Discover how Jennifer Fugo, a Clinical Nutritionist embarked her journey on finding out the various root causes of different skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis. Be inspired as she narrates how she overcame her painful experience of having skin condition called Dyshidrotic eczema. Moreover, know whether topical treatment really work as well as the do’s and don’ts of treating skin conditions.
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[00:43:00] Ashley James: Welcome to the Learn true health podcast. I’m your host Ashley James. This is Episode 360.
We’re in for such a treat today. We have back on the show with us Jennifer Fugo, she was with us on Episode 198. That’s a lot of episodes between when we last had you on, we talked about your gluten free school which is now transitioning to have your gluten free school be underneath your umbrella of Jenniferfugo.com but that’s not what we’re here to talk about today but listeners can definitely go back to Episode 198 and listen to your story and great advice around going gluten free.
Today’s episode is all about skin health. I hear almost weekly from my listeners about rashes, skin irritation and hives– histamine issue. The list goes on and on. Some people have skin issues that they have been diagnosed like eczema or psoriasis and others just have these rashes pop up and they’re itchy and or scaly skin and or acne. All these skin issues on the outside, wearing our illness on the outside, we become so self-conscious because everyone can see what’s going on. We really want to get to the root of it. You’re here today to share with us how we can interrupt those old patterns and create wonderful skin health. Jennifer’s podcast is called the Healthy Skin Show and her website is skinterrupt.com— combinations of the words skin and interrupt which is really cool. Jennifer, welcome back to the show.
[02:38:00] Jennifer Fugo: Thank you so much for having me, Ashley. I have to tell you, this is one of the podcasts that I feel deeply honored to be back because you are an amazing person and you’ve led the charge in helping so many people change their lives. You just got such a great audience as well. It’s just a deep honor to be here for the second time. Thank you for having me back.
[03:01:00] Ashley James: Well, thank you. I’m really excited for you to help all of our listeners who have skin issues to resolve them today. For those who didn’t get to hear you in Episode 198, can you take us back? Share a bit about your story and what led you to want to work with people in order to correct their health and heal their skin.
[03:25:00] Jennifer Fugo: Yes. What was interesting when we talked in the previous episode it was mostly about the Gut issues that I had struggled with. If we fast forward a bunch, I went to Grad School to become a Clinical Nutritionist because while I had loved working with people from the food perspective I really wanted to dive deeper into underlying reasons that were driving Autoimmune Disease and inflammatory conditions. I love biochemistry. I learned that I love it however, in the process of going to Grad School and being under an enormous amount of stress. I started to develop these– I don’t know how to describe them other than it would look like these little crystals, like little balls underneath my skin on my fingers. I was like, “What is that?” It looked almost like a white head but it wasn’t. I couldn’t figure out what it was, I couldn’t get them. I didn’t feel anything just under my skin and I never noticed them before.
As the summer kind of went into full force, the area became increasingly red and itchy then eventually, those little pustules burst. I thought, “Did I get poison ivy?” I’m like, trying to figure out what it is. I’ve never had that in my life. I went to my dad who’s a doctor and he’s like, “Oh, it’s some sort of dermatitis.” I was like, “Dermatitis? What is that?” It turns out that I did not have some random dermatitis. I had developed a condition called Dyshidrotic eczema, it’s a type of eczema but it affects the hands and the feet. Fortunately, it only affected my hands which has this good positive benefits because I didn’t have a problem walking but in the same respect affecting the palms of your hands can have a major detriment upon your life.
That summer I watched as what became these little rashes turn into massive patches of red skin that cover the palms of my hands up to the sides and the webbing of my fingers down the tops of the fingers and even started to destroy the nails themselves.
You might say like, “That stinks. Your hands are itchy.” Let me just tell you that if you’ve never had eczema on your hands, I’m not saying that it’s any better or worse than anybody else’s different types of eczema, they have but it’s a real challenge to open doorknobs. I couldn’t exercise anymore. I had a really hard time holding anything. I had to wear these blue gloves that I bought at a Home Depot because I couldn’t touch anything. I couldn’t wash my hands anymore because water burns so badly. I couldn’t wash my hair or take a shower.
It really impacts your life a lot. If you have rashes elsewhere, you can cover them up a lot of times with clothing but when it’s the palms of your hands and it’s the middle of summer it’s very difficult to avoid when you meet a new person to not shake their hand. When people see that your hands look all red, rashy, and oozy, you have some sort of infection, they don’t want to touch your hands to shake it. I was in so much physical discomfort and also this horrible sense of being dirty or disgusting. Almost like you’re a leper in modern day and there was no way for me to hide it. You walk around with baby blue gloves on, everybody can see that and like “Why are you wearing those?”
I went to a dermatologist. They basically said steroid creams and Vaseline to keep the moisture. I’m like “Vaseline, like how impractical and I wouldn’t want to put a petroleum-based derivative on my skin that’s all open and whatnot.” As the winter came around, those red burning, oozing, itchy rashes turned into incredibly fragile dry skin. Remember, it’s all on my hands, every time I would bend my fingers, it would break. I ended up with what felt like 1000 paper cuts all over my hand.
I’ve tried all sorts of stabs. I used to wear gloves to bed to try and keep the moisture in these fabric gloves. I was just desperate for relief and it would come and go. Finally, I just had enough. I was a nutritionist at this point and I felt ashamed, to be honest with you. I thought that I’m supposed to be this pinnacle of health and here I am having this really serious condition. People don’t even want to touch me; they don’t want to shake my hand. How can I go give a talk with blue gloves on? I had to stop taking cooking classes and whatnot. My husband, I have to credit him with being the inspiration for writing my attitude and showing me that this could be an opportunity for me to look at myself as a client and say, “What would you do to help yourself if you walked into your office?” That was what set me down the path of thinking, maybe there is something else that I can do while Google hadn’t turned up very much that was helpful. Maybe I need to think about this from a different perspective and that’s really where my journey began. I can tell you that I have been completely 100% in remission for at least the last year and a half.
No more flares. I’ve been really appreciative of all the connections that I’ve made and I’m very passionate now about sharing everything that I learned with people who are stuck in this boat of suffering from skin rashes.
[09:34:00] Ashley James: When we were talking before we hit record, you said that since we last spoke, you are going in a new direction that is so authentic to who you are. Now having heard this side of your story, I can really hear the authenticity in your voice that this is your calling although the gluten-free school was definitely mission-driven. You were definitely out to help people to heal at the root level their skin is your calling. I can definitely hear that passion in your voice and it’s very exciting because I’ve known many people with skin issues that were suffering like you were for years and all they were given from medical doctors was steroids.
I knew one woman who was in her early 20s. She had been on the steroids since she was six years old. It was $700 a month. If she wasn’t on it, she couldn’t leave the house. She was in agony. Her entire body from head to toe was covered in eczema so bad that her whole body would burn. One year someone stole her purse and she didn’t have an extra $700 to buy the cream and so she suffered for a whole month until she could get the money together to buy an extra tube. I had said to her, “Have you ever read the side effects?” She came back almost crying because it said do not take for more than two weeks. She was about 21 at the time and she’d been on it since she was six. This meets the number one side effect and concern– the reason why they say discontinue after two weeks is that it causes cancer.
