avoiding toxic foods and eating organic foods can help reduce allergic reactions. But personally I sometimes choose to use the regular, non-organic foods if they are not known to be heavy in pesticides. And I also choose locally grown foods that come from farmers who don’t use pesticides who are not necessarily organic, as mentioned above.
Of course organic can also mean using foods that have been given natural fertilizers, which again is another important thing to make the foods more healthy. And finally, interestingly enough, foods that are grown organically have more stresses on them, so that the plant has to make its own pesticides. And some of those pesticides are called cell versants. And those products that the plants make have anti-cancer properties. So, there maybe additional benefits in those “stressed” organic plants or pesticide-free plant that cause them to make products within them that will protect you much further.
So another vote for organic food from the holistic dermatology perspective. To your health!
There are many different perspectives on diet that can enhance your health, and help your skin as well. One of them is the Mediterranean diet. Now let’s talk a little bit about what makes the Mediterranean diet so useful. Mediterranean diet is basically conceptually what people would eat if they were living around the Mediterranean base, in Greece, in Italy, in Spain, in Northern Africa, Morocco, those areas. So what does that include? First of all when you think about Mediterranean diet, you think about olive oil.
Now olive oil is a terrific oil to be part of your food. It’s a mono-saturated oil. It has a nice flavor. Some of that green color is anti-microbial property of the olive leaf and the olive. So it has some benefits in that direction and also it’s avoiding so many nasty things that we have in our current oils which are really not healthy. It’s avoiding the toxins. Because when you think about the Mediterranean diet, you are not thinking about somebody spraying the olive tree. You think about a more organic and natural olive.
The second thing is it avoids high temperature heating oils, and oils that are saturated fats or oils that are very highly unsaturated that would become rancid. So all those things are being avoided when you are thinking of that. It’s avoiding things that are really; who knows what they are, like Canola. There is no such thing as a canola bean! Canola is the name of a conglomerate type of product.
So getting to olive oil is the real basic step that makes you healthier. So Mediterranean diet involves fresh foods and vegetables, involves fresh fish and meat. And a diet that has limited amounts of carbohydrates in it. And that could be tremendously important, both for the good things it’s bringing with all those products and also for the terrible things it’s avoiding.
Let’s talk a little bit about a condition known as Psoriasis or sometimes the Heartbreak of Psoriasis. Psoriasis involves thick red patches of skin often in the pressure areas or elsewhere throughout the body on the skin. It can be very mild and barely visible or it can be extremely widespread and for some people very disturbing.
Now, eczema is a much milder condition. But Psoriasis tends to be thick it can be itchy or painful and it is caused by the type of inflammation that enlarges the blood vessels in the skin. This causes the skin cells to reproduce and turn over much faster, that is like 4 to 6 days instead of 28 days before they get to the top.
And that over production of the skin cells causes the thickening and the scaling that occurs. So we need to cut down the inflammation that causes that. That is a lymphocytic delayed hypersensitivity celli or immune response causing it. And we know that partly by the new drugs that poison that response and we know that if we can take away what is setting off that inflammation, we can also calm it down. And we can do that through diet as well as through the modern drugs. If you need help with the heartbreak of psoriasis, contact my office for an appointment.
Oregano and various herbs that are commonly used for spicing Italian foods are wonderful properties of being pain antimicrobial. They help kill fungus and bacteria in various foods and plants. If you have tomatoes just a little bit beyond what they should be then making a tomato sauce with them can help destroy any organisms in them and any fungus. The cautions although is that you can still have an allergic reactivity to the fungus that has been killed in those sauce and the second question is these important herbs have essential oils and those essential oils although they can be beneficial to killing viruses in bacteria and fungus in your body, can also cause hypersensitivity reaction. Some people do get allergic to these oils and those people need to avoid them. Oregano is a very valuable herb as well is related herbs, but you need to know not to use it if you have a hypersensitivity and not to depend upon it to destroy the presence of allergens that were previously infectious in your foods.