Skin Disorders: Part Two
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Herein we continue our look at skin disorders by examining topical treatments and detoxification.
There are many natural topical creams and lotions available, which soothe and heal inflamed skin conditions, some specifically designed to treat the two most common skin ailments, eczema and psoriasis.
Topical anti-inflammatory treatments generally include ingredients such as aloe vera, calendula, vitamins A, C, D, and/or E, as well as a range of other herbs and nutrients. I will not go into these items as they are to offer temporary relief while we find the underlying source of the problem.
That being said, there is a new player on the market which I have seen reverse some skin conditions which responded to nothing else. And that new compound is actually an old remedy: tallow.
“If you suffer from both itchy or scaly eczema, then tallow is a wonderful product to re-hydrate the skin. Because it is so rich and fatty, it can restore the skin barrier that is damaged in eczema patients. Tallow has also shown to work wonders for weeping eczema.” (Source) (Tallow is also certainly worth trying for any difficult skin condition, not just eczema.)
The reason that tallow actually makes sense in this context is because a lot of our skin problems come from the constant overwashing with hot water and soap, which strips the skin of both its acid mantle and its sebum. Since, sebum, our natural skin oil is cholesterol-containing, and most of the moisturizing substances we use to replace it are from vegetable oils (including seeds and other plants), we are losing the body’s inherent protective layer and not replacing it with a comparable compound. Tallow, being an animal fat, is akin to our sebum and thus can be of great value when treating skin disorders.
Since the dawn of time humans have used clays both externally and internally for healing purposes. For treating skin conditions the two most commonly used clays are French green clay, and bentonite. These clays can be used as face masks, or slathered topically on specific problem areas, or even put into the bath (one or more cups per bath). Used this way, clays will pull toxins out of the skin, and help to renew skin cells.
When used internally, clay has proven to remove toxins (including aflatoxins) from the body, so when treating serious skin conditions one may use it both internally and externally. For internal use, add one teaspoon of either clay to one cup of water and drink once daily, on an empty stomach.
One must be careful with irritated skin conditions, as clay can be drying to the skin and may aggravate some conditions. Therefore, pick a spot to test on before committing to covering a large area with a clay pack. Acne benefits nicely from clay since it is usually a condition accompanied by oily skin and bacterial overgrowth (clay has strong antibacterial properties).
For topical use the general approach is to mix either green clay or bentonite with water to make a paste (not too thin, not too thick). Apply to the area to be treated, leave on for about 20 minutes, then rinse off. This is done two or three times per week until the problem is resolved. If the condition worsens after treatment, it can be that either clay is inappropriate for the problem, or toxins are coming out of the skin in copious amounts. One can at this point try using a thinner paste (less clay), and leave it on for less time, to see if the response is less aggravated. Failing that, it is time to change to another modality.
Now, for therapeutic treatments I will often suggest the use of a topical substance that will kill bacteria, fungus, and/or skin mites.
Skin mites are more difficult to deal with, though some of these substances can work in mild cases. Mites are usually obtained through intimate contact with pets, and are often the cause of rosacea. Another cause of rosacea is low stomach acid, which is why it more often strikes those with type A and AB blood (genetically prone to low stomach acid). Low stomach acid reveals itself through symptoms of reflux and heartburn (which also can be caused by high stomach acid; one needs to do the stomach acid test to determine which it is), or thick ridges on the thumbnails.
Good substances to experiment with (usually in diluted form: follow instructions on label) include tea tree oil (diluted), colloidal silver (ionic silver being more common now), neem oil (diluted), oregano oil (already diluted when purchased for internal use), and grapefruit seed extract (comes diluted in glycerine, which itself is a good moisturizer).
Neem oil is also a choice as it covers the broadest range of skin conditions, and neem leaf can be used internally, in capsule form, for further support.
But, for my heavy guns, when these substances do not do the job, or skin mites are involved, I turn to iodine, particularly Lugol’s Solution. A two percent solution can be applied undiluted in severe conditions, but it will stain the skin for a few hours, and might burn if the skin is raw and exposed. The five percent solution is more powerful (stains the skin more than the 2%) and can be used undiluted on fungal infections, or bug bites, tick bites, etc. However, for conditions that cover a lot of skin it is best to dilute the iodine solution at first, in order to avoid getting too much iodine into the bloodstream (where it ends up after being applied to the skin).
