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In this episode of NutriBullet Kitchen, Elynn DeMattia, Certified Functional Medicine Health Coach, interviews skin Doctor Trevor Cates.
Find more info on Dr. Trevor Cates HERE.
To take the skin quiz, click HERE.
Get a copy of Dr. Cates’ book Clean Skin From Within HERE.
To find out what’s inside your skincare products at the EWG search page, click HERE.
Elynn: So I am here with Trevor Cates also known as the Spa doctor and Trevor is a naturopathic doctor and an author who also has a degree which I did not know in spiritual psychology.
Elynn: Which is amazing. I’ve been doing a lot. I got a health coach certification a couple months ago and it’s the psychology element of it and especially based on character strengths was an amazing part, so I’m very in the psychology world these days.
Trevor: Yeah absolutely. I mean you know it’s all connected. We can’t leave out our emotional spiritual mental connection with from, you can’t disconnect that from the body even though we’re talking about skin we can’t disconnect that because it’s all interrelated. I’m sure we’ll be talking about that today.
Elynn: Yeah. So I was amazed. So I was I’m flipping through the book. It’s Clean Skin From Within. And I’ve met you so many times and you have the most gorgeous skin and I was surprised to hear that you ever had any skin issues. I’d love to hear your story.
Trevor: Yes yes I did. I really I. I still have very fickle skin. I and I will, I will erupt in all kinds of rashes if I’m not careful. So it’s always been a great barometer for me for my health. So when I was a kid I had was a really sick kid. I had a lot of health problems and particularly allergies that would show up on my skin: hives, eczema mysterious little bumps, itchy bumps that would appear and my parents took me to see a lot of different specialists that prescribed medications but they would either have allergic reactions to them or adverse reactions. And I just kept feeling worse. And the thing about skin especially if it’s on your face it is really it can really affect your self-esteem.
Trevor: And I remember so well as a child being embarrassed and I think I was picked on more because of my… yeah just wasn’t didn’t have that confidence. And so I remember really well how it impacted me in a physical as well as an emotional level and my parents didn’t give up though looking for solutions for me and it eventually led them to find a holistic practitioner that they took me to and it’s the one thing that turned my health around and really looking to the root cause and helping support the body’s natural ability to heal. I think when I was a kid I was wondering why did we have to go through all of this to find the solution. Why isn’t this something that everybody has access to and knows about. And it kind of became my mission from an early age to help spread this message about holistic medicine and the power of that. And so I became a naturopathic physician. I’ve been doing that for almost 20 years. But it was about six or seven years ago that I started focusing more on skin. And the reason is, I was working in Walter Fostoria SPA in Park City and I was running these programs and people mostly designed for weight loss but when at the end of the program people would say oh I’ve lost weight. I feel great. But the thing that really surprised them was their skin and they’d say they had no idea that my skin would actually clear, my eczema clear up, my neck of the skin or actions I had or that or even that their skin could be that vibrant looking. And to me it made sense because that was my own personal journey and that’s when I notice with my patients. But I realized there is this misconception or miss. I mean I think we’re missing something with skin and that a lot of the approach to it is to cover it up and to suppress any kind of skin issues. So instead I’ve made it my mission since this time to look at skin as our magic mirror that gives us great information about our health and that. So instead of covering up with more makeup or suppressing it with topical steroids or various things like that instead what is that what information is the skin trying to tell you and then how can we support the body and being able to heal itself. Because if we do that and we address the root causes then not only will our skin issues clear up or we have a more vibrant looking skin but it can help prevent other health issues. It can help you address other health issues because those root causes that cause skin issues often lead to other health problems.
Elynn: I mean skin is such a huge indicator it’s the biggest organ on your body. And it’s funny. So in chapter one Your Magic Mirror and its Clues, do you see any of the following, its: “redness, discoloration, bumps, blood vessels, dryness, enlarged pores, whiteheads and blackheads, freckles and areas of excess pigmentation, cracks wrinkles or sagging skin”. And I was horrified to see how many on that list. I was born with freckles in my defense says. But a lot of those and I’ve been noticing the little veins popping up lately and you’re like What is that stuff. But can you talk about the six causes behind imperfect skin.
Trevor: Yes so like I said I feel, I feel it’s so important for us to find those root causes and address it. So there are six. And so their inflammation, oxidative damage, hormonal imbalances, blood sugar issues, nutritional deficiencies. So these are all things that if we, can if we can really address those then we’re going to have there… because these are the root causes behind a lot of health issues. So when you want me to give you some examples.
Elynn: Like inflammation. What are some of the causes of inflammation and what are some of the good things that we could do to reduce inflammation.
