Curious about natural dermatology for aging and cancer prevention? One of the reasonsthat I’m such an advocate of hats and clothing is that sun screens don’t really block the sun. They do take the sun’s energy and change it into a more harmless form of energy so that there is not a sun burn, but still some of that energy gets through. That energy can cause damage especially if you apply sunscreen on and then spend a lot of time out in the sun.
With just sunscreen, you get some of that energy coming through all day long that can be causing aging, and even potentially future skin cancer. It’s important to remember that even the metallic sunscreens like zinc and titanium are usually zinc and titanium salts, they’re not the metal. You do get some energy coming through, even using those. It’s very important to remember that you need other kinds of ways of blocking the sun. The sun screen is just an added benefit to protect against reflected rays.
Curious how we use holistic dermatology for summer skin care? We know that sun exposure is the biggest cause of skin cancer. Now there are several different kinds. There are pre-cancers that are very common as people reach their sixties and seventies.
There are other types of cancers like basal cell and squamous cell cancers that are problematic, but are usually not fatal. There is another kind of skin cancer called melanoma which involves a dark mole that is irregular in its appearance, its color, shape and the way it behaves. Those kinds of cancer are the ones that can be fatal in many instances.
It seems that the incidence of melanoma is increasing rapidly. There might be other causes apart from sun exposure which includes the loss of the normal ozone layer which protects us, because of all fluorocarbons in sprays. It is important to do sun protection in order to prevent both aging and skin cancers.
Interviewer: Good, so what got you interested in inflammation, inflammatory conditions, and autoimmune disease before you were doing holistic dermatology?
Dr. Dattner: Well, when I was in college, I was volunteering at a little place up in Rye called Sloan Kettering.
Interviewer: Little place?
Dr. Dattner: It was. It’s now a big village, the place where that was. It was a laboratory where they were testing all kinds of stuff that they could find and seeing if it could kill tumors. But there was one little laboratory in there that was doing tumor immunology. I went and started volunteering there and that was where I first learned about lymphocytes and cellular-immune reactivity and tumor immunology.
Dr. Dattner: From there I went to a series of different laboratories where I was studying cellular-immunology and winding up at the National Cancer Institute. I had a long interest in the basic science behind this. In fact, I translated into my clinical understanding of how these things work and it helps me see somebody’s picture and pull it together in a way that I wouldn’t have otherwise.
Interviewer: Yes, so refreshing. I have to tell you with your background as a medical doctor to be engaged in all these alternative methods you use in holistic dermatology and integrative medicine, and seeing them work so well, you love it.
Dr. Dattner: Well, it’s only because I had heard about them and I sort of believed it. But, when I did my work on immune recognition and saw how the equations could be so different than one could have imagined otherwise in terms of one thing stimulating another thing as a response, I started to understand why those things make sense and knew that there was truly a science behind it. That science didn’t become understood generally until almost 20 some odd years later when people started talking about this in the New England Journal of Medicine.
Interviewer: So, tell us about some of the most difficult cases you have solved–uncommon skin diseases and unexplained rashes–with integrative dermatology.
Dr. Dattner: Well, I remember once having a farmer whose scalp is always breaking out with pustuals and inflammations. I had to treat him with steroids and antibiotics just to get him under control repeatedly and then I found out that he was getting sprayed with the pesticides. I started thinking now why would the scalp break out with pustuals and all these and I was thinking maybe the body as a response of trying to get rid of these neurotoxic substances so they don’t go into that other fat containing organ in the brain.
Dr. Dattner: So, I got him away from the pesticides and I used a cleansing tea. You came and you made a gallon of this stuff, it was really a potent cleansing tea and it cleared it up.
Interviewer: Amazing, I mean it’s amazing, but it happens. I know you see even more than that one case you see one….
Dr. Dattner: Yeah, and unfortunately he confirmed that this was the case by his son who had to do something for the neighbor. His son, I think, sprayed it again and he got the spray on him and he broke out again and he cleared again with it. So the P value, the likelihood that this was really doing it, increased tremendously. I wouldn’t have done that experiment myself, but he did it accidentally.
Interviewer: Accidentally, sure.
Dr. Dattner: So that’s an example of the kind of things I treat…
Interviewer: Yeah, again inside out, always.
Dr. Dattner: Recently I had a patient who came in, now sometimes it takes a long time to get acne under control, but I had a patient who came in, who had been having a lot of sugar and whatnot and she had cystic acne all over her face. In a month she came back. She was dramatically better.
The best thing to do for sunburn is not to get one. Avoid sunburn to keep skin from aging, fend off wrinkles, and prevent skin cancers like melanoma and basic cell carcinoma. But here are some tips on natural sunburn care
Of course, protecting your skin and carrying some protective clothing on a cloudy day when you are expect to be out all day is a very good idea to protect herself.
But if you do get the sunburn, then the most important thing to do is first cover yourself up so you don’t get any more further damage. If fact it’s a good idea to check yourself if you’re outside a lot, periodically to see if you’re burning because you may be so busy and so active whether in the water or the wind and not noticing it. You want to catch it before you start turning red.
Now, if you do get a sunburn, the important thing is to see how bad it is. If it’s just redness and not blistering, sometimes things like a solution of Aspirincan actually calm down the readiness.
