Psoriasis is an auto-immune disorder that results in, among other things, an assortment of skin lesions such as scaling, peeling, waxy plaques, blisters, and other forms of irritated skin. An auto-immune disorder results from the immune system attacking healthy tissue within its own environ. After suffering many years through the worst symptoms, i.e., peeling, blistering, plaques, swollen joints, etc., and finding no relief from the medical community (other than the very effective, but very temporary, clobetasol propionate for skin lesions), I declared that I was going to find out what was wrong with me. There are a few things that allowed me to succeed: the great good fortune of living alone (I think this endeavor would have been almost, if not impossible, to work through while being a housewife and mother with a child at home), not having a 9 to 5 job, having an insatiable curiosity, the willingness to take calculated risks (ingesting and/or applying to my skin, a rather extensive array of substances) and an absolute love of research by reading. I want to share what I found with my Estuary Skincare customers, as an informational resource, to be used at the discretion of each individual, in a manner that they, personally, see fit to use. No one should discount or substitute professional medical advice for anything that is read here. The information I relate to you is true for one individual, and may be true for you also, but not necessarily.
The first issue I found difficult to accept was the tremendous number of people who were diagnosed with psoriasis, an auto-immune disorder. I would think that a condition in which the immune system attacks its own body would be extraordinarily rare, and I still believe this is so. There is something else causing these symptoms. We hear of triggers that cause flare ups: environmental, stress related, genetic; but no patterns or predictable evidence. The word “unknown” is used an inordinate number of times in the information made available to the public about this disorder. I believe there are a myriad of people in the scientific communities, particularly within the corporate food giants and big pharma, that have an idea of what causes these types of skin problems.
I knew something in my environment, internal and external, was causing this, so I changed both. I started with the internal, removing all the substances that were highly processed and man-made artificial. Before I was satisfied that I could identify all the causes of my psoriasis, I had eliminated just about everything in my diet except water, milk, vegetables, fruit, and some meat. I’ve endured most of the deprivation for you; I think it would be very difficult for most people to do, particularly with children (although they will certainly benefit from what you will learn) or the ones who must travel for work. Without going into too much boring detail, I will tell you what made the most remarkable differences. Each person, on any given day, has a unique combination of inputs, internal and external, that affects the way their skin reacts. It is the responsibility of each person to be aware of the reactions or changes within their own body while determining what to remove or keep in their environment. It is best to remove as much as you can from your diet until you see your skin growing back, and then re-introduce foods one at a time (this is exponentially important) to see if they disturb your skin. You must understand that to clear your skin requires about 3 months of vigilant care and attention. It is not useful at all to think that the offending substances are removed from your body simply because they have completed their journey through your digestive tract; the effects of these poisons are deeply embedded in your organs, blood, and plainly, your skin. Expect at least 2 weeks of following this method before some of the symptoms begin to lessen; in 3 months, considering the enormous number of variables contained within any given individual, your skin, from head to toe, should be clear. Removing the following substances is critical, in my assessment, if you want to regain your healthy skin.
Start by removing all the artificial sweeteners; you know the ones: blue, pink, and yellow packets. Try to keep brown sugar or honey as sweeteners, used as sparingly as can be tolerated throughout this method.
No carbonated, bottled, or processed drinks, including and especially zero calorie. No decaffeinated anything; generally, decaffeination requires chemical solvents. If you can, find an unadulterated tea or coffee of high quality during this time. Reduce intake of cream or milk. No non-dairy anything. Club soda or plain carbonated water is good. Distilled water is what I’ve drank at home for years.
No fast food of any kind. I suspect there isn’t much actual food of any sort in those sacks. I do suppose the majority of the stuff contained in the sack is unwholesome. Fry a chop and microwave or sauté some vegetables (fresh, frozen, or canned) in butter or olive oil; it takes less time and money than the drive through and it’s so much better.
Meat. If at all possible, locate a slaughterhouse or a reputable butcher shop to purchase your meat. I found one about 15 miles from my house that has excellent beef and pork. It costs 30% less than the big box grocery, it gets wrapped if I need, and they carry it out to my vehicle. I know when they bring a quarter of a hog in and cut it up in front of me, it has not been injected with that solution that is used in every chain grocery store I’ve ever been in. The components of the solution are unknown, but when a pork chop is pressed between your fingers it should not turn into a gelatinous mess, it should retain its texture. When it is cooked, it should not ooze large pools of gray slime.
