Highlights from Jonathan Otto's interview with Nadine Artemis, for the Depression & Anxiety Series. Nadine discusses how to care for your skin, without the use of products.
Nadine: I feel like we know a lot about for decades we’ve known about the toxicity of toiletries and it effects on our skin and cells and hormones. One thing I think we got to step back a bit and really think about how our current way of life really quarantines us from the elements. I feel like that’s sort of the foundation where we want to think about engaging with the elements again, because currently our skin is really separated from what I think of as the celestial spheres with the elements, so the sun, earth, water and air, the four elements, which I feel like that, we have to nourish ourselves with what nourishes all life. Before we think about what wrinkle cream to use, it’s like we’ve got to step back and think of like the basics, like can our skin breathe? Are we showering in water that’s at least filtered from the fluoride and the chlorine and all the ingredients. Are we engaging with what’s been grown in the earth?
What’s really pouring out of body care bottles is really without vital fluids, without life force. It’s missing the essential elements that have interplayed with earth and all that sort of stuff. What we want to apply to our skin really we should hope that it has emerged from soil and been in the sun and our bodies too. Our skin is literally designed with thousands of vitamin D receptors, designed to receive sunshine. In this culture, we really have like culturally rejected the sun’s sustenance but we really do need sun rays to, if we deny the sun, then we are draining our innate immunity and on a deep level, we are drying out our skin from the inside, because the interaction of sun on skin really creates what we call vitamin D, which is really more of a hormonal precursor. It activates really important types of cholesterol, healthy cholesterol in the body and lubricates us from the inside.
Doctors of previous decades and centuries knew this. Sunlight was actually prescribed for skin diseases as well as other infections from tuberculosis to acne to even there’s this Doctor [Seleby ]. I think he was, yeah, 1920’s about. He was like, “If you engage with the sun, it will actually, in a nice way, puff up the skin and fill out those lines and get rid of acne.” It’s a beautiful quote. I think it’s in my book. I just feel like the whole thing, we’ve got to sort of step back and reverse before we go look at like oh, sorry, this label has lavender and this has sodium lauryl sulfate. Before we get to the bottles, we’ve got to just look at the whole thing.
Jonathan Otto: Excellent. I love that. Nadine, I’m curious. The sun seems to have a negative impact on a lot of people, but I’m curious as to whether they’re doing something else that’s causing that issue? Is it a nutrition issue that they’re combining, so that their body’s not equipped when they go into the sun? Is there a hydration issue? Say their body’s not hydrated so the sun becomes damaging to their skin? Is that all true from your research?
Nadine: Yes, I feel that is. Definitely repeated sunburns are not ideal. We want to interact with the sun wisely. Interesting to note, our skin and our DNA can deal with a sunburn physiologically a lot easier than it can being all day in the sun with sunscreen, on a DNA level. We always think about like what the sun’s doing to us. We really want to think about what are we bringing to that relationship. We’re always in relation to creation, every second. There’s this interaction. Our skin was designed for that interaction with the vitamin D receptors.
If we offer the sun bodies that are dehydrated from diets of cola and soda and a lot of coffee, those are all very dehydrating, water that’s filled with 300 chemicals in city tap water. If we’re bringing a depleted microbiome to that, if we are eating a diet high in rancid oils, all the polyunsaturated fatty acids, [inaudible ], the canola, the corn, the soy. Those are really quite the culprits for age spots, melasma, hyperpigmentation or things like birth control pills and the PUFA fatty oils. Then also just a diet of processed food. Then we’re washing repeatedly with surfactins, which leave micro splinters in the stratum corneum. Then we’re baking in the sun with sunscreen. That’s the combination that really creates sun damaged skin.
We want to bring to the sun the synergy between good fats in the body and chlorophyll, because the sun, this is really our cosmic pollination. That’s our photosynthesis. I was like, what’s that word? We want to juice up that way. Yeah, it is essential. A lot of people wonder, “Can I just wear sunblock and take vitamin D supplements?” It’s like yeah, but no. You need like, at least do both. The vitamin D supplement, it’s a fat soluble vitamin D. The one with the sun is water soluble and it’s purifying your blood. It’s interacting with your microbiome to nourish it and produce antimicrobial peptides and it just can go on and on.
