Dr. Trevor Cates: Hacking Dry Skin & Internal Health
By: Dave Asprey
Why you should listen –
Dr. Trevor Cates comes on Bulletproof Radio today to discuss possible causes of dry skin, harmful synthetic fragrances, environmental toxins, and why sunblock isn’t as safe as you may think. Enjoy the show!
Dr. Trevor Cates received her medical degree from the National College of Natural Medicine and was the first woman licensed as a naturopathic doctor in the state of California. She was appointed by former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to California’s Bureau of Naturopathic Medicine Advisory Council and served on the American Association of Naturopathic Physician’s board. Check her out at the Glowing Skin Summit where she is hosting leading experts in wellness and skin health.
What You Will Hear
- 0:16 – Cool Fact of the Day!
- 0:44 – Welcome Dr. Trevor Cates
- 4:32 – Hack your dry skin
- 10:10 – Topical solutions
- 13:35 – Synthetic fragrances
- 21:43 – Sunblock
- 24:19 – Oily skin
- 27:40 – Why a guy should care
- 34:05 – Dermatologist checkup
- 39:41 – Acne and environmental toxins
- 46:58 – Stretch marks
- 50:07 – Top three recommendations for kicking more ass and being Bulletproof!
Questions for the podcast?
Leave your questions and responses in the comments section below. If you want your question to be featured on the next Q&A episode, submit it in the Podcast Question form! You can also ask your questions and engage with other listeners through The Bulletproof Forum, Twitter, and Facebook!
Dave: Hey, everyone. It’s Dave Asprey with Bulletproof Radio. Today’s cool fact of the day is that sleeping in a bra could be terrible for your health. Women who sleep in their bras have significantly lower melatonin levels because the bra increases pressure on the skin. The lower melatonin equals sleep problems, illness, and even monthly irregularities. Now when I read my biohack of trying to sleep in a bra for 90 days … Nevermind, I didn’t. At least I hear this is a problem. There’s studies about it, but fortunately it’s not a problem that I had to hack. It’s just one you should know about if you’re approximately, oh, 51% of the audience.
Today’s guest on the show is a friend of mine. It’s Dr. Trevor Cates who’s known as the spa doctor. She’s the first woman ever to be licensed as a naturopathic doctor in California. She was appointed by Arnold Schwarzenegger to California’s Bureau of Naturopathic Medicine Advisory Council a couple of times and she runs her own podcast called The Spa Doctor. Trevor, welcome to the show.
Trevor: Thank you, Dave. It’s great to be here.
Dave: There’s a lot of stuff we can talk about. We met first at JJ Virgins events. She runs these mindshare groups where health influencers get together and swap secrets and all. I had a great time talking with you because you’re looking at things from a medical perspective, but you also actually worked in spas. Why do you call yourself the spa doctor?
Trevor: Yeah, that’s partly why because I did work in some high-end spas and I got to be known as the spa doctor by just calling me the spa doctor. And I’m not working in spas anymore so much, but I realized that there’s a lot that I learned being a spa doctor about … When people come into a spa they’re thinking about a few things. They’re thinking about their looks or their skin, also how about how they might be able to relax a little bit. And I realized one thing with skin, skin is a great tool that we have, a great outer reflection of our inner health. There are a lot of people that are more focused a little bit on their looks and not caring so much about what they eat and their lifestyle, but a lot of people care about their skin.
It was a great way for me to start talking to people about their health because when we take good care of our health on the inside it shows up on our skin. That’s how I got to be known as the spa doctor. I also realize a lot of the things that I was teaching people on the spa they can do at home. They don’t have to come into a spa to see me. It’s really about inner and outer health and how to care of ourselves, how we live day to day life, what we eat, stress management, exercise, all those good things.
Dave: When you look at someone and you look at their skin what can you tell about the status of their health? What are the top five most obvious things you could tell from looking at someone?
Trevor: A lot of times people have dry skin or maybe they have oily skin or they have … As we get older some people have premature aging or some people even have skin problems like acne, rosacea, eczema, dermatitis, a lot of different skin problems. When we look at the skin it’s in front of our faces. Every time you talk to someone you see their skin, right, even on your video podcast. You see people’s skin, right, and so those things really show that there’s an imbalance inside.
It could be having to do with nutrients, it could have to do with hormones, it could have to do with the actual foods that they’re eating and it creating inflammation in the body, it could have to do with their digestion. There a lot of different things that can be going on and I definitely want to delve more deeply into each one of these things because they’re so important. The things to look for, does your skin glow? It should be nothing less than glowing, healthy looking skin and if it’s not that then there’s probably something that you’re doing inside, maybe outside, too, that it shows that there needs to be some changes.
Dave: Let’s say that I have dry skin. What does that tell you? Because what I want to do is go through common skin things and what does that mean medically and what does that mean as a biohack? What should I change in my diet, what should I change in my other habits because what we’re looking for is feedback and if you have this huge organ, your skin, that is a source of feedback for you, most people just go, I got pimples, it’s random. I said no, you did something to cause the pimples.
Dave: I want people who listen to this just while they’re driving in their cars, in their commute or doing whatever, chopping vegetables, whatever it is, to know at the end of this, oh, I have X in my skin and it probably means that I could do Y in order to get rid of it.
Dave: Let’s start with dry skin. What’s causing that most likely knowing it could be lots of things, but what does that tell you about someone’s health status?
