From Clean From Within Author, Dr. Trevor Cates.
Mirror, mirror on the wall…who’s the fairest one of all? We’ve all heard this saying before, but what do we ask when we look in the mirror and see red bumps, blemishes, or any other skin imperfection? We don’t ask – we try to cover and hide the blemishes using makeup and other products! It’s time to ask why it happens in the first place and learn how to stop it from happening.
Being your own skin detective and uncovering the ‘root causes’ of your skin concerns – not just covering them up – is what I like to call the ‘Magic Mirror’ concept.
Inflammation causes so many illnesses and conditions, including cancer, diabetes and autoimmune disorders. Your skin is just as susceptible to inflammation as the rest of your body. There are two forms of inflammation: external and internal inflammation. I call the external kind skinflammation and it shows up as acne, eczema, psoriasis, roseaca and even premature aging!
To calm skinflammation, it’s necessary to approach it the same way as internal inflammation: by examining what you are putting into your body – i.e. FOOD! Choosing foods that are nourishing vs. foods that promote intolerance and sensitivity can help heal your skin from the inside out. In addition to foods that contribute to skinflammation, the external environment adds other sources such as UV radiation from the sun, skincare products, cosmetics, lotions, soaps, grass and pollen. Exposing ourselves to these outside triggers make our bodies – including our skin cells – produce inflammatory molecules called cytokines and chemokines. These molecules produce an inflammatory reaction in order to prepare our bodies to fight off the invaders it perceives as a threat.
Internal triggers like viruses, toxins, and certain medications, can also cause skinflammation. If your body perceives something as a threat the immune system is called to action! Our white blood cells (WBC’s), called lymphocytes produce and store molecules called histamines (ever heard of an ‘anti-histamine’?) that are released when signaled and cause the inflammatory reaction.
Where does skinflammation come from, and more importantly, how can I stop it from happening? Preventing it is crucial, and one place you have to consider is your gut!
Our gut is home to the immune system and any time we are exposed to something our body perceives as a threat, our gut is the first line of defense. If we don’t have a healthy gut, we don’t have full protection. That means a compromised gut, including a condition known as ‘leaky’ or permeable gut, allows foreign invaders into our system that normally wouldn’t be able to get in.
Just as with internal inflammation, our skin comes produces inflammation when it comes in contact with external triggers. Reducing exposure to these toxins and boosting our natural detox factory – our liver – is paramount.
Because so many chronic skin conditions are caused by inflammation, we must do everything we can to calm the skin. Many products we apply to our skin every day, several times a day, can actually make inflammation worse. By using natural, high quality skincare products, like ‘The Spa Dr.’ system or making your own with organic ingredients from the kitchen, you can actually reverse chronic conditions and inflammation.
Aloe and arnica are two of my favorite ingredients that help soothe the skin. Aloe Vera (aloe barbadensis) is renowned for soothing the skin and helps penetrate and transport healthy substances through the skin. It’s rich in nutrients and mucopolysaccharides (naturally occurring sugars that keep skin moist) and is renowned for its skin healing properties.
Arnica (Arnica montana) flower extract has powerful anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties that help alleviate pain, swelling and improves wound healing. It can prevent bruises from forming and can reduce the appearance of dark under-eye circles and dry, flaky, skin. These are two examples of natural ingredients that can reduce external inflammation externally but there are also ways you can reduce internal inflammation.
My approach to managing inflammation has two parts – inner soothing and outer soothing. Inner soothing address the root cause of internal inflammation and involves the removal of offending foods and choosing foods that are anti-inflammatory to help calm the inflammation.
Offending foods may not always cause an ‘allergic’ or immediate reactions but can cause a delayed reaction that may take up to 3 days to appear. This usually occurs when you are intolerant or sensitive to a food. Sometimes you may not even know what the offending food is or even make a connection. For example, feeling blah, or having a patch of itchy or dry skin, flushing, red spots, acne and even changes in body odor.
Internal inflammation can be squashed by adding more anti-inflammatory foods that help repair and nourish the gut for optimal healing. Together this twofold approach helps calm the immune system and helps restore the body to its natural state so it’s not always in ready to ‘fight’ mode.