Also, topical and oral antioxidants can both protect you and also help calm down the sun damage, that means things like vitamin C, vitamin E, N acetyl cysteine and glycolic acid. Those are all things that can calm sunburn down.
Natural sources of antioxidants include the inside of the citrus fruits, the white part and the pulp and also the extracts from grape seed, like the proanthocyanidins that are so protective as antioxidants. So taking those may give you a little bit of a benefit if you had too much so sun.
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.
What causes people to have belly fat? Well, there are a number of different things that contribute to it. Obviously, eating too much sugar and simple carbohydrates is one way to add extra belly fat. And cutting back on that can make a difference.
Also, the kind of food you eat determines the kind of organisms that live in your intestine. Not a few but approximately 30 to 100 trillion bacteria live inside your intestinal tract. And some of those determine whether you are going to gain weight or not. And it seems that the kinds of foods you eat have a big influence on what is actually living inside of you, and they help determine whether you are going to gain fats. So when you are eating, you are not just feeding yourself, you’re feeding the organisms which are talking to the system that determines whether fat cells increase or fat cells decrease.
And eating a lot of vegetables and some protein is a lot different from eating a lot simple carbohydrates, not only feeding your fat but feeding your organisms.
In addition, when you have a lot of stress you release cortisol, and there are people who believe that the cortisol has influence on gaining belly fat. So reducing stress by getting regular exercise, meditation, breathing exercises can make a big difference as well. Finally in metabolize according local exercise in the muscle tone, and if you are using your abdominal muscles by doing crunches or by doing exercises that involve your abdominal muscles, not only do you burn fat while you are doing that, but you burn fat all day long and all night long because those muscles are having more metabolic activity and requiring more energy. So that’s an additional way to get your body to burn up that belly fat.
So conversely, people who don’t get any exercise, who sit on a couch, work sitting down, and don’t get any extra exercise are likely going to gain more belly fat.
So the holistic medicine of eating right, exercising right, and managing stress can all help reduce belly fat.
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.
WHAT’S THE RIGHT AMOUNT OF EXPOSURE FOR YOU ~ RESTORATIVE DERMATOLOGY
There are people who argue that you should get no sun exposure at all. I’m not in that camp, as you can tell by my suntan. However, I do protect myself as much as I can when I am outside.
I am a Mediterranean skin type with brown eyes and I can deal with ten or fifteen or twenty minutes of sun exposure with no problem. If I get a lot more sun exposure, I’ll get red. It’s the beginning of the season when I haven’t been outside it all. I’ll get even a chance at burning my skin, so I’m very careful with that. Now if you have light skin, you’re one of those types from whose family descends from the northern climates, then you could probably take less sun than that.
If your skin is darker, you can deal with even more sun, and not have a burn or as much damage. Remember our skin makes vitamin D. So the places that are family descended from determines how much sun we need to get through in order to make enough vitamin D. I think it’s important that you understand how much it takes to give yourself a little bit of vitamin D production, which could be ten or fifteen minutes on the side as an average, for an average person, say a Mediterranean skin type and from that, gauge how much sun you get, but certainly well before the time where you would turn red.
What is Holistic Dermatology, Really? Healthy Frontiers
Interviewer: It’s great. So what is a Holistic Dermatologist? Now we can go on forever…
Dr. Dattner: Okay, there are a couple of things that are involved in Holistic Dermatology. One, is I am a dermatologist, so I understand the methods that are available and what the positives and negatives are. I understand the biology and physiology of the skin, so I bring that to the table and at the same time I have other methods to use to get back to the etiology, to the root cause of the problem that’s going on. And the root cause is usually an environmental exposure, whether it’s something topical in which my colleagues are very good at diagnosing when if it’s a context sensitivity. But, the biggest source of foreign material entering the body is through the mouth, so the digestive tract is what I spend a lot of time correcting. Microbial, the digestion, leaky gut all of those things are things that I address in my practice. The other thing is that Holistic Dermatology covers a wide variety of inputs, so some people have an emotional issue which leads to an eating issue which leads to gut issue which leads to a skin issue. So when it becomes obvious that there is a particular area that needs treatment, I address that area.
Dr. Dattner: The other thing is that it’s very eclectic, so I use a number of different techniques that are not in conventional medicine. Those include herbology, those include some chiropractic techniques, some kinesiology to give me further information that corresponds with what I have learned from history and physical as well and helps me better select among the things that intellectually should make sense for say treating, but digestive issues I can refine that.
Interviewer: That’s great; so why did you choose to practice that way?
Dr. Dattner: Well, you know I got to the tip of the tip in terms of practice of dermatology and I saw what was known and what wasn’t known. The tip of the tip this was the National Institute of Health, building ten, where we flew patients in who we wanted to study from all over the country.
Dr. Dattner: And we had patients there who had rare disorders that were being treated with Vitamin C, but there was not an understanding of the lure around Vitamin C and bioflavonoids.
Dr. Dattner: And I realize I had to go outside of current conventional medicine to bring in the totality of knowledge that was available and so it was very exciting when I found out that all this was available through the….what was called the alternative world then. But interestingly in this particular case with the Vitamin C, the work on bioflavonoids had been done in the 50’s by a Nobel Prize winner. So it had just left medicine for a while.
Interviewer: Right, forgotten.
Dr. Dattner: Wasn’t that it was never in it.
Interviewer: Right, okay should have it was always there.