Trevor: Right, so dry skin, a few things I think about with dry skin. One is what are they eating? Are they getting the right oils in their diet that will help with skin because just like I’m sure you talked about oils and good oils, good fats versus bad fats on your show. Just like we want our cells to have those good fats, so they’re fluid and they function optimally. Our skin cells need those, too, so if we’re not getting the right fats, good omega-3 oils, then that can cause us to have dry skin, so micro macronutrients can play a role. Also hormones. For example, thyroid. If people have hypothyroidism dry skin can be a sign of low thyroid function, so there are other symptoms that go along with hypothyroidism like fatigue and constipation and hair loss, those things, but dry skin is one of those key symptoms. Those are a few of the things I think of.
Another big one is going back to digestion. Digestion is huge for really all of the skin conditions, any skin problem. If your digestive tract isn’t working well, if you’re constipated or you have any digestive symptoms or you don’t have the right balance of the good bacteria in your digestive tract, that gut microbiome, then it can show up in your skin. Dry skin is definitely one of those symptoms especially because you’re probably … You may be getting all the right oils and fats in your diet, but if you’re not digesting them and your body’s not absorbing those then it’s not doing you any good.
Dave: There’s something else I’ve noticed and this is one of those things where you just realize any time something happens to your body there’s a reason for it. It’s not random even though a lot of us believe that. I know for me that I have certain, what do you call, kryptonite foods. You have this layer of suspect foods on the Bulletproof diet. These are things that cause problems for wide varieties of people like common problem causers, but they may be okay even if they’re not perfect for you. One of the things that gets me is not all the nightshade family, but bell peppers. I appreciate the taste of bell peppers and every now and then I’m like ah, I’ll just eat some. If I eat bell peppers, within two days I get super dry skin, especially my feet will crack and bleed from eating those. Why would eating food that has lectins like that lead to dry skin everywhere?
Trevor: It could possibly be due to the fact that you have sensitivity and that’s one of the things that I see often and whatever that trigger food is for people whether it’s peppers or dairy or gluten or eggs, soy, and there are a lot of … Those are some of the common ones. What can happen is that our bodies sees those as toxic and so it leads to a lot of different problems about it.
You probably talked about leaky gut syndrome on your show and I hate the name of that. I also call it hyperpermeability, digestive type hyperpermeability. What happens is our digestive tract lining is somewhat permeable, but when it becomes more permeable than it should small little food particles can actually slip through and then our body sees those as foreign particles and creates an immune response. This leads to inflammatory pathways and those inflammatory pathways can create a lot of different symptoms in the body including dry skin.
Dave: Inflammation leads to dry skin, all right. Look for things that cause inflammation including foods, including many other things like the thyroid problem as well. All right, now something else happens though. Let’s say you normally have normal skin and you wake up one day and you have dry skin overnight. What would that tell you versus someone who just chronically has dry skin?
Trevor: That would probably be something more having to do with hydration. Maybe you didn’t … I live in Park City, Utah, a really high altitude here. It’s easy to get dry skin. People might be traveling here and they get here and immediately their skin dries out, so it could be hydration whether it’s exterior more just on your skin because of the dry air or it could be that you’re not drinking enough water or eating foods that replenish your body and hydrate.
Dave: I have a hack for hydration coming up and it’s top secret and I can’t tell you what it is yet, but it looks like this. If you’re looking on video on iTunes this is a secret vial of my new hydration solution. I’ll tell you guys about it as soon as it comes out, it’s awesome. I agree with you there, hydration’s amazing and I don’t know anyone who doesn’t get dry skin the first day they go up to say Park City.
Dave: Now what do you do about this? Do you just go get some Vaseline Intensive Care and just slather it on and just be happy about that? Do you rub brain octane oil all over yourself, dive into a pool of it? What’s the topical short-term thing to do when people have dry skin?
Trevor: Topically, of course … Interior we want to drink water and we want to eat hydrating foods. Of course we want to do things from the inside. I always talk about glowing skin, healthy skin should initially come from within, but we also want to pay attention to the products we put on our skin. You mentioned Vaseline which is a petroleum product and definitely stay away from that. It’s basically like putting gasoline on your skin or petroleum and so we don’t want to do that. In fact, a lot of the skincare products that people use are quite toxic. In fact, the FDA does not regulate our skincare products very well. It’s very under-regulated.
In fact, overall the FDA has only banned about 11 ingredients whereas in Europe they ban hundreds of chemicals and ingredients in skincare products. In the United States we only have banned 11, so it’s really under-regulated. People, cosmetic companies, skin care companies, personal care products, they can pretty much say and do whatever they want, put whatever ingredients in there and not really be concerned about the health implications of those unfortunately. The problem is that when you put something on your skin it doesn’t just stay on your skin, you actually absorb it into your skin, in through your skin, into your bloodstream.
You think about something like hormone creams or patches or nicotine patches, we put those on the skin because it absorbs through the skin, so whatever you’re using, certainly don’t use Vaseline. Something like your oil, that’s something that you would eat, so for sure you could put that on your skin. There’s a lot of great oils. Coconut oil, MCT oil, those are great for the skin as well as avocado oils, almond oil, even olive oil. If you think about the things that you would eat, the oils that you would eat, those a great place to start with things that nourish the skin on the outside.
Dave: There’s a Bulletproof rule is if you wouldn’t put it in your mouth don’t put it on your skin and I tend to do that, everything in the house, even what I put on my kids. In fact, the soap I have right now is made from bison fat, so it’s actually grass fed rendered bison fat, licorice flavored soap that’s awesome. It sounds a little bit ridiculous. It could have just been made with coconut oil and it would have been just as good, but the point there is these are food-based things. However, the inventor of Vaseline because I know all these cool facts of the day. He ate a tablespoon of Vaseline every day to keep his digestive system lubricated. I kid you not. He lived till he was old, so who knows, maybe it’s good for you. I don’t think I’m going to try it, but anyway, a side note.
