Rosacea is a condition that’s related to acne that involves redness of the face, enlargement of the vessels on the face, and also fine papules or pustules, usually at the central part of the face. Now there are a number of different types of this rash, some of which can be really disfiguring, where the nose can enlarge. Other types which just involve some redness that’s noticeable when you have an emotional reaction.
There are a number of things that are known to contribute to rosacea, could be caused by tiny mites called demodex that live in the skin. But not all rosacea is caused by that. The chronic inflammation of the skin causes enlargement of the little blood vessels that are in the skin called the capillaries, and that’s part of what causes the redness that you see.
So sometimes doing things or using nutritional substances that help those capillaries can make a big difference. Using inflammatory components of things that calm down inflammation can help make a difference and there’s a part that’s related to acne. So all the things that help the digestive contribution to acne can also be helpful for treating rosacea. And the main thing is not to be upset by it because that causes more blood to the face. And that causes the rosacea to be worst. So unwinding all the vicious cycles around this problem can make a big difference.
The One Thing to Ditch to Keep Your Skin Young Naturally
All of us want to keep our skin looking young naturally.
Today, I want to speak about one of our sweetest poisons. I say sweet poison, it’s very attractive to all of us, including me, and that is: sugar.
You might not realize sugar has at least 3 different ways that it can aggravate disease, aging and acne.
First, it can lead to overgrowth of the wrong kinds of organisms in the intestinal tract and elsewhere the body. Those organisms include yeast and harmful bacteria.
Second, those organisms can lead to inflammation of the intestinal lining, causing a condition known as leaky gut and that leaky gut allows allergens to invade other parts of the body.
Third, eating sugar often causes tooth decay. If you eat sugar, you don’t brush your teeth right away, and it sits in your mouth, the bacteria are going party–they will chomp away at your teeth.
And chronic infection in the teeth can lead to infection in the bone in the jaw. Chronic infections in the jaw are often very hard to get rid of during your lifetime. And they can “weep” gram-negative bacteria and gram-negative toxins down into your lymphatic system, down to your heart, down to your breasts, and out also into various organs of the body, causing real damage.
The last way that sugar can cause problems is by elevating the insulin level. When you eat a lot of sugar, your sugar level spikes ways up and insulin is released in order to get that sugar into the cells. The more sugar you have and the more often you have it, the more you release insulin.
When you do this over and over again, you wind up causing high insulin levels, and the receptors for the insulin stop becoming so willing to hold the insulin. Then, the insulin has to go up higher and higher. You then get a molecule released called Insulin-Like Growth Factor. That Insulin-Like Growth Factor has a variety of actions, and one of them is to aggravate acne.
It’s so worthwhile to monitor your sugar usage and cut back however you can manage. It’s a challenge, but a very worthwhile one. You can keep your skin looking young naturally.
When your face ages, it’s often perceived by wrinkles and creases. Some of those wrinkles and creases come from having the same expression over and over again.
That expression is usually is one of squinting or anger or looking with interest listening to a friend speak. These are all expressions that cause a kind of additional wrinkling that you don’t need to have.
These are habits. If they occur over and over, year after year, decade after decade, you begin to get permanent creases in those areas. So you want to try to relax, and not have repeated wrinkling occurring from squinting or anger.
You can even try looking in the mirror and seeing what you are doing with your face on a repeated basis, and try to relax and let that go.
That can do a lot for reducing the creases and the wrinkles that often associated with aging of the skin. Collagen and elasticity are another matter, which we’ll discuss in a future post.
Let’s talk a little bit about natural eczema healing. Eczema is something that a lot of people experience, and I see more and more people with it in my practice every year.
There are some parts of the world, especially industrial cities like Liverpool, where the population with eczema is approaching 20% of children. Now what is going on here? Why is there so much eczema?
What causes eczema and how do you heal eczema naturally? It’s caused by a number of things. One of those causes is a defective barrier of the skin. That defective barrier can be caused by excessive washing.
But it can also be caused by a genetic tendency not to make the right peptides that keep the barrier to be intact. Those peptides are manufactured, and they evolve and have a number of different roles as they move through the skin. The first role is as a barrier, but as they move through the skin, they also become part of the anti-microbial peptides that cause the skin to kill trouble-causing bacteria. People who have have this genetic tendency not only have a less strong barrier, but they have less ability to break down the bacteria that are always attacking the skin.
People with eczema have the tendency to develop staph and streptococcus infections. And those staph and strept infections have a vicious cycle effect. Because they cause more cells to get alerted; more immune cells get turned on to be reactive and create more inflammation, which creates more itching, which creates more scratching, and more and more eczema.
So it’s really important for those people to use proper anti-bacterials and do whatever they can to keep from scratching and destroying their skin. And to use various kinds of things that enhance the barrier of the skin.
Recently there has been a lot of work on using various kinds of waxes that contribute to the skin barrier for natural eczema healing. Pioneering dermatologists in San Francisco explored these waxes, which are now the basis of a lot of really popular products used to protect the skin for those with eczema.
Of course, any kind of lipid or fat or oil can add some benefit. But if you have eczema, the paradox is that it’s likely that if you use something over and over, you are going to become allergic to it. So people who have eczema soon become allergic to everything that they start putting on, partly because of the nature of the original barrier itself. Creams are much more elegant to put on than Vaseline or coconut oil. But they contain many different components, like detergents, to keep the oil and the water mixed.
Any cream with oil and water mixed together, can get infected easily so you have to have a preservative system. And there are only a handful of different preservatives that are used to protect these different creams from germs. So if you switch from one cream to the next, you are likely to wind up with the same preservative system one out of four times. So you still have trouble because you can have an allergic reaction to the preservatives.
On top of this, if you look at most of these creams you’ll find that there are a number of chemical substances whose names you can’t pronounce. Some of those chemicals can be potential allergens as well.
It’s not unlikely that after a while you are going to become allergic to either the components or the fragrances in those creams. So you’ve got to be very careful with what you’re putting on your skin if you have eczema.
I do help people who have these chronic issues to finally break the cycle, but I share all this to say that if you’re having a hard time controlling your eczema, you’re not alone, and the treatments don’t make it easy. That’s my holistic dermatology perspective for natural eczema healing.
I’d like some thoughts on anti-aging of the skin. Aging skin needs a little bit of extra stimulation in order to be really as thick as possible to keep the collagen active. This keeps the lymphatics in the blood supply moving. Part of that is good old exercise and outdoor enjoyment, and hopefully protecting yourself from the sun.
Another part of it is stimulating your skin to kind of wake it up in the morning is by dry skin brushing. You take a soft brush, and you brush your skin. Brush it all towards the area right below your navel which is where all the lymphatic material collects. And you do that all over very lightly and gently. You shouldn’t do it with a brush that is stiff enough to hurt you or to mark your skin. If you have some kind of skin problem that doesn’t allow that, then that’s not the thing to do. But the dry skin brushing can be a very nice method for keeping your skin stimulated.
If you don’t have a brush you can use Turkish towel or a wash cloth. That little bit of stimulation moving towards the center of the body can be very helpful to get your skin woken up and keep it alive and invigorated.
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.
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?
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.
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.