01 Nov Overcoming Chronic Skin Conditions
A Mirror of Our Internal Environment
By Dr. Paul Goldberg
The skin serves as a means of communication for the nervous system giving us ongoing messages of irritations that might afflict us from the outside world as well as allowing us a multitude of pleasurable sensations. It manufactures coloring (melanin) to protect us from the sun’s rays and keeps itself moist by secreting oil. It keeps us from overheating through perspiration through which it also helps eliminates body wastes. The skin is clearly more than just a covering. It is a highly sensitive, information receiving, temperature and water regulating, protective organ (the largest organ in the body) that acts as a grand communicator and guardian with the outside world.
As we grow older into our 30’s, 40’s, 50’s 60’s and beyond, our skin begins to wrinkle, discolor and lose its youthful vitality, and we become increasingly aware of how the health and appearance of our skin affects the way we look overall. It is little wonder that our youth oriented society spends billions of dollars each year for skin care products and services. Books, television, magazine ads and other media instruments tout a host of creams, pills, lotions, treatments, potions and procedures all dedicated to improving the skin’s appearance. All of these are expensive, transient in nature, carry significant inherent dangers, and do nothing to enhance the general health of the individual.
Those afflicted with serious skin disorders such as skin cancer, psoriasis, chronic eczema and other afflictions know all too well what a devastating effect chronic skin ailments can have on one’s life including not only the individual’s self image but in some cases also the person’s ability to survive and live a full life.
The important message to convey to those with dermatological afflictions is that most chronic skin problems are issues that go more than “skin deep,” and should be addressed in more than a superficial manner. The skin is reflective of the general state of health and well being of the body. It is a mirror of our vitality and body wide efficiency. The skin is nourished by the same blood that is circulated to all the other tissues of the body and relies on the same organs and glands of the body (e.g. the GI tract, the immune system and the endocrine system) for its well-being.
Addressing Causes Rather than Symptoms of Chronic Skin Conditions
At the Goldberg Tener Clinic we see patients with chronic skin disorders of many types and yet we never “treat” skin conditions. Rather than treat the outside layer of the body (the skin) as is commonly done in medical and alternative approaches, we seek out and address causal factors responsible for a patient’s impaired health. It is rare to find a patient with chronic skin problems who does not also have other complaints as well. Indigestion, fatigue, constipation, diarrhea, gas, bloating, depression, lack of appetite, insomnia, headaches, migraines, arthritis, muscular pains, back aches, irregular menses and allergies are all just a few of the many complaints we find that accompany a variety of skin disorders. It is in determining what the causes of these problems are and in addressing them thoroughly that serves us best in returning the skin to good health.
Genetic Components of Psoriasis, Eczema, Rosacea and Other Chronic Skin Conditions
Some skin symptoms such as psoriasis, rosacea and eczema can have a strong genetic component to them resulting in the patient having a re-occurring tendency toward their problem. Even when this is the case, however, most chronic skin problems require environmental factors to trigger them and it is therefore the environmental component of skin conditions that can be most effectively addressed.
Environmental Factors in Chronic Skin Conditions
I. Dietary Factors
II. Sleep and Rest Patterns
III. Sunlight Exposure
IV. Pure Water Intake
V. External Cleanliness
VI. Allergens (diet and atmospheric)
VII. Environmental Toxins
VIII. Gut Microflora Involvement
IX. Emotional Stress
XI. Earth Connections
Addressing Factors Specific to Each Case
Everyone is unique no matter what the diagnosis is. A thorough history, physical examination, and appropriate functional laboratory testing, including nutritional/biochemical analysis will help identify the specific features about you that can be crucial to your recovery.