Trevor: I can’t imagine it tastes good either.
Dave: Yeah, it’s a salad dressing. It’s not, no … I don’t know how he did it, but I was amazed at the crazy things that happened in history of health and actually the crazy things that are still happening. When you look at using synthetic fragrances on your skin, what happens when a typical petroleum-based perfume is added to something you put on your skin? What does that do to the body?
Trevor: Yeah, the thing with fragrances and it’s one of those ingredient … On a label you might see fragrances and these synthetic fragrances when it’s labeled that way it’s really an allowance for all kinds of ingredients to go into that. A lot of these are very harmful chemicals that … A lot of them have hormone disrupting effects, they’re known as EDCs, endocrine disrupting chemicals, some are even carcinogenic. Also, for example, if you think of … One of the ingredients that often times is in fragrances is Phthalate and Phthalate are plasticizers. It’s the ingredient in plastic that makes it … It bends and stuff.
We know those are known hormone disrupters, so we know that it can lead to problems like infertility, thyroid problems, early menopause, early onset of puberty, all kinds of hormone disrupting effects, even certain types of cancers. It’s crazy what can be put in these products and something like fragrance we just … A lot of people will just think oh, it’s just fragrance, how bad can it be? Even if you’re smelling it it can go in through your nose, into your bloodstream, so we want to be really careful with things like fragrance.
Dave: I remember years ago the lady in the cubicle next to me, I really don’t like cubicles, but she sprayed some horrible orange scented thing on and everyone in five cubicles in a circle started coughing. I actually started to itch, physically I was getting itching on my skin from whatever I breathed in that stuff. I’m like good God, what is that? She’s like oh, it’s air freshener and I’m like could you not use that again. It was one of those things where people go it’s smells good therefore it must be nice and it’s not like that, it affects other people.
Trevor: Right, and we don’t have to be smelly and stinky. It used to be that we didn’t have a whole lot of options with skincare products, but there are companies now that are making more natural organic products that are a lot cleaner that don’t have these ingredients. Even things like essential oils, if she had used a citrus essential oil instead and a diffuser or something nobody probably would have complained. In fact, everybody probably would have been in a better mood.
Dave: Yeah, it’s such a difference and it costs a lot more. I look at formulating things and to use essential oils versus something from a perfume factory it’s a radically different cost structure, but it makes people healthy versus makes people unhealthy, so it’s a matter of making something that truly is functionally complete versus just smells good.
Trevor: Dave, I know you’re not really into beauty and perfumes a lot, but some of the perfumes, really the synthetic ones are very expensive, so cost-wise people are spending a lot of money. In fact, it’s been estimated that I think … I’m looking up the number here. It’s been estimated that global spending on anti-aging products is supposed to reach $291.9 billion by 2015, by the end of this year. There’s a lot of money being spent on this because people care about their appearances, about not wanting to look any older than they already are. People are already spending money on it, so just changing it to more natural products is a great way to go. It’s definitely better for your health.
Dave: Here’s the difference. If you’re going to spend $100 on a bottle of petroleum derivative versus $100 on bottled essential oil, the guys who made the petroleum derivative probably spent $.20 on it and the guys with the essential oils probably spent $5 on it. You’re paying $100 either way, but for a big company doing this petroleum-based thing, we got an extra 4.5 bucks out of this or however much, so they’re squeezing the margins down. As a manufacturer you end up spending more money to buy the essential oils, but people often times don’t pay extra for that versus these expensive branded ones. The largest cost for perfume is actually the bottle, not what’s in the bottle. Those big, fancy bottles are way more expensive than the tiny bit of chemical in it.
Trevor: Yeah, yeah, and I think on average we use about nine different personal care products each day and a lot of people use more than that, 15 different products, so if we go with the average of nine products that exposes to 126 unique ingredients that we’re being exposed to. Again the FDA is not regulating these very well and so the possible exposure is pretty tremendous.
Dave: I think I’m just counting today I’ve used three and that’s probably all I’m going to use today.
Trevor: You’re not the average person, Dave.
Dave: Yeah, I totally recognize that and it’s because I have natural beauty and that’s what it is.
Trevor: It’s true, if we take care of ourselves on the inside we have a natural glow. We don’t need to wear as much makeup, we don’t need to wear as much of these grooming … We don’t need to use as many of these grooming products because hey, our skin is already glowing and healthy. We don’t need to cover up. Our hair is shiny and thick and doing what it’s supposed to do. It’s funny because when I was in naturopathic medical school back in … I graduated in 2000, so the four years during that time there weren’t a lot of options for natural skincare products, so we just had to go au naturel. Luckily, we don’t have to do that anymore. We can still do a little vanity, a little bit of beauty stuff here and there and not expose ourselves to these endocrine disrupting chemicals and carcinogenic ingredients.
Dave: Yeah, it’s really worth just paying attention to what’s on the bottle. What’s the most common carcinogenic ingredient that people are putting on their skin that they don’t know about?
Trevor: Some of the common ones are parabens and there’s been some controversy on that because the study done on that one was … It may not apply to everyone, so parabens has been found in breast cancer, breast tumor tissue, so they found parabens. There needs to be more research on that one, but certainly if it’s showing up in breast tumors it’s probably not a good sign.
Another one is oxybenzone and that is in almost every sunscreen out there. Most sunscreen contain oxybenzone and that’s the component that blocks the sun and supposedly protects our skin. Unfortunately, it’s a non-endocrine disrupting chemical. Here we are trying to protect ourselves from the sun because we know if we’re exposed to too much sun and we get sun damage and then that can lead to skin cancer, so we put on sunscreen to protect our skin, but yet the main ingredient, oxybenzone, can be actually creating hormone disrupting effects and may even could potentially lead to cancer.
