Diet and supplements for pyoderma faciale

If you’re suffering from pyoderma faciale, the most severe form of rosacea, I’ve noticed from personal experience that diet is the No. 1 thing you can change right now to improve symptoms. Over the years I’ve narrowed down the list of trigger foods for me. I’m betting that there is some variation between individuals, but this is a great baseline to help get your skin under control quickly.

The main issue with an autoimmune disorder like PD, like with so many other disorders, is internal inflammation. It took years to build to this critical level, so even though it may seem like it popped up overnight, it was years in the making. The good news is, if you are diligent with diet and supplementation, you can start seeing an improvement in days.

Here’s my diet plan:

• Drink lots of water. Aim for 48 ounces of water or non-carbonated beverages per day, and invest in a good water filter pitcher to eliminate heavy metals AND flouride. I use AquaGear.

• Eliminate gluten first. Do not cheat on this one. I’ve heard that gluten in Europe does not cause inflammation like here in the states, but if you’re living in the U.S., then eliminating gluten is crucial due to the pesticide contamination.

• Eliminate all seafood products and supplements. This one snuck up on me, but I was able to figure it out this summer after eating shrimp during a trip. I had also been taking taking fish oil supplements, and it took me several weeks to figure out it was making things worse, not better. The quality of our seafood is compromised because of all the pollution and heavy metals in the water, so if you’re battling inflammation, skip all seafood.

• Eliminate coffee, chocolate, dairy, and alcohol if needed. Cheap chocolate especially will keep my face flared up for months, but really I need to avoid all forms of chocolate. I have a hard time with coffee, but if I brew my own and limit sweeteners to two packets of raw sugar, I can manage without having a bad flare.

• Eliminate tea – white, green, black, pu-erh and oolong – anything made with actual tea leaves. Tea leaves are high in flouride, as are grapes and raisins.

• Add chia seeds to your diet, preferably soaked. Chia seeds have all 9 amino acids (making it a complete protein) and omega-3s plus calcium and other trace minerals. Win-win-win.

My topical and supplement plan:

• I use emu oil several times a day on my face. If my face starts burning, I apply it and let my skin tell me how many times a day. Emu oil penetrates to the dermal layer, speeding cell turnover and creating healthier skin cells. I use Emu Gold because it comes in a glass bottle with a pump, so there is less chance of contamination.

• I also use Straight Hemp topically on lesions and internally, 3 drops under my tongue before bed, to fight inflammation while I sleep.

• I clean my face three times a week with a gentle, emu-based cleanser and let it rest in between to maintain the acid mantle. My skin has always improved the less I wash it. Unfortunately, the manufacturer of my emu cleanser changed the formulation, so I’m looking for a new one and scraping out the bottom of my current bottle.

• I live in Florida, so sunscreen is important. I use Neutrogena sensitive skin sunscreen 60+ SPF. Added bonus: the whiteness of the sunscreen tones down the redness if I’m having a flare.

• Skin health starts in the gut, so I choose probiotics that are fermented and mostly low-histamine strains. My favorite is Dr. Ohira’s. I will take anywhere from 1 to 5 capsules a day. If I want them to populate my upper GI, I chew them and swallow, and if I want them to populate my lower GI I just swallow them like normal, and swallow a last dose before bed.

Although these recommendations are for pyoderma faciale, this is a good starting point for developing plans of care for other skin conditions instead of trying to figure it out from scratch. If you’ve noticed, many of the food guidelines are due to pesticide and heavy metal contamination, so always buy organic if possible and support groups who address environmental and food safety issues. The diet restrictions may seem too harsh at first, but once you notice what helps your skin and what harms it, it’s pretty easy to make choices that will have you looking and feeling better, too.

Nicole Noles Collins is a licensed acupuncture physician at Vitalichi Acupuncture. Nicole has two bachelor’s degrees – Alternative Medicine and Professional Health Sciences – as well as a master’s degree in Traditional Chinese Medicine. She has a passion for both writing and natural health. Please visit her website at http://www.pcacupuncture.abmp.com and like her Facebook page at Vitalichi Acupuncture. For more information, call 941-979-9793.