[11:30:00] Jennifer Fugo: The other piece too is one side effect– it’s a major problem known by different names. It’s called Red Burning Skin Syndrome. It’s also called Topical Steroid Addiction or Topical Steroid Withdrawal. When you are constantly on topical steroids your skin essentially develops an addiction to the steroid cream because the steroids are a pot of water that’s boiling over except you put a lid on it and the steroid cream is the lid. You’re keeping the inflammation that’s bubbling up under the surface but there’s still something going on. You take that steroid cream away and all of a sudden the symptom goes completely haywire. For example, you have eczema on the front of your thighs, you’ve been using a steroid cream for a really long time but you decide, “I’m going to go cold turkey. I’m just going to get rid of it, not going to use it anymore.” What can happen if you develop this condition? Now, the steroid creams are gone, the rash will get worse. Not only will it get worse but it will spread and alert many cases where it spreads to your entire body. It creates such a level of pain and suffering that is horrific for many people.
It’s flaky skin, red, itchy stinging rashes that are all over. Not just in the original place where the eczema or the rash was. You can end up with swelling, fatigue, infections, increased skin sensitivity and this can take up to a year to go away. There is a real concern that there is a lack of coaching amongst dermatologists and primary care doctors who are just saying “Oh, we’ll use a steroid cream.” Additionally, the other issue is that while you are putting this on the skin, it can thin the skin as well. It’s another long term problem. You can end up with discoloration and scarring but it also can affect your adrenal because you’re putting a steroid cream on your skin that is absorbed into the body.
There is really fascinating yet sad research demonstrating that the start long term steroid cream use does impact adrenal gland function. It’s even worse in children and babies because they’re so small and so young. I’m not saying anyone listening to this should stop using their steroid creams or throw them away. I think there’s a way to use them responsibly while you’re trying to do other things. I certainly did use it on my journey which I’m happy to talk about to how I made my shift. I wanted just caution anyone listening “Oh, my gosh. It’s like poison. I have to throw it away.” Don’t do that.
[14:44:00] Ashley James: Right. Neither one of us is a doctor. We cannot prescribe drugs. We cannot tell people to get off of a prescription. You definitely want to work with your dermatologist when tight trading off of medication or off of a skin cream that is medicated.
I like your idea of why don’t we come in and work on the root cause. Nitrify the body, correct the diet and lifestyle, figure out what happened that created this illness in the first place. Heal the body that way and get the body so strong that we can come off of the steroid cream, slowly while we’re bolstering the body and then we can have a smoother transition. Is that what you did? Did you have a smooth transition?
[15:34:00] Jennifer Fugo: No.
[15:39:00] Ashley James: Did you just throw your cream and go cold turkey?
[15:42:00] Jennifer Fugo: No. I was having trouble sleeping through the night. I would wake up sometimes and had discovered that I was scratching my hands in the middle of the night and then rip gashes in my skin. Discuss it with your doctor but the goal is to use the steroid cream as little as possible and as least frequent as possible. There are different theories like you’re on for so long and then you go off of it and you sort of alternate back and forth. I would just try to use it as sparingly as possible. In actuality, it’s interesting because there’s a lot of root causes. Right now I’m up to 16. There’s overlap amongst a few of them. It was 15, I recently added 16th, which is actually drug reactions.
A lot of people don’t realize that there are very common medications that can trigger your skin rashes and even things like psoriasis.
There are actual medications with psoriasis that can trigger problems. It’s important to understand that it’s not just a skin problem. I think that’s an important place to preface this conversation. I like to think of the body like ancient technology. The way it tells us things, communicates and sends us messages is sort of like through smoke signals. I wish it was computer technology but it’s not. We would be like, “Oh, yes. My vitamin A is low.” We would just know that right off the bat but we don’t instead, we have to get all of these random symptoms. The other piece to this is that the skin as far as priorities of Oregon systems are concerned is the lowest on the totem pole. You could walk around with gashes and wounds due to rashes that will not heal but if God forbid something happens to your heart or your brain or your lungs, you will die because those organs are more important. You can’t survive if your thyroid function is non-existent or if you don’t have any function in your mitochondria. That underscores the importance of saying, “What type of skin rash condition I have? What if the symptoms themselves are actually symptoms of something else going on deeper in the body?” Take a look and say, “What can we ask our team from within and outside to help us put the pieces together?” There are a lot of root causes. Typically, in my experience, people have a combination of about three to five which is why, unfortunately what may work for one person, may not work for another person.
Do you want me to just share quickly what my list is?
[19:05:00] Ashley James: Yeah. I’ve got a pen and paper here. I’ve already written down number one which is drug reactions and waiting to write down the next 15.
[19:14:00] Jennifer Fugo: All right. We’ve got number two which is Mitochondrial Dysfunction — poor energy generation at the cellular level and we’re not efficiently producing ATP. We’ve got Hormone imbalances, Unmanaged stress, Heavy metals, Environmental toxins –that could even include like paint fumes, raid on, off gassing, new carpeting or paints—
[19:45:00] Ashley James: Mattresses, Memory Foam, off gases. I think there are eight carcinogens in memory foam.
[19:50:00] Jennifer Fugo: Exactly. Your jeans certainly play a role in some of this and we can talk more about that if you’d like. Diet and Food reactions are a piece of it but they are not as big of a piece as a lot of people think. Microbiome Dysbiosis is another one however when I say this, I want to clarify that this includes not just the gut microbiome but also the microbiome that lives on the skin and they are different, however, they communicate with one another.
[20:23:00] Ashley James: Can I just rub yogurt on my face? Would that help the microbiome on the skin?
[20:32:00] Jennifer Fugo: For some people, they might find that works. I know that people who don’t really have horrible skin conditions and maybe they’ve just got some dry skin may find that helpful. For a lot of people that do have skin rash conditions, there’s usually a lot more involved than just a yogurt mask.
I wish it was that easy but not always. Environmental allergies are another piece to that– like pollen, dogs, cats, horses, cockroaches. There are also a lot of chemicals in our environment that I personally never even knew about until I started really digging into this. These are formaldehyde– all sorts of things that are coding. Very common substances or items that we use in our daily life that you wouldn’t think had any chemical sprayed on them and they do. You can even have an allergy to your shoes. Some people who have rashes, severe cracking and pain with their feet can have Shoe Allergy. There are definite environmental allergies that have to be identified and looked at.
Nutritional deficiencies certainly play a role in skin rash conditions. Autoimmunity and Autoinflammation, I consider those to be sort of in the same bucket. Gut Dysfunction and Liver Detox Challenges. We’ve also got trauma. Maybe your father died at a very young age and obviously, as a child that was traumatic for you. Maybe you were in a bad marriage or you went through a period of time where you lost your home or one of the crashes and whatnot. It could be anything from a really big trauma to little tiny trauma. I’ve even had some people discuss sexual assault in the past and whatnot. And then last but not least, thyroid dysfunction.
[22: 42:00] Ashley James: I think I wrote down 17. We’ve got the Environmental Allergens and the Environmental Toxins which were different. I wrote down 17. You got 17 root causes now.
[23:06:00] Jennifer Fugo: Maybe I do.
[23: 11:00] Ashley James: It totally makes sense. A few of them relate to histamine. When you say Diet reactions and Environmental Allergens both would trigger histamine. Is histamine the root cause? Is histamine what’s causing the skin issue?
[23:36:00] Jennifer Fugo: What’s interesting is that not everybody has an issue with histamine. When it comes to eczema, some people can have more histamine present. They have chronic urticaria or hives that can also certainly be a concern. There’s too much histamine in their system or they’re consuming foods– lots of fermented foods are not always good for people with chronic skin issues. One of the first questions I asked someone on the phone is “Oh, well, I have ecz.” I go, “Okay, can you please tell me the symptoms of your experience of that particular skin condition?” They sometimes pause and they’re like “Why? That’s what I have.” I’m like, “I understand but your symptoms are going to be different than someone else’s. You can’t assume that because you have eczema or you have psoriasis. It’s the same exact problem that’s triggered this issue.”
