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The link between certain skindisorders, food and stress

The skin
The skin reflects a person’s state of health in many ways, including the person’s nutritional status.  A deficiency of vitamin A, for example. leads to rough, dry, scaly skin. A lack of riboflavin causes scaly, greasy red skin, around the nose and mouth and in the ears and eyelids. A vitamin B12 deficiency causes the skin on the face, hands, and feet to turn brown or, if anemia occurs, pale yellow. Zinc deficiency causes peeling skin lesions. While most of these deficiencies are uncommon in developed countries some may develop in strict vegetarians or people on fad diets, as well as in those with digestive and mal-absorption disorders.

Dry Skin
In its most common form, dry scaly skin, or xeroderma, does not reflect any underlying illness; instead, the skin loses some of the moisture that confers a smooth, pliable feel and appearance. Aging causes some drying of the skin, which may worsen in cold weather; other contributing factors include frequent bathing and exposure to the sun, wind, chemicals, or other environmental factors that leach natural oils from the skin. The use of mild, high-fat soaps (PsoriaLess® Soap d’Alep is made of 100% pure Olive and Laurel Oil)  and a daily moisturizer (PsoriaLess® Phase 1 has a/o excellent moisturizer properties) can help alleviate the symptoms. Some people experience improvements in dry skin by boosting their intake of vitamins A and C, the B-group vitamins, and zinc. A more severe type of dry skin, ichthyosis, is often inherited and tends to be linked to other conditions, such as thyroid disorders and lymphoma. Ichtyosis is characterized by roughness, scaling, and wrinkling of the skin, as well as dryness and itching. It should be evaluated by a doctor.

An inflammatory skin disorder, rosacea causes redness, pimples, pustules, and tiny red streaks due to dilated blood vessels, or telangiectasia. Although the symptoms occur mostly on the nose (giving it a bulbous appearance) and the center of the face, they may also arise on the neck, chest, back, arms, and legs. Rosacea resembles Acne, but it does not produce the blackheads characteristics of true Acne. This condition tends to arise between the ages of 30 and 50, and is then a lifelong, chronic disorder. Depending upon its severity, rosacea may be treated with such topical applications as PsoriaLess® Phase 1 Anti Itch & Dry Skin Foam and PsoriaLess®  Phase 1 Anti Scaly Skin Ointment. Although diet does not appear to play any role in causing rosacea, some dietary factors worsen the symptoms. Alcohol and foods that cause facial flushing should be avoided. A diet low in fat and animal protein may lessen the symptoms. Omega-3 fatty acids, which are found in oily fish and evening primrose oil, help to reduce the inflammation. Because stress reduction techniques may be helpful.

Although the inflammation and scaly rash of psoriasis can occur anywhere on the body, it is most common on the knees, elbows, lower back, and scalp. The condition often recurs unpredictably, may be worse in the winter, and is frequently aggravated by physical or emotional stress or infections. The disease seems to run in families, but the cause remains unknown. Psoriasis cannot be cured, but it can usually be kept in check by such medications as PsoriaLess®, exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet rays, and in severe cases a/o, methotrexate, an anticancer drug that slows down cell production or systemic steroids etc. Folate supplements appear to lessen the side effects of methotrexate. Some researchers report that reducing consumption can help psoriasis patients. Again, the omega-3 fatty acids may help reduce inflammation.

Today there are new drugs available derived from vitamin A or vitamin D. Self treatment with these vitamins should be avoided however, because they can accumulate the toxic levels in the body. PsoriaLess® Bio Active Topical Anti Scaly Skin products, offer a safe, long term usable, alternative.

Relative to the above referred to scaly skin problems, one can say, in general, to consume plenty of:
Yellow fruits and vegetables and dark green vegetables for vitamins A and C.
Legumes, whole-grain or fortified breads and cereals, eggs, and dark green vegetables for the B vitamins.
Seafood, poultry, and grains for zinc.
Oily fish and evening primrose oil for omega-3 fatty acids

Reduce on:
Animal protein certainly in the case of psoriasis and rosacea.
Alcohol, hot and acidic spices, and any other foods that aggravate the skin problem.

