The skin is the largest organ of the body. It is an insulator, barrier against infection, eliminative organ, and sense organ. Vitamin D is formed in the skin from the action of the sun.
Health conditions affecting the skin are mainly benign, but often unsightly and annoying. A few such as melanomas are potentially lethal. Nutrition and hair analysis research offer many insights into the causes and correction of skin conditions.
Oxidation Types And The Skin
The oil and sweat glands of the skin are controlled by the sympathetic nervous system through the thyroid and adrenal glands. Common symptoms of sluggish glandular activity (slow oxidation) include dry, rough skin and lack of sweating. Dry eczema and psoriasis are associated with slow oxidation. Slow oxidizers are often copper toxic and zinc deficient. Zinc deficiency is associated with many skin conditions.
Fast oxidizers, those with excessive adrenal and thyroid activity, tend to sweat profusely and have more oily skin. They tend more toward moist or weeping eczema. Fast oxidizers often have low zinc levels, contributing to their eczema, as well as to heat rashes and diaper rashes in babies. Fast oxidizers are also more prone to severe allergic skin reactions, such as hives, although this can occur in both metabolic types.
Copper And Zinc
Many skin conditions are related to copper and zinc imbalance. These include acne, psoriasis, eczema, vitiligo and other 'dermatitis'. Copper is needed for melanin production. Melanin is the pigment which gives skin its color. Copper is also involved in collagen synthesis. Zinc is involved in wound healing, and helps give collagen and other tissues their elastic quality. Zinc oxide ointment is a folk remedy for skin disorders.
Vitamin A, Vitamin E And The Skin
Vitamin A is needed for the integrity of the skin and mucus membranes. It works synergetically with zinc. Many skin conditions associated with zinc and copper imbalance respond better to a combination of zinc and vitamin A. Excessive vitamin A causes dryness and peeling of the skin. This is exploited in the creams that use Retin-A, a form of vitamin A, to peel the skin to remove wrinkles.
Vitamin E promotes healing of the skin, for which reason it is used in many skin creams. Vitamin E can be used topically, as well as ingested, for maximum benefit.
Essential Fatty Acids And The Skin
The American diet is low in the essential fatty acids, especially linoleic acid and linolenic acid. This deficiency can cause dry skin and conditions resembling eczema and psoriasis. Adding flaxseed oil, primrose oil, black current seed oil or borage oil to the diet is important for correction of some skin conditions.
Detoxification And Skin Disorders
The skin is an organ of elimination. If other organs of elimination - the kidneys, liver, lungs and colon - are not functioning well, often excess toxic substances will be eliminated through the skin. This is a common cause of skin symptoms.
Therapies to assist the eliminative organs often help the skin. These therapies include additional dietary fiber along with massage, skin brushing, enemas or colonic irrigation. For some cases of intractable acne and other conditions, these therapies are extremely beneficial.
Black radish root, ox bile and pancreatin can assist detoxification through the liver. Many other treatments from foot reflexology to yoga can help balance and strengthen the eliminative organs, indirectly helping the skin.
Depigmented spots or larger white areas of skin are called vitiligo. In Mexico, this condition was treated with large doses of valium. The patients were heavily sedated by the medication. Nutritional correction involves B-complex vitamins and especially PABA, glutathione and correction of copper imbalance. Patience is required for good results.
Due to the threat of skin cancer, medical authorities claim we must avoid the sun. It is true that ultraviolet radiation will age the skin. However, studies show that sunbathers have more skin cancer, but less internal cancer. In addition, malignant melanoma, the deadliest skin cancer, is more common among people who stay out of the sun and usually occurs on parts of the body not directly exposed to the sun.
Reasons for increased skin cancer include the southward migration of our population, poorer overall health, and perhaps tanning lotions. These lotions block ultraviolet B, but allow the ultraviolet A, which is supposedly harmless. By blocking the ultraviolet B, people may spend too much time in the sun, leading to subtle skin damage.
Sunlight should be considered a nutrient. Dr. John Ott wrote several books about the therapeutic value of sunlight. At many sanitariums, exposure to sunshine was an integral part of the therapy for tuberculosis and other chronic diseases. Obviously, overexposure to the sun is not beneficial. But some exposure, especially early or late in the day, is healthful. For more information, read The Hole in the Ozone Scare by Maduro and Schauerhammer, 1992.
The preceding statements have not been evaluated by the
Food and Drug Administration
This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.