Trevor: Yeah, a lot of… this is why I call my book Clean Skin From Within. Because I feel that there’s so much we can do from the inside out to address these root causes and probably that’s even as much as 70 – 80 percent is internal. And, but there’s also what we do externally that I want to talk about you because in other personal care products and things we used a lot of addressing these root causes come from the inside out. I think I forgot to mention the six one of which is the microbiome disturbance. I just realized like I mentioned just 5. Inflammation is one, it’s really one of the big ones. I call it skin-flamation. When my inflammation shows up on our skin it can show up in a variety of different ways. Really any kind of skin eruption is a is a sign of inflammation especially things like acne or rosacea or eczema. Those are no signs of internal inflammation. And so what we want to do is look at ways that we can decrease inflammation and avoid further inflammation so that means when it comes to our diet that means avoiding trigger foods because if we’re eating trigger foods that leads to inflammatory pathways and worsens the inflammation from the inside out. So foods like sugar a lot for a lot of people it’s also dairy products or gluten. Those are common ones. In my book I talk about ten different ones to avoid for two weeks to help you determine which of these are your big triggers. But those are the some of the big ones. And then instead eating foods that are anti-inflammatory, so things like foods that are rich in omega 3 fatty acids like wild Alaskan salmon, also monounsaturated fats like olives and avocados and the oils that come from those eating more of a plant base. I’m not saying you have to be vegetarian but, but eating more plants is definitely going to be more of an anti-inflammatory diet. You to get the benefits of the nutrients from the plants and the nutriment and the oils from some of these as well. So you know that’s a big part of it is the foods that you’re eating.
And then also other inflammatory triggers have to do with our environment it’s environmental toxins that we’re exposed to and our air water and food and those getting those internally. It’s also going to trigger an inflammatory pathways. You know if you’re overdoing it with animal protein too that’s another thing. No I don’t. Again I don’t think people necessarily need to a vegetarian diet. If you get clean sources of animal protein. But you know if you’re doing a lot of you know like beef that’s not grass fed you’re especially if you’re barbecuing them in those kinds of things are definitely more pro inflammatory.
Elynn: So what are some signs. Are there specific signs that you can see on your skin that maybe you’re eating too much protein or non-quality protein.
Trevor: Well you know I don’t know if it’s that specific as far as the quality of the protein. I do have the big root causes that is triggered from especially from like overcooked meats some not good sources of meat. Is going to be there oxidative damage root cause. So when you think about with our skin and you get too much sun exposure that’s going to trigger active damage so we see changes physically on the skin. We’ll see hyper pigmentation we’ll see we… You know it can predispose you to skin cancer or those sorts of things from the inside though we can also trigger oxidative damage and worsen that from eating too much of these prone inflammatory foods. And then you know and processed foods hydrogenated oils those sorts of things. So again you know it’s all about of it is connected to our food but also what we do externally. It can help with a big anti-inflammatory or anti-inflammatory skincare ingredients that we can use as well that can be soothing to the skin. So it’s really that inside and outside approach to addressing the root causes.
Elynn: Which is really interesting because even when I read you know oxidative stress as one of the six causes I always think about water and environment you never really think about so much what you’re ingesting but it makes a lot of sense.
Trevor: Yeah it does. And then conversely if you’re eating lots of antioxidant rich foods things with lots of colorful fruits and vegetables you know making lots of great smoothies like I know you like to talk about those packed full of antioxidants. That is going to help protect you from that oxidative damage.
Elynn: Which kind of leads us now into the microbiomes since we’re talking about food and gut stuff, so how does the microbiome factor into your skin.
Trevor: Well really interesting research is coming out about the microbiome. We’re learning more and more about it which is fascinating and I totally geek out on this stuff so excuse me. We… a lot of people right now are talking about the gut microbiome. And so the gut microbiology course is that balance of microorganisms in the digestive tract that helps not only with digestion but also with a lot of other health issues and protecting help. Well that gut microbiome is connected to the skin in the skin microbiomes so the skin has its own diverse balanced and plethora of microorganisms that live on and protect the skin. Because skin is… it’s you know our largest organs right on the surface it’s our outside protection from the outside world. So we have this biodiversity of microorganisms to really help protect our skin. And so we’ve got bacteria. And in fact you’ve got. We’ve got. There’s over a million bacteria per centimeter on our skin and incredible amounts of microorganisms. We also viruses, Fungai even these little mites that live on our skin. So we have all these things. And so what impacts that is partly from the inside out from the gut microbiome and so if we have a good gut microbiome that can help our skin microbiome but also our outside environment what when what we put on our skin impacts our skin microbiomes too. So we know from the research that is where we live in the world the type of skin we have who we live with if we have pets in the House are crazy you know if you live in a city if you live in the country. All these things impact all these little microorganisms that live on your skin. And so when people have acne, rosacea, eczema, psoriasis, premature aging. This is in part due in large part due to imbalances in the skin microbiome. So what we want to restore are the health of our skin. Let’s get back to this root cause of the microbiomes and figure out what we can do both internally and externally to help restore our skin to this healthy state so it has this natural protection.
Elynn: And it really begs the question when you’re talking about you know external microbiome on your skin, things like proactive, tetracycline… How are those… because we know antibiotics when we ingest them and how that affects our gut bacteria. How did these products affect our external skin bacteria?