 

CBD oil and seborrheic keratosis

You know how minor health issues have a way of sneaking up on you? One of mine was a grayish looking wart that had popped up on my face and stayed for a couple of years. Because I had been briefly seeing a dermatologist for pyoderma faciale, and she hadn’t been able to help me with a medication I could tolerate, I was on my last visit. So as an afterthought before I left I asked her about the weird spot on my cheek that was way different than the rest of the mess on my face.

She told me it was a noncancerous seborrheic keratosis, gave me a pamphlet about it, and told me I could have it removed. Quite frankly, I wasn’t ready to spend the money, and hoped that somewhere along the way, once I got the PD under control I’d worry about it then.

Fast forward two years. I started carrying Straight Hemp in my clinic, so I had plenty to try on myself. It helped my mood, the inflammation on my face, my ankle joints, and three drops a night under my tongue helped me sleep, too. Win-win-win-win!

One night I put the CBD oil on the PD lesions, and figured, “Hey, might as well get the warty thing too.” I woke up the next morning, and I swore it was starting to flake at the edges and it was a bit itchy. Three or so days later, most of it had peeled off, layer by layer. For another week, I had the smallest of skin tags where it had been, and now that’s gone too. In fact, I’m not sure where the seborrheic keratosis actually was on my face, because now I can’t see a trace of it.

It’s commonly accepted that it’s an ok choice not to treat seborrheic keratosis because it’s not usually an acute problem, but the only way to fix it is to remove it. I have to say though, I was happy with the results from the Straight Hemp CBD oil, and since this is considered a “normal” sign of aging, I plan to try it again if needed. In the meantime, this is a noninvasive treatment I will be recommending to patients too.

Nicole Noles Collins is a licensed acupuncture physician at Vitalichi Acupuncture. Nicole has two bachelor’s degrees – Alternative Medicine and Professional Health Sciences – as well as a master’s degree in Traditional Chinese Medicine. She has a passion for both writing and natural health. Please visit her website at http://www.pcacupuncture.abmp.com and like her Facebook page at Vitalichi Acupuncture. For more information, call 941-979-9793.

 

 

Kick your butts to the curb

Now is always the best time to quit smoking. Chinese medicine can help kick your butts to the curb and mitigate the oxidative damage that smoking causes.
With the five pillars of health, your acupuncture physician can help guide you through your journey to wean off nicotine.

There are many supportive lifestyle changes you can make to help ease the journey.

Diet

In Chinese medicine, the theory goes that smoking creates a dry type of heat in the lungs, which is not good for health. For current smokers and new quitters, I recommend they consume organic pears and apples, which replenishes the moisture the lungs need to function properly.

Some studies have found quitters who ate more servings of salads or fruits and vegetables in general had better quit rates. Either way, that’s not a bad diet recommendation.
Smoking depletes antioxidants, so current and former smokers need more than the average person.

When the jitters hit, have cough drops or hard candies handy to distract you and give your mouth something to do.

Staying hydrated also plays a big role in the quitting process. Lemon and lime water can help flush the body of the toxins inhaled during smoking, and it’s important to rid your body of that nicotine “taste” as soon as possible.

Remember, quitting smoking is a detox process. A good diet and plenty of fluids will help make that easier.

Exercise

Many patients worry that quitting smoking will lead to weight gain. It happens a lot, so talk with your health care team and develop a plan that will work for you.

Exercise is also a good distraction for when the cravings hit. Tai chi and yoga, which are meditative exercises, can help still the jittery mind.

Aerobic exercise helps you sweat, which is another way to excrete the chemicals from smoking.
Remember to check with your health care team before starting any new program and stay hydrated before, during and after exercise.

Bodywork

Quitting smoking is stressful, and there’s no sense denying that. Massage is a great way to reduce emotional and physical stress, plus it also helps improve circulation. Self-massage is also effective, according to a study published in 1999 that taught patients how to massage their hand or ear to help reduce cravings. (1) I’ll talk more about that in the acupuncture section.

Chiropractic focuses on maximizing the function of your nervous system, so it’s a great adjunct during the detox process while your nervous system adjusts to your new nicotine-free reality. Remember, your body has not only become accustomed to having nicotine, but now believes nicotine is necessary to function well, and it will take time to re-educate your nervous system.