Eat plenty of:
Legumes, brown rice, wheat germ and other foods high in vitamin B6.
Foods that trigger or worsen eczema, spicy foods, alcohol etc.
External causes such as wearing wool clothing next to the skin

Eczema is an itchy, scaly rash often caused by sensitivity to foods, chemicals, and other triggers. The rash of eczema (also called atopic dermatitis) is not always a true allergic reaction, but as in an allergy, the immune system reacts to a normally harmless substance. The symptoms of sensitivity vary from one person to another and can appear anywhere from a few minutes to several hours after exposure to the offending food or substance. Eczema runs in families, often along with a tendency to develop asthma, hay fever or hives.

Eczema and the role of a diet
Certain foods trigger eczema in some people. Common culprits include eggs, dairy products, seafood, walnuts, and pecans. A food diary may help to pinpoint the offending food types. Cow’s milk can cause eczema in babies and small children; they may be able to tolerate goat’s milk or soy based products. This requires trials. Many children outgrow their sensitivities by the age of 6, but others have lifelong recurrences.

Managing Eczema
Besides using long term safe medications such as PsoriaLess® products there are researchers who believe that a diet rich in vitamin B6 offers some protection against sensitivity rashes. Good sources for vitamin B6 include f.i. vegetable oil, eggs, oily fish, legumes, brown rice, wheat germ and leafy green vegetables. In an experimental study, patients found that their eczema symptoms improved when took supplement of evening primrose oil, which is rich in gamma linolenic acid. These results  have not been confirmed in large numbers of people, so these and other vitamin and mineral supplements are not medically approved eczema treatments.

Environmental Triggers and Eczema
Chemicals in the environment probably trigger eczema more often than foods do. Common offenders include nickel, which is often used to make costume jewelry, and latex, which is used in household and industrial rubber gloves and many other products. People in certain jobs are high risk for developing eczema. Acrylic adhesives are a hazard for manicurists and their clients, for dental technicians, and for people whose hobby is model building. Athletes and others who favor casual footwear sometimes suffer from skin rashes on the feet caused by adhesives used in bonding sneakers. Buying another brand of sneaker, may solve the problem. Woolen clothing worn next to the skin can cause a rash. Those who are sensitive to wool should also try to avoid skin-care products based on lanolin, the natural oil that occurs in wool. It makes sense to avoid known triggers. If your rash is worse in either hot or very cold weather, avoid extremes of temperature. Buy only soaps, detergents, and toilet papers that are free of dyes and perfumes. PsoriaLess® products and soaps are a safe, natural, and long term solution to this problem.

Every cell in the body needs protein for growth and repair. Protein also plays a major role in digestion, immunity and other body functions.
Protein consists of amino acids and constitutes about 15% of the human body weight. Protein is of critical importance in the structure and function of cells. Recently the use of proteins has been broadened to skin care since many skin problems such as chapping and dryness appear to be associated with damage to or actual loss of skin protein. Proteins are not the number one nutrient in our diet, at least it should not be…. In an ideal balanced diet, only 10 to 12 percent of the daily required calories should come from protein.  A normal adult  needs 0.36 of protein per pound of body weight.  Thus, a person weighing 140 pounds requires 50g, or slightly less than 2 ounces, of protein per day. The typical American or Western diet provides much more protein than the human body actually needs. This does not pose a serious threat for healthy persons, but too much protein adds to the workload of the kidneys and the liver. Thus, people with diseases affecting these organs should be on a low protein diet. Psoriasis is for instance related also to liver dysfunction which is elevated by the rich protein foods and the use of medications, such as corticosteroids etc. Corticosteroids may be prescribed by your dermatologist to control the psoriasis but that can increase the cause of side effects. On the down side, meat and other high-protein animal foods come with large amounts of saturated fat and cholesterol, which is also eliminated through the bile system, substances that promote atherosclerosis, heart disease and obesity. Even well-trimmed lean beef derives half of its calories from fat. Obesity, or being big, which is usually associated with large body shapes with many skin folds etc.,  also make it more difficult to treat a skin disease, the areas are larger and… adds again to strain the liver etc. Be sensible with your food, do not over eat, eat healthy.

Amino Acids
Amino Acids are the building blocks of protein. Every living cell in the body contains protein and cannot function properly without it. Approximately 80 amino acids are found in nature; only twenty are necessary for the human metabolism. Some must be supplied by food and are “essential”. Amino acids are rapidly absorbed in the blood stream, and in combination with vitamins, provide essential nutrients and promote healing.

