The Skin is the Window to the Gut
Have you heard this saying before? The skin is the window to the gut. Yes, the skin is your body's largest organ, and if you are dealing with any chronic sign of distress (redness, swelling, itchiness, scaly patches or acne) it could be a clue to what's going on deep inside. For today's message, I'm spotlighting acne. But the majority of this information really applies to any strategy for improving the health of your skin.
Warning: This is Personal
As I sit down to write this email, I am feeling a bit of sadness - a deep memory from years ago when I was longing for answers as to why I constantly was fighting acne. I found it so hard to believe that all these television actors always had perfect skin - they could go to work every day and get filmed, looking great. It didn't look like they were putting on 3 layers of makeup, concealer, powder, the way I did. I felt I could never be in the public eye. And how was it that my co-workers, who sometimes looked like they just rolled out of bed, would show up with perfectly smooth skin? As opposed to me, who would spend so much time cleansing, scrubbing and picking just to wind up with bumpy, red skin. How could anyone afford to look so good all the time? When I was spending $100 a month at CVS on products, plus expensive facials to get my pores sucked out - and STILL I could see in my reflection large bumps under the skin. Every time I walked up to my car in the sunshine, I could see a brief reflection and shadows of all the bumps. It was awful. It was not good for anyone to feel that way. And especially not for someone trying to date a Chiropractor/Wellness Expert and trying to look worthy of his affection.
But since then, I have learned that everyone suffers for a reason. It is part of the human condition. No one has the same problems to deal with, but we all have some kind of a problem. So now - thanks to my husband, Dr. Bacon, and the many holistic practitioners whom we have met through countless hours of seminars - I have gained the knowledge I needed to heal my skin from the inside out. Speaking on behalf of Dr. Bob and the rest of the staff here, it is our collective mission to get this knowledge out to the people who need it. You or someone you know may need this info!
I know now that I'm not alone. In our practice, we see and speak with people all the time who have similar troubles. I don't always get to give them advice, but if I could, I would say to pay attention to what's going in your mouth and on your skin, and get help from a holistic practitioner to get access to the healing nutrients and herbs that can literally change you from the inside out.
The Skin as an Organ of Detoxification
The skin is an organ of detoxification as well as the liver, kidneys, bowel and lungs. It is important to remember this biological function of the skin when dealing with skin rashes, eruptions, dermatitis and acne. You can take these symptoms as functional signs that there is some irritant in the system that the body is pushing out. At some point, when your practitioner indicates you are ready, an important process for clearing your skin will be to do a detoxification cleanse. Doing so will help remove toxic burdens from the liver, kidneys, bowel and lungs, thus relieving the detoxification demands on the skin.
This is such a cool concept. I was fascinated when I first found out that you can trace the source of the inflammation to an internal body part, for any chronic sign of inflammation on the face. There are lots of variations on this example face map, but basically, if you are constantly getting breakouts on the forehead, you need to look to digestion and what kind of overgrowth/dysbiosis might be there. And although this one doesn't show it, breakouts on the chin typically are hormonal/gynecological.
Of course, it is not always so simple. Certainly, there can be multiple complicating factors - do you always sleep on your right side? Do you use a pore-clogging hair product? Do you tend to rest with your face in your hands? But by and large, just about anytime I get a sign of inflammation on my face, I can also correlate it to something that has been happening with the body part indicated on the map.
Gut Dysbiosis: Bacteria, Yeast, Fungus and Parasites
Yes, there are living organisms in your gut. When in balance, they keep us healthy and happy by producing neurotransmitters, latching on to toxins in the gut, and promoting elimination. But when out of balance, we can develop a slew of problems: constipation, diarrhea, rashes, toenail fungus, bloating, gas and of course, acne. Sometimes you can get a clue in your blood work when you see abnormal immune markers, even though you don't feel sick. Luckily, we have a whole bunch of tools in our tool box to deal with gut dysbiosis: Zymex, Spanish Black Radish, Oregano oil and so many other herbs... We even have a powerful parasite cleanse to deal with those sneaky bugs that so often go under the radar. Who here has benefited from the Wormwood Complex tablets? Lucky you!! Back in the day, I had to drink the liquid Wormwood tonic. Possibly our worst tasting herb!