I have had clients who some have histamine issues and I’m part of their eczema issue. I have other clients with eczema who have no issues with histamine at all.
[24: 48:00] Ashley James: Very cool. So, histamine isn’t at the root cause but it can be sort of the trigger.
[24:56:00] Jennifer Fugo: Exactly.
[24: 59:00] Ashley James: How do you feel about going through each one and unpacking them?
[25:03:00] Jennifer Fugo: I don’t know if we have time for all of that. We can certainly talk about a few of them.
The one that we started with number one, the drug reactions piece was the most shocking to me because a lot of people assume that over the counter drugs are safe. Again, this conversation is not meant to at all demonize medication because my dad’s a doctor and a surgeon and frankly, I don’t necessarily think with skin issues, we should throw the baby out with the bathwater and say, “Oh, we don’t need any of the medications that are available.” I don’t actually think that’s entirely true. I think there are a time and a place and whatever you choose to do you should jump in with your eyes wide open. The biggest piece people are promised is “Oh, if you take this pill or you get the shots, you’re going to be better.”
I literally had a conversation with a woman this morning that has horrible full-body eczema. She has been on Dupixent which is one of the biologic drugs that is supposed to be the spike Godsend to completely cure your eczema so you no longer have it and you walk around eczema free. She said it makes her living experience more tolerable however, she still has incredible itching; her face looks like it’s constantly burnt. The Dupixent has not fully addressed her issue and she’s like, “I can’t live like this. I need to find out what is driving the inflammation underneath the whole thing!”
With psoriasis, there were some really surprising drugs and I only found this out because a woman who tuned in to my Eczema and Psoriasis Awareness Week last year had rung me and said, “Did you know that a blood pressure medication could actually cause your psoriasis.” I was like, “Excuse me.” It turns out that these very common medications are called Beta-blockers as well as Ace inhibitors. Those are two classes and there are also Angiotensin Receptor Blockers. All three of those have the potential to trigger or worsen psoriasis for people.
Other ones that you might also be surprised about are like Lithium. If you’ve been taking Lithium to help with your mood, you can have skin-related side effects. We see that for about up to 45% of people who take them and who take those supplements.
Anti-infection medications– one very common is Plaquenil. There are people who take that that can cause flares on about 31% of people who have psoriasis. Plaquenil is considered an Immunosuppressant drug. The other class of medications which maybe you’ve talked about on your show is the Fluoroquinolones which are a class of antibiotics that actually in at least in the United States has a warning placed on it by the FDA because of so many problems with it. The most popular drugs that people probably know is Cipro. Aside from the fact that there are potential issues with how it can damage mitochondrial function, this is one of those drug classes that can actually cause problems for people with psoriasis and other skin issues. Tetracycline, interferon, and TNF or tumor necrosis factor alpha-inhibitors medication can do this. A lot of these are biologic medications which shockingly are medications that are prescribed to people with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis like Remicade and Humira. I’m not trying to scare people. The point is to say, “Hey, I really actually should read what the side effects could be.” While the 2% doesn’t seem like a lot, what happens if you are the 2%?
I’ve talked about with the Gut stuff and said drugs– non-steroidal anti-inflammatories like ibuprofen but that can also trigger or worsen psoriasis as well. There’s a lot of gut involvement with enzymes that can increase gut permeability, as well as the risk of Gut bleeding throughout either the stomach or the GI system. It’s important, as far as drugs are concerned, to just take a look at all the medications that you’re on and double-check that they aren’t maybe the reason for why this happened. Think back to the time around when the rashes started in. Did you start medication? You know, it’s important to think about these types of things.
The most common piece to a lot of this that I see is typically Gut Dysfunction. When I say dysfunction, I actually include Gut infections or Dysbiosis and the NutritionalDeficiencies piece– those two are huge problems.
[30: 08:00] Ashley James: Let’s get into those then. I do have a question about drugs. Have you seen that some people have their skin problem because it was triggered by a drug that they were on? Let’s say a course of antibiotics like the tetracycline. Or they were on a blood pressure medication and now they’re no longer taking it, the drugs are no longer in their system but the skin issues still there? Is the drug what triggered it and turned it on? They have four or five other things all contributing to their inflammation now, those other issues are continuing it. Do you see the drugs kind of like start the fire? Or do you find that when drugs are the reason why that they have a skin problem, that when they switch their medication or get off of a drug that the skin issue goes away?
[31:04:00] Jennifer Fugo: That’s really complicated because if you took one of these antibiotics, it’s like dropping a bomb in your gut. At that point, whether you stay on that antibiotic or not, you’ve now dramatically impacted the makeup of your microbiome. You allow for opportunistic bugs to go crazy; yeast and fungal organisms. If you inhale, swallow or eat contaminated foods that get through your stomach, you can end up with infections. That’s a tricky question. I don’t know that I actually have the answer to that. A lot of people have these things in their past. That’s a bigger problem from what I see on my end.
Gut is one piece to this however, new research is telling us that there are very distinct communication conduit, so to speak between the microbiome in the gut and the microbiome that is on the skin. To be clear in case anybody’s thinking, “Oh, well, the bugs must be the same.” They’re not. There are similar classes of bacteria or phyla of bacteria but they’re not the same exact types because the bacteria on the skin eat lipids, it’s called a Lipid dome. Whereas the bugs that live in the digestive system really prefer to eat fiber. We know about FodMap foods and fermented foods.
Researchers showing us that when you have a healthy microbiome and you’re eating plenty of fermented fibers, they will produce their waste products called Short Chain Fatty Acids. Those Short Chain Fatty Acids are really important for the acidification of the gut microbiome because you actually want a more acidic colon. You don’t want an alkaline colon but you don’t want it to be too acidic.
The body regions, as far as pH is concerned need to be within very specific ranges in order to maintain a certain level of health. Part of the reasons why it’s too crowd out is there are bugs that shouldn’t be there. What research is telling us now about Short Chain Fatty Acids is that they actually communicate – that is the communication device of how the bugs in your gut are then establishing a healthy microbiome balance on the skin and butyrate which is one of the three. There are actually three short chain fatty acids but butyrate is one of the most important ones. When we have enough butyrate that can really help rebalance the microbiome of the skin — it’s not to say it’s going to fix all of your problems but you have to ask yourself, “Why don’t I have enough butyrate? Why don’t I have enough acetate or propionate? Why don’t I have enough of these?” It’s like an onion, you’re peeling back the layers. Do I have an infection? Do I have Gut Dysbiosis? What’s going on in the Gut? Am I not eating enough fiber? You have to really take a look at what’s under the hood so to speak. What is going on in the gut can show up on the skin.
I’m currently working with a boy whose 13 years old and unfortunately when we did stool test on him he came back having the most Gut infections I have ever had a client have. It was no wonder that nothing they did topically would work because it was so many problems underneath the surface and as a result the gut is no longer in a state where it wants to invite in nutrients because it’s leaky.
