“If your acne was a cartoon character, what would it look like?”
I was at another lymph drainage session with my therapist, Mya Breman (LCSW, LMT, CST-D) of the Upledger Institute. Frustrated with the fleeting results we were seeing, Mya decided to make use of her licensed psychotherapy skills to try and get at the root of the problem.
‘This is silly,’ I thought. ‘Okay, stop thinking. Just say the first thing that comes to mind.’
“If my acne was a cartoon character, it would be an oil drop,” I answered.
“Oh, very interesting,” Mya mused. “Like a teardrop.”
‘No, an oil drop,’ I repeated to myself. ‘Because my skin is oily. Get it?’
“When did this oil drop form?” she asked.
My instant response: “seventh grade.”
“No, I think it’s been around longer than that.”
In true psychotherapy style, I was soon answering questions about my deepest childhood fears. I continued to respond with the first thing that popped into my mind. I was most afraid of the dentist. I laughed it off at first, but then realized how real the fear actually felt as a child, especially the time I had four of my baby teeth extracted. I could still hear the sound of each tooth cracking as it loosened from my jaw. I was petrified for weeks leading up to the appointment, but my mom said I didn’t even cry.
I continued to ponder this unearthed childhood fear over the next few days. I thought about how angry the dentist made me –what dentist pulls out baby teeth? Don’t they fall out on their own? I thought of all the other things I hated about going to the dentist. The smell of latex. The uncontrollable drooling. The fluoride trays. My dentist even made me take fluoride pills, which I later learned is the reason my teeth are slightly discolored –a condition called dental fluorosis and a common indicator of fluoride toxicity.
As I reflected on my disdain for all things dental, I had an “aha! moment,” as Oprah would call it. Could this early fluoride poisoning still be affecting my lymphatic system? Is that why my skin goes haywire when I live in areas with fluoridated water? A quick Google search soon revealed that “fluoroderma” –i.e. acne caused from fluoride ingestion –is a confirmed medical condition although I had never heard of it from the countless doctors, dermatologists, and aestheticians I had consulted over the years regarding my recurring problems with acne.
It took several months to figure out how to avoid fluoride enough to relieve the fluoroderma. After dumping this chemical into half the public water supply for the past fifty years, high amounts of fluoride are found throughout the food chain. As I continued to limit my fluoride consumption, the painful cysts that had been emerging all over my face steadily faded. I still have problems on occasion, especially when traveling, but it’s satisfying to know that by avoiding fluoride I’m treating the problem at its root cause instead of covering up the symptom with medication or a miracle skincare product. I did find products that effectively “treated” the acne over the years, but I wouldn’t recommend them. More on that soon… [Update: see Proactiv Has Its Side Effects].
*This post is part of Fight Back Friday hosted by Food Renegade.
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