Dave: I have this amazing sunscreen, it’s called a hat and it’s so chemical free and everything, but maybe I’m old-fashioned, I don’t know. It doesn’t work so well in the snow.
Trevor: It’s true, we can cover up with hats and being careful about when we go out in the sun and those sorts of things and some sun exposure, of course, is great because we need our vitamin D. There are sun blocks out there with zinc oxide that are a much better alternative to the oxybenzone.
Dave: All right, this is a great chance to ask you a question. I’ve been meaning to write about this forever. All right, we have zinc oxide, we have titanium dioxide which are common things for blocking the sun and the skin, but we also have these nano particles that you can make of zinc, the ones that just put under the skin. What’s your take on the best chemical to use for sun block and about any potential risks, so either zinc or titanium in any of those forms?
Trevor: Right, I usually recommend that people don’t use the nano-sized particles, that they use just regular zinc oxide. The technology has improved. It used to be that when we use zinc oxide you’d have these … You see lifeguards with a stripe on their cheeks and their nose and that was the only way you could get zinc oxide. Now the technology’s much better, so we could actually get zinc oxide sun block and not actually go … You can put them on our kids, put them on ourselves and they’re not going to be all white and pasty. Like you said the nano particles are common and a lot of topical … as well sun block, sunscreens, as well as some of the mineral makeups that are out there. There are some concerns about the nano-sized particles in addition to the titanium dioxide. We need more research in this area.
One of my biggest concerns is with the mineral makeups that contain these nano-sized particles, especially the powders that people are powdering their … Ladies are powdering their face and then they’re breathing that in and these nano-sized particles can get lodged in the lungs. The lungs don’t do a great job of filtering out the really teeny little particles. There’s a concern about what’s going to happen to those little nano-sized particles when they get lodged in the lungs and the lungs can’t remove them. Those are some of the things to think about. Again we need more research in this area, but in general I tell people to stay away from the nano-sized particles, stay away from titanium dioxide especially when it’s in powder form or anything that you can breathe in.
Dave: That seems like good advice. My take on this is that there are studies showing that … We know the size of the gaps in the cell membrane and the nano particles are smaller than that. Rubbing stuff on your skin that allows titanium or zinc or any other metal in such a small particle that doesn’t occur in nature, at least not very often, into your cells and interact with the guts of yourselves, it just seems like a pretty poor choice versus wearing a long-sleeved shirt if you’re going to be in the sun.
Trevor: Yeah, and just like I’m talking about with the lungs. It’s similar to what you’re talking about. What does it do in the body, what does the body do with it?
Dave: Now I’m searching yours entirely. Let’s say I have super oily skin, what does that tell you about my health?
Trevor: Some of it’s genetics, some of it is … Some of us just genetically have dry skin or
oily skin and the good thing about oily skin is that oily skin tends to not wrinkle as we age as much. The bad thing is that people with oily skin tend to get more acne, so the thing that may be causing it might be hygiene issues, it might be genetics. I’m not as concerned about oily skin as I am with dry skin when it comes to looking at nutritional deficiencies or hormone imbalances. It could be that person who might have a little bit extra testosterone because testosterone increases sebum production. As long as people are metabolizing their testosterone well and they’re not overdoing it with too much testosterone therapy or something like that then I think that’s okay.
One of the things to think about with … Because if people have oily skin a lot of times they put a lot of cleansers and putting things on their skin to remove that oil. We talked about the gut microbiome. I’m sure other people on your show talked about the gut microbiome and how our gut has this delicate balance of healthy bacteria that we want to maintain and enhance to help our health, overall help our digestion. It also shows up in our skin, our overall skin health, so certainly that’s important, but our skin also has its own microbiome. We have our own little delicate balance of bacteria and microorganisms that grow in the skin that are quite different from the gut microbiome, but also very important.
People with oily skin, like I said they’re usually putting on … You’re trying to cleanse and do a lot of things to take off the oils, but when they do that a lot of times they’re disrupting that delicate balance, the microbiome of the skin and actually making the problem worse because when you kill off the good bacteria then the bad bacteria tend to overgrow and then you get more acne. You hear people, oily skin, they’re putting all these products on there to keep acne breakouts from happening, to keep their oil production down and they can actually be making it worse and having more breakouts and also disrupting the PH of the skin.
Dave: That makes a lot of sense and I’ve never been a super oily skin person, but I know people complain about it and the idea that it’s somewhat data-based, but somewhat genetic-based is interesting. You think dry skin is maybe more controllable than oily skin.
Trevor: I think that with oily skin just like with dry skin you want to look at what you’re eating and certainly eating a healthy diet and getting the right oils, not eating a lot of processed foods and hydrogenated oils and things like that. Of course, they’re going to be really important and help decrease sebum production, the oil production and manage that as well as keeping your hormones balanced is also important. I think that it’s definitely easy enough to do as well.
Dave: That makes good sense. Now as a guy I’ve been trained since I was a kid that basically … You never really do anything but wash your face sometimes and if you have acne why even bother with that. That’s the general guy perspective. What are the medical or performance or other reasons that men might want to take care of their skin? Other reasons other than oh, I just want to look good for the ladies?
Trevor: Like I said that we got a few different things with skin. We’ve got what you’re putting on look at those ingredients because if you’re putting … Men often times think oh, I don’t use personal care products. I don’t put on makeup, so I don’t have to worry about these things. When you think about it you use deodorant, I hope, some form of deodorant. You use soaps to wash your body and wash your hands. You use shampoo, maybe conditioner, maybe put gel on your hair. Certainly most men are going to be shaving, so shaving gels and lotions and aftershave and cologne, these are common products that men use on a regular basis, so again a lot of the same things we need to be paying attention to.