Herbal medicine

There are quitting smoking teas you can get from Chinese import stores or your acupuncture physician. Personally, my patients report so-so results with the tea, so I just steer them in the direction of a good green tea, which has been shown to reduce oxidative damage in smoke-exposed rats. (2) Most stop smoking teas have a base of green tea anyway, so just pick one you like and learn to brew it correctly. You can drink it hot or iced, and it pairs nicely with honey and lemon. (Check out my previous article on green tea for tips).

If you are interested in herbal medicine, your acupuncture physician will most likely prescribe a formula that improves your constitution or addresses specific health problems, along with guiding you in the right direction for any nutritional supplements you may need.

Acupuncture

Acupuncture can help your body adjust to your new, smoke-free reality. There are several options to help you navigate this new reality: full-body acupuncture, NADA and ear seeds.

A full-body acupuncture session addresses constitutional complaints and acute problems. It takes longer because your acupuncture physician will talk to you before each session, check your tongue and/or pulse, and come up with a Chinese medicine differential diagnosis, before needling you. Needles are typically placed in the head, torso, arms and legs while you lay down on a treatment table. A full session typically takes around an hour.

NADA is a specific set of protocols for needling points in the ear based on whatever addictions need to be addressed — eating, smoking, alcohol, etc. Needles are placed in the ears only, based on the protocol needed, and there is no diagnosis involved, so it takes less time, too. You can read or sit in a chair during this type of treatment, to help distract you. This is a good treatment to get on your lunch break, for example.

Remember that bit about self-massage on the ear for reducing cravings? A treatment with ear seeds is a lot like a NADA protocol treatment, except you keep the seeds on your ears for about five days, and you press them and massage your ear during the day when you have cravings. You can do this treatment by itself, or with acupuncture or NADA treatments.

Last but not least, do not underestimate the power of personal support. It may not have its own pillar in Chinese medicine, but having your own cheer squad of family, friends and health care professionals is vital for your success. A study released this month found that a combination of counseling and exercise encouraged people to try quitting more often and also reduced the amount smoked, although it was the counseling that had the most effect. (3) So before you quit, ask for help and set up a reward system for yourself for every day you resist smoking. Every day you don’t smoke is a victory for your health, even if it takes you multiple tries. So don’t give up if it takes you a few tries to get it right.

You weren’t born a smoker, and with the help of Chinese medicine, you can kick those butts to the curbs — for good.

Nicole Noles Collins is a licensed acupuncture physician and massage therapist in Florida. Nicole has two bachelor’s degrees – Alternative Medicine and Professional Health Sciences – as well as a master’s degree in Traditional Chinese Medicine. She has a passion for both writing and natural health. Please visit her website at www.pcacupuncture.abmp.com and like her Facebook page at Vitalichi Acupuncture. For more information, call 941-979-9793.

1.) Smoking cravings are reduced by self-massage. Prev Med. 1999 Jan.
2.) Chinese green tea consumption reduces oxidative stress, inflammation and tissues damage in smoke exposed rats. Iran J Basic Med Sci. 2014 Oct.
3.) An exploratory analysis of the smoking and physical activity outcomes from a pilot randomized controlled trial of an exercise assisted reduction to stop (EARS) smoking intervention in disadvantaged groups. Nicotine Tob Res. 2015 May 11

Skin care starts from the inside out

A lot of people mistake me for my daughter’s older sister. Most people don’t peg me for 40 unless they see me first thing in the morning (I’m definitely NOT a morning person). Although I do sport quite a deep liver line (in Chinese medicine we call the crease between the eyes the liver line – it’s an indicator of stress or eyestrain) the rest of my face is fairly wrinkle free.

I get a lot of compliments on my skin, but that wasn’t always the case. I had the chicken pox twice as a child, and the second time left me badly scarred on my forehead and nose. Severe acne runs in my family too, and I certainly wasn’t immune as a teen. And my fellow TCM students saw firsthand the severe case of rosacea plus melasma I dealt with during my last pregnancy / miscarriage. I battled that for two years before getting it under control (but not cured, it’s a chronic thing). So I’ve learned a lot about skin issues. And I’ve been on the wrong side of staring and rude comments too.

Like it or not, people do judge other people by their skin. But it’s not just about beauty – our skin is the biggest organ of protection we have, and we as a society tend to treat it like a measure of beauty only and not of health. It’s not vain to take care of your skin; it’s just as important as taking care of the rest of you.