You don’t have to have gut symptoms to have Gut infections or dysbiosis. I have clients who have really messed up skin and they swear to me up and down, “I poop like a champ, poop 123 times a day. I’m really good. No problems, there are no gas, no bloating, no nothing.” They’re still tests come back with dysbiosis, too much yeast or infections. It just so happens that it manifest on the skin in that particular case. Don’t write off a Gut issue just because you don’t have any gas or bloating or you poop normal. It’s really important to look at the puzzle without judgment and take a look from the very basic things. I’m sure you know too, you do that with your clients. It’s always like, what’s going on with digestive function? Are we eating good quality food? Are we bringing in enough nutrients? That’s a big piece to this puzzle.
[36: 30:00] Ashley James: You mentioned a stool test, do you look at parasites? In some way, we could consider yeast, Candida as a parasite. Parasites don’t have to all be worms. It could be worms and flukes. Looking at parasites, is that something you’d add to your list as potentially causes for skin problems?
[36:57:00] Jennifer Fugo: Yes, absolutely. You’re looking at anything that shouldn’t or either shouldn’t be in the gut or isn’t too high of a proportion. Everybody under the sun has Candida in their gut. You should actually have it. It’s actually a normal commensal organism. You just shouldn’t have it in excessive amounts. We’re looking for fungal organisms and all different types. It doesn’t necessarily have to be Candida Albicans, Giardia– anything that really shouldn’t be there. There are certainly ways if we suspect for example that somebody who’s traveled extensively overseas. I have one client that did many tours over in Africa while he was working for a nonprofit. He’s living in the villages and eating their food and I was like, “You got to get checked for worms. You have to.” You have worms and parasites because you have a level of potential exposure that most people don’t have. A dermatologist can’t figure out what’s going on. It’s also Gut function making sure that you have enough stomach acid, that you’ve got enough digestive enzymes being produced by your pancreas and have enough bile. If you don’t have your gallbladder anymore, you’re not able to absorb fats. Nutritional deficiencies are a big piece to this if you don’t have enough vitamin A and vitamin D, which are both fat soluble or if your gut is just super leaky you have a higher incidence of fats being lost out of the stool.
If the gut is super leaky and unhappy, you can end up with Keratosis Pilari. That’s a very common sign of vitamin A deficiency where you get those little like chicken skin bumps on the back of the arms and whatnot. Vitamin D is also very important for the skin as well. The Gut is a big first piece to consider.
[39: 04:00] Ashley James: I love that you pointed that out. I was getting on the Examination Table when I was pregnant, my naturopath held my arm to help me—a giant pregnant lady trying to get on the examination table and her hand touched my elbow and she went, “Oh, you’re vitamin D deficient. We need to increase your vitamin D.” I’m looking at her like “What are you, psychic? You just touched me and you know I’m vitamin D deficient.” She goes, “No, you’ve got these dry patches on your elbow.” I’d never had them and I reached over and touch my elbow like “What is going on?” I could like sand wood with this skin around my arm. All the skin around my elbow was like sandpaper and she said, “Yeah, that’s typical vitamin D deficiency.” Sure enough, increase my vitamin D went away. I was like,” What? How can that does so cool?”
You’re right. If someone doesn’t have their gallbladder, their diet and digestion isn’t allowing them to take in the fat soluble vitamins, digest them and absorb them and utilize them then we can end up with skin problems because those are the raw building blocks the body needs to create skin. What’s amazing about skin is that it is the reflection of our internal health and it’s the early warning system– it’s the canary in the coal mine. Instead of being upset when we have a skin problem, we can take on this level of excitement, “Oh, great. My body is telling me something’s wrong. There’s something that I can correct now, way before it becomes disease in the body.”
I only have so much vitamin C and the skin needs it but the body is so intelligent that it’ll take the nutrients we give it and it’ll give it to the organs that are most important first. That’s why when we get thin hair, our skin starts to suffer and our nails start to become brittle. These lesser important systems of the body will see the effects of Nutrient Deficiency first before the heart and the liver does so we can correct it. The good news is it’s on our body where we can clearly see there’s something wrong.
[41:31:00] Jennifer Fugo: It is. One piece of this which is worth mentioning because it’s a term that has become more popular is Leaky Gut. A lot of people haven’t yet or are just hearing about a term called Leaky Skin. It actually doesn’t sound that lovely and it sounds awful.
[42: 01:00] Ashley James: It sounds like a zombie show.
[42:04:00] Jennifer Fugo: Yeah, it’s just not good. Leaky Skin is essentially where there’s so much inflammation happening within the body and at the level of the skin. It’s both internal and the outside. I think we have to look outside in and inside out– that’s really the two directions we need to look with skin.
Let me just break this down a little bit for people. How do I end up with inflammation on the outside? Yes, it could certainly be due to a microbiome imbalance. You could have staph infection or overgrowth of any number of things but also just itching– itching in and of itself increases the inflammation in the skin which is another reason why I said don’t just throw out your steroid creams because you do to some degree have to try as you’re working on the “alternative and natural stuff”. You have to maintain some level of not just sanity but to decrease the amount of gashing that you’re doing to your skin trying to stop or quell that itch.
When we think about what the skin really is– it’s like a bunch of bricks or the shingles of a house. We start to see a breakdown of the glue that holds the shingles together in one nice pattern that will help A. retain moisture within the skin but also B. keep things very smooth and lovely looking.
What’s really fascinating is that there is this gene called Filaggrin. We see that there is an increased rate of Filaggrin dysfunction. Filaggrin is a gene but it also codes for a very specific protein called Filaggrin that helps keep the skin barrier nice and tight. When we start to see when inflammation elevates, it disrupts the way that the gene is coded and you start getting funky filaggrin that can’t really operate correctly.
A lot of the research and the interviews that I’ve done show that people who have hand eczema have a higher increased risk of having just an actual genetic snip in Filaggrin. You don’t necessarily need to have a snip in it to have an issue with the way your body produces Filaggrin. I talked to Dr. Peter Leo who’s a very well respected and brilliant dermatologist. He had said that just any level of inflammation, whether it’s from scratching or its internal will cause a disruption in the way the body produces Filaggrin. It’s critical to try to reduce the inflammation no matter what you need to do because that is really a big deal. I just want to also specify that this isn’t just affecting people with eczema, it also affects people with psoriasis and I would likely assume that it probably affects people with other chronic skin rash conditions as well. There are other genes out there that we should be aware of per se but if you’ve got an autoimmune condition like psoriasis or scleroderma there are typically genes associated with those conditions. There is some level of genetic susceptibility. Filaggrin is probably the number one to really pay attention to but there’s no way inexpensively to get tested for this. I don’t know if you can find out from 23andMe test. At the end of the day, I’m not really sure what value would do if you even found out you had a snip on it but genes certainly play a role.
When you have this Leaky Skin condition which most people have when they have skin issues, it’s really important to be judicious about what you’re putting on your skin and what you are eating. I don’t want to make people crazy with their diet— that’s always my fear. I don’t want to instill food fear in people because you’re always going, “What’s the next thing we can take out? What’s the next thing we should avoid? What’s bad for us?” We are oftentimes kind of get lost amongst the trees. I always think, “Let’s try and eat the most nutrient-rich diet humanly possible.” Cut out the junk, just cut it out– that’s the first step. Cut it out because if you came to see me, that’s the first thing that I’m going to tell you to do. We’ve got to make sure that its nutrient rich because that way we’re not just supporting the skin but our thyroid and liver. We’re supporting many different areas that require nutrients in order to function properly.
