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Case Studies on Eczema, Acne and Dull, Lifeless Skin

by June Butlin(more info)

listed in allergies, originally published in issue 64 - May 2001

Having discussed the skin in my last article, I would like to share three case histories with you on skin problems originating from different sources: food sensitivities, hormones and toxicity.

Case Study 1: Alice

Alice was nine years old and had suffered from atopic eczema, an itchy, inflammatory skin condition, since she was a baby. She had used corticosteroid creams that had helped to relieve the inflammation and itching, but the condition never went away. From the age of eight she appeared to have become insensitive to her medication, even though dosages had increased. The eczema erupted in vengeance. Alice's face, neck, arms and legs were covered in dry, sore, scaly patches, which were itchy and inflamed, causing Alice to scratch her skin, resulting in bleeding.

A kinesiology assessment suggested food sensitivities to dairy, peppers, peanuts and corn, an under-functioning immune system and a build-up of the bacteria Staphylococcus aureus, which is associated with eczema. High histamine levels were also prevalent, which is one of the mediators causing inflammation. Alice's diet was generally low in protein and the essential vitamins and minerals from fruit and vegetables, and was high in saturated fat and sugar.

Protein is particularly important for the skin and immune function, and fish, chicken and eggs were eaten regularly, along with vegetables. Fruits containing bioflavonoids, which have powerful antioxidant activity, such as berries, tomatoes, oranges, broccoli, cucumber and rosehips were emphasized. A rotation diet, omitting the offending foods, was followed to prevent further food sensitivities. Healthy treats were allowed occasionally such as pure fruit and nut bars, soya dessert, rice cakes with sugar-free jam, and pure fruit juice diluted 50% with water. Ground hempseeds and linseeds were taken daily to provide the essential oils required to moisturize the skin and support the immune system.

Supplementation included a liquid multi-vitamin and mineral, and quercetin, a flavonoid, which inhibits histamine release and increases antioxidant activity. Evening primrose oil was rubbed into the skin each evening and a cream containing glycyrrhetinic acid from liquorice was used daily to relieve the itching.

By following these recommendations for eight months, with slight adjustments and fine-tuning, Alice became completely free of eczema.

Case Study 2: Tom

Tom was a 23-year-old model who suffered from low energy and acne vulgaris, a common skin condition. Acne results from blockages in the sebaceous glands causing whiteheads, blackheads and inflammation. Tom's face, back and neck, where the sebaceous glands are highly concentrated, were covered with acne, and his doctor had suggested steroid cream, which made the problem worse.

A detailed questionnaire revealed acne and emotional problems in puberty, which had cleared at the age of 20 only to reappear at the age of 22. This suggested that the acne was a hormonal problem and this was confirmed by kinesiology when Tom was diagnosed with high testosterone levels. Testosterone's role in acne derives from its ability to block the pores. It does this by causing the sebaceous glands to enlarge and produce excess sebum and by stimulating the overproduction of keratin, the main component of the outer layer of the skin.

Tom was vegetarian and ate a diet high in vegetables, but low in quality vegetarian protein and fat. He believed that the body did not need fat and was surprised to learn that we all need small amounts of saturated, monounsaturated and unsaturated fats. A balance of these fats is particularly important for skin problems, hormone balance and the immune system.

Tom changed his diet to include a variety of vegetarian protein, choosing from eggs, legumes (beans, peas, lentils) with grains, nuts, rice or millet, sesame or brazil nuts with fresh vegetables and tofu. He avoided all cow's milk products because of its mucus fraction and hormone content and included ground linseeds, pumpkin, sunflower and sesame seeds on his cereal each morning. Three pieces of fruit were taken daily to supply essential vitamins.

Supplements taken were high levels of the essential fatty acids (omega-3 and omega-6), a multi-vitamin with high levels of vitamin C each morning, and a multi-mineral with high levels of selenium each evening. After four weeks Tom added zinc to aid essential fatty acid conversion, tissue regeneration and immune system activity, and vitamins A and B5 to reduce sebum production. Vitamin B5 also influences the adrenal cortex to stabilize the output of androgens, hormones that control sebaceous gland secretion, and normal keratin production.

A topical preparation of tea tree oil (Melaleuca alternifolia), an antiseptic, was used for daily cleansing.

After ten weeks Tom's skin was perfectly clear, and he felt confident, healthy and full of energy.

Case Study 3: Maria

Maria was a 57-year-old schoolteacher who had suffered the loss of her husband and sister the previous year. She was stressed, permanently fatigued and suffered from dull, lifeless skin. Her case study and kinesiology assessment indicated toxicity in the colon, liver, gall bladder and kidneys, a slow-moving lymphatic system and a poorly functioning immune system.

Firstly, Maria followed a quality wholefood diet to aid immune function. She ate fruit, white meat, fish, brown rice, seeds, almonds and Brazil nuts and lots of vegetables, emphasizing leafy greens, onions and garlic. She avoided all red meat and fatty, salty and processed foods. She took a herbal antioxidant formula containing all of the following: curcumin, white pine bark, grape seed extract, ginkgo biloba and maritime pine bark with vitamins A, C and E and calcium.

Secondly, she carried out a cleansing programme using herbs and a drink containing apple fruit pectin, bentonite clay, flax seed, sycamore, charcoal, slippery elm bark, marshmallow root and fennel seed. Thirdly, she added a tincture of milk thistle and dandelion to support the liver.

Throughout her programme, Maria practised internal exercises for the liver, kidneys and colon, and skin brushing. She also followed a 20-minute relaxation programme to help with her stress, and an exercise programme in the form of fast walking to speed up her lymphatic system.

After 16 weeks she was less stressed, had more energy and had healthy, glowing skin.

Such is the power of nutritional therapy!


  1. samsun said..

    these articles are really good for learning purposes i have gained so much from these articles and hpe toread more.

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About June Butlin

June M Butlin PhD is a trained teacher, nutritionist, kinesiologist, aromatherapist, fitness trainer and sports therapist. She is a writer, health researcher and lecturer and is committed to helping people achieve their optimum level of health and runs a private practice in Wiltshire. June can be contacted on 01225 869 284;

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