Month 6, My Focus: The Endocrine System. I Think My Skin Is Healing!

Ok, so it has been over five 5 months since I started my journey to heal my Idiopathic Guttate Hypomelanosis, and I have finally begun to seen some results!!

The melanocytes in my legs have slowly failed to produce melanin more and more over the past 9+ years. I began to see what I thought were big results on my thighs some weeks back in that I noticed I was seeing more of my brown spots, caused from an overproduction of melanin, than my white spots, no melanin production. I felt I was looking for the white spots but I was able to still see them. I was ready to share my news. But, the other night as I looked at my legs, it looked like there were more white spots. It occurred to me that maybe it was because I got some sun on my legs the day before. After I came back from running, and I got ready for my shower, I noticed I had a “runners” tan from my early morning run. This is Florida, afterall:)

So, when looking at my legs and seeming to see more white spots, I figured it was maybe because of the sun. I thought it was because I was eating sugar too. One of the things I was told was that, among this condition not being “curable,” it is also made worse by the sun and to steer clear. However, this article indicates research does NOT support photodamage as a prerequisite for the development of IGH making me think maybe it is still a fungus, but you think the “experts” would know. My thoughts about eating sugar again and seeing more spots is because I have thought it may be a fungus – it presents like one in so many ways – the shape, the slow spread and the persistence. Another place in the article does seem to contradict itself indicating the absence of the macules is due to solar radiation.

So, either I actually do have more spots in January, as it does seem to be the case as evidenced by the photos – I look tanner in January, too, which could just be elucidating the spots more – or I don’t. I am not sure! I have thought I could visibly tell they are reducing, so I am going to go with that, and they do look to be fewer in this recent photo, too. Summer is on the way, so I will be getting tanner just by way of being outside, so time will surely tell. However, to also address the potential fungus issue, I am going to keep my white flour & sugar to a low (fungus, like all organisms, love and thrive on sugar), keep eating well, taking my probiotics (which can also by way of increasing their populations, keep off the “fungal” populations), and just keep progressing in the direction of well-being. I am not sure I will continue to research further body systems beyond this month because I do not see a correlation between them, but I’ll see. I never knew the the endocrine system produced a hormone to stimulate melanin production! So…

I have persisted in the other areas, off and on, in which I’ve engaged in since working on different body systems since January. I am inadvertently taking a systemic approach at this point. I’m still supplementing with a lot of different supplements, drinking lots of smoothies, exercising, rarely overeating, eating less white flour/sugar, using Selson blue to scrub my legs with in the shower with a scubber likely used by masochists, I am taking probiotics, and I continue to research ways I can address how my body may make more melanin.

Onto the hormonal relationship.

Having recently found out there is actually a hormone responsible for making melanin, it’s called, aptly, Melanin Stimulating Hormone and is “stimulated” by the anterior pituitary gland in my brain, or so it should be, I was encouraged that maybe this is somehow the root of my problem. I am still not sure why it is failing to produce in my legs! So I am pursing the endocrine study this month to see what’s up with that and if there is something I can do to help my legs, here!

I read this study, Hypopigmented Macules of Photodamaged Skin and Their Treatment with Topical Tretinoin, which I found really interesting for a couple of reasons. Firstly, I found out that this Retin- A cream, Tretinoin, that I bought in Mexico in February for my face has actually been studied and used successfully for this problem. I have begun to use this on my legs, but the tube is now flattened, and ready for repurchase.

The issue with this cream is 2-fold – yes, it works, see the picts in the study, but not only are the “macules” lighter, the whole of the skin is lighter – issue 1. The 2nd issue is that after discontinuation of use, they returned over time. I am not looking for a temporary fix, but a long-term, permanent solution to my skin issue. Oh yea, you also should stay out of the sun when using this. Ugh. That’s a no for sure! I am outside pretty much every day, but I do and will use sunscreen more regularly and thoroughly.

I found something in this article fascinating. Researchers suggested “the
presence of a systemic factor in the development of IGH, because IGH epidermis transplanted into mice re-pigmented after 3 weeks. Restoration of pigmentation indicates that melanocytes, though inactive, are present in
hypopigmented macules.

So, my melanocytes (melanin-producing cells) are in tact, according to this, likely, and fun fact: we have 1000 – 2000 melanocytes per square mm – Wow, my task now is to figure out why, still my task, they are not producing melanin! As this studying, indicates, however, this is systemic. For me to have been on the path of, pin-pointing, oh, I need copper or I need more vitamin A or I need to boost my immunity – this is larger, maybe than I am making it. But, maybe not. Idiopathic indicates the origin of the pathogenesis is not known. So, it’s rough, especially since I am not being systematic about it in the sense of controlled studies.

Well, this makes me think that yes, maybe this will be my last focus this month because of the systemic nature of this. In a way, I am, and have been, overtime, as I mentioned, inadvertently developing a systemic approach to healing this, as I have learned new bits each month, I am continuing to employ each of them, but less so. Still, maybe over time, it will alleviate myself of this condition as I persist!