Chicken. Good chicken is impossible to find in large chain groceries. It is absolutely saturated with a variation of the aforementioned solution. What is in the solution? You will never know, regardless of what is printed on the label. Avoid all chicken for as long as possible, unless you’re sure of the source.
Hydrogenated oils. Canola, corn, and vegetable oils are not your friends. Any sort of artificial butter, margarine or shortening. Use olive oil or coconut oil; enjoy real butter.
Any highly processed foods, anything with artificial flavoring or artificial coloring. Just about anything that is sold pre-made in a plastic bag or box.
I would like to include a passage from “The Science of Skinny” by Dee McCaffrey, CDC, organic chemist and nutritionist. I emphatically urge my customers to read this book, paying particular attention to the sections explaining substances that are added to our food. She substantiates her information throughout the book with recognized data and studies, unlike so many know-it-all internet gurus.
“Here’s what’s in ‘artificial strawberry flavoring’ something you might find in a strawberry-flavored Pop-Tart or milkshake: amyl acetate, amyl butyrate, amyl valerate, anethol, anisyl formate, benzyl acetate, benzyl isobutyrate, butyric acid, cinnamyl isobutyrate, cinnamyl valerate, cognac essential oil, diacetyl, dipropyl ketone, ethyl acetate, ethyl amyl ketone, ethyl butyrate, ethyl cinnamate, ethyl heptanoate, ethyl heptylate, ethyl lactate, ethyl methylphenyglycidate, ethyl nitrate, ethyl propionate, ethyl valerate heliotropin, hydroxy-phenyl-2-butanone (10 percent solution in alcohol), a-ionone, isobutyl anthranilate, isobutyl butyrate, lemon essential oil, maltol, 4-methylacetophenone, methyl anthranilate, methyl benzoate, methyl cinnamate, methyl heptane carbonate, methyl maphthyl ketone, methyl salicylate, mint essential oil, neroli essential oil, nerolin, neryl isobutyrate, orris butter, phenethyl alcohol, rose, rum ether, g-undecalactone, vanillin and solvent.”
Peanuts (including natural peanut butter) and almonds were reactive for me, walnuts and pecans were not.
Liquor in small amounts caused no problem. Wine, the type that is mass produced, is now constructed and manufactured with whatever it takes to disguise any harvest into an astoundingly predictable, consistent product. I (my skin) didn’t do well with this type of wine. I fared much better drinking smaller bottlings of traditionally produced wine. I don’t drink beer, but I’d suggest the yeast content might be undesirable.
A good rule of thumb while you’re purging these substances from your organs is: if you don’t recognize it as food in its original form, don’t eat it. Use this time to enjoy real food again; it doesn’t need to be organic or expensive, just clean and simple. Canned or frozen vegetables are fine; read the label for unnecessary additives.
Bread. This information may take a little more space. Bread is a foundation food; most people (me) love bread. Why, in the last twenty plus years, is it making so many people sick? Why is gluten intolerance and celiac disease being diagnosed at an even faster rate than psoriasis? The answers are known. I’m going to relate, in my estimation, a plausible explanation. The following may not be precisely on point, but the general context is the closest I have come to finding a published, professional, explanation of what I know is true. This comes from a group of scientists in Spain. Two sentences seem to wield the most impact. 1)” The peptides produced in the digestive tract by the partial digestion of gluten from wheat, barley, rye and possibly oats, cause inflammation of the small intestine and villous atrophy.” 2) ”The response is a consequence of deamidation of glutamine residues in peptides,… in the gut mucosa.”
