The Natural Skin Solution

The Oily Crisis

Acne is a four-letter word, yet zit, pimple, boil, breakout and blemish are no better. While an effective treatment has been known for fifty years, the pharmaceutical industry is less interested in addressing the core problem than in providing a lifetime of cosmetics, cleansers, and OTC medications. Nor are many dermatologists eager to provide a permanent solution either, since they are paid by the visit not by curing patients.
To treat cystic acne, blackheads, scars, and greasy skin, we may turn to hormones, azaleic acid, Proactiv, dermabrasion, or overdose on zinc, selenium, B5, tetracycline and radiation to no avail. Most over-the-counter are worthless or harmful, or make outrageous promises about magical overnight cures, and products based on benzoyl peroxide, in particular, should not be used by anyone, because they might wipe out bad bacteria but also oxidize Vitamin A in the skin, which not only fails to stop the oil but invites more aggressive bacteria to worsen conditions beyond control.
And oil is the key, since bad bacteria require an anaerobic (oxygen-free) environment, and when excessive sebum pumped out by overactive sebaceous glands backs up inside pores, it supplies a perfect place for them to breed infection. So doctors bring out the big gun, Accutane. It may be harsh, but it does work (at least while you're using it) for it's the only prescription able to restrict oil production and thus evict bacteria from their happy home.

Vitamin A and Acutane image

Accutane is derived from Vitamin A, the very first vitamin discovered by scientists in 1913; however, arctic explorers found out about it the hard way a year earlier. They were running short on food and tried polar bear meat, but unable to stand the stringy flesh, they ate its liver instead. The meal containing up to 3 million IU, causing hair loss, itching, peeling, irritability, headache, vomiting and death. Of survivors, one reported his acne cured. About the same time, Eskimos were beginning to experience a strange plague of skin diseases, since they have strong livers and can store large amounts of the vitamin, yet due to a modern diet, they began to consume much less than their ancestors, leading to larger oil glands and ultimately cystic acne.
Everyone has a different "Minimum Daily Requirement" for Vitamin A, but not unlike the Eskimos, races that had once relied heavily on fatty fishes require high amounts for their skin. Still, the RDA must err on the side of caution to protect the masses, and this had burdened those of us with stronger livers with a poor complexion. Though pharmaceutical companies love to take advantage of our deficiencies, no one can dream of patenting a vitamin, so they invented a slew of Vitamin A derivatives like isotretinoin (Accutane), asking us to believe they're better than the real thing.
By the similarity of the molecules, it should be no surprise that Accutane overdose has identical side-effects to Vitamin A overdose: burning, itching, peeling, scaling, fatigue, headache, fractures, blurred vision, joint pain, dry lips, hair loss and liver dysfunction. This is because Accutane is not really a cure but a quick fix to a lifetime of deficiency, and following up to a year on it, users often find oil and pimples return, requiring a second, third, and fourth treatment but with no lasting relief. Lastly, Accutane's powerful side-effects means the "cure" is worse than acne itself, forcing us to choose between good health and a healthy complexion.

The Skin Solution

As surface oil is not the cause, washing ten times a day will not make a difference, and skin problems will persist unless the internal source can be turned off. Vitamin A derivatives like retinoic acid (Retin-A) are water-soluble for use in quick-drying creams, but they ignore a basic principle that oil and water do not mix, thus they cannot penetrate the skin, being water soluble. Alternatively, our topical Vitamin A Skin Solution is oil-based and easily overcomes the dermal barrier. Plus its self-moisturizing formula minimizes redness, peeling, or the need for lip balm, and thus is gentler on the face than Accutane though equally effective.
Those having merely a oily face or oily nose will notice a visible shine reduction following the first application. Users with mild acne may experience a brief purge depending on how many closed comedones need to be opened, but pimples will heal quickly and become progressively smaller and fewer in number as skin becomes smoother each day. Cystic acne is always the worst case and it can be tenacious, but even the most challenging skin conditions can be clear of blemishes, bumps, scars and discolorations in a matter of months.

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Skin Can Warm and Cool You

Your skin can help if you're feeling too hot or too cold. Your blood vessels, hair, and sweat glands cooperate to keep your body at just the right temperature. If you were to run around in the heat, you could get overheated. If you play outside when it's cold, your inner temperature could drop. Either way, your skin can help.

