Expert