Coconut oil is not something that anyone with skin rashes should put on their skin. I even am at a point where I’m starting to wonder if it’s not the greatest idea for people who have perfectly clear skin as well. You’ve got to be really judicious about what you put on your skin. There are a lot of products at grocery stores and pharmacies that are geared toward super dry skin and their eczema formulas — those things are formulated in such a way that you constantly require the use of them. They actually dry your skin out so you keep using them. We go to the natural stuff and the first thing people read about online is coconut oil and it’s really not a good idea for rashes.
[48:27:00] Ashley James: Why is that?
[48:30:00] Jennifer Fugo: Remember how I was telling you that the colon is an actually an acidic environment, the skin is as well. Your skin ideally should have a pH between 4.5 and five, maybe 5.5. It’s a tight little slice of the pH scale and that’s healthy. For those who think like everything’s got to be alkaline. It is actually healthy for certain areas to be acidic.
Coconut oil– first of all, it’s way too alkaline. It comes in and around a pH of eight. When I said that it is important that the colon is acidic because if it gets imbalanced and the pH goes high or low, it invites in organisms that shouldn’t live there and the same happens with the skin– that’s number one. You might be thinking, “What if you have like bad bugs living on your skin? Wouldn’t you want it because it’s really antimicrobial?” It makes complete sense– that’s what I used to think but unfortunately, coconut oil is so incredibly anti-microbial that it decimates the microbiome on the skin leaving it wide open for opportunistic bugs to take up residence, which is not what you want.
If you got the skin rashes, we know right there you’ve got some state of Leaky Skin. You’ve also likely got Dysbiosis on the skin. Is it really smart? Think about it. If you know you’ve got Dysbiosis, would you just throw antibiotics? You’d be like, “No, that doesn’t make any sense.” I’m not saying Coconut oil is an antibiotic but you have to understand that the level of anti-microbial capacity of coconut oil is way too high for your skin.
Oftentimes, people just put oil on the skin. The bugs don’t just like magically repack back up. They don’t reappear because it takes time to reestablish a microbiome. The last big problem is that the molecules are so saturated and the molecules of coconut oil are so large. It’s very difficult for them to actually penetrate into the skin which is why it oftentimes feels that coconut oil will stay on the surface of the skin. It does not absorb in and sometimes it causes hot situation on the skin which is very uncomfortable for people. It makes it difficult for the skin to breathe.
I’ve even had a few people describe it to me as kind of felt almost like I had saran wrap around my arm or whatever. I just didn’t put two and two together. I will say just from a clinical perspective, I have had more and more clients who have discovered that it was actually causing almost like an allergic reaction. I have one client that had severe swelling across her face and her eyes were all red and super itchy. She already had a rash there and read online on someone’s website that you should use coconut oil. She started using coconut oil and it was getting worse and worst. She couldn’t figure out what the problem was and finally came across this article that’s on my website about the issues with coconut oil. I advised her to stop within about a week; she noticed such a significant improvement. She’s like, “I have almost no rash on my face anymore. I had no idea that it was actually the coconut oil.”
We have a ton of comments from people who have acknowledged that coconut oil either made their skin rashes worse. I have one woman– a massage therapist that commented that she would always use coconut oil on clients and massage table. Her hands as a result have gotten so bad from using coconut oil. I love coconut oil. It’s not to demonize it or to say that it is bad but I think maybe we’ve gone a little too foreign assuming that it’s good for everything.
I have talked with experts who have done testing on the antimicrobial capacity of coconut oil and they advised me that it was not a good option. I have also talked to aestheticians who have a lot of experience in formulation and working with people with chronic skin conditions. They too also said it is really one of the worst choices. You need to look at your skincare products with skincare ingredient labels, the same applies as food. The first ingredients are the highest concentration and the lower ones are the least if it’s really in. I would say the top two thirds in the ingredients are probably not a good product for you to be using.
There are some instances where it may be okay for me, I wouldn’t mind if it’s one of the probably top two thirds. I wouldn’t use it if it was the first at all. I don’t have skin rashes anymore and I don’t use a whole lot of oils anymore on my skin aside from Ahava. If you have got skin Dysbiosis you should not go anywhere near coconut oil.
[54:14:00] Ashley James: I know everyone’s different because someone might react and the other person thinks it’s wonderful. There’s no blanket statement, we all have to do trial and error. What are your favorite ingredients that are helpful for supporting skin health when they’re also working on healing themselves internally?
[54:38:00] Jennifer Fugo: I love Ahava oil because it is the closest to the human sebum. It’s just very nice and inexpensive as well. Sesame seed oil, not the stuff you cook with but the actual stuff made for body care can be great. I find that if you’re in a cold environment or winter time it’s great because it’s very warming. In the summertime, it’s probably too heavy and it also has a really intense smell so you might not want to put that on as your daily oil. Avocado oil and Olive oil are really good options as well. There’s also some really interesting good research on sunflower oil and eczema.
As far as herbs are concerned, Calendula is amazing. Assuming, you don’t have an allergy to the daisy family since it is a part of the daisy family. Just make sure if you’ve got outdoor pollen allergy issues, you just want to make sure that that’s not one. I love stinging nettles but more so to support the liver. Stinging nettles and Quercetin together can be a really amazing support for histamine. It’s a great antioxidant as well.
As far as the skin is concerned, I think one of the biggest things is to stop showering every day. I know that sounds very simplistic but we oftentimes over shower and over sudsing. You do not need to suds your entire body– it is absolutely unnecessary unless you’re really filthy. A lot of times the water is enough and you should only be sudsing the armpits, groin and rear end. Showering every day can be really tough. Again, I’m not a doctor but my suggestion is to see if you can get down to showering every other day or every three days that way we’re just reducing the depletion of the healthy flora. Don’t be afraid to get outside and be in the dirt. There’s some incredible research that’s coming out about the circadian rhythm and being out in the sun assuming you can tolerate it, getting your hands in the dirt assuming you didn’t have some sort of hand eczema issue but exposing yourself to healthy bacteria. It can be super important and a lot of times the disconnection with the outdoor environment and excessive amounts of stressors in your life certainly play a role.
[58:04:00] Ashley James: Absolutely. Stress is huge. I like that you said to get out in nature. You’re getting vitamin D from the sun and you’re decreasing stress from bathing in nature. For example, digging in the dirt gardening– is there a link between interacting with the healthy bacteria in nature such as gardening and our skin’s bacteria?
[58:33:00] Jennifer Fugo: Absolutely. The more fascinating pieces that I’m constantly reading upon is the Microbiome and the Skin. One big problem is that we’ve reached over sanitizing everything. Everything is like kills 99.999% of bacteria. Why do we need to assume that all bacteria are going to kill us? It doesn’t mean they’re necessarily bad. There are not friendly bugs out there but we used to have an abundant population of what are known as Ammonia-Oxidizing Bacteria on the skin. They were considered the Peacekeepers of the skin.
We’re now seeing this rise within the skincare industry of companies that are essentially engineering probiotic-based skincare products to help reestablish that microbiome. I know that Mother Dirt is one company that specifically uses those ammonia-oxidizing bacteria. I’ve come across a number of other companies as well that are integrating probiotics into their product. I think Skin Probiotics is one company that’s specifically all the formulas are generated around probiotics. The big companies, I think it is L’Oreal– I don’t remember which big company but they’re coming out with now ways to test the acidity of your skin. I wouldn’t be surprised within the next probably two to five years we will eventually have a really easy at-home test for you to check the microbiome of your skin since the ones for the Gut have done so well.
Being outside is a critical piece. It can be hard for people who have a lot of environmental allergies, I do understand that. This is general advice and it may not work for everyone. You’re going to have to pick and choose what you can do and what will work for you.