Your body is pretty smart. It knows how to keep your temperature right around 98.6° Fahrenheit (37° Celsius) to keep you and your cells healthy. Your skin can respond to messages sent out by your hypothalamus (say: hy-po-thal-uh-mus), the brain's inner thermometer. If you've been running around on a hot day, your blood vessels get the signal from the hypothalamus to release some of your body's heat. They do this by bringing warm blood closer to the surface of your skin. That's why you sometimes get a red face when you run around.To cool you down, sweat glands also swing into action by making lots of sweat to release body heat into the air. The hotter you are, the more sweat your glands make! Once the sweat hits the air, it evaporates (this means that it changes from a liquid to a vapor) off your skin, and you cool down.

What about when you're ice-skating or sledding? When you're cold, your blood vessels keep your body from losing heat by narrowing as much as possible and keeping the warm blood away from the skin's surface. You might notice tiny bumps on your skin. Most kids call these goosebumps, but the fancy name for them is the pilomotor (say: py-lo-mo-ter) reflex. The reflex makes special tiny muscles called the erector pili (say: ee-rek-tur pie-lie) muscles pull on your hairs so they stand up very straight.
Keep It Clean!

Unlike other organs (like your lungs, heart, and brain), your skin likes a good washing. When you wash your skin, use water and a mild soap. And don't forget to cover scrapes and cuts with gauze or a bandage. This keeps the dirt out and helps prevent infections. It's just one way to be kind to the skin you're in!

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Dermis=Lots of Blood Vessels

Your dermis is also full of tiny blood vessels. These keep your skin cells healthy by bringing them the oxygen and nutrients they need and by taking away waste. These blood vessels are hard to see in kids, but you might get a better look if you check out your grandparents' skin. As the dermis gets older, it gets thinner and easier to see through.

The dermis is home to the oil glands, too. These are also called sebaceous (say: sih-bay-shus) glands, and they are always producing sebum (say: see-bum). Sebum is your skin's own natural oil. It rises to the surface of your epidermis to keep your skin lubricated and protected. It also makes your skin waterproof — as long as sebum's on the scene, your skin won't absorb water and get soggy.You also have sweat glands on your epidermis. Even though you can't feel it, you actually sweat a tiny bit all the time. The sweat comes up through pores (say: pors), tiny holes in the skin that allow it to escape. When the sebum meets the sweat, they form a protective film that's a bit sticky.

An easy way to see this film in action is to pick up a pin with your fingers. Then wash your hands well with soap and water and dry them off completely. Now try to pick up that pin again. It won't be so easy because your sticky layer is gone! Don't worry — it will be back soon, as your sebaceous and sweat glands create more sticky stuff.
The Third Layer Is Subcutaneous Fat

The third and bottom layer of the skin is called the subcutaneous (say: sub-kyoo-tay-nee-us) layer. It is made mostly of fat and helps your body stay warm and absorb shocks, like if you bang into something or fall down. The subcutaneous layer also helps hold your skin to all the tissues underneath it.

This layer is where you'll find the start of hair, too. Each hair on your body grows out of a tiny tube in the skin called a follicle (say: fah-lih-kul). Every follicle has its roots way down in the subcutaneous layer and continues up through the dermis.

You have hair follicles all over your body, except on your lips, the palms of your hands, and the soles of your feet. And you have more hair follicles in some places than in others — there are more than 100,000 follicles on your head alone!

Your hair follicles rely on your sebaceous glands to bring on the shine. Connected to each follicle in the dermis layer is a tiny sebaceous gland that releases sebum onto the hair. This lightly coats the hair with oil, giving it some shine and a little waterproofing.

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Bye-Bye Skin Cells

These old cells are tough and strong, just right for covering your body and protecting it. But they only stick around for a little while. Soon, they'll flake off. Though you can't see it happening, every minute of the day we lose about 30,000 to 40,000 dead skin cells off the surface of our skin.

So just in the time it took you to read this far, you've probably lost about 40,000 cells. That's almost 9 pounds (4 kilograms) of cells every year! But don't think your skin might wear out someday. Your epidermis is always making new skin cells that rise to the top to replace the old ones. Most of the cells in your epidermis (95%) work to make new skin cells.

