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.
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.
Interviewer: What common problems in your holistic dermatology practice that affect people’s health the most and where do you think these were coming from?
Dr. Dattner: It’s interesting, there are a lot of things I call the social disease. We are eating 140 pounds of sugar per person per year in this country. That wasn’t always. We’re exposed to a tremendous number of pesticides of hormone disrupter in the plastics, and chemicals in the things that we put on our face. We are exposed to maybe different ultraviolet light than I was as a boy because of the breaking down of the ozone. There are so many things that are societal. A lot of us watch television on a regular basis so we get less exercise. Our whole way of living has shifted and it’s very different than it was 50 or a100 years ago. And these things all have their cost, and so a lot of what I am doing is just working against those damages. And it’s a social thing, at some point I hope that we begin to look a little bit more carefully at some of these things and say, is there a better way to do these things? Can we make our population healthier, more vibrant, more able to enjoy life more, produce more.
Interviewer: Yeah for sure, I’m on board for that. I mean the introductions of cell phones and computers, we are going in one direction and we are trying to pull in the other direction, where the world is thinking wellness, and the world is thinking, let’s prevent everything. And we come out with all of these things, it’s such a crazy world.
Dr. Dattner: Well it’s true, and we have to constantly be looking to figure out how to do that better.
Interviewer:Yeah, got to get a balance there.
Dr. Dattner: Exactly
Interviewer: Okay doctor, do you have any last comment before we wind up here?
Dr. Dattner: Well I just wanted to remind people about radiant skin from inside out, because even when I see somebody for an hour, it’s hard to tell them everything that I have in a 300 page book. I think this would be very helpful for anybody who is interested in skin problems or inflammation in general. And I hope people will begin to find ways to really lead a healthier lifestyle and be more vibrant. And I think a lot of aging is just accumulation of damage that can be reversed. So change your attitude and take your life in your hands and improve it.
Interviewer:Take charge, that was wonderful, thank you for being on the show.
Itching is caused often by allergic reaction, and sometimes by various chemicals that set off a reaction. For instance, various kinds of bites from insects, various kinds of plants that cause allergic contact dermatitis like poison ivy. So when you have itching it’s a sign that something is going on that needs to be remedied or avoided. And it’s really important to think back about what was going on when the itching started and what was going on the few days before the itching began in case it was something you contacted that you contacted which set it off with a delayed response.
So, finding out the cause of an itch is a detective game that you are the deputy detective in, and you need to start looking back at what was going on, and put that information together so you can present it to your doctor or you dermatologist.
Now if this has been a complex long term problem, it can take some real serious detective work, and this is when digging in deeper to the causes can make a real difference, using holistic dermatology.
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!
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.
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 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.