Stress reduction is important not just for the body as a whole but stress can be a major trigger for so many things. There are a lot of people that have found the connection between stressors and their skin rash flares. Even with psoriasis, there’s some interesting research showing that there’s a real decrease in serum melatonin in people who have psoriasis. When we have low melatonin it can make it very difficult to sleep at night. When you’re not sleeping well or you’re just so uncomfortable and you’re itching like mad because your cortisol has gone high in the evening. As a result, there’s this really cool correlation between elevated cortisol and increased itching at night. We’re just not regenerating within our body the way we should and it’s incredibly stressful. It depletes our micronutrients. It depletes antioxidants. It really wears down your mitochondria and taxes your liver tremendously and it makes it a lot easier for your gut to become leaky.
We can argue that Leaky Gut comes from enzymes or gut infections or too much yeast. Stress plays a huge role in what happens in your Gut. It affects everything. We have to take that seriously and consider the solutions. “The solutions for stress reduction” as seriously as say the supplements you might want to go by because oftentimes what I find and I don’t know if this has been your experience as well Ashley, but a lot of times people are like, “Can I just take a supplement?” I’ll say, “Could you sit for two minutes a day and breathe? I’m really busy. I’ll try.” We’ll talk a month later I’m like, “So, how did the breathing exercises go?” “I do not like once and then I kind of forgot.”
I assure you, they’ve taken all their supplements just fine. I’m not laughing at anyone, it just makes me chuckle that the thing that’s free, oftentimes tends to be the hardest things for us to comply with because we don’t perceive the value of them to be as great as something that maybe cost you 3995.
[01:03:27] Ashley James: Anyone who’s listening, I will charge you 3995 and I’ll sit with you for two minutes a day. We’ll get on the phone, you’ll breathe and you can just pay me. I’ll just sit on the phone and we’ll breathe then you will value reducing your stress. People can pay to go to meditation classes and Yoga classes. You can pay for apps. There’s Calm Beats or something– they can pay for the pro version. There are things that we could pay to perceived more value. You’re right. The best ways of reducing stress are free– walking, journaling, breathing, hugging, laughing–.
[01:04:10] Jennifer Fugo: Put on your favorite music, sing and dance in the comforts of your own home. Dance like nobody’s watching you– there is something so freeing and uplifting to that. Prayer, mantras, whatever faith you are, there are prayers and there are ways to meditate in any religion.
If you’re really also feeling very down and out, reach out to someone who’s a professional and talk to them because the other piece to this is that these skin conditions are incredibly debilitating. They can be at times very painful. They are very embarrassing. They cause a tremendous amount of shame and there is a really sad increase risk of suicide associated with many of them.
I’m on these Facebook groups and people say, “I know this sounds so stupid but I don’t know where else to say this and I just need to say it. My mother in law keeps picking on me about my skin or this friend of mine made some nasty comment.” Those are not little things when you’re in the midst of suffering and the people around you go about it because they can’t relate to what someone’s going through. It really isn’t helpful.
For anyone listening to this too, if you’re like, “Oh, my sister has eczema or my husband has psoriasis.” If you’re listening to this, just understand that sometimes we just want someone to be present for us. We don’t necessarily want a solution or you to tell us how we don’t know to wash our hands or we don’t know what type of soap to use. It’s not really helpful. Oftentimes, you just want somebody to hear you and listen to you. You don’t necessarily want advice but if you’re really feeling very sad, one of the biggest pieces if you’re really feeling hopeless, go talk to somebody because there are people out there who understand. I think living with skin rashes which I did for about three years is really living in hell so I understand so acutely all the pain that people go through every day. On top of it, I work with clients now so I am privy to a lot of the things that they’re going through that I maybe didn’t.
Stress and Traumas are big pieces to this. There is actual scientific research to back that up. Understand that all the times we have to go out in public and you’ve got rashes everywhere is traumatizing. Every time people make comments or they just have that stare and they won’t stop staring at you. They are not really looking at you. They’re looking at your skin trying to figure out whether they want to be near you. It is traumatizing and stressful. We just want to feel accepted. I’m not comparing it at all to people who have those more like hidden diseases like Hashimoto where people think you are lazy because you are tired but you are not. It’s just a different type of hell that people go through. Know that no matter where you are on your journey there are people that understand you and you don’t necessarily have to go it alone. There are other things that you can do even if you feel like you’ve hit a wall and the doctor or dermatologists just shrug and don’t know what else to tell you. There are other options out there.
The big reason why I started Skinterrupt is that I felt that the way we were addressing these issues is so failed. It lacks empathy and understanding of the daily struggles that people go through. At this point, I cannot understand why it is acceptable to allow people to walk out of someone’s medical office time and time again in so much suffering and pain. That’s why I started Skinterrupt, I want to pull the curtain back and not just to help people find the alternatives that may work for them but to also say, “Hey, dermatology, we need to get with a program. This is not acceptable anymore. We need better options. You also have an obligation to tell your patients about all these other things that you’re not telling them.” What is cool about The Healthy Skin Show is that it is the opportunity that I have. We’re connecting with researchers, doctors, nutritionists, dietitians and even people who have gone through it. You can talk about their story in an empowering and uplifting way.
I’m sharing all of that with people because I don’t know what exactly your three to five root causes may be. I want to make sure that there is no excuse anymore and the research that’s out there doesn’t ever see the light of day. All of us deserve to know that there is incredible research going on that could impact our health. There are ways to do things that can dramatically change your daily experience living with skin rashes and maybe even help rebuild skin that’s healthy but we’re just not getting it from our doctors. Don’t get me wrong, we need them and I wish I would love to bring them into the fold. I’m collaborating with doctors right now who are working in a more integrative way and want to see this get out there. We as patients, we also need to demand better. What I’m just hoping is to not see another person suffer– that’s my goal. If I can just help one person I’d be happy today and I’ll be happy tomorrow. That’s why I’m doing this is because we deserve better.
[01:10:25] Ashley James: Yes, doctors have their place. Allopathic medicine has its place. We need to stop putting them on a pedestal and treat them like they are on our team of health professionals. They are not. We hire them not the other way around. We hire them as professionals and we need to make sure we find a doctor that doesn’t have hubris, doesn’t put their ego first, isn’t upset that we do our own research and doesn’t feel challenged when we advocate for ourselves. We need to find doctors and put them on our team and we need to make sure we have a team of professionals. We don’t just have one doctor, we have a team of professionals that we work with that advice, guide and help us. We’re the experts of our own body because we’re the ones living in it. We listen to our symptoms, we may not understand what the symptoms be that’s why we go to our experts for the tests and for the information just like people can go to you and work with you to do tests or you can go to your doctor and you and in naturopath. We can have multiple health professionals on our team. Let them know all what’s going on, get all of their input and do all of the tests we want to do. I want people to be empowered to know that we should never put a doctor on a pedestal.
They are not the end-all. They get almost no training in nutrition and a lot of doctors have been brainwashed in a sense to believe that food and nutrition are not really important. Now, a lot of doctors are waking up. They are getting more education outside of the mainstream MD Education. They are going towards integrative or functional medicine which is fantastic. We can also see professionals like naturopaths who always want to be on the cutting edge of the research and studies around how we can heal the body at the root level which is exactly what you’re doing. I love the list you outlined today. I think we have 18 things now because we included parasites. Your list keeps growing. It is important to see that it is not just cut out the gluten although that really helps. I recently had a naturopathic dermatologist in from Toronto on the show and she did say that she has never helped someone heal their skin if they stayed on gluten.