And what about the other 5%? They make a substance called melanin (say: mel-uh-nun). Melanin gives skin its color. The darker your skin is, the more melanin you have. When you go out into the sun, these cells make extra melanin to protect you from getting burned by the sun's ultraviolet, or UV, rays.

That's why your skin gets tan if you spend a lot of time in the sun. But even though melanin is mighty, it can't shield you all by itself. You'll want to wear sunscreen and protective clothing, such as a hat, to prevent painful sunburns. Protecting your skin now also can help prevent skin cancer when you get older.The Dermis Is Under the Epidermis

The next layer down is the dermis (say: dur-mis). You can't see your dermis because it's hidden under your epidermis. The dermis contains nerve endings, blood vessels, oil glands, and sweat glands. It also contains collagen and elastin, which are tough and stretchy.

The nerve endings in your dermis tell you how things feel when you touch them. They work with your brain and nervous system, so that your brain gets the message about what you're touching. Is it the soft fur of a cat or the rough surface of your skateboard?

Sometimes what you feel is dangerous, so the nerve endings work with your muscles to keep you from getting hurt. If you touch something hot, the nerve endings in your dermis respond right away: "Ouch! That's hot!" The nerves quickly send this message to the brain or spinal cord, which then immediately commands the muscles to take your hand away. This all happens in a split second, without you ever thinking about it.

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your skin.......

You might be surprised to find out it's the skin, which you might not think of as an organ. No matter how you think of it, your skin is very important. It covers and protects everything inside your body. Without skin, people's muscles, bones, and organs would be hanging out all over the place. Skin holds everything together. It also:
protects our bodies
helps keep our bodies at just the right temperature
allows us to have the sense of touch
Don't Miss Your Epidermis

The skin is made up of three layers, each with its own important parts. The layer on the outside is called the epidermis (say: eh-pih-dur-mis). The epidermis is the part of your skin you can see.

Look down at your hands for a minute. Even though you can't see anything happening, your epidermis is hard at work. At the bottom of the epidermis, new skin cells are forming.When the cells are ready, they start moving toward the top of your epidermis. This trip takes about 2 weeks to a month. As newer cells continue to move up, older cells near the top die and rise to the surface of your skin. What you see on your hands (and everywhere else on your body) are really dead skin cells.

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What is Skin Cancer?

Cancer develops when DNA, the molecule found in cells that encodes genetic information, becomes damaged and the body cannot repair the damage. These damaged cells begin to grow and divide uncontrollably. When this occurs in the skin, skin cancer develops. As the damaged cells multiply, they form a tumor. Since skin cancer generally develops in the epidermis, the outermost layers of skin, a tumor is usually clearly visible. This makes most skin cancers detectable in the early stages.

Types of Skin Cancer
Three types of skin cancer account for nearly 100% of all diagnosed cases. Each of these three cancers begins in a different type of cell within the skin, and each cancer is named for the type of cell in which it begins. Skin cancers are divided into one of two classes - nonmelanoma skin cancers and melanoma. Melanoma is the deadliest form of skin cancer.

The different types of skin cancer are:Basal cell carcinoma (BCC): The most common cancer in humans, BCC develops in more than 1 million people every year in the United States alone. About 80% of all skin cancers are BCC, a cancer that develops in the basal cells - skin cells located in the lowest layer of the epidermis. BCC can take several forms. It can appear as a shiny translucent or pearly nodule, a sore that continuously heals and then re-opens, a pink slightly elevated growth, reddish irritated patches of skin, or a waxy scar. Most BCCs appear on skin with a history of exposure to the sun, such as the face, ears, scalp, and upper trunk. These tumors tend to grow slowly and can take years to reach ½ inch in size. While these tumors very rarely metastasize (cancer spreads to other parts of the body), dermatologists encourage early diagnosis and treatment to prevent extensive damage to surrounding tissue.

Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC): About 16% of diagnosed skin cancers are SCC. This cancer begins in the squamous cells, which are found in the upper layer of the epidermis. About 200,000 cases are diagnosed ever year. SCC tends to develop in fair-skinned middle-aged and elderly people who have had long-term sun exposure. It most often appears as a crusted or scaly area of skin with a red inflamed base that resembles a growing tumor, non-healing ulcer, or crusted-over patch of skin. While most commonly found on sun-exposed areas of the body, it can develop anywhere, including the inside of the mouth and the genitalia. SCC may arise from actinic keratoses, which are dry, scaly lesions that may be skin-colored, reddish-brown or yellowish-black. SCC requires early treatment to prevent metastasis (spreading).

