A Natural Approach to Dermatitis



Ten Ways to Dodge Your Dermatologist

While in college, a friend of mind went to a dermatologist because he had a slight rash. The specialist told him it was dermatitis and issued him a nifty cream to put on it. The visit cost my friend half a weeks pay, and when he came to realize that dermatitis meant itchy skin, he went ballistic. You might be able to save some space in your checkbook, and maybe even some time in the waiting room, with a few of these ideas:

Shampoo less often.  If you are troubled by simple but annoying scalp conditions, this is really worth a try before you drop the big bucks on a doctor. A physician I go to for once-a-decade physicals prescribed not one but TWO antibiotics (one topical, one oral) for a chronic scalp irritation.  He also recommended a very expensive shampoo and said to use it often. Nuts to that; the condition went away when I simply stopped shampooing every day and went to just once a week.

Use less soap. Not none, but less! I am not suggesting that you become the poster person for vagrancy; just use less of what everybody knows dries out skin. You use soaps and detergents to dissolve grease and oil when you wash your clothes and clean your dishes. We all know that soaps and detergents cut grease. Right! They do the same to your skin, removing the natural moisture, oils and softness that no product can truly replace. A naturopath once told me that one should shower without soap, except for judicious application to personal areas that really need it.

Do not trust sun block. To avoid sunburn, wear loose, cool, comfy clothes instead. Simple, no?  You'd be genuinely surprised just how many people still do not realize that the ozone layer is not what it was thirty years ago.  More ultraviolet light (UV-B in particular) does in fact now reach us than it did a generation or two ago. You can avoid practically all basal cell and squamous cell carcinoma, the two most common types of skin cancer, simply by putting on some clothes. I like a nice tan as much as the next person, but you simply have to use common sense here. Look: if you were diagnosed even with relatively easy-to-cut-out skin cancer, wouldn't you do just anything to be able to go back and prevent it?  Even wear a hat and a shady shirt?  Well, now is the time to start.

Switch to more natural perfumes, soaps and deodorants. For this, you may need to stop by your local health food store. There really are many more natural, much more gentle alternatives to the cheap, caustic, common cosmetic chemicals that contribute to creams and other commercial creations' irritation of our skin! (Has the Pulitzer Prize in Alliteration been awarded yet?)  I know two people who used to have numerous, small polyp-like growths on their neck and underarms.  These were no more than slightly unsightly, yet they were hardly an improvement to the basic birthday suit.  In each case, they went away when the one person stopped using anti-perspirant deodorants, and in the other case when the woman stopped putting perfume directly on her skin.  Read the label; even some "natural" deodorants are not that natural.  However, most are a big improvement for a small cash difference.

Build skin health from the inside out. To have healthy skin, grow it. Your skin is an organ, not exactly like your lungs or heart, but a lot more visible, and a lot bigger, too.  Your skin is, in fact, your body's largest organ. Eat more fiber; try a near-vegetarian diet; and how about a few days juice fasting?  See for yourself if a healthy inside equals a healthy outside.

CHOCOLATE: Stop eating it.  It is no myth but a matter of observable fact that if you eat a good bit of chocolate, your skin will break out. If you cut out the chocolate, your skin will likely improve. Part of this is due to dietary fat; part is due to chocolate itself. Try and see.  Hershey's common stock will do well without your help.

Use less skin and hair glop. You'll save a pile of cash, and if you follow the suggestions above, you won't need all that the stuff anyway. I remember a neat Nancy cartoon where she bathed and showered and dried her hair, then covered it with all the sprays, gels, mousses and what have you. She looked in a mirror, realized how yucky her chemical hair was, and went back into the tub to wash it off all over again. Okay, it wasn't the most hilarious cartoon I've ever seen (that, of course, would be the Far Side take on the real reason dinosaurs became extinct). But the point was made nonetheless. 

Take your vitamins. Your skin loves vitamin E (internally and externally), the B-complex vitamins, and assorted other nutrients that modern diets so often lack.

Eat more lecithin.  Lecithin contains linoleic and linolenic acid, the absolutely essential fractions of dietary fat. As adult Americans try to reduce their fat intake (generally a good idea), no one has told them that they may thereby be creating a fatty acid deficiency. Since the US government and most dietitians just cannot own up to the necessity of food supplements, we had better consider them ourselves. The irritable-skin, dry-skin, broken-skin consequences of long-term linoleic and especially linolenic acid deficiency are probably very common. I eliminated my own psoriasis-like skin problem with just a few days supplementation of three tablespoons of lecithin per day. A few TBL per week keeps it away.  No dermatologist needed.

Reduce stress.  A personal observation: I was under high stress at one job for about four years, and I noticed four things: 1) my hair got gray; 2) my hair started to come out in the comb; 3) when I started taking more vitamins, the hair stopped coming out; and 4) when I started doing the work I love, my hair stopped graying.  In my opinion, I am less gray than I was in 1989. You can look at my untouched photo on this websites main page, marvel at my toupee, guess my age, and email me your answer. The winner will receive absolutely nothing. I am kidding about the toupee; it's all natural.

Copyright 2004 and prior years by Andrew W. Saul.


Andrew Saul is the author of the books FIRE YOUR DOCTOR! How to be Independently Healthy (reader reviews at http://www.doctoryourself.com/review.html ) and DOCTOR YOURSELF: Natural Healing that Works. (reviewed at http://www.doctoryourself.com/saulbooks.html )

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Andrew W. Saul


AN IMPORTANT NOTE:  This page is not in any way offered as prescription, diagnosis nor treatment for any disease, illness, infirmity or physical condition.  Any form of self-treatment or alternative health program necessarily must involve an individual's acceptance of some risk, and no one should assume otherwise.  Persons needing medical care should obtain it from a physician.  Consult your doctor before making any health decision. 

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