Deamidated Gluten The insolubility of gluten in aqueous solutions is one of the major limitations for its more extensive use in food processing, for example in dairy products. Gluten insolubility is due to the high concentration of nonpolar amino acid residues such as proline and leucine and the polar but non-ionisable residue glutamine, and to the low concentration of ionisable side chains such as lysine, arginine, glutamic acid and aspartic acid. The interactions between glutamine and asparagine side chains through hydrogen bonds play an important role in promoting association of gliadin and glutenin molecules (Beckwith et al., 1963; Krull et al., 1966). Many researchers have developed methods for modifying the solubility and functional properties of gluten. Gluten modification via deamidation can be achieved in two ways, namely chemical deamidation (acid solubilisation) under acidic conditions and high temperature (Wu et al., 1976) or enzymatic treatment (Kato et al., 1987; Bollecker et al., 1990; Popineau and Thebaudin, 1990). Whether chemically or enzymatically induced, the deamidation of gluten proteins resulted in an increased charge density on the protein, causing changes in protein conformation due to electrostatic repulsion. These charge-induced conformational changes resulted in enhanced surface hydrophobicity due to the exposure of hydrophobic residues (Matsudomi et al., 1982). The increased surface hydrophobicity coupled with the presence of more negatively charged polar groups resulted in a modified protein with amphiphilic characteristics which made an ideal surface active agent for use as an emulsifier or foam stabiliser. Even though surface hydrophobicity increased, protein solubility was also enhanced due to decreased protein-protein interactions. Levels of deamidation as low as 2-6% can enhance the functional properties of proteins (Matsudomi et al., 1985; Hamada and Marshall, 1989). Acid deamidation has been reported to leave behind an astringent mouth-feel, although this can be overcome by extraction with alkaline isopropanol and then isopropanol after deamidation (Finley, 1975). www.friedli.com/research/phd/gluten/chap2.html
Deamidation is one of the most important protein post-translational modifications (PTMs) which contributes to aging, diseases (such as celiac disease, urinary tract infection, cataract formation, cancer, and neurodegenerative diseases, e.g. Alzheimer’s, Huntington’s, and Parkinson’s diseases), and affects the purity and shelf life of pharmaceutical products.1 Under physiological conditions, nonenzymatic deamidation of asparagine (Asn, N) residues may occur both in vivo and in vitro, which generates acidic isomers, aspartic acid (Asp) and isoaspartic acid (isoAsp), with + 0.984 Da mass shift.1,2 In cells, the deamidated proteins which generate an isoAsp residue can be partially repaired by protein L-isoaspartyl O-methyltransferase (PIMT) to change the isoAsp to Asp, but often the modified proteins are degraded by proteasomes. Inefficient degradation, caused by either increased deamidation products and decreased proteasome activity with age or proteasomal dysfunction, lead to accumulation of the damaged or modified proteins and related diseases. www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2872026/
Of course, there are people with gluten intolerance, but a significant percentage of our population should not have it. Where is the fundamental explanation? I’m going to suggest that chemical alteration of the proteins in the flour and the additions of unknown substances to make the product more visually and texturally appealing, and, more importantly for the manufacturers, the ability to remain on the store shelves for grossly extended periods without degradation of any sort, is the cause of the unrelenting wave of illnesses associated with consuming commercially produced flour and bakery products. I haven’t seen a weevil in a bag of flour for several years now. That used to be a given; flour that was a few weeks old, became infested with weevils, you tossed it and bought fresh. The flour must now be treated with something that doesn’t allow the weevils to live. Now, the wheat proteins are purposely chemically damaged; this is the substrate that digestive enzymes must bind to. When there is no longer any place for the enzymes to bind, metabolic processes cannot begin. In plain English: you cannot digest the bread. Your body cannot retrieve the nutrients contained in it. It’s highly possible the body does not recognize these altered proteins and sends the immune system to attack the unknown invaders, which might start the symptoms of what we now refer to as, among other things, gluten intolerance, celiac disease, food allergy, gluten sensitivity, etc. A good alternative I’ve found is unbleached, non-bromated flour with no enriched ingredients. That word “enriched” was always suspect to me. For some reason, it invariably made me think of fissile uranium, it’s also enriched. The manufacturers claim enrichment with a smattering of vitamins, but I don’t believe that’s an exhaustive list. What would po$$e$$ the manufacturer$ of the$e product$ to ri$k the health of $o many men, women and children? How can a country like our$, with a collective group of the fine$t mind$ in the $cience di$cipline$, not reveal thi$?
