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 Nutritional Programs: Nutritional Program for Skin Enhancement  
 


Skin-Supporting Nutrients

WaterCalcium Essential fatty acids
FiberSeleniumOlive oil
Vitamin AZincCod liver oil
Beta-caroteneSilicaLinseed oil
Vitamin CB vitaminsOmega-3 fatty acids (EPA)
Vitamin EVitamin B6Gamma-linolenic acid (GLA)
BiotinAll amino acids
L-cysteine
L-proline

Common Skin Conditions
Skin problems include dry skin, dandruff, acne, poison oak or ivy and other types of contact dermatitis, and psoriasis. There are, of course, a variety of bug bites or infections that generate self-limited skin eruptions. Some, like staphylococcus infections, which commonly cause painful boils, may require the use of antibiotics or a more long-range detoxification/blood purifying program in addition to topical care of the problem.

Dry skin is a fairly common problem that can give rise to painful cracks and fissures, or at least a look of low vitality. Dry skin may result from poor nourishment, dehydration, or soap and chemical exposure. Certain hormonal problems, such as low thyroid function, could also lead to xeroderma (dry skin); any problem like this would need to be found and corrected. With dry skin, more water is usually indicated, as are the essential oils. Supplemental olive oil internally and externally will usually be helpful. A supplement formula with vitamin A and beta-carotene, the B vitamins, and zinc is also useful.

Dandruff is a form of dry skin of the scalp. Often this results from an improper diet high in certain fats, such as hydrogenated fats and fried fats, and deficient in important essential fatty acids, which are found in the vegetable oils and fresh nuts and seeds. Lots of mental activity and poor water intake usually underlie a dandruff condition. Food allergies or deficiencies of the B vitamins, beta-carotene, and minerals, such as zinc, are also possible causes. Seborrheic dermatitis is a specific oil-based irregularity of the skin and scalp. Selenium sulfide (Selsun) shampoos are often helpful in the treatment of dandruff. An overnight olive oil wrap may remoisturize the skin and clear the snowstorm. To apply such a wrap, shampoo and let hair almost dry, or just dampen it slightly. Apply cold-pressed olive oil and massage it into the scalp. Wrap with a towel and sleep, then shampoo in the morning. Additional amounts of nutrients such as vitamins A, B6, C, and E, zinc, selenium, and essential fatty acids may help correct the dandruff problem from the inside out.

Acne, a common problem in teenagers, results from a combination of hormone stimulation, production of irritating fatty acids by certain bacteria, stress, and poor diet. Acne vulgaris (the medical name) is tied to an overproduction of the oil in the sebaceous glands of the skin. More water intake, eliminating fried foods and hydrogenated fats from the diet, and taking extra vitamin A and zinc will often reduce acne outbreaks. Food allergies and intestinal yeast overgrowth also seem to increase acne problems. Extra essential fatty acids, such as one or two tablespoons of cold-pressed flaxseed oil daily, plus the B vitamins, extra pantothenic acid, calcium, and sulfur, may help. Aloe vera gel applied to the skin, and goldenseal powder and comfrey compresses may protect and help heal the acne sores. Oral antibiotics such as tetracycline (the most commonly used), a topical erythromycin gel, or a dangerous pharmaceutical, Accutane, can be effective in more serious, nonresponsive cases of acne.

Insect bites or contact (allergic) dermatitis from plants, chemicals, or metals may respond to local application of various poultices, such as baking soda or comfrey root or goldenseal powder, applied to the skin and covered with a bandage. This is often beneficial for poison oak sores, for example. Increased levels of vitamin C, often with additional A and zinc, may be helpful for insect bites. Higher levels of thiamine, or vitamin B1, such as 50–100 mg. two or three times daily, may repel insects such as mosquitoes or fleas as they dislike the thiamine odor that is eliminated through the skin. The other B vitamins should be taken along with the B1 to prevent imbalances.

Psoriasis is a more complex problem, associated with well-demarcated raised red patches on the skin with a silvery scale. It most commonly occurs around the elbows and knees, that is, at the hard or stressed surfaces. It may also appear around the scalp and, in fact, can occur anywhere. Its exact etiology is not known, though psoriatic skin does show a very rapid cell division—it is skin that is growing too fast. Whether this is an immunological, genetic, or stress problem, or all three, is not known for certain, though stress definitely seems to aggravate psoriasis. A recommended treatment plan for this condition includes relatively low fat and protein content in the diet; more high-water content, high-nutrient foods; extra vitamin A and/or beta-carotene, zinc, vitamin C, bioflavonoids, and liquid lecithin; in addition, a sulfur-based ointment used regularly on the lesions with alternate applications of aloe vera gel. Following some of the guidelines in the Anti-Stress program may be helpful as well.