Melanoma: Accounting for about 4% of all diagnosed skin cancers, melanoma begins in the melanocytes, cells within the epidermis that give skin its color. Melanoma has been coined “the most lethal form of skin cancer” because it can rapidly spread to the lymph system and internal organs. In the United States alone, approximately one person dies from melanoma every hour. Older Caucasian men have the highest mortality rate. Dermatologists believe this is due to the fact that they are less likely to heed the early warning signs. With early detection and proper treatment, the cure rate for melanoma is about 95%. Once its spreads, the prognosis is poor. Melanoma most often develops in a pre-existing mole or looks like a new mole, which is why it is important for people to know what their moles look like and be able to detect changes to existing moles and spot new moles.

Other nonmelanoma skin cancers: All other skin cancers combined account for less than 1% of diagnosed cases. These are classified as nonmelanoma skin cancers and include Merkel cell carcinoma, dermatofibromasarcoma protuberans, Paget’s disease and cutaneous T-cell lymphoma.

Sun exposure is the leading cause of skin cancer. According to the American Cancer Society, “Many of the more than 1 million skin cancers diagnosed each year could be prevented with protection from the sun’s rays.” Scientists now know that exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays damages DNA in the skin. The body can usually repair this damage before gene mutations occur and cancer develops. When a person’s body cannot repair the damaged DNA, which can occur with cumulative sun exposure, cancer develops.

In some cases, skin cancer is an inherited condition. Between 5% and 10% of melanomas develop in people with a family history of melanoma.

Who Gets Skin Cancer?
Skin cancer develops in people of all colors, from the palest to the darkest. However, skin cancer is most likely to occur in those who have fair skin, light-colored eyes, blonde or red hair, a tendency to burn or freckle when exposed to the sun, and a history of sun exposure. Anyone with a family history of skin cancer also has an increased risk of developing skin cancer. In dark-skinned individuals, melanoma most often develops on non-sun-exposed areas, such as the foot, underneath nails, and on the mucous membranes of the mouth, nasal passages, or genitals. Those with fair skin also can have melanoma develop in these areas.

Skin Cancer Rates Rising
While Americans now recognize that overexposure to the sun is unhealthy, the fact remains that most do not protect their skin from the sun’s harmful rays. As a result, skin cancer is common in the United States. More than 1 million nonmelanoma skin cancers are diagnosed each year, and approximately one person dies from melanoma every hour.

If current trends continue, 1 in 5 Americans will develop skin cancer during their lifetime. Melanoma continues to rise at an alarming rate. In 1930, 1 in 5,000 Americans was likely to develop melanoma during their lifetime. By 2004, this ratio jumped to 1 in 65. Today, melanoma is the second most common cancer in women aged 20 to 29.

Prevention and Early Detection Key
Sun protection can significantly decrease a person’s risk of developing skin cancer. Sun protection practices include staying out of the sun between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. when the rays are strongest, applying a broad-spectrum (offers UVA and UVB protection) sunscreen with a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of 15 or higher year-round to all exposed skin, and wearing a protective clothing, such as a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses when outdoors.

Since skin cancer is so prevalent today, dermatologists also recommend that everyone learn how to recognize the signs of skin cancer, use this knowledge to perform regular examinations of their skin, and see a dermatologist annually (more frequently if at high risk) for an exam. Skin cancer is highly curable with early detection and proper treatment.

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Skin Cancer

The sun has taken a lot of blame for our increased rates of skin cancers (along with the depletion of the ozone layer), but research uncovered by Dr David G Williams [Alternatives, April 1993; 4: 22] shows that the sun might not be the culprit, and hiding from the sun by using sunscreens can not only increase your chances of skin cancer, but it can increase your chances of all sorts of problems by interfering with vitamin D synthesis.