Benefits of proteins:
Used to maintain and repair all body cells
Necessary to make antibodies enzymes, and hormones
When needed, protein is converted to glucose for energy.

Disadvantages of (too much) proteins and amino acids:
Protein-rich meats and other animal products are often high in fat and cholesterol.
Excessive intake of proteins strains the kidneys and the liver.
Excessive protein and amino acid supplements increase the excretion of calcium and other minerals.

Vitamins are essential for normal growth and contribute to the natural moisturizing factor. The skin is often the first indication of a vitamin deficiency that can cause dry skin. Certain vitamins figure prominently in the treatment of psoriasis. Specifically, Vitamin A, B6, C, D and Vitamin E.

Vitiligo, Vitamins, and Minerals…     
Are vitamins and minerals important in the treatment of vitiligo? The answer to this question is: yes, they are. Given the fact that a significant number of people with vitiligo show low levels of vitamin C, vitamin B12, and Folic Acid, and considering the importance of these and other vitamins, a supplement that includes the main vitamins and minerals is recommend. This is a helpful complement for Vitiligo treatment. In general a nutritious, well-balance diet is helpful and offers many long-term benefits. Please read the following information to better understand the importance of vitamins and minerals in the treatment of vitiligo.

Vitamin A keeps epithelial tissues (the skin and lining of various organs) healthy, and is necessary for the development of cells into their specialized forms (ex. melanocytes). Vitamin A also plays a role in maintaining the immune system.

Vitamin C helps strengthen the body’s defense system.
It plays a vital role in the formation of collagen (connective tissue) which is necessary to keep your bones, teeth and skin healthy. It is part of the antioxidant trio (which includes vitamin E and beta-carotene) which helps to neutralize highly reactive substances called free radicals, which are known to cause damage to melanocytes.

Vitamin E is an antioxidant and protects molecules and cell membranes in the human body against the destructive effects of oxygen-containing free radicals. It plays a key role in the functioning of the immune system.

Vitamin B12 is known as the vitamin that prevents pernicious anaemia. This deficiency is associated to Vitiligo in some cases. The same can be said about Folic Acid.

Zinc is a component of many enzymes some of them related to the normal function of the immune system; and is involved in the metabolism of certain vitamins.

Copper is involved in the synthesis of connective tissue in the skeleton and blood vessels, it plays a role in the functioning of the immune system. It’s important for the pigmentation of skin, hair and eyes. It takes part in the process of repigmentation. It is also an antioxidant. Individuals with certain metabolic diseases, like Wilson’s disease, should not take supplements that contain cooper.

Vitiligo diet… 
A nutritious, well-balanced, healthy diet is strongly recommended in cases of vitiligo. It is even more important than supplements. It can help balance your immune system and protect you from disease. It will also help recover from skin discoloration by providing essential vitamins & minerals that take part in the process that leads to the formation of new pigment. Recently a group of compounds known as phytochemicals have been the focus of research. They have been proven to protect against cell damage and disease. The following is a list of recognized foods with powerful natural chemicals that will boost your skin capacity to recover and stay healthy. No supplement can substitute a rich diet. A “vitiligo diet” may include:
Whole-grain food (great source of fibers, vitamins, minerals and “oligoelements”).
Spinach (loaded with iron, and folic acid, helps reduce blood levels of homocysteine, a substance that may damage blood vessels. It contains phytochemicals that help prevent degeneration (ex. macular degeneration in the eye) and protect your skin..
Broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, etc. – Contains abundant phytochemicals (good, protective substances found in vegetables and fruits) that may prevent skin cancer and balance the immune response, vitamin C, beta-carotene (it should not be overcooked).
Vegetables of different colors – Each one contains different types of phytochemicals plus vitamins, minerals and other nutrients.

