When Skin Becomes the Target of Mold-Related Illness

by Dr. Susan Tanner, MD

Because skin covers our entire body, we tend to look at it as an envelope, a protective barrier of sorts, instead of viewing it for the organ that it is.  Skin is actually THE largest organ of the body, and as such, it can become the target and displayer of internal health conditions. When issues of the skin arise, the tendency many times is to direct treatment directly and topically to the skin itself, rather than to the processes that have caused the issues in the first place. And while topical treatments may help with skin conditions at the moment, they often do not get to the bottom of the problem; that takes looking within, especially when mold exposure is involved.

When thinking of how mold and fungi relate to skin, our minds often go to topical skin infections caused by fungi, such as athlete’s foot, ringworm, and jock itch.  These conditions are caused by an actual infection of the skin by the fungus. Conversely, there are other skin manifestations that are not infections but that are induced by exposure to mold and mycotoxins. These skin issues can occur through several mechanisms which we will examine.

Autoimmune Reactivity

Skin manifestations of autoimmunity include but are not limited to eczema, contact dermatitis, psoriasis, urticaria, and dandruff.  Any time the immune system is challenged and imbalanced, then reactivity may manifest itself in many ways including the skin conditions mentioned above. One thing to bear in mind, however, is that it is common for skin to become the target organ of autoimmunity when levels of zinc, Vitamin A, Vitamin D, Vitamin C, and Omega 3 fatty acids are deficient.  Making sure that these nutrient levels are optimized is part of the plan when addressing these types of autoimmune skin disorders. The gut is usually also compromised by circulating toxins which cause an inflammatory response in the intestinal lining and thus certain food molecules “leak” into the bloodstream to become triggers for skin reactivity, either on an acute or chronic basis.  Healing the gut lining, restoring normal levels of good bacteria, and immune gut function are very important parts of treating these skin conditions. Suggested formulas are IgG Gut Protect–it helps to maintain a healthy intestinal immune system by binding a broad range of microbes and toxins within the gut lumen–and high-quality probiotics.

Hormonal Imbalances

Acne is often thought to be the most common skin issue arising from hormone problems but seldom do we realize that exposures to mycotoxins and molds may lead to these imbalances as well.  Toxin exposure can trigger hormone issues on a couple of different levels.  Certain chemicals are known to be “hormonal mimics” especially phthalates in plastics and certain pesticides.  While these are not mycotoxins themselves, when the body’s detox system is burdened by mycotoxins then the capacity to break down and excrete other chemicals may become impaired, leading to the stimulation of hormonal dysregulation.  Excessive amounts of estrogens and testosterone, and their byproducts, can lead to the inflammatory response in the skin that produces cystic acne.  Obviously, making sure your indoor environments are as mold-free as possible is the first line of defense, but the use of pituitary and endocrine system support like CellTropin may also gently help with the hormonal imbalances once the detoxification process is being addressed.

Gastrointestinal Microbiome

We refer to the microbiome as the complex makeup of the bacteria in the gut.  These bacteria carry out very important processes which affect everything from immunity to brain function to detoxification.  An overabundance of yeast or fungi in the gut can lead to far-reaching symptoms, and the skin is quite notable in this respect.  Acne, reactive dermatitis, and other manifestations may be the direct/indirect response to a poor microbiome.  Treatment certainly involves eating good foods that do not further foster the overgrowth of non-desirable bacteria or yeast, avoiding those foods that feed them, such as sugar and other refined carbohydrates, and restoration of this microbiome with excellent probiotics.  The use of Candida Rid and CitriDrops Dietary Supplement can also help reduce a load of fungi and candida IF you are also following the dietary rules!  No supplement gives you permission to eat anything and everything.

Detoxification in General

When the body burden has become high from mycotoxins, chemicals, and illnesses, then the sluggishness of the liver detoxification pathways can manifest in skin problems which we alluded to in the above paragraphs. Avoidance of the toxins is the first step, but supporting the liver’s ability to clear these toxins out goes a long way toward clearer skin.  Aging of skin also occurs when collagen begins to break down as a result of oxidative stress, which can happen prematurely if the toxic burden is high.  Collagen itself may help with this but only if the source of toxins is removed.  Back to the statement, we make nearly every article, the air that you breathe must be cleared of molds and mycotoxins!

A Barometer of Success

The skin may become your barometer of success.  If you are having skin issues as described and you apply the methods above, you should see a good response.  Then if you have a sudden reaction or outbreak you will quickly suspect an exposure or an underlying imbalance which if addressed sooner than later, can help get your entire body back into good working order.  It is not unusual that skin may be the only recognizable issue, so take this clue seriously and act on it!

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