According to Dr Williams: "Despite what you may have been led to believe, there is not adequate scientific data to support the belief that sunscreens prevent skin cancer (melanomas or basal cell cancers)."
Melanin, Dr Williams points out, was thought to be only the pigment responsible for tanning, however, it has other important roles: it absorbs the UVA’s, UVB’s, and UVC’s in ultraviolet light, and neutralized oxygen free radicals during the invasion of bacteria, fungi, and viruses, and from exposure to light. When you use a sunscreen, the melanocytes are not stimulated to produce melanin, which actually interferes with the skin’s natural ability to protect against the harmful effects of ultraviolet light. Additionally, without melanin, the UVA’s are allowed to penetrate deeper and bombard blood vessels, nerves, and other tissues.

Your primary source of vitamin D comes from the sun. The use of sunscreens interferes with our body’s natural synthesis of this vitamin. The increased use of sunscreens has created such a deficiency of vitamin D that some researchers feel that mother’s milk is nearly devoid of vitamin D and that newborns need extra supplementation to avoid rickets.

In addition to a rise in rickets in America, Dr Williams describes a number of problems associated with vitamin D deficiencies: hearing loss at high frequencies, increased dental cavities, increased hip fractures, increase in colorectal cancer, breast cancer.

From the a few practitioners in the Wellness Directory of Minnesota™, we have discovered another contributor to our rise in skin cancer rates: trans fatty oils or as they are commonly referred to: Partially Hydrogenated Oils. It’s hard to believe that our hospitals are still serving margarine as a safe alternative to butter. The trans fatty oils in margarine (the industry is escalating their use as we write this: frozen foods, cocoas, breads and pastries, canned processed foods, cream soups, and the list goes on; obviously we all must learn to read labels) are responsible for a host of cancers. They stiffen your body’s cells not allowing nutrition to pass in or toxins to pass out. Dr Johanna Budwig’s research has demonstrated that certain wavelengths of sunlight vibrate at the same frequency as the chemical bonds in unsaturated fatty acids (trans fatty oils are unsaturated). This, she feels, leads to early mutations that can become skin cancers. Additionally, Dr Budwig feels that for a free flow of nutrients to your cells and elimination of toxins, your body needs the supersaturated fatty acids (Omega-3 oils) bound to protein (especially bound to protein if your liver is weak). See the section on Dr Budwig and Omega-3s in the article Alternative Cancer Therapies.

Budwig's theories from the fifties have been proven in the nineties. The World Health Organization has published statistics on skin cancer rates of various nations. Take a good look at Mexico. Skin cancer was once virtually unknown there. Today their rates of melanoma are approaching those of the US. We are told to stay out of the sun. The only sun bathers in Mexico, except for the extreme rich (less than 1% of the population) are vacationers. Yet how did their incidence of skin cancer quadruple over night? Ozone layer effect?

The answer is actually quite simple. For centuries Mexicans have cooked in lard. America's advertising is far reaching and the Mexicans, especially along the US border, to be in vogue and tasteful, have bought into our lies and picked up on many of our habits. Lard usage has dropped, margarine usage has risen, and you can graph its rise right along with the rise of skin cancer. The proof lies in the low incidence of skin cancer among the poor in low population density areas away from modern supermarkets. Their skin cancer rates have not increased. They still use lard.

Then how do you protect against the damaging effects of sunlight? Beta carotene and vitamin C seem to give us some protection. Hats and extra (light) clothing will help. And from Dr Williams’s research, you can make a sunscreen from vitamin C. Using vitamin C crystals (the buffered types don’t seem to work), make a 10% solution and spray it on 10 to 15 minutes before going into the sun, and continue to apply it liberally. You can use a liquid solution in a spray bottle, or add the vitamin C it to your favorite Aloe Vera gel (from Simply Natural Products; after six years, our research shows SMP to manufacture the best aloe products, bar none). It seems that this simple 10% solution of Vitamin C in water (or in aloe gel) also helps acne, eczema, and psoriasis. [Alternatives, March 1993; 4:21]

We found another skin cancer remedy in Dr Williams's September issue of Alternatives: the Devil’s Apple (Solanum sodomaeum) which contains the glycoalkaloid, solasodine. A medical researcher and biochemist Dr Bill Cham has been rigorously testing a glycoalkaloid cream he developed, and Dr Willimas points out:Not only was the cream totally free from an biochemical or clinical side effects, it also proved to be virtually 100 percent effective in the prevention and treatment of solar keratoses, basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma.

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