[01:13:05] Jennifer Fugo: I agree.
[01:13:07] Ashley James: There are certain things you need to stop eating like fried food. You can’t heal the body if you’re eating fries every day because the oils are horribly damaging. Gluten is damaging. People say, “Well, I got tested and I’m not celiac. I’m not allergic to gluten.” Our body can’t digests the proteins. They’re mechanically torn through the Gut and rip apart the microbiome, increase the leaky gut and do damage to the microbial. I know you’re absolutely in agreement that there are certain foods that we need to be diligent about when healing our body, our gut, and our skin.
In case someone’s listening to this and never considered cutting out junk food. I honor everyone listening wherever they are on their journey because I was there too, so was Jen. We’ve all been there and we’re all going to be on our healing journey together. What are the top junk foods that everyone benefits from removing? What are the top healing foods that everyone within reason benefits from because of the nutrient density of those foods?
[01:14:37] Jennifer Fugo: As far as junk foods, definitely fried, fast foods, and lots of packaged and refined. The standard diet here is pretty much not going to work. If you can get more healthy whole foods into your diet that will certainly help. It is just to crowd things out instead of being like, “Oh, my gosh. If you take everything away from me, what am I going to eat?” Super high sugar, sodas and fried foods are not great. Cured products like hot dogs and things. I’m not anti-hotdog. I eat meat but we have to look for better quality. We are looking at price over quality and then we’re over eating as a result. We’re taking in and consuming a ton of really refined junky inflammatory foods as a result.
I’m not trying to make any health claims about this. These are just foods that I find that a lot of people can be helped with as far as skin issues. As far as something that is healthy to add in, Ground flax can be really helpful however with a caveat. If you have diarrhea, it will probably not going to work for you and might make things worse. Avoid ground flax if you have diarrhea but if you don’t, one to two tablespoons a day is great. You can add it into a protein shake or your oatmeal or whatever it is that you’re consuming.
[01:16:25] Ashley James: Drink lots of water and get ready to poop.
[01:16:28] Jennifer Fugo: Yes. Oats are great for the skin. A lot has to do with the Beta-glucans that are associated with oats but just get certified gluten-free oats. Oats are contaminated with gluten as a result of the way that they are harvested and processed on machinery. It increases gut permeability which we don’t certainly want when we’re dealing with gut issues.
I love collagen. For people who do eat meat, or at least open to the idea of consuming collagen look specifically for types one and three. Those are the most beneficial for the skin as well as for your Gut. There’s some great research on that. I just want to specify that there is no such thing as a vegan or plant based version of collagen, even if you see that– that’s not collagen. They basically put together the raw ingredients like vitamin C and glycine and a bunch of other things and say hope that your body will remake collagen. I have yet to see research that those vegan collagens actually really make a big dent on the areas that we’re looking for. You can typically find beef, sometimes chicken but mostly beef and fish derived collagen products are what are on the market these days.
The other one is Ghee– believe it or not, is a really great skin food. Not to apply topically but to eat because it is pretty high in butyrate. We had talked about the butyrate being really important for your Gut and Ghee is high in butyrate. If you have a dairy allergy, that’s a completely different story. I would probably avoid Ghee if you have an allergy to dairy but if you just have sensitivity to dairy, or you’re lactose intolerant, Ghee will probably be okay because the milk proteins and the sugars are removed. I love adding Ghee to my food anywhere from one to four teaspoons of Ghee a day can be really great.
Beats are also amazing because they have a lot of vitamin C. Beats have high levels of salicylates and if you have problem processing salicylates rich foods that would be an issue. It’s not a food problem but a liver detoxification issue. If you’re finding that beats and other high salicylate foods, trigger flares then you may need to increase the amount of glycine and B6 in your diet and even some magnesium to help your liver process the salicylates which are phytochemicals naturally occurring in these foods. If you’re on methotrexate because you have psoriasis, beats may be something best to avoid because it actually can interact with the medication.
Last but not least, salmon. I love salmon. It’s a really great option because of the omega 3. I would encourage you to get wild caught salmon as opposed to the Alantic salmon simply because wild caught is typically better and has more omega 3s than farm raised salmon. Those would be my go-to as far as superfood for skin.
[01:20:0] Ashley James: My husband I have been allergic to dairy but we cannot tolerate dairy because it is hidden in food. I am in massive pain. We don’t eat it anymore but when we did, everything was fine. It was really cool because you can get Ghee that says does not have any lactose.
[01:20:34] Jennifer Fugo: Yeah. What’s really funny is that I recently discovered that there’s such a thing as Goat and Yak ghee– it doesn’t have to just be from cows. You can order it online and it actually tastes very good. It’s not quite the same taste as cow’s milk but it does taste like ghee. It was just different. If you’re afraid of cow’s milk, you could certainly try those versions as well.
[01:21:00] Ashley James: What about the Gaps diet? It’s meant to heal the Gut that has really high in collagen and lots of bone broth. Are you in alignment to the Gaps diet if someone wants to heal their gut?
[01:21:14] Jennifer Fugo: I’ll be honest with you. The only problem with diets to heal the gut is if you have infections they are not going to do much. I just see such a high incidence of infections and the same goes with AIP. It’s great but if you’re not seeing results after three months, you have something else going on.
I’ve talked to Mickey and she’s like, “People keep pressing on and on, hoping that something’s going to change.” In reality, the whole time they have had gut infections and the diet is not going to fix that. We have to put some practical cut-offs here saying that maybe there’s so much I can do and try up front. If I’m really not seeing results or I’m getting worse, I actually need to reach out for health because it’s more complicated, to be honest with you and to be entirely transparent.
If you would ask me to tell you all of this stuff three years ago, even five years ago before I started my master’s program, there’s no way I could have rattled all of this stuff off. I have learned so much about biochemistry and the way the body works. I’m not saying I am the smartest person out there. There are some people out there in the world that are brilliant people and I love listening to them. You can’t expect to be an expert in every single thing. I’m not messing around with my pipes If I think I got a leak or if I think there’s a problem with my electricity in my house, I’m calling electrician and so there’s no shame in reaching out and asking for help.
Be careful if you start eliminating a lot of food from your diet and you don’t know what you’re deficient in. You’re not bringing those specific nutrients back, you just dig the hole deeper and it takes a lot longer to dig yourself back out. Sometimes if you’re just like “I don’t know what to do, I’m overwhelmed.” It’s good to ask for help and know too that there are psoriasis diet and eczema diet. I know many people who have been on them that I worked with and they’ve changed their diet. They’ve done all sorts of low salicylates, no histamine, low histamine, and gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free, sugar-free, whatever. They’re on such little foods and they’re not getting any better. I’m not saying that food doesn’t have power but because sometimes the chronic skin issues are so complicated. You can’t just assume that food will fix them all. If it does for you that is awesome and kudos to you but it does not for everyone.
[01:23:51] Ashley James: Right and that’s why there’s 18 things that we need to look at. We have to look at all them and like you said, most people have four or five or six issues at once. Everyone is stressed. We just have to go through the list and go, “How can I support? How can we all support our liver?” I think we could all benefit from liver support. “How can we support detoxifying? How can we support the diet in a way that’s the most nutrient dense? How can we support getting the good bacteria back in alignment on our skin and in our gut and get the parasites out and heal the gaps so that we don’t have the leaky gut or the leaky skin? It’s everything; it’s a holistic.