Trevor: Absolutely the same issues with taking internal biotics and that throwing off… because when you take internal biotics it kills off the good bacteria, in addition to the bad bacteria. So of course you know it’s we’re not… I’m not all opposed to antibiotics but we need to be careful about when and how we use them in the course we’re realizing this more and more with bacterial resistance and these you know things like mersa and hospitals and it’s gotten pretty bad and so it’s not just internally it’s also externally on our skin. And so when we take antibiotics internally it may impact our skin, make room, but also a lot of the times we’re using these topical things on our skin and that can disrupt the skin microbiome. And also I know we’re so germophobic using hand sanitizers and antimicrobial soap and that actually using them on your body on your face it kills off the good bacteria in addition to the bad so setting you up for this imbalance which then will continue until you can hope to restore your body back to that healthy state.
Elynn: And what kinds of products do you feel are a topic or something. I have a teenage son so acne is always something we’re talking about and thinking about what kind of products in that natural realm do you feel are as effective as some of these proactive and things. And right now just talking about topical I know we’re going to get into the clean plate and all that stuff in a little bit inside. But what do you recommend for parents who are looking for a natural solution for kids with a lot of zits.
Trevor: Yeah. And it is you know it’s it really is important for us to be looking at skincare products and for things like acne. And again this conversation go about goes back to what are we doing to help the balance of the microorganisms on the skin. So in the case of acne we know that one of the things that happens in the microbiology in microbiome is there is often the overgrowth in the P. acne bacteria and P. acne bacteria is actually normal there. Everybody has them, but they get overgrow in people with acne. So what is it that’s happening in the biodiversity of the skin that that creates an imbalance. And what can we do to help support the skin to go back to that rather than doing something like antibiotics or topical started what instead can we not support. Because those kinds of solutions they may help temporarily, but it and then some of these other over-the-counter prescription medications they can help temporarily. But until you’re really addressing the root cause it’s probably going to keep coming back. So it’s really exciting to see the research unfolding on the skin microbiome and I really hope that down the road we’ll be able to have probiotic, probiotics topically that we can use to treat things like acne. At this time we don’t have enough research to specifically say OK if we give these probiotics on their skin and topicals then it’s going to clear up acne. That research actually isn’t… we don’t have that yet. So hopefully that we will have that soon.
But one of the things that we know helps with supporting a healthy skin microbiome is the pH of the products that we’re using topically. Our skin does best with a mildly acidic environment, so that helps create that barrier protection. The acid mantle of the skin. So a lot of skincare products you think like a bar of soap that lathers up that actually has a high pH. So that’s going to then throw off the pH of the skin then that doesn’t create the environment for healthy skin microbiome to flourish. So instead using skincare products with a mild acidity of 4.5 to 5 ph range, isn’t going to support that and then also looking at natural additives that are going to be more anti-inflammatory to the skin, that are going to help with sebum balance with the oil balance. And so I think a lot of times topically with their approach to acne is it that ends up drying out and you know, drying out the skin and pulling out there you know using these cleansers that that stripped the skin. So it you know people might say oh my face is squeaky clean and all that’s good because I’ve got really oily skin, I’m more acne prone but you’re actually in the long term you’re just creating more imbalances. So we don’t want to be oil scary scared. Actually there are some oils that can help balance the skin. So I mean this is really why I created my skincare line the Spa Doctor daily essentials because I realized that, that good a lot of skincare companies out there aren’t using… First of all they’re full of toxic ingredients. They’re not using the active forms of natural ingredients and a lot of them aren’t in that ideal pH range. And so that’s why I created my line which actually works for all skin types because of the pH and the natural actives and the balancing effects that it creates.
Elynn: And so when you say your line is even good for teenagers that are kind of in puberty hormone influx.
Trevor: We have people of all ages both sexes all skin types using the products and loving it. I haven’t done a study on acne so I can’t say my skin care line treats acne. So from that statement you know we have people of all ages using it. And yeah my I’ve got I’ve got an 11 year old 16 year old and 19 year old and they all love my skin care products.
Elynn: Well that’s testament right there. All right. So we talked about inflammation and microbiomes oxidative damage. How about blood sugar?
Trevor: Yeah blood sugar is a really interesting one because I think a lot of people are what does blood sugar have to do with the skin. But when we when we eat foods that are high in sugar or foods that turn to sugar in the body so like a really high carb like lots of pastas and things like that it causes our blood sugar to increase. And with over time with a lot of increase in blood sugar it can lead to glycation issues. And so with glycation concerns that actually speeds up the aging process in the body. And so what happens is glucose will bind to proteins in the body and in the case of skin we’re talking about collagen. So collagen gives our skin that nice texture. And so if when glucose binds to collagen it can make our skin more rigid less elastic and that leads to the premature aging wrinkles sagging skin. So that’s one reason why blood sugar is really important with skin is because of the aging. Also it plays a big role in acne when we eat a lot of sugar or foods that turn to sugar when blood sugar rises insulin rises and with increased insulin that triggers excess sebum production. The oils on our skin. Plus androgen activity and these are two of the things that we know trigger acne breakouts. So this is another reason that blood sugar is linked to skin. And then also we know people with pre diabetes, diabetes, they tend to develop a more skin tax to save skin tags are one of those signs that the body is letting you know we got some excess blood sugar or blood sugar imbalances.