Different sources of protein (if possible include fish and soy products).
Nuts (if not allergic) – Rich in vitamin E, contain protective phytochemicals and “good fats”, all beneficial for your skin.
Oats – Help lower cholesterol and high blood pressure but it also contain vitamin E like compounds (tocotrienols), which protect the skin.
Garlic – Protects the heart and skin, has antibacterial, antifungal properties.
Blueberries – Probably contain more anti-oxidants than any other fruit or vegetables. Contain powerful phytochemicals: anthocyanins that not only protect the skin but boost brainpower including memory.
Green tea – Source of vitamin C and phytochemicals known as polyphenols (100 times more oxidant power than Vit C) plus antibacterial properties, and prevention of cancer and heart disease.
Tomatoes – Contains lycopene, the most powerful antioxidant among the carotenoids. Carotenoids gives fruits and vegetables an orange color. Also a great source of Vit C.
Olive oil – “Good, protective fat”, helps absorb beneficial substances in vegetables.
Fruits – Contain different combinations of nutrients, vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, and antioxidants of great benefit for your body in general and very importantly, for your skin.
Enough fluids – No less than 6 glasses of water per day, this simple aspect should not be underestimated regarding its impact on skin protection and recovery.
Supplement your treatment with 7 to 10 servings of fruits or vegetables a day. One serving of a vegetable or fruit is:
– 1 medium sized vegetable or fruit
– ½ cup (125 ml) juice
– ½ cup (125 ml) raw, cooked, fresh, frozen or canned, vegetables or fruits
– 1 cup (250 ml) raw, leafy vegetables
– ¼ cup dried fruit

Adding a supplement with all the main vitamins & minerals during the course of treatment is recommended but a complete diet can be more effective than supplements.
Cultivating a positive self-image, an optimistic outlook on life and good coping skills can help minimize the impact of stress on the immune system and as a result may help control Vitiligo. Appropriate stress management is important in general, and particularly in cases of Vitiligo. A strategy to control stress should include the following:

Become aware of what stresses you and your emotional and physical reactions. Notice your distress. Don’t ignore it. Determine what events or factors distress you. If stress is caused by events ask yourself what is the meaning you are attributing to this events?

Recognize what you can change or modify. This may include both specific events events and other factors that increase stress. Can you change the causes of stress by avoiding or eliminating them completely? Can you reduce their intensity?

Reduce the intensity of your emotional reactions to stress.
Are you viewing your stressors in exaggerated terms and/or taking a difficult situation and making it a disaster? Moderate your physical reactions to stress. Slow, deep breathing will bring your heart rate and respiration back to normal. Relaxation techniques can reduce stress. Medications, when necessary, as prescribed by a physician, can help in the short term in moderating your reactions. Learning to moderate these reactions on your own is a preferable long-term solution.

Build your physical reserves. Exercise for cardiovascular fitness. Eat well-balanced, nutritious meals. Maintain weight within acceptable limits. Avoid nicotine, excessive caffeine, and other stimulants/depressants. Combine leisure with work. Get enough sleep.

Maintain your emotional reserves. Develop mutually supportive relationships. Cultivate supportive friendships. Pursue realistic goals. Find purpose and meaning for your life.
Cultivate your self-esteem. Be kind and gentle with yourself. Be your “best friend” to yourself. Use the critic inside you to learn more about yourself. Do not let it be your enemy.
Expect some frustrations and failures as part of being alive, learn from them.

If in doubt about your capacity to effectively cope with stress, seek professional help.

Vitiligo and substances that should be avoided…
Anyone suffering from Vitiligo (or any other skin depigmentation) should avoid any substance that could cause or worsen depigmentation including the following:
Benzoyl peroxide: Benzoyl peroxide is a topical acne product which exhibits antibacterial activity. This is how it works: it presents antimicrobial effects against Propionibacterium acnes, which is the predominant organism in sebaceous follicles and comedones. The main mechanism of action of benzoyl peroxide depends on the release of oxygen free-radicals, which are capable of oxidizing bacterial proteins. However, this same mechanism can also damage melanocytes in people with skin depigmentation.
Hydroquinone: this is a product that inhibits melanogenesis. It may achieve this by inhibiting one or more steps in the tyrosine-tyrosinase pathway of melanin synthesis. As a results it causes skin depigmentation. Arbutine is a glucoside of hydroquinone and is hydrolysed to hydroquinone. Both products cause skin depigmentation.
Hydrogen peroxide: commonly used to disinfect the skin and for the cleaning of wounds.
Trichloroacetic acid, Phenolic acid, Glicolic acid, Fruit acids and, in general, creams and lotions used for peelings.
Retinoic acid and its by-products used in certain topical preparations.
Shampoos and cosmetics used to clear skin complexion.
Substances used for bleaching.
Any other chemical substance capable of irritating or damaging the skin should be carefully avoided.

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