In the meantime, I will be looking at, for the rest of this month and more, my hormones, hormonal homeostasis (balance), melanocyte receptors and the effect cholesterol may be having on my skin.

I gave blood last month and found out my cholesterol has gone up 30 points in the past 8 years. It’s over 180 and in the red one! I have purchased a cholesterol meter so I will monitor this too over this month to get it down. I have already bought and been eating wheat germ which is supposed to be great to reduce cholesterol, but we make cholesterol naturally. Cholesterol makes our sex hormones, and is part of all our cell membranes. So, maybe this high level of cholesterol has something to do with my problem, or maybe i just had umpteen cups of coffee with excess cream that morning, and my cholesterol levels were only high because of that. Going to get to the bottom of it!

Here’s to My Health & Yours:)

Holly

Overview of My Progress on My Face and Legs

My Immunity, Bolstered! I don’t have Corona virus, but I do still have my white spots!

When I chose March to focus on my immunity, I didn’t realize it would be smack-dab in the middle of a pandemic! What timing I have! Healthy am I, and happy to report it!

I have been enjoying more exercise this month than the other two combined. I have coined, and realized, this month, how much I am enjoying the “backdrop of my life!” I am happy to report I’ve had little to NO pain in my knees minus intense pain that’s awakened me in the early morning hours. That may be caner, but it’s NOT my meniscus/tendons or ligaments. So, that is progress!!!!

First day back on the beach. Gorgeous!

Most of my responses to building my immunity this month have come in the form of supplements, but I have also been eating somewhat purposefully, as well. See below under March for both. I want to say I made a MOST delicious surprise for myself in the form of some kind of smoothie. Because this is becoming a norm for me, healthy drinks, I decided to turn my peanut butter, cottage cheese and honey craving I normally put into a bowl into the form of a smoothie. So, here we go: Almond milk, peanut butter, cottage cheese, a frozen banana & medicinal mushrooms. Halleleuia Chorus, come on!

This in an immune system super food!

Oh yea, there might have been some honey too. Scrumptious, and long-lasting in the filling department! Beyond that, I did have one more surprise in the delicious arena this month – Golden Milk – Tumeric, ginger, honey, almond milk and cinnamon. That was deliciously surprising given I’m not normally a fan of tumeric. And, for those who love their pumpkin spice drinks in the winter, fall months, this may be a good, healthier fill-in.

My main impetus for working on my immune system, remember, was to work toward the restoration of my skin. It is still looking rough though! Not much progress here, but I will press on as with all other areas on which I’ve begun working. I resorted to brillo-pads, but only after the less soft steel pads seemed to scrape off my skin – they were rough! You can see on my legs – they’re scabbed up from the raking over! And still left is this fungus, or whatever these white spots are! IGH!?

Idiopathic Guttate Hypomelanosis – sure, maybe. I am still doing the sun though a little. I still think it may be something else. Anyway, I am trying still. I am persisting in the face of not much progress on the skin front. Hear the attached video for some funny stories about my skin this month! This was totally impromptu one night while confined. Refraining from sharing my confinement revelations about myself while working from home, you get this less depressing me, but the music spoke for my actual frame of mind at the time, as does my initial sigh :).

I am excited about April because I will be cleansing! Yah.

So, stay tuned with the Digestive System! This will hopefully begin to make some improvements to my skin. I’m feeling as all these efforts on my different systems are building on one another, this one is surely to heal. As I start cleaning out, I will have better absorption of nutrients and better systemic health overall!

Make sure you watch my video. You may get a couple of good laughs.

Progress for My Skin and Bone Health

January – Integumentary System – Focus on Skin

  • Eating with Purpose: New foods for skin
  • Supplementation: A, D, E, copper, amino acid powder

February – Muscular-Skeletal System

  • Exercise: Yoga, walking, stretching, squats
  • Supplementation: Continuing same supplements from January. Plus:
    • Lysine (bones, muscles and collagen production).
    • Glucosamine & Chondroitin
    • Omega-3 fish pills
  • Bonus: Mental health – learning to slow down and enjoy myself

March – Immune System

  • Eating with Purpose: Medicinal mushroom mix, pecans, brussel-sprouts, spinach, lemons, ginger, strawberries
  • Exercise: Running (Yah!!), biking, walking, stretching. Exercise is wonderful for helping a body maintain it’s health. It’s the game changer! Exercise at least 20 minutes a day. So doable!
  • Supplementation: All supplements from Jan and Feb (lysine actually helps viruses too! Herpes that is, but a virus!) plus…
    • Astragalus
    • Spirulina
    • Garlic pills
    • Zinc spray (helps prevent viruses from replicating!)
  • Bonus: More exercise = more productivity toward my goals, and joy because of both 🙂

To My Health & Yours! May you and your family all be happy, healthy and safe today and beyond!

Holly