Elynn: That’s really interesting I never heard correlation between skin tags.
Trevor: It isn’t that you have… I don’t mean to scare people right away. “Oh my God, I’ve got skin tags, that means I have diabetes.” No. It just might mean you need to start working on balancing your blood sugar. You know what the great thing about blood sugar is it’s an easy test you could go just go to your doctor ask for fasting blood sugar so you go first thing in the morning get your blood sugar tested and it should be 80 85. And I know the normal range is below 100 but I like to see people more in an optimal range so we can we can really optimize blood sugar balance rather than waiting until it’s over 100 or even in the upper 90s and then you’re already dealing with some issues going on. So it’s just you know be proactive and smart about it.
Elynn: And so hormones… because obviously hormones from teenage hormones to menopause. I know there’s a whole gamut of things.
Trevor: Yes and it is one of the big root causes. We’ve got so many hormones out. And of course we know something like acne. And when we see our kids go through puberty or when are we ourselves goes are fewer are more likely to break out. And that’s partly due the hormonal changes that are occurring but it’s not just sex hormones. And it doesn’t just happen to teenagers right. But also with acne it’s funny you know a lot of people say “gosh, I’m in my 30s 40s 50s and I’m breaking out. What the heck is going on. I’m not a teenager.” But we do. We do have times in our lives where we go through hormonal changes with our sex hormones and so that is one of the connections there. What can you do to balance your hormones to help minimize or address that root cause. We also have a thyroid hormone and adrenal hormones. We have a lot of other we have no insulin we have a lot of different hormones that can play a role in our skin. And so like with thyroid if someone has low thyroid function they tend to have dry skin. And if there is thyroid is over functioning they might have oilier skin. And then in the case of something like with adrenal issues and somebody is overly stressed and their cortisol levels are really high we tend to see more inflammatory skin issues worsen as a result of that. So it definitely is a connection with those.
So understanding your hormones and how they might play a role is really important. And I know we’re going through all these root causes people might be thinking how am I going to know which of these are my issues. Now I’m starting to sound like all of them. So I to put together an online skin quiz which is a really great tool for people they can just go to THESKINQUIZ.com it’s the skin quiz dot com it’s a free online quiz. Just answer a few questions and then it will tell you which of my five skin types you are. And I designed these five skin types to the reason why I’ve created each one of them is based upon the collection of these six root causes. So not everybody’s got all six root causes. There’s a few of them with each skin types. There’s Olivia, Sage Emmet, Heat and so they’re all they’re all based on with the root causes.
Elynn: And so on which is a great segue, to I took the skin quiz and we will actually post it right up next to where we post this podcast. So everyone who’s listening can access it. But when I took it I am an Amber just FYI so can you tell us a little bit about each of your skin types.
Trevor: Yeah absolutely. And it you know it’s funny with the amber skin type especially it surprises people that somebody else might take their skin the skin quiz and get Amber and think I look nothing like her. I’m not blond and fair skin type because it’s not your typical approach. It’s not dry oily mature, you know dark skinned light skin it’s not because we’re at the root causes behind them. So you know it really has to do with you know inflammation oxy damage hormonal imbalances which are the big ones for you. And so it really depends on what your primary skin issues are so when you take the quiz. Because sometimes I have people take it several times and they get different results. And that’s because you want to take it with your primary skin issue. And you know and mind. So if it’s maybe it is eczema or maybe it’s acne or maybe it’s premature aging or maybe you have overly oily skin or more inflamed skin. So. So or hyperpigmentation might be an even skin tone those might be some of the things that you can do. So that’s probably why you ended up as Amber because amber tend amber skin types tend to have that uneven skin tone and so oxidative damage can be one of those big root causes and part of it is that you want to be careful with sun exposure and how are you protecting your skin from the sun and that speeding up the oxidative damage on the outside but also internally. Are you getting plenty of fruits and vegetables too to make sure you’re you know getting those antioxidants your diet maybe taking antioxidant supplements something like astaxanthin is a great nutrient that comes from it in wild salmon that sort of thing that gives it that pink color and has this is as antioxidant has potent ability to protect the skin from the inside out. So it’s one of those that I really recommend for Amber can types.
Elynn: And what was called on more time Trevor.
Trevor: Astaxanthin, A s t a x a n t h i n .
[Elynn: It’s like a spelling bee in here; I’m impressed. Let’s segue to sun exposure for one second because that’s the one thing I am a sucker for. My favorite thing to do on the planet is float in a lake in a pool in the ocean on a raft. So what is a safe way to enjoy? How much time and what’s the safest way to enjoy a little bit of sun time?