Here is an example: I had rosacea a long time ago and rid myself of it by diluting the five percent Lulol’s Solution in aloe vera juice and spraying it on my face two or three times daily. I started with 3 drops in 2 oz of aloe juice, and when that had been used up I moved to 6 drops, then 9, and finally ended with 12 drops in the 2 oz of aloe. By the time I had finished the bottle with 12 drops my condition had cleared up.
I made up this protocol as, at the time, there was very little info on how to use iodine. Now one may find more info by searching the web. Personally, I believe that this regimen worked for me because the cause of my rosacea was either bacterial, fungal, or the result of skin mites. I say this because iodine is a killing agent, and had the cause been due to a nutritional deficiency, or toxins leaving the body, the iodine would not have worked.
This holds true for all our skin problems: if the topical killing agents do not improve the condition, then we have eliminated one potential cause, that of something living on the surface of the skin.
If we notice an improvement with these approaches, then we know we are on the right track. If we don’t notice an improvement, then we have to look at what’s going on inside the body.
If the source of our skin problem is not something detrimental living on the surface of the skin, and not a nutritional deficiency, then we turn to the possibility that the body is trying to detoxify. Remember the skin is, in part, an organ of elimination, so if we can help it to rid us of toxins we are working with the body’s inherent healing modality. If we however use corticosteroid creams, we are working against the body, by driving back into the deep layers of the skin the toxins which it is attempting to excrete.
For detoxification purposes we first must bring the diet into a healthy range, avoiding the bad foods, eating the good foods, and perhaps also incorporating the Blood Type Diet. We then can add a detoxification program for two weeks to one month. There are many detox kits available in health food stores that will serve this function nicely. They will speed up the cleansing of the blood, liver and bowel so that after a couple weeks we should see an improvement in skin conditions, if this is the main cause of the problem.
Certain herbs are good blood-cleansers and can be used both therapeutically, and on a semi-regular basis to keep the blood clean, leaving no further toxins needing to be removed from the body by way of the skin. Probiotic-rich fermented foods, and prebiotics (such as inulin, hydrolyzed guar gum , or LactoSpore) should be used regularly to keep the bowel clean, which in turn helps keep the blood clean.
Blood-cleansing herbs include echinacea, burdock, red clover, and goldenseal, which are often found in the same formula when the purpose of said formula is for blood cleaning or skin health. Such compounds are also found in natural cancer treatments such as Essiac and Flor-Essence.
Chlorophyll is one of our best blood cleaners, removing toxins and heavy metals from the blood and inhibiting fungal and mold infections (it also contributes to building red blood cells).
The pigment that gives plants a green color, chlorophyll is used by plants for making food from carbon dioxide and water. The greener the food the more chlorophyll it has, with algae being one of the highest sources, which is why chlorella and spirulina are so popular. The whole principle of taking “green” drinks is to increase our chlorophyll intake for alkalizing and detoxifying the body.
However, algae are defined as “damp” in Chinese medicine, and thus can contribute to candida yeast overgrowth in those susceptible. And yeast overgrowth can lead to skin issues, therefore for our purposes here one is best to use pure chlorophyll (as liquid or capsules), or the grasses (barley or wheat grass) which are more drying and less damp in nature.
“Another way by which chlorophyll might protect healthy cells and bodily tissue is by increasing phase II biotransformation enzymes. These promote optimal liver health and therefore the body’s natural elimination of potentially harmful toxins. Some early studies involving animals indicate that chlorophyllin may reduce the risk for aflatoxin-induced liver damage or liver cancer by increasing activity of these phase II enzymes and removing bodily toxins.” (Source)
Chlorophyll also appears to be of value when used topically: “A 2015 pilot study of 10 people with acne and large pores saw skin improvement when topical chlorophyllin gel was used for 3 weeks. Another 2015 pilot study, also involving 10 people, found that using topical chlorophyllin over 8 weeks improved sun-damaged skin.” (Source)