What other ingredients are in there? They probably do have synthetic fragrances. You’re also probably putting on sunscreen, so looking at all those things, of course, are important. Really when it comes to skin it’s a personal thing, how much you put into that, how many different personal care products you want to use, but a lot of it comes from just doing a lot of things I already talked about, good digestion, balanced hormones, good nutritional state, avoiding the foods that you’re sensitive to. If you do those things on the inside, you have that good internal health and practices then it’s going to show on your skin, so then you don’t really need to do much with the skin.
Just like women though one of the concerns you want to be aware of is your sun exposure and how much. We realize that most people only need about 10 minutes three times a week of sun exposure to get the vitamin D levels that most of us need. Now that does change somewhat with skin pigmentation, where people live, and the seasons and all that kind of thing. That’s on average what we think about, so we don’t need a ton of sun exposure for vitamin D. Covering up the skin when you do go out and you go skiing in the winter, you go surfing or you go on the beach, you want to protect your skin. That’s something that men will want to do, it’s important.
We talked about the zinc oxide. Then, of course, with shaving one great thing to do with shaving is to actually put and Dave you may do this already is to put coconut oil or MCT oil on your face before you put any of the shaving soaps or gels or anything when you shave. Put a layer of the coconut oil on your face and then shave because that’ll help keep your skin moisturized and keep you from nicking and getting problems with shaving. Hey, I don’t shave my face, so I don’t know all the different problems, but you know what I’m talking about.
Dave: It’s like shaving your legs, I think, I don’t know.
Trevor: Yeah, a little different.
Dave: If you care about how you look or how you’re going to look when you’re old, if you’re a guy taking care of your skin can make a difference, but what you’re saying is that paying attention to the stuff you use could affect your overall health and even how you feel, right?
Trevor: Yeah, absolutely.
Dave: That’s something that I think a lot of people don’t pay attention to and there’s only really two things that I use on my face regularly. One is the Alitura clay mask which has a noticeable difference and I use MitoQ which is something that we carry in the website. It’s got a new antioxidant and it’s such a noticeable difference. I’m like wow, I can go to the trouble of a couple of times a week doing this clay thing before I get in the shower and smearing some lotion stuff on my face in the morning.
The difference has been noticeable for me, but I don’t know that either of those is increasing my overall health or human performance, but they probably make me look better. They may have some risk reduction things over time in terms of skin cancer which does run in half my family and things like that. It’s probably a good move, but if you’re a guy, other than for cosmetic reasons, I think what you’re saying is be careful about smearing toxins on that affect everything else, but if you don’t really care if you get wrinkles when you’re old is there anymore outside to taking care of your skin?
Trevor: Like you said skin cancer, I guess, it’s really the biggest thing is that when we expose ourselves … Even if people have pigmentation and they don’t burn, any time you tan, any time your pigmentation changes you’ve got sun damage, so it predisposes you to skin cancers. If people are going in for regular checkups to … Going in for a dermatologist once a year actually is really a good idea. Just get an overall skin check and make sure that none of your little bumps or moles or freckles or anything like that are looking weird and something that needs to be biopsied. It’s really important.
I know this, it’s part of why I got interested in skin was my father got squamosal skin cancer. He spends a lot of time in the sun, farming over the years and so he has squamosal cancer and this type of cancer is usually pretty benign if it’s removed. He went into a dermatologist, had it removed, but unfortunately the dermatologist didn’t get it all and so it metastasized to lymph nodes, other parts of his body and then once … Squamosal cancer is the type of cancer that once it metastasizes it’s usually not a good prognosis.
Fortunately he’s got me as his daughter and other friends that are doctors, naturopathic doctors and things in his life. We put him on a whole naturopathic program and he’s fine. It’s been over 10 years now and he has no cancer, but we learned a lot along the way about looking at your skin and paying attention to your skin, protecting it, and then making sure that you’ve got a good dermatologist. It’s just important, it’s just one of those things, it’s just put it into your regular routine, put it on your calendar, dermatology checkup.
Dave: All right, so let’s say that you’re … Let’s just use me as a guinea pig, so I’m 42 and I can tell you I don’t like … I’m pretty good about having my regular dental checkup, but it’s hard because I keep flying somewhere in the middle of my dentist appointments, so I’ve moved my last appointment five times. At least I’m going to get there, I swear.
That said I don’t really have a regular dermatology checkup unless there’s something raised and red and bumpy and looking really atrocious or something like … I’m not going to go. How often for preventative maintenance should a 40-year-old, either a man or a woman, that’s maybe different, go into a dermatologist to have … I don’t know what they do at a normal dermatology checkup, look at you with a camera. I’m seriously completely ignorant about what you do other than going to have them cut things off your face.
Trevor: No, it’s recommended once a year because within a year the changes can happen pretty quickly, so it’s much better to catch it early on before anything metastasizes. Maybe you could go every two years, but Dave, you need to start … Find a good dermatologist in your area and start going for regular checkups. It’s just a simple thing, they just do a quick look over and make sure … You can point out any little moles and things that maybe you’re concerned about.
Also, just keep in check, keep in check of your own body, too. I talk to women about doing self-breast exams or whatever it is. You do the same thing with skin. Just be in touch with your body and notice your skin, notice little bumps and if there are changes with them that’s a good, important thing, too, and if you notice a change. We talked more about this and hopefully we’ll get a chance to talk about at my Glowing Skin Summit. We’ve got a dermatologist that talks about all the warning signs that you look for and so if you have any of those, of course, you want to go in and see a dermatologist right away.
