11 Jun Skin Deep?
A Closer Look at Dermatological Issues
Paul A. Goldberg, MPH,DC,DACBN,DCBCN
Skin issues are a common reason patients come to the Goldberg Tener Clinic, sometimes as a primary issue, sometimes secondary to other issues they suffer with. Our patients have experienced both the disappearance of their skin issues and a most pleasant new beauty to their skin even though we never treat skin diseases. How is that possible?
The skin is the largest organ of the human body covering us from head to foot. It is, however, much more than a mere covering…it is living tissue interacting with both the outside world and the inner world including the immune, digestive, endocrine and nervous systems. The skin is reflective of a person’s general state of health. In addition, inside the body we are compartmentalized with skin like membranes covering the genito-urinary tract, auditory canals, vagina, urethra, gall bladder, etc.
Skin issues are both health issues and appearance issues. We all care about the way we look and the skin is the single most important organ in that regard. The billions of dollars spent on cosmetics, face lifts, tanning beds, facials, and millions of office visits to Dermatologists every year all speak to this. The majority of dollars spent, however, only go “skin deep” i.e. the application of lotions, creams and pharmaceutical agents can at most have only superficial effects on the skin’s health. The skin’s good health depends on the health of the rest of the body from which it derives its blood and nerve supply… its sustenance and direction.
We applaud Dermatologists for identifying skin cancers and other pathologies and in executing surgical procedures such as the removal of warts and other growths. The Goldberg Tener Clinic does not offer any form of medical diagnosis or treatment for skin disorders or any other medical condition. We strongly encourage all patients with chronic skin problems to seek the advice of their family practitioner, internist or dermatologist prior to or in conjunction with consulting us. While many skin conditions respond favorably to improving the overall health of the body through bio-hygienic/nutritional reform, it is prudent to also have a medical evaluation to rule out any serious underlying medical pathologies. In most cases patients consulting us have been to a medical physician prior to seeing us for medical treatments. Throughout our patient handouts and literature we make clear that the Goldberg Tener Clinic does not “treat” skin disorders of any type…yet by improving the general health of the body and addressing underlying nutritional and lifestyle issues many patients find that their skin problems greatly improve.
Dermatological Care as in other areas of Medicine largely involves the treatment of symptoms as opposed to causes.
There are a plethora of medical names for skin disease symptoms such as acne, dermatitis, eczema, impetigo, moles, psoriasis, rashes, ringworm, rosacea, vitligo, etc., each of which has a set of pharmaceutical treatments used to address them. Unfortunately, the treatments employed rarely address the patient’s overall health nor do they identify the causal factors involved in the problem’s genesis. In addition, many dermatological treatments employ steroids, antibiotics and other drugs that both fail to address causal factors and carry the risk of damaging side effects. It is notable that virtually any drug we apply to the skin will to a greater or lesser degree affect the rest of the body as well as it is absorbed.
A common diagnostic term utilized by Dermatologists is “dermatitis”. The patient enters the Dermatology office complaining of reddened and inflamed skin. The Physician hands the patient a tube of steroid cream or pills and tells them they have Dermatitis. What does dermatitis mean? Inflammation of the skin, i.e. reddened and inflamed skin. The cause has not been identified; steroids suppress the effects but not the cause. The term eczema is also widely bandied about, is of equally little specificity and often treated in the same way i.e. with steroids.
In our practice we see patients with chronic skin disorders of many varieties, yet we never “treat” skin disorders. Rather than treat the outside layer of the body (the skin) we seek out and address the causal factors responsible for the patient’s impaired health that have manifested through the skin. It is rare to find a patient with chronic skin problems who does not 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, allergies, are all just a few of the many complaints that may accompany skin disorders. Determining what the causes of these problems are and addressing them thoroughly serves us best in returning the skin to good health and the rest of the body along with it. It is of no surprise that patients who come to us complaining of other issues are commonly delighted at the improvement of their skin’s condition as their other health issues dissipate and their vitality increases.
Our patients know that in reversing chronic health issues the body has to often go through stages of healing that include ridding itself of toxic materials that have been stored up in the body. As this occurs, one of the eliminative channels utilized is the skin. It is not difficult to understand, therefore that in the recovery process a patient’s skin may at first go through an increase in their symptoms as wastes are discarded, prior to the restoration of the patient’s well being. This exacerbation is generally followed, however, with a great improvement in both the patients overall health and a dramatic improvement in the appearance and health of their skin. Discipline and persistence are sometimes critical to get the job done.
Those patients who have taken years of steroids, antibiotics and immunosuppressive drugs will have the greatest challenges to overcome. We have patients who have taken such drugs for five, ten or more years prior to seeing us. They will need to not only address the original reasons for their skin issues but also will also face the task of dealing with the toxic effects and dependency these pharmaceuticals bring with them.
Skin diseases are no different than other health issues in that the same basic steps must be taken:
Identify the reasons for why the skin issues are being manifested. Naming a skin disease does not accomplish this. Dermatitis, eczema and psoriasis are not causes of themselves. It is our long experience that each patient will have different reasons for having the skin problem they have even though they may have been given the same medical diagnosis.
Address the causes identified by guiding the patient through the steps needed to create the conditions for the restoration of health.
Health issues, whether primarily involving the skin, the bowels, the lungs, heart, immune system or any other system of the body all require addressing causes. They all require work on the part of the doctor to identify those causes and the dedicated work of the patient in addressing those causes with the doctor’s guidance.
The rewards of not only good skin health but of a high level of overall bodily vigor and vitality, of real health, make the work well worthwhile.
Click here for video interviews and more before/after pictures of patients at the Goldberg Tener Clinic who came to see us with a variety of chronic skin disorders.