Trevor: Well that’s a really good question. I mean I get asked a lot because I don’t think anybody should be staying indoors all the time either. We want to get outside want to enjoy the outdoors. There’s definitely some benefit to being in the sun and being in nature is a lot of benefit with that. I think we should be doing it every day, getting outdoors. So what is the safe way? Also when we go out in the sun and we get Vitamin D so that exposure of our skin to sunlight causes the manufacturing of vitamin D in our skin. So there is definitely some benefits to that. So with vitamin D we actually don’t need a ton of sun exposure though to get vitamin D and it varies from person to person on a big part of it is your skin tone. So if you add more pigmentation if you have darker skin would need a little bit more sun exposure to get vitamin D. There is a fair skin then we don’t need as much to get vitamin D really just a few times a week exposing your arms and legs to the sun is a great way to get it. You can also get your vitamin D levels tested on bloodwork or 25 hydroxy Vitamin D so that that way you can make sure that you’re getting enough of that important nutrient. But what you what you want to think about is of course trying to be really particular careful on those peak hours of the day when the sun is strongest and most damaging and ideally will want to get out outdoors in the morning or later in the day and maybe indoor time in the middle of a day when the sun has a strongest, right? At this point I know we still want to even though we go out these other times we still want to protect our skin so of course wearing hats staying in the shade covering up whatever is appropriate for that are all great ideas that I encourage. We still want to use sunblock though I think. But unfortunately there’s the sunscreens that are out there most of them contains a pretty toxic ingredients for both us as humans and our health but also the environment. And so for a lot of chemical sunscreens for example contain the ingredient oxybenzone and oxybenzone is actually a known endocrine disrupting chemical hormone disrupting chemical in and both you know there are concerns both in humans and animals. So you know instead of using a chemical sunscreen I recommend people use a mineral sunblock like a zinc oxide based on water are my favorite for using.
Elynn: So let’s start talking about the clean plate because when you look at the six causes behind imperfect skin inflammation, microbiome, oxidative, damage blood sugar, nutrition, everything hormones. Every one of the six, nutrition has such a big influence on so let’s talk about the clean plate and what you recommend people are really eating on a daily basis to have beautiful skin.
Trevor: Right. And so just so people understand I do divide the book Clean Skin from Within and to those four sections and so there gathers clean plate, clean slate, clean body, clean mind. And so you’re talking about the clean plate section which is the foods to eat the foods to avoid. So some of the biggest things when looking at the foods to eat are which ones are going to be antioxidant rich because we’ve already talked about that because of the helping address oxidative damage and also inflammation and then also the… So you know I think probably we you know we’ve talked about it like things like berries and kale and spinach and his green leafy vegetables those are all great. And then and then also the oils that we consume and making sure that we’re staying away from the hydrogenated oils and the ones and processed foods and instead getting oils like avocado oil is great for cooking and then olive oil for salad dressings or maybe a little bit of coconut oil using those types of oils instead of like your typical vegetable oil or using again… having those those hydrogenated oils that are in processed foods. So those are that’s a big part of it. Also we look at things like hormone balance. One of the many of the groups of vegetables that’s great is the cruciferous vegetable family so things like broccoli cauliflower kale those are great at helping with hormone metabolism and so I think that’s another great one to include and I think it’s good if you can lightly steam them especially if you have a thyroid issues. Then I would say just steam them lightly and enjoy.
Elynn: So if there were three top foods your three favorite skin nourishing foods what would they be?
Trevor: Top 3 skin nourishing foods. Well I mentioned one or any wild salmon. Wild Alaskan salmon partly because of the omega 3 content and also because the astaxanthin in there. I also do love avocados because not everybody eats salmon we still want to get some great beneficial oils. Avocados are great. You can also there avocados are great for using like a DIY skincare and you can use as a mask too. For somebody that has moderate to severe acne though you want to be.. I what I found is that for people with severe acne they sometimes don’t do well with eating a lot of avocados. So just you know stick to a quarter or half of an avocado instead of you know overindulging. The other top food. I love berries I think are just easy they’re great. There it satisfies a sweet tooth in a way but also provide some great antioxidants. Yes so those 3.
Elynn: And then have a top three foods you would avoid.
Trevor: Yes those would be sugar definitely number one. And I also would say for people with skin issues dairy is another big one especially people with acne then gluten would be a third one. And again these aren’t necessarily problems foods for everybody on the planet but with chronic and issues they do tend to be the big the top trigger. But of course you know I don’t want to leave out junk food because that would mean I think that kind of goes without saying but that also is definitely up there.
Elynn: Yeah I mean we at this point you know it’s always worth mentioning anything highly processed is not good for you in general and any root problem could be the cause. So let’s talk about skincare products. What are the things that we should be avoiding? The top things we should avoiding as skincare products and what are the things that you carry in your line that you stand behind and highly recommend.