Dave: All right, so here’s what you’re going to do.
Trevor: A good one.
Dave: You’re going to go in and you’re going to take off all your clothes and they’re going to look at all of your skin and you can be like oh, I have a mole over here, but if you’re looking at your moles anyway and they didn’t change is it really important to go in?
Trevor: The problem is that most people don’t really notice, so I would say general good practice is … A lot of people are not as proactive as you, Dave.
Dave: Okay, so it’s like changing your oil maybe every 3,000 miles, but you might go 5,000 miles and your car will probably still run.
Dave: Something like that.
Trevor: Something like that.
Dave: All right. I just summarized dermatology to the offense of every dermatologist listening and there’s probably a lot. This is actually, it’s a best practice that I have it incorporated into my regimen, we’ll put it that way.
Dave: All right, so you answered a lot of questions already, but you have a bunch more questions and I know actually healthy skin is a big topic for women in particular, but especially for guys. I’ve been seeing more posts on the Bulletproof forums and I just get random tweets and things from guys who are looking at it because they’ve realized this amazing thing that when you have healthy skin it projects that you’re healthy and there’s this shocking thing that women are genetically lined up, just like guys, to want to mate with healthy people of whatever the appropriate gender is.
What that means is that if you take care of your skin it actually just makes you more generally attractive and it’s probably easier to take care of your skin than it is to grow a six-pack. It takes less work to do that. It’d be funny if the guy with super acne from whatever he’s injecting and a big six-pack is next to you and you have really good skin and you don’t have a six-pack, you might be the one who gets the number. That’s cool, right.
You’ve put together a bunch of stuff on the Glowing Skin Summit where you’ve interviewed a whole bunch of experts about the questions that I’m asking you. I’m one of those guys, but I’m certainly not from the dermatology persuasion, I’m from the what do you eat to make your skin look good persuasion. Tell me a little bit more about the summit, where people can find out more about it.
Trevor: Yeah, absolutely. Glowing Skin Summit is online and free, April 27th through May 4th and I’ve got 35 of the world’s leading experts in nutrition, hormones, wellness, and skin. It’s a lot of healthy skin from within, so what we can do with balancing our hormones, the micro macro nutrients we need, the foods we eat, addressing things like allergies and then also what we do topically for our skin. I have a great integrative dermatologist, I’ve got fantastic nutritionists, and I also have all day designated to stress and sleep and the psychological aspect of our skin and that mind skin connection. Seven days, five speakers a day, each day we’ve got great topics including yours, Dave. Talking about nutrients and foods and those important things like oils and good fats, so it’s really a great amount of information and I’m so excited to bring this to everybody.
Dave: Cool. I recommend if this podcast was interesting to you that you check it out and I’ve known Trevor for quite a while and she’s an expert and she also knows how to find a lot of experts, so there’s tons of info here. If you have specific skin problems this is a great place to start. From my own perspective I used to have a lot of skin problems. When I was a kid I used to get this … Actually, even as a young adult, I was about 30, I would get this subterranean acne and I never could figure out what was causing it. It would be really, really deep pimples and they’d be so deep that first the skin would turn red and then you get a swelling and finally after another five days this giant pimple would come out. What was causing that?
Trevor: What age were you with this?
Dave: This started when I was oh, I don’t know 17 and continued until I was oh, about 30.
Trevor: Yeah, so 17, lots of hormone changes, testosterone surges can increase sebum production which can lead to acne if our skin doesn’t have what it needs. You probably didn’t know as much about what to eat then as you do now, right, Dave, I’m guessing.
Dave: I definitely didn’t although this wasn’t normal acne. There’s acne that’s pimples, but these are like volcanoes, not pimples.
Trevor: Yeah, so you were probably eating something that you’re sensitive to that was creating that inflammation that we talked about, that inflammatory pathways and immune reactions and then your body, it was just showing up in your skin. Another big thing that happens is glycation issues. When we eat a lot of sugar it affects our insulin levels that can then in turn affect sebum production, so sugar plays a big role in acne.
One of the most common foods that people eat that trigger acne … I would say the number … The two main foods would be sugar and dairy, so dairy is the most common food sensitivity and then sugar it could be a sensitivity, but it’s also got its glycation issues that not only lead to acne, but also premature aging. Luckily now you know that sugar is something that you got to be careful with, so I’m not sure that’s one of the big things that changed with your diet, right.
Dave: It did. The most glycating sugar though is fructose that comes from fruit, so does fruit contribute to acne if you’re eating a ton of fruit?
Trevor: You got to be careful with any kind of fruit and with any kind of sugar and certainly if you overdo it with fruit then that can create problems. If fructose is in maybe a protein shake you’re using or foods that you’re eating you got to be careful with that, but really any form of sugar if you get too much of it and especially if you genetically don’t do well with sugar, you already have a predisposition to something like diabetes or for women, polycystic ovaries, then you already have a problem with sugar and glycation and then getting too much sugar on top of that can make it worse. Sugar is one of the biggest problems for skin.
Dave: I agree, sugar is just destructive for that. I did finally figure out what the trigger and there’s more than one trigger, but the most common trigger for those deep pimples in me was and it actually wasn’t anything ate, it’s what I breathed. When I go into a water damaged building, one that has bioaerosols that are made by a combination of bacteria and fungus that grows on drywall. These are more aggressive species that didn’t exist 50 years ago. They’ve been made more aggressive by our chemical use. Basically, we’ve tortured our soil and it’s torturing us back. When I breathe these things then the first day I get a little bit of brain fog and brain fatigue and actually it’s visible swelling in my forehead like brain swelling, but the day after that I start getting those deep pimples . Then they take about five to eight days to subside.