I have a friend and I’ve mentioned this story before on my show so listeners have listened to a bunch of episodes might have heard it. I have a best friend in Toronto, she’s in her 60s and she was born with Ichthyosis. It’s a very rare skin condition where 70 or 80% of her skin was covered in very thick scales. Chunks of skin would fall off her and bleed. It was sort of piles of what looks like sandpaper around because they would fall off of her. She’s such a wonderful woman but she was born with this and her father had it. If you look at the old textbooks on Ichthyosis, all the pictures of the condition are her father because in Canada they studied him. They took pictures of him and put them all the textbooks. They said it’s genetic, there’s nothing you can do. She’s always been into health so she eats healthy as she could. She’s been taking supplements for over 30 years, probably over 40 years. She noticed that she could kind of calm down a bit and she had to do a morning and a night routine. She would make her own topical agents and rub herself from head to toe at morning and night. If she didn’t do this then she would not be able to walk. It would be so horrible to her hands or feet and she couldn’t move her hands.
Back about eight years ago, I had met one of the naturopaths that trained me that I mentored under and he was actually in intro of the time giving a lecture. I called her up and said, “You have to go see him and suck his brain out and just absorb as much as you can. This guy’s amazing.” She raised her hand when it came to question time and said, “I have Ichthyosis.” He stopped her and said, “It’s not genetic. Don’t listen to them. Here’s what you need to do. You need to stop eating gluten.” He gave a list of about 12 foods just actually the same he tells everyone to avoid. They’re generally unhealthy which you pretty much went through the list. Then he says, “Here are the good things you can eat. You need to take very high doses of all the fat soluble vitamins.” She had her gallbladder taken out in her 20s . “We need to help your body digest fat.” He gave her the rundown.
She’d already done years and years of research on her own and health stuff. It was under control and was managed but it was still there. About five years of doing his program because it’s something that takes time, she’s been totally 100% of remission for a few years. It took about four or five years but she saw that slowly the Ichthyosis crept away and new healthy skin grew where she had never seen healthy skin grow before. Now, the only thing she has is some dry skin in some places and that’s it. She still eats incredibly healthy, takes her supplements, takes her digestive enzymes and manages her stress– she definitely seen that that’s an issue, and exercises. At Morning and night she covers herself from head to toe in the things that she created in her home.
You would look at her hands and they look like everyone else’s hands. When I first met her it was not the case. It was very similar to what you described where she’d move her hands and they crack and bleed and fall like pieces of her would fall off. To see that transformation it took about four to five years of doing the the right program.
They say that every year you’ve had the problem, you need a month to work through the issues. She had the problem for 40 years, you got to give yourself 40 months. Anyway, it was like watching Ice Melt in the springtime. When you look at it every day, it doesn’t feel like it’s melting but eventually it melts away. The message I want to leave is that when we’re giving the body everything it needs, it does definitely feel miraculous at how it heals. It takes time. We need to be patient and stick to our program. If we’re getting no results at all or if it’s worsening, we need to work with a professional like you said work with you.
To make sure we are on the right path, we need to stick to it because the body takes time. Other naturopath say that the body does triage work. If you’re Vitamin C deficient, it’s going to take the vitamin C and put it to your heart, liver, kidneys and everything else that’s more important than skin first. Sometimes, taking in nutrients, nutrient dense foods and supplements, you’re eating healthy, you’re doing everything right and you might not see results for three months because the body’s healing internally. We also have to look at how we feel and the other parts that make up our quality of life to make sure we’re going in the right direction.
I’m very inspired by the work you’re doing and I really feel that you are on you’re calling, on your path. I’m really looking forward to hearing back from the listeners how much this has made a difference for them. I know that my listeners are going to jump over and listen to you on The Healthy Skin Show. There wouldn’t want to check out your website skinterrupt.com. Everything you do is going to be in the show notes of today’s podcast learntruehealth.com
Tell us about your services, about everything so that listeners who want to connect with you know how they can.
[01:31:08] Jennifer Fugo: Absolutely. The best way to get in touch with me is to go to skinterrupt.com From there if you’re interested in learning more about me, you can either read my about page to get a sense of what I’m about and it’s more than just my skin condition. When you are interested in working with someone; you should try to get to know who they are and what their values are. If that does resonate with you either get Help page where it describes how I work wit clients. I do one on one consultation. I also have some group programs that we’re working on but we also have some really great incredible resources as well for people to check out that you can utilize them in your own home.
If you’re looking for protein shakes that are really great for soothing skin conditions, we have a really great download for that or if you’re looking for the best tests to ask your doctor for, we’ve got resources for that. Looking at supporting you in any way shape humanly possible and if anybody has any questions, I’m happy Ashley, if you want to let me know or wherever the post is, I’m happy to come back and answer questions. I have blogs that are really extrapolate upon what we’ve talked about even further, just so that people have an opportunity to really dive deeper into these topics on the Healthy Skin Show. If anybody has specific questions, they can submit those questions to the podcast and actually get them answered on the show which is really cool. It’s just part of my commitment to make sure that people in this community feel heard and that they have ways not only to help themselves in their daily life but also to get that added support should they need it.
I have a virtual practice. While I live in the US, I see clients worldwide and I work with clients over the phone or by Skype to be able to support them.
[01:33:05] Ashley James: Excellent. We’re going to make sure that once this is up, I’m going to make a post in the Facebook group The Learn True Health Facebook group and so we can all jump in there and chat with you. We just started transcribing all of our interviews at LearnTrueHealth.com so this interview is going to be fully transcribed so people can go back and see the full list of 18 things and counting of the different areas they need to focus on. Can see everything that you said today in the show notes because it’s all transcribed there and all the links to everything you do.
Listeners can come to the Facebook group and chat with Jennifer. Check out the first episode where we had Jennifer on which is Episode 198. I know on your website skinterrupt.com you also have a fun quiz that people can take?
[01:34:04] Jennifer Fugo: Yes. Actually, it’s not a quiz, there are a couple of things you can do. As I was saying, you can find out what are triggers for your skin rashes and that you can do through testing. I’m a really big proponent of doing a low stomach acid test at home because as I said, having enough stomach acid is the second point of the digestive process and it’s critical. I find that a lot of my skin clients actually have low stomach acid. We’ve got a great download to walk you through how to do that. It doesn’t cost anything except for some water and some baking soda. It can really give you a lot of fast information in about 10 or 15 minutes. We’ve got a lot of great resources over on the website that will help you dive deeper.
[01:34:55] Ashley James: Very cool. Awesome. Thank you so much for coming on the show. Is there anything you would like to say to wrap up today’s interview?
[01:35:03] Jennifer Fugo: I would just like to say that wherever you are right now and whatever you choose to do is entirely up to you. It’s okay if you choose to stay and do the conventional route of addressing your skin. It’s also okay if you choose to start integrating in some more natural or alternative options. Whatever you choose to do, don’t let anybody make you feel bad about it. It’s ultimately your choice. It’s based upon your health values. The goal is always to figure out a way to help your body rebuild healthier skin by rebalancing yourself from the inside and the outside. I hope that this is a really great jumping off point for some people and just know that it is possible to support your skin better. There are more resources out there and I hope that I can be a co-pilot with you on that journey and I just appreciate you for tuning in and also being a part of Ashley’s tribe because I know how passionate you all are about living your best lives. I’m appreciative for the invitation to be here.
[01:36:09] Ashley James: Wonderful. Thank you so much.
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