Herbs
Herbs useful in maintaining healthy skin or treating some conditions include comfrey leaf and root, topical aloe vera gel, yellow dock, horsetail (springtime), licorice root, parsley, cayenne pepper, and garlic. Comfrey’s healing properties help strengthen tissues of the skin, tendons, ligaments, and bone. This herb can be used both internally and externally. Yellow dock and cayenne work mainly to help detoxify the liver and blood. Parsley acts as a diuretic and may help clear toxins as well. Licorice helps the digestive and adrenal functions. The cortisonelike activity from the adrenal glands helps the skin tissue maintain its tone and elasticity. Excess cortisone, usually from medicines, may cause very bad stretch marks (striae) and many other side effects. Garlic is also a purifier, and it is known to reduce skin cancer potential.

In his fascinating book, The Scientific Validation of Herbal Medicine, Daniel B. Mowrey recommends an herbal skin formula for general cleansing or itching and dry skin of many disorders, such as acne, eczema, and psoriasis. It includes chapparal, to cleanse and decrease mutagenic cells; dandelion root for liver and blood detoxification; burdock root and yellow dock root for blood purification (these are often helpful for eczema); echinacea for immunological support (it also reduces boils and skin ulcers, helps cleanse lymph, and stimulates white blood cell production); licorice root; kelp; and cayenne. This is a powdered formula taken in capsules, from several a day for maintenance or purification up to 10–12 a day to treat particular skin conditions. A steam facial using flowers such as rose petals is very cleansing and relaxing. Boil a pot of water, drop some rose, calendula, or marigold flowers in it, and sit over the steam with a towel over your head for 10–15 minutes. Follow with a little lotion or your preference of skin care products.

The general program for skin enhancement shown in the following table is intended for people with dull or lackluster skin, dry skin, or a chronic skin condition. Aspects of other programs, such as the Anti-Stress program, Anti-Aging program, or the Detoxification programs, may be combined with this program. Smokers should follow the Nicotine Detoxification program as well. Remember, too, that worry and extreme emotion tend to increase our aging process and wrinkle our skin. "Don’t make those faces; your face may freeze that way"—not really; we should express ourselves, but to take good care of our skin, we should take care of our whole body. Focus on this program for a few months. Evaluate your skin and general health before and after, and work to incorporate healthy habits as well, such as drinking water, exercising, and eating well.


Skin Enhancement Program

Water 2–3 qt.
Protein*50–75 g.
Fats* 40–65 g.
Fiber10–15 g.

Vitamin A10,000–20,000 IUs Iodine150 mcg.
Beta-carotene15,000–25,000 IUs Iron10–18 mg.
Vitamin D400 IUs Magnesium300–500 mg.
Vitamin E400–600 IUs Manganese10 mg.
Vitamin K150–300 mcg. Molybdenum500 mcg.
Thiamine (B1)25–50 mg. Selenium,
as selenomethionine
200–300 mcg.
Riboflavin (B2) 25 mg. Silicon 200 mg.
Niacin (B3)50 mg. Sulfur 400–800 mg.
Niacinamide (B3)100 mg. Vanadium 200 mcg.
Pantothenic acid (B5)250 mg. Zinc 45 mg.
Pyridoxine (B6)50 mg.
Pyridoxal-5-phosphate50 mg. L-amino acids1,000 mg.
Cobalamin (B12)100 mcg. Essential fatty acids
from olive oil and
1–2 Tbsp.
on food
Folic acid800 mcg. Flaxseed oil, or2 tsp.
as supplement
Biotin500 mcg. Primrose oil4-6 capsules
PABA 100 mg. Lactobacillus
acidophilus
1 billion
or more organisms
per dosage
Inositol500 mg.
Choline500 mg.
Vitamin C2–4 g.
Bioflavonoids250 mg.
Calcium600–800 mg.
Chromium200 mcg.
Copper2 mg.
(Excerpted from Staying Healthy with Nutrition ISBN: 1587611791)
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 About The Author
Elson Haas MDElson M. Haas, MD is founder & Director of the Preventive Medical Center of Marin (since 1984), an Integrated Health Care Facility in San Rafael, CA and author of many books on Health and Nutrition, including ...more
 
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