Dave: It’s repeatable. It’s basically deep inflammation that’s triggered by an environmental input and this is why bioacne is so interesting, change the environment around and change what happens inside of you and how you perform. It’s so weird that breathing something, three days later equals giant pimples.
Trevor: Yeah, and environmental toxicity is a huge part of this. We’ve talked some about the toxins in skincare products, but there’s so many toxins in our environment, micro-toxins, small toxins are one of those. Some people are extremely sensitive to those and they are toxic overall, but some people like yourself are particularly sensitive to that. Then if you get a combination and things like exposure to that plus the things that you’re eating in your diet, you already got inflammation from the micro-toxins and then you add sugar or dairy or some reactive foods on top of that is just going to make it worse.
Dave: It’s such a big issue that people who are listening who are regular listeners probably know I’m nearly done with a documentary about water damaged buildings and environmental molds and how we’ve changed them and how they’re now attacking us. That’s called Moldy. If you want to learn more, Bulletproofexec.com/moldy. June is when I’m planning to release that movie online for free, but it’s been a two-year in the making talking to all those
scientists about it and then understanding what’s going on.
Because I find that when I’m dealing with a client or just someone who comes up to me at a conference or sometimes at an airport and they’re like oh, I gained some weight and they have these dark circles under their eyes and they’re looking like a zombie. Okay, your skin looks like crap, you probably eat a lot of cheese, don’t you? If they say no, no, I’m on a reasonably good diet. Okay, let’s take that out and then if they’re eating a conscious diet, okay, what else is going on here?
You basically have food allergies if you have those dark circles or you have candida or yeast growing in your gut which is a sign you’re eating the wrong stuff and all that’s reflected in the skin, on your face, or you’re exposed to some other toxin that’s creating deep inflammation and probably autoimmunity. To be able to look at someone’s skin and be able to do that is ridiculously cool and to be able to say oh, so you gained a bunch of weight and your skin started looking like that at the same time you moved into your new apartment. Maybe you should … Does it smell like a sweat sock or maybe you might want to test your air and to go through and do that.
Trevor: It’s so individualized. There’s so many different factors that can play a role and everybody’s different, you’ve got different genetic factors, different lifestyle factors. One of the reasons why I created a skin quiz and it’s on my website, DrTrevorCates.com and so you can take a free skin quiz and it really has to do more of what you’re doing internally. What internal imbalances might be going on that throw off your skin, so environmental toxicity issues are one of those, diet, nutrition, hormones, so those are some of the big ones that …
When people take the quiz then they get a response, so these are your major underlying, contributing factors that are playing a role in your health based upon the answers that you gave us. Then I make recommendations based on that because I have to just like when I see patients, everybody that comes in to see me with acne, I’m not going to do the same thing. Everybody that comes in to see me with eczema, I’m not going to do the same thing. People that even come in for weight loss, I’m not going to give them all the same thing and do the same thing. It’s very individualized, it depends upon a lot of different factors.
Dave: All right, here’s a question for you that no one has been able to answer and this is my second to last question for you. I was obese, I weighed 300 pounds and I started getting massive stretch marks when I was 16. I’ve done extensive research, even compiled 100 plus pages of research about stretch marks, why they happen, so that we can avoid my wife getting them. She didn’t get any during pregnancy, but that’s because I’m maybe a little sensitive about them, so I have zebra stripes. They’re white, they’re old stretch marks, they’re basically scars and I have a few in here which a lot of bodybuilders get from having excess cortisol and excess estrogen. We’ve documented that I used to turn all of my testosterone into estrogen, so now I have zebra stripes and I have a decent six-pack these days, but I don’t really like showing it off because I have zebra stripes on it. What can I do to get rid of old stretch marks?
Trevor: Yeah, stretch marks are a tough one. I’ve looked at the research on topical applications for stretch marks and there’s not a lot of great research, but what we do know is if you can be proactive when your body’s growing, like for women they have a growing belly during pregnancy or men or women that are doing a lot of weightlifting and things like that. If you can be proactive during that time and apply things like coconut oil and almond oil and those kinds of oils on your skin, shea butter’s another great one then you can prevent them, but after the fact it’s hard to get rid of those. I can’t say that I have a lot of great tools for you on that. Part of it’s genetic, too, and one of the things that I would suggest is collagen, but I know that you’re already doing collagen.
Dave: Yeah, I take probably 40 grams of collagen a day because it’s a Bulletproof Upgraded Collagen, right. I’ve tried topical collagen, but most of those preparations aren’t that effective. There’s an end on them that makes your immune system not access that molecule. I was hoping that you would say something amazing like there’s a new laser repaving thing where they come in with a little machine that beeps and just gives you new skin on your stomach, so could you hurry up and invent one of those, Dr. Trevor, I’d like that.
Trevor: There probably are some great laser procedures for that. That’s not something that I do a lot of.
Trevor: I know that some of my speakers on the Glowing Skin Summit and I forgot to mention the website, GlowingSkinSummit.com, super easy, GlowingSkinSummit.com. We have a day dedicated to aesthetic procedures, too, so I’ve got two medi spa owners that talk about current day, cutting edge procedures that people can do as well as stem cells. Somebody was … I had one speaker, Dr. Harry Adelson, who talks about stem cell therapy, how you get stem cells from your own body and use those for skin procedures. I’m sure that one of these people would have some great options for you.
Dave: All right, I’ll be checking out the Glowing Skin Summit for sure because I’m interested in having adequately healthy skin, massively good internal health and not spending too much time doing it. Awesome, the final question I have for you is given all the stuff you know, not just about skin and general health as a naturopath, but your entire life’s experience, your top three recommendations for people who want to perform better at whatever they do. If you want to kick more ass at life do A, B, and C, what are they?