So, you say, “why do I have peeling, plaqued skin and my spouse, or sibling, or whomever, does not?” As glib as the following sounds, I feel that it’s true: we of the broken skin are the lucky ones. We possess an immune system that may be more reactive than the others; it will not let us go about our normal lives without inexorably reminding us we are ingesting something poisonous, maybe a low-grade poison, but poison, nonetheless. I believe our fellow humans who ingest these poisons, while their skin remains intact, are the ones who represent the greater increase in cancer occurrences. They are not tormented like we are by their immune systems, so they are lulled into contentment and satisfaction until their 4th, 5th, or 6th decade (and for some, unfortunately, sooner) when the extent of daily doses of unknown substances begin to reveal themselves as one or another form of cancer. I feel the chances are good that the person reading this knows someone with prostate cancer or breast cancer.
And then, of course, we will always have the persons with the immune systems that allow them to smoke two packs of cigarettes a day for 70 years and pass from this earth peacefully in a deep sleep.
I would like to introduce one other manifestation of these ingested substances which can be found in conjunction with skin and digestive disorders, one that I rarely hear or read about: brain fog. This condition is a peculiar one; you don’t realize your brain is not functioning normally until you’re able (hopefully) to look back on your behavior, after the toxins that caused the problem, have been removed. I’d like to relate what might be an example of brain fog. This occurred before I understood what the matter with me was and also when I felt really bad daily, e.g., plaques, scaling, swollen joints, etc. I bought a small hot tub to place on my back porch supposing it might help with my aching bones and muscles. I had difficulty getting the chemical balance of the water correct, which is needed to keep bacteria at bay. Months went by without really getting a good understanding of what was needed. I decided to buy a saltwater generator as an alternate means of disinfecting the spa water. The saltwater corroded the aluminum encasement of the thermistor (thermometer) which in turn, caused the pump to cease working. I replaced it with one that cost $60.00, it didn’t work. I replaced that with one costing $40.00, and it didn’t work. I also contemplated replacing the pump and fittings for around $500.00, but I wasn’t up to it. So, the spa and I entered into a standoff; it sat empty for two years. After I got well, I decided I’d like to try to deal with the spa again. I found the same company I had bought $100.00 worth of thermistors from, and in less than 10 minutes I had found the correct component, it cost $16.00. I plugged it in to the motherboard and the pump started. I filled the spa, read a few articles on how to balance the chemicals in the water and, with a very short learning curve, have had a spa with crystal clear water ever since. Three years earlier, I couldn’t manage to get it done. I have found many things that weren’t done correctly, or at all, during the years I wasn’t well, and I think “why didn’t I just do this or do that?”. It’s rather unsettling to realize how malfunctioning my brain actually was. There was also something akin to depression going on, it wasn’t actually depression, but rather, I believe, a continually renewed, low-grade chemical toxicity.
I’m just going to say this: the brain damage that is prevalent in our society, whether you prefer to call it ADD, ADHD, Asperger’s, Autism, or any of a hundred other labels, is not normal. It is brain damage. It is caused by specific things that are in very common use among all of us. Having to medicate young children with amphetamines is not normal, it is heartbreaking. Is the brain damage caused by systemic pesticides, genetic modifications, and toxic food additives? We as consumers will never know. The Golden Goose will never be slaughtered in the name of your health. I do know the brain damage that is being exhibited by a substantial portion of our young people is not normal. It is not normal and should never be accepted as normal. Ultimately, the responsibility of health lay solely in the decisions made by you, the consumer, not the manufacturers, nor the government. Be objective, be critical, be careful in your choices.
I have assembled these ideas, suggestions, and facts for my customers of Estuary Skincare. Are they the say all, end all, to skin problems? Maybe, maybe not, but they are a starting point for further research and maybe the spark of an idea that will allow for better care of one’s self. I want my customers to know they have a great deal of control over most of their skin problems. I have spent several years formulating a group of gentle products for you while you overcome your upset skin and as you work to keep it healthy in the years to come. My earnest and most heartfelt hopes are for my customers to regain, and then maintain, their health.
Never substitute anything written or implied on this website for professional medical advice.