Also, what we’re bringing to the sun, studies showed, and this was in The Lancet, and this was awhile ago. It was before all of the workforce was sitting in front of the computer screen all day, but it did show that people, like people that generally worked outside more and spent more time outside had about a, I can’t remember off the top of my, it was either a 25 to 45% less chance of getting melanoma than people that would go outside sporadically and worked under fluorescent lighting all day. It was those people that were get ...It’s not even about outside. The conditions that can create melanoma are often thought to be more fungal.
Jonathan: Interesting. Can somebody offset that by wearing blue blockers?
Nadine: I would say that would be a good thing and maybe hopefully not wearing fluorescent lighting, but I know a lot of workplaces.
Jonathan: Sometimes you could inspire the workplace and change them, right?
Nadine: Yeah, yep.
Jonathan: What kinds of lights should they use?
Nadine: I feel like there’s, we keep learning more and more but it sounds like just the good old incandescent light is what we’re back to now. Those eco light bulbs are filled with mercury and that they’re really a fluorescent lighting as well, those coily things.
I haven’t gotten deeply into it but it is botulism, which is a toxin and just doesn’t seem wise. It’s just going into that pineal gland area, too. I get it. I get the pressure. We live, really, we’re deep in consumerism and comparison and what you see on TV or in a magazine, which is what you’re consuming all the time is completely photoshopped or the people have had surgery or Botox or they’re wearing a few millimeters of foundation. We’re seeing that and it’s throwing us off big time, on a huge level. That’s how women in our culture are raised with all this going on and it’s getting younger and younger where we’re getting eating disorders in girls under 10 and plastic surgery for wrinkles in your 20s and Botox when you’re 18. All of that’s happening. It’s pretty thick out there. It’s a lot to navigate.
Then social media just adds a whole other layer because then we have Instagram filters. There’s a lot of perfection that is not realistic at all. Then of course we can’t help but compare ourselves to that. That’s like a whole situation. Then we’ve eaten strange things and processed food, things like birth control pills and antibiotics. Why do we have all those parasites, too? Is it because we really have depleted microbiomes because we ... Studies show that we are probably missing about 1,000 species right now. The average American, like we have billions of bacteria and microbes in our body but for species in the gut, they estimate that the average North American person should have about 2,400 species and it looks like our guts are at about 1,400 right now.
What we also know, like the microbes that cause cavities are in everyone’s mouth, which is like streptococcus, excuse me. The microbes that cause skin imbalances are on everyone’s skin. When we’re missing, or like H. pylori, it’s like actually a few decades ago or a few centuries ago, it was okay because we’re now missing our ancestral bacteria buddies. It’s the other microbes that are supposed to keep the pathogens in check. The pathogens float around in our bodies sort of free style, like phytoplankton. When they grow in numbers, they gain traction. That’s when the start to do quorum sensing, which is when they get to express their genes more and they get to communicate and they’re like, “Come on guys, let’s go here.” Then they kind of get a gang going. They make the biofilms. They’re pushing out the friendly bacteria.
What’s interesting, and that brings up essential oils, because with things like antibiotic resistance and the study of the microbiome, because it’s like serious research right now, while we may be really overusing antibiotics, there are branches of medicine and science that are concerned about that. The antibiotic resistance is a reality on many levels from factory farming, not that I want that to exist, but it’s causing ... The antibiotics aren’t working anymore and they’re not working on us anymore. Researchers are looking for quorum sensors, sorry, things to inhibit quorum sensing. It’s called a QSI. The quorum sensing is when the phytoplanktons get to express themselves and gain traction and create biofilms. They want to prevent that.
As it turns out, one of the best substances, as a group is essential oils. They are able to eradicate pathogenic bacteria, clean them up. Again, it’s varying. It depends which one and which microbe and how’s cinnamon reacting with strep in a Petri dish and all of that. They all, to some degree inhibit quorum sensing while working with the friendly bacteria. It’s much in the same way that they protect us. They protect the plants. They defend against pathogenic bacteria while befriending the friendly bacteria. It’s really great.
Now I feel like we have the modern science to back up why people have been using things like frankincense, clove, cinnamon, rose, peppermint, cardamom, in their oral care for years, for thousands of years. It’s just a neat moment in history where we’re getting a lot of studies on essential oils through this avenue of antibiotic resistance and QSI.