Trevor: Okay, there are so many, but I would say … I have to talk about nutrition, so I think that starting your day, in particular how you start your day is so important because if you start your day with breakfast, eating the typical breakfast foods, pastries and pancakes and all that stuff, you’re going to end up having a crappy day. You eat crappy foods you’re going to have a crappy day. Starting your day with a good balance of proteins and actually vegetables, too, go ahead and … Eating lots of vegetables is super important for your skin, so getting lots of antioxidants in colorful fruits and vegetables, great for the skin, but also great for helping you kick ass and do well.
Nutrition, especially in the beginning of the day, get a great start whether it’s a smoothie with a great protein blend and some vegetables and maybe some fruit, a great start to the day, so that would be number one. Number two is I think everybody should have a really great, functional medicine or naturopathic doctor. I know I’m biased at this, but I tell you what, I see people all the time that say to me, God, I wish I had found you years ago and it’s true because functional medicine, naturopathic medicine, doctors can really help you find out what the underlying causes are that are holding you back from having kick ass health and life and getting the most out of it.
In looking at things like … Some things are easy to find on your own, but functional medicine naturopathic doctors are trained to really find those hormone imbalances, nutritional deficiencies, and environmental toxin exposure. These are big things that are hard to find on your own, but if you have a good practitioner they could help find those things and then create a great wellness program to get you through that.
The last thing is to do something fun. We got to enjoy life. What the heck are we here for? If we’re not enjoying it then we’re not going to be able to get all the things done that we want to do. Finding something each day that brings you joy, so this is actually a tricky way to do stress management because when you do things that you love it helps reduce your cortisol levels, it boosts endorphins and helps balance other hormones, so it’s a great thing. We can’t be surfing at the beach in Hawaii every day or skiing in the Alps or something every day, but we can do something. Whether we get a chance to do something we absolutely love and take a vacation or maybe it’s just something simple like, I don’t know, putting on some fun music and dancing around. Just take a few minutes to do something that you like.
Dave: To your second point there. One of the reasons I know what I know is that for 10 years I’ve run the Silicon Valley Health Institute in one way or another as a board member or as president or chairman which is an anti-aging group. We bring all these experts in and I started doing that since I was in my late 20s, what ten plus years, I don’t know, maybe around 30. The reason was I was so pissed off that no one told me all this stuff when I was 20 when I could have prevented all these stretch marks and all these other problems that I went through. The knowledge is there and it’s not knowledge for old people. It’s knowledge for people to kick ass. It’s just the only people who seem to care about it are sick people and old people. What I found was that actually it’s important knowledge for all of us and that’s why I started Bulletproof.
Dave: Thanks for saying that. Yeah, getting a good naturopath or functional medicine practitioner in your camp, no matter your age, it’s such an amazing head start to just have that knowledge base, someone to work with you. You’ll be like oh, so that’s not looking quite right and whether it’s your skin or some other thing in your blood work or whatever else, just fixing it before it breaks is trivial and fixing after it breaks costs $300,000 in 15 years, at least that’s what I spent. That’s really great advice and I appreciate that you shared that and I don’t think it was at all self-serving even though you are a naturopath.
Trevor: It doesn’t have to be your only practitioner, too. You can have a whole team of practitioners that are helping you and doctors that are helping you, but including someone with functional medicine naturopathic training, I think, is just super smart to do. The earlier you can do it the better.
Dave: I do it and I’ve seen quite a few people and very few of them say oh, I’m sick. In fact, that almost never happens. It’s more about like I’m trying to tweet this variable and you have this expertise and I wanted to be better and you’re going to get that from a naturopath or a functional medicine doctor, so that’s cool. All right, Dr. Trevor, what’s the URL for the Glowing Skin Summit, so people can find that and where can people find out more about you?
Trevor: Absolutely, so it’s the GlowingSkinSummit.com. It’s GlowingSkinSummit.com and my website is DrTrevorCates.com, d-r-t-r-e-v-o-r-c-a-t-e-s.com and yes, I have a guy’s name, but that’s one way it’ll help you remember me, DrTrevorCates.com and everything is on my website, too. If you forget the Glowing Skin Summit, you can’t remember the name of that skin summit it’s all on my website and you can find out about that, take the skin quiz. I’ve also got some other great programs and products as well as I still see patients.
Dave: You are based in Park City, Utah?
Trevor: I am based in Park City. I do a lot of phone consults, I see people from around the world.
Dave: Oh, you can do it over Skype, beautiful. Awesome, so you are on my list of people I would definitely recommend talking to, so thank you for coming on the show and I look forward to seeing you. Next time we can hang out at one of JJ’s events.
Trevor: Yeah, absolutely. Thanks, Dave, and thanks for everything that you’re doing to help everybody get educated on this important information.
Dave: Likewise. Have an awesome day.
Trevor: You, too.
Dave: If you enjoyed today’s episode you know what I’m going to ask you to do. I’m going to ask you to go out and buy a copy of the Bulletproof Diet Book and if you already have a copy buy two more. The reason I’m going to ask you to do that is because I’m still working on getting my publishers to accept the next book and so getting some more sales now really helps. And if you buy two more copies of the book just give them to fat people that you know and then they’ll be thin.
What’ll happen then is those fat people will have to buy new pants and when they have to buy new pants we’ll have to make new pants and those pants will have to have people sewing them and that’ll actually increase the economic growth of the United States. Yes, this will happen just by you buying two copies of the Bulletproof Diet Book. Or maybe not, you’ll just help them out. Whichever way it works, have an awesome day and thanks for listening.