If you want beautiful skin, you have to be willing to work on it everyday for the rest of your life. It’s not hard, but it does take a little discipline and some dietary adjustments.

Here are my DOs and DON’Ts for beautiful skin:

• DO drink water. There is no substitute for hydrating your skin. If you are low on water, your internal organs get first dibs and shorts your skin. The rule of thumb I use is drinking half my body weight in ounces each day. Mind you, I don’t always make that benchmark, but I see a huge difference when I do stay hydrated. I especially love Voss water from Norway. I also keep an AquaGear water filter pitcher in the office. Nix the crystal light packets or anything with artificial sugar; there are plenty of cleaner versions of flavor packets available now. You can deal, especially if you have a good tasting water. Add a slice of lemon or lime if you have to have a little flavor.

• DO see a professional. It’s your choice whether you see a dermatologist, esthetician, Chinese doctor, or any combination. My dad and sister see a doctor. I have an awesome skin care specialist Nadine Toriello who helped me get my skin back to healthy. There are quite a few Chinese herbal formulas to help acne and itchy skin too. I used one to help help with the itching. Whichever route you go, it’s important to not pay attention to other people’s well-meaning but perhaps not accurate advice. Everyone who took one look at the oozing, itchy red-butterfly shaped mess on my face had a fix for me. Most of it made my face worse, not better. (And no, I don’t have lupus. I was diagnosed with a severe form of rosacea, pyoderma faciale, by a doctor. I also had symptoms as a child but had no idea what it was back then). Even some professionals I saw recommended things I felt weren’t appropriate, and it turned out they weren’t. So listen to your inner voice, and if you don’t see good results or it aggravates your skin don’t be afraid to speak up.

• DO create a full beauty routine. Emu oil is my go-to topical product, which I use daily. I also have a corrective makeup pallet that I can use to cover whatever blemishes I have. There’s nothing wrong with making your skin look the best it can every day.

• DO wear sunscreen. Every day. It will make a difference.

• DO remember that your skin “eats.” If you wouldn’t put it in your mouth, don’t put it on your skin. I use all natural soaps and neem shampoo (especially important since your hair gets on your face all the time). What I do get is amazingly soft and not-dry skin with a clean feeling that no other soap matches. Even the stuff in health food stores can be full of junk like gluten, parabens, phthalates, petrolatum or sulfates. Read labels. Every time.

• DO get a good night’s sleep each night. Enough said.

• DON’T drink alcohol, coffee, black or red teas, chocolate or spicy foods; limit the dairy and red meat too. Inflammation starts from the inside, and most of it comes from our diet. A lifetime of poor diet choices will show up on your face. My skin looks so much better when I avoid these things. I can see a difference within hours if I eat something inappropriate for my skin. Yes, it hurts. This is the hardest change to make, I won’t lie, but it is worth it. And when you do indulge, make sure the situation is worth it. You may want to invest in a good anti-inflammation diet book if you are ready to go hard-core. I think Dr. Perricone has one.

• DON’T touch or scratch your face. Wash your hands before and after if you must touch  your face. My rosacea itched and flaked so bad! It was nasty, and it was hard not to mess with it. That’s one reason why it’s so important to get a good serum for your face – if your skin isn’t itchy, you won’t touch it, and it will heal faster.

• DON’T let stress get to you – it will show up on your face! Massage, aromatherapy and acupuncture treat stress well.

• DON’T use those fancy microderm abrasion cloths unless your skin care professional tells you to. Learned that one the hard way too.

And here is the most important tip to remember:

• DO tell yourself you are beautiful, every time you look in the mirror. It doesn’t matter how scarred or acne-ridden or itchy your face is. It doesn’t matter what other people think or say about it either. You are beautiful, exactly the way you are. OWN IT! You deserve to feel beautiful everyday of your life.

Nicole Noles Collins is a licensed acupuncture physician and massage therapist at Vitalichi Acupuncture in Port Charlotte, Florida. Nicole has two bachelor’s degrees – Alternative Medicine and Professional Health Sciences – as well as a master’s degree in Traditional Chinese Medicine. She has a passion for both writing and natural health. Please visit her website at www.pcacupuncture.abmp.com and like her Facebook page at Vitalichi Acupuncture. For more information, call 941-979-9793.