Collier and Lee Counties Edition
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Listening to Our Skin Talk

The skin, which speaks of deeper imbalances and issues inside the body, talks in rashes, eczema, psoriasis, pimples, acne and even herpes—all outer symptoms that merely reveal inner imbalances. For Southwest Floridians that suffer with a common, but often misdiagnosed and misunderstood skin disorder known as rosacea (pronounced roh-zay-sha), there may be answers forthcoming. Local health practitioners and skin experts are exploring the possibility that the increasingly widespread malady affecting more than 16 million Americans may be an autoimmune disorder.

In a National Rosacea Society survey regarding the non-life threatening condition characterized by redness on the cheeks, nose, chin or forehead, 95 percent of rosacea patients indicated that they were unaware of signs or symptoms prior to being diagnosed by a dermatologist. This may be due to the lack of medical research on the flushing or redness that can flare up, go into remission and return, only to become persistent and involve pus-filled pimples resembling acne, small visible blood vessels and skin thickening, generally around the nose.

Although oral and topical medications are most frequently prescribed by dermatologists, Dee Harris, owner of D-signed Nutrition, in Bonita Springs, discloses that when her patients follow an anti-inflammatory diet and remove processed foods that contain additives and dyes, grains and sugar, the condition subsides. ““Looking upstream for gastric issues, especially the lack of hydrochloric acid, which is needed for digestion, may cause rosacea breakout,” advises Harris.  When her son presented with symptoms she suggested stress management, avoiding processed foods, eliminating sugar, gluten and dairy as well as limiting alcohol.  For supplementation, she recommended 1000 milligrams of quality eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) fish oil, as well as taking a quality multivitamin, additional vitamin D3 and 30-50 billion colony forming units (CFU) probiotics.  

Deborah Post, ARNP, owner of Well Bridges, in Fort Myers, agrees with dermatologists that address rosacea by first calming the skin with topical solutions, and she affirms Harris’s addressing the gut. Beyond this, she indicates that stress and antibiotics trigger any autoimmune disorder.

“Although rosacea can affect all segments of the population, individuals with fair skin who tend to flush or blush easily are believed to be at greatest risk. The disorder is more frequently diagnosed in women, but more severe symptoms tend to be seen in men. Genetic testing can also reveal a predisposition to the condition,” says Post, who notes that she suggests her patients refrain from drinking alcohol and coffee, which agitate a malfunctioning immune system.

Larissa Smolen, owner of Spa de Larissa, in Naples, formulates her own line of private-label professional skincare products (Daniel Tibel) to help support and maintain the results that her clients achieve in her spa. “Two topical products and one supplement are very effective for the 70 percent of my clients who have mild to severe rosacea. They also work on eczema,” says Smolen.

Based on a blend of plants such as calendula, herbs, fruit enzymes and other ingredients formulated by Smolen and the laboratories she works with, the topical products soothe the skin.

The flower petals of the calendula plant (Calendula officinalis) have high amounts of plant-based antioxidants that protect cells from being damaged by free radicals and appear to fight inflammation and bacteria.

Azulene is the active ingredient of chamomile and works to soothe and repair skin, keeping it soft and healthy.

Her beetroot-based supplement contains powerful antioxidants which protect the body from free radicals. A natural detoxifier that purifies the blood and makes the skin glow, beetroot juice reduces internal inflammation, calms the skin and is beneficial for fighting boils and pimples.

Following the directives of Harris and Post, Smolen’s products work well to calm the skin first. “At the same time, it’s important to implement the anti-inflammatory diet take supplements and reduce stress. You can control rosacea, but it’s not known yet if it can be cured,” says Post.

D-Signed Nutrition, 3531 Bonita Bay Blvd., Suite 300, Bonita Springs. 239-676-5249. D-SignedNutrition.com.

Wellbridges, 9200 Bonita Beach Rd., Ste. 113, Bonita Springs. 239-481-5600. DebPost.com.

Spa de Larissa, Airport Professional Center, 3811 Airport Rd., N. Ste. 201-B, Naples. Call 239-571-9900 or visit FacialSpaDeLarissa.com.

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