Oct 24, 2007

Addendum A: Skin issues

1. MY SKIN AS A "LITMUS TEST." My skin problems were the most sensitive to change in diet. Once I began eating an alkaline-producing diet, my other -itis problems shrank too, though more slowly. For example, the sand-like grittiness in my knees disappeared after about three months or so. (My memory for the timing here and elsewhere is not exact.)

2. HOW MANY SKIN PROBLEMS? At various times, various doctors diagnosed my skin problems (on my face, scalp and neck) by different names: eczema, rosacea, and seborrheic dermatitis. I am not sure if I had one, two, or three problems. I suspect I had at least two skin problems. The worst was the eczema. The symptoms were itching, scaling, thickening, and the smell of dead skin. The rosacea, if that is what it was, was less intense but more persistent and was apparently mixed with a fungus or yeast infestation that entered the broken skin.

3. PHARMACEUTICALS FOR SKIN PROBLEMS. My alkaline-producing (non-acid-producing) diet cured about 99% of my skin problems (which, at their worst, were ghastly). The remaining 1% mostly went away with a long course of antibiotics. For the yeast or fungus infestation, a dermatologist prescribed: (1) Selseb prescription shampoo on my face and scalp, daily for several weeks; (2) a Doxycycline antibiotic tablet daily for 2 months; and (3) Rosac skin cream applied daily to red spots, for months. Three years after beginning my diet experiment, I now use no medications at all -- for the first time in 45 years!

4. CONTINUING SENSITIVITY VS. SHAVING. My skin--both on my face and my scalp--still remains sensitive to abrasion. I avoid hats and hoods; and I must make sure a rough blanket does not rub against my forehead during sleep. I can use an electric shaver only if I press very lightly. I have tried many combinations of shaver types and schedules. At the moment, I am shaving on alternating days with a rotary shaver. In spite of the great improvement in my skin, I still find it feels better if I keep it shaved. If I let the hair grow out for more than a few days, the hair begins rubbing against the skin, causing a mild flare-up. However, this problem seems to be gradually diminishing. Perhaps in a year or so I will be able to let my hair and beard grow an inch or so. In the meantime, bald is beautiful.

Burgess Laughlin
Author of The Power and the Glory: The Key Ideas and Crusading Lives of Eight Debaters of Reason vs. Faith, www.reasonversusmysticism.com/

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