Trevor: Yeah great question. Well I think it’s first important for people to realize that what we’re what we put on our skin doesn’t just stay on the surface of our skin it can get absorbed our skin is somewhat permeable. And so that’s why there are nicotine patches and hormonal hormone creams and things like that because we know that. I mean medications are actually used topically because we know that we can absorb some of that. So it’s the same thing with certain ingredients can actually get absorbed and get into circulation. And as they mentioned before endocrine disrupting chemicals are a big part of the concern with skincare products or personal care products. And if you think about how many products we actually use you start adding up the number of properties shampoos conditioners make up moisturize your sunscreens body products Hairspray all these different things the embodiment of working group says are people on average use nine personal care products a day when it is 126 unique ingredients. The thing is that in places like in Europe they’ve banned I think close to 1300 ingredients whereas in the U.S. The FDA is only banned 11 ingredients.
Trevor: There is you know there’s really not much regulation on personal care products and there are concerns about this what it’s doing to our health. And what we’re adding to our bodies that we don’t need. So I would say you know I think it’s important for us to be looking more closely at this just like you’re reading your food labels and maybe your supplement labels think it’s good to start looking at your skincare labels too. So I mentioned Environmental Working Group it is a nice resource. EWG dot org. slash skin deep is there is a database that you can look up ingredients and skincare products. My skincare line the Spa Doctor skincare line is one that EWG verified line. So what that means is that we sent the products and they analyze it and made sure it was it was up to their standards. So I know that they’re there do a really good job on educating and also helping people have access to clean skin care products. So that’s a good place to look for information. I also have a lot as you know in my book a whole section on ingredients to avoid alternative natural ingredients that you can use instead because I know we love our especially women we love our personal care products. We don’t want to give it up but there. So the good news is that there are alternatives so for example one of the ingredients like what I mentioned before sunscreen oxybenzone as well as a grades you want to avoid but zinc oxide is a better alternative.
Another example is fragrance synthetic fragrances and so many personal care products but unfortunately there are some endocrine disrupting chemicals in fragrance such as diethyl phthalate that’s hidden that’s not listed on the label but it’s hidden under the word fragrance. And so again we’re you know we’re looking at what we need to avoid these things or reduce them from our from our environment. And but instead of using fragrance you could use the like as essential oils which are nice alternative. So you can still have nice smelling things without the toxic side effects and in fact essential oils actually have some health benefits and mood enhancing benefits. You know every year people put essential oils on or have them and diffusers to help out with their mood and that sort of thing. So there’s this you know you get side benefits instead of toxic.
Elynn: Rewarding instead of detrimental, which is nice. So you, also in your book suggest supplements to support liver and kidney function. Let’s talk about that for a second and liver and kidney function and how it affects your skin and if there’s particular supplements that you recommend people take on a daily basis.
Trevor: In my book I talk to a clean body section on my book I talk about the importance of reducing your exposures to toxins and environmental toxins and how they play a role in the body and the health of the skin and the health of the overall body and how it’s important to reduce our overall exposure.
And then also we want to do things to help support our liver and kidney functions so that when we can we are going to be exposed to toxins is just part of living into this world so that our body is able to best deal with it. So whatever we can do to support our liver and kidneys it’s one of our ways of our body releasing getting these metabolites and getting them out of the body. Also our lymphatic system our skin. Those are also part of that detoxification. So what we think about the liver and particular what one of the things that is helpful is doing these that help with glutathione, boosting glutathione levels. And so Vitamin C is an example of something that helps naturally boost.
Also NAC is another example. And there are other there are other things that can help with supporting glutathione levels. So that’s an example of one of the things that some of the supplements that we can do to help support the liver. There also herbs like milk thistle there are nice teas that you can drink. I talk about this in my book too. And then when it comes to the kidneys I mean what can we do to kind of help the kidneys flush out whatever is kind of come into circulation built being filtered through the kidneys. We want to get that out of the body so some of these are no sort of diuretic types. It’s like eating watermelon and cucumbers and we’re kind of hope with flushing things out. Also there are certain herbs that can help with you know things like dandelion are actually great for both liver and kidney and take in and you can bring those in the form of teas to really help encourage that flushing out. And that optimizing the function.
Elynn: And then how about alcohol as you mentioned sugar is horrible for the skin and alcohol really is sugar as well as dehydrating and it causes the liver to work harder. So what is your take on alcohol?
Trevor: Yes so when people do the two week program that’s in my book it’s one of the things that I tell them to eliminate because of those kinds of things that you talk about. I think that sometimes what happens is we get so used to having our glass of wine or beer cocktail every evening that we don’t necessarily become we’re not always aware of what it’s doing to our health and doing to our skin. So if we take a break from it and then try you say that a lot of people notice something interesting with their when they drink what they notice. And so for example some of the things that people have mentioned to me is when they gave up drinking their glass of wine every night that women didn’t wake up with hot flashes and night sweats and that’s a kind of that’s an example of something it and that there you know her liver was trying to work overtime, her body was trying to you know flush that out. And they didn’t even realize they just thought OK it’s you know getting closer to menopause and maybe that was plus you know of course that is one of the reasons why women get hot flashes and night sweats but you know are you getting them prematurely. You know that’s one of the things that some people notice. Flushing of the skin we’re talking about skin some people get flushed when they really drink alcohol. So when people stop drinking and I’m like well my rosacea is starting to go away those little tiny little blood vessels that you mention going to be early signs of rosacea or flushing along the cheeks.