Zinc Deficiency (Thanks, Carbohydrates)
This might be the top problem I see with today's youth. All over the place I see teenagers sucking down sugar-filled coffees and fast food, suffering with acne all over their faces. Why is this a problem? Because an over-consumption of refined sugars will eventually lead to trace mineral deficiencies. BTW, refined sugars doesn't just mean candy - it also includes bagels, waffles, orange juice, pop tarts, granola bars, cereal, bread, pasta...anything that metabolizes like sugar. Alcohol, too. In the refinement process, trace minerals are stripped out of the sugar molecule. When refined sugars are ingested, the body will actually pull these missing and needed nutrients from its own organs and tissues to process the sugar, if the needed nutrients are not present in the diet. This can cause nutritional deficiencies of zinc, chromium, calcium and B vitamins, which are necessary for the pancreas to produce insulin and enzymes. Mother Nature packages whole, unprocessed foods with everything they need to be absorbed and utilized by the body. The commercial food industry, however, strips away the life-supporting elements and adds back a few fraudulent chemical nutrients to give a better (more addictive) taste and a longer shelf life. Other problems that can be caused by these trace mineral deficiencies include: poor attention and concentration, behavioral issues, depression, anxiety and sleep issues.
If you have a permeable gut lining, you can develop sensitivities to ANY type of food that you eat often enough, even if it is a healthy food! Back in the day, no one could have told me that almonds were partly causing my acne. But, I ate them morning,noon and night, almost every day. They were my favorite food. And my gut lining was wrecked from NSAIDs (that's another story). But through my first 21-day Purification Cleanse, I eliminated all nuts, as well as the other top food allergens: wheat, dairy, corn, soy and eggs... and my skin just got so clear, so fast. Sometimes it's the food you crave most, especially late at night, that is your biggest sensitivity. Talk to us about how to do an elimination diet - it's FREE and may give you the answers you're looking for!
Acne is not really a "quick fix" type of issue. It takes some time and dedication to really create lasting healing. The work may require a few months of avoiding certain foods and using targeted supplementation before the internal environment is truly healed. But I can tell you, that once you're on the right track, you should start seeing improvements within just a few days. And the improvements will keep building, getting better and better, as you continue your dedication and doing your part with an anti-inflammatory diet.
That being said, there are a few remedies I have found that have really helped when I needed those improvements to be as fast as possible. Here are my favorites:
Our "Clear Skin from Within" Tonic is a liquid herbal blend that contains Chaste Tree for hormonal support, Goldenseal as an anti-microbial, with Calendula, Chamomile, Licorice and Gotu Kola for tissue healing. Our "Seal Up that Leaky Gut" tonic is similar, but without the Chaste Tree.
Pure Haven Essentials non-toxic products - I use the whole product line. The shampoo, conditioner and styling cream are based in aloe vera and are non-pore clogging. If you have acne on your back, you MUST change out your shampoo and conditioner to a non-toxic product - it makes such a difference! I also love the Pure Haven cleanser, moisturizer, night serum and especially the eye cream! They are the best bang for the buck I have found. I place orders at least once a month, so if you let me know what to order ahead of time, I can cover the shipping and have it here at the office before your next appointment. Other great non-toxic skin care choices are Beauty Counter and Neal's Yard Remedies.
Colloidal silver is extremely useful as an anti-microbial, taken internally or applied topically. Colloidal silver is anti-viral, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-yeast. There are safety considerations for proper use of colloidal silver, according to the concentration, so please take individual advice from Dr. Bob on this one. Click here for more info on the history of use of colloidal silver.
Hemorrhoid cream - yes, you read that right. If you have a swollen, irritated bump, try using a Hemorrhoid Cooling Gel to shrink the tissue. Don't use the regular ointment - it's too greasy.
Visine can really get the red out - not just in your eyes, but also for red blemishes on your skin.
Any sulfur-containing clay mask or nighttime ointment will likely be beneficial. Sulfur is a necessary nutrient to promote healthy skin growth and repair, and is a much safer choice than benzoyl peroxide (which can bleach your sheets and cause brown "liver spots" over time on your face). This one is my favorite, and can be found at local Good Nutrition stores:
So, there you have it. I hope you can benefit from this information provided by the amazing, healing world of Chiropractic! Please let us know of any questions you may have!