And then when you know you give up your glass of red wine not having it anymore so then after the two weeks you could decide how what you want to do with that. So you might say well I still like my glass of wine maybe I’ll just do it on the weekends that. I mean I don’t think that we should be totally deprived. I don’t think that people should live their entire life with you know without any sugar or without a treat without you know anything like that. You know there’s moderation. And so if you but if you know how your body reacts to something like alcohol. Then you can decide if it’s worth it or not and I should mention that there are certain genetic predispositions to if you are there are certain genetic predisposition that make it harder for people to process alcohol. If you have a genetic test you can do to find that out if you are one of those people you might want to not drink alcohol. It might be better for you. My father a few months ago passed away from liver cirrhosis. And I think there is this genetic predisposition within our family in addition to him being a winemaker. That that led us to that but and so on again I’m not saying you know you have to give it up forever but it’s very individual now.
Elynn: And it’s fairly interesting to think about and I’ve done that before where I’ve done a cleanse and it didn’t have alcohol. And then you drink a glass and actually it had like I just felt slower like everything. Why do I do this. Why did you want to feel slower. It’s interesting. Emotional triggers. You talk about in the book emotional triggers and how they can affect your skin. I’d love to hear a little bit more about that.
Trevor: Yes that’s the clean mind section of the book. And you know right in the beginning we talked about how you were surprised to find out that I did that master’s degree in spiritual psychology. And the reason why I went and did that program and I’ve been in practice for a while before I went into that program was I realized that there is this emotional connection that we have and that a lot of times that impacts our lifestyle choices and also stress is like a toxin to the body. And it is of course some amounts of stress are normal but it’s about how we how we handle our stress what we do with it on a day to day basis that that’s going to show whether it really impacts us. And as I mentioned with adrenal cortisol hormone you name that gets elevated that can trigger more inflammatory skin issues. So whatever we can do to do or are to do breathwork meditation yoga even just going for a walk in nature taking a bath whatever it listening to the music there are slightly different ways that you can incorporate these and so I give people a lot of examples of my book and actually give very specific exercises like gratitude exercises gratitude is one of the easiest and fastest ways to eliminate stress and to is gratitude is very powerful so I give people specific exercises to do to help with that.
Elynn: And one exercise that’s been working for me lately is just get back to the moment where it’s like I’m live in L.A. So traffic is a big part of my life and my therapist is like just feel your hands on the steering wheel, then think about driving and when you pull yourself out from whatever you’re thinking and it’s just that moment and look around to look at it it’s in gratitude practice but it’s like one that like real time. So I’ve been really enjoying that.
Trevor: That is a really powerful one and I think too that it kind of makes life real like what’s happened is really important and because we get so caught up in our mind and our head and these thoughts and chatter and that if we could just go back to being present and feeling our body being physically present I think one of the ways to help do that is if you can get out in nature and like taking cues are put your feet in the grass or on the dirt and just be present just feel nature be or feel the breeze or listen to the bird you know whatever it is. I think that’s a great way to just really be in the moment. So I don’t know. You know it doesn’t necessarily not it’s not just about nature but we have trees.
Elynn: The beach can work in a pinch.
Elynn: Since we’re talking about alternate things to make a skin care. What are your thoughts. on just some of the trending things like bone broth infrared saunas some of the other things that I know have the benefits of skin health. And I’m just curious what your take is on these things.
Trevor: Yeah I do love bone broth. It is one of my top favorite foods you ask me for three so I gave you three. But I would you know limit the fire so I know not everybody you know will eat animal products so. But most people eat fish or you know or avocados are pretty safe. So bone broths great collagen is a collagen enriched food collagen as a supplement is another college peptides is another great option. We know that collagen is great for skin hair nails joints also our gut. So certainly bone broth is when made from clean animal protein. And you can do it from beef bones, chicken bones, fish bones those all worked well or you can buy one that’s already made. I like the homemade ones are they’re actually pretty easy make I have one of those recipes in my book. I had a chef help me with it because I want it to taste good too. That’s some nice herbs and different veggies and different things and mushrooms add some flavor to.
Elynn: And then how about infrared saunas?
Trevor: I think that saunas are can be a great addition to helping with it we think about it you’re helping with circulation you’re helping with lymphatic the lymphatic system the lymphoid. And also with your skin. So when you perspire that is actually detoxing from you are you can actually when you get in a sauna. This is why this happens when you exercise to the point when you’re perspiring as well is that you’ve got lipolysis is happening which is breaking down of the fat cells and fat cells is where we carry a lot of toxins are when we sweat and we have about lipolysis is happening which happens pretty quickly and sauna and an infrared Ana you have that lipolysis is happening it’s an opportunity to release some toxins. Now you also have to make sure you’re drinking plenty of water and that you’re moving your body. I think it’s good to end with a cold glass shower or something like that are a nice way to complement it. Also drinking some and kidney and liver nourishing herbal tea can also be a nice complement to that and for some. And also if you’re new to Saunas you kind of want to build your way up starting which is maybe five minutes especially if you aren’t completely healthy you might want to talk to your doctor. So there I mean you want to be use some caution with inferred saunas. They’re not necessarily for everyone that I’ve actually seen. Some people that are there have had a history of a lot of toxin exposures. It can be too much for them when they get headaches and they start to feel kind of sick. So start slow as what I would suggest.
Elynn: Interesting; no and that makes a lot of sense. On every level.
Trevor: Most people do great with and know they can do great with it they feel fantastic.
Elynn: So selfishly I have to ask everyone I talk to what does Dr. Trevor Cates put in her smoothie.
Trevor: Well I have. I have my own Spa Doctor protein shake and that’s it’s a, it’s a pea protein based shake and it’s sweet with Stevia. So it’s I mean it even just by itself it’s got vanilla flavors so I have you know the easy one. So I am I’ve got three kids I’ve got I’m running a company I’m really busy so I want it to be easy. So what usually what I do is I’ll do a scoop of that I’ll do a glass of coconut milk and grab a whole bunch or maybe even two handfuls of greens loads of lettuce or kale or whatever I have. Throw that in there and then some frozen berries and just that’s oftentimes what I drink. Now in my book I have a bunch of different smoothies so if I have a bit more time my red velvet smoothie is probably one of my favorites especially in the fall and winter when you’re doing more root vegetables.
Elynn: I love beets in a smoothie.
Trevor: I don’t know if you saw that recipe. But it’s beets red beets and cherries red cherries and some other things in there. It’s just I mean it sounds like a really interesting combination. Some avocado and things I would think so but it’s so delicious I’ve made it on several different TV shows. It’s always funny like the host is always “I don’t know if I’m going to like this.” And then they love it so.
Elynn: And I mean that’s what’s amazing about smoothies is a lot you can combine things that you like with things that are really healthy that you don’t think you like. And next thing you know you’re like oh this is all come together perfectly.
Trevor: Smoothies are so great it’s such a great way to get nutrients and especially with people that are not used to eating vegetables they just don’t like the taste. There actually is a gene that for some people makes greens like this cruciferous vegetables taste really bitter. They can’t eat them. They can’t they just can’t put them in their mouth because they’re so bitter. But if you stick them in a smoothie with you know some things like frozen berries and avocado and things like that the kind of change that the texture and the taste of it next to you know you’re like a fan of these cruciferous vegetable.
Elynn: I always find you like cinnamon you can mask almost anything in a smoothie with a little cinnamon.
Trevor: Cinnamon and Ginger is another good one. And you know there is something about I think avocado and then another one that I love to include is chia seeds, because it helps thicken it so that there you know I like that kind of a thicker smoothie but kind of depends on what people like me.
Elynn: So Trevor, I want to be respectful of your time so I’m curious what’s on the horizon, what’s next for you.
Trevor: Well I’ve got new brand new packaging from his skincare products and I’m excited about that. We just released that and my new Web site just we just launched a new Web site so people can go check that out. The SpaDoctor.COM so THESPADR dot com. And so lots of good stuff on there. Got a podcast on there, my skin quiz and my products succulents and my skin your products and my book are all there. And in fact actually what I wanted to do is give your audience I give an opportunity for them to get my book for free website up now specifically for this. So people go to THESPADR.COM/FREEBOOK Com slash free book. So again doctors abbreviated DR SPADR dot com slash free book. And so the book is free. People just pay the shipping and handling fee to get it because it’s a physical copy of the book The recipe is and all the ingredients that you want to avoid and alternatives and the whole two week plan. It’s all in there.
Elynn: And then we didn’t even get to touch on the masks and the DIY stuff which is amazing and all the blender as well. So you know I love that. We’ll definitely make sure we post that link so everyone has access to it. But thank you. Thank you it’s always such a pleasure to see your beautiful face.
Trevor: Thank you for having me on. It’s so great to connect with you all.
Elynn: Absolutely. OK take care.
Elynn DeMattiaElynn DeMattia’s driving force and main purpose is to make healthy eating accessible to the masses through efficiency, affordability and delicious taste. As the VP of Creative Development for NutriBullet, Magic Bullet and Veggie Bullet, she is doing her best to make consuming copious amounts of produce super tasty and exciting. Forever a student of all things nutrition, wellness, meditation and mindfulness, Elynn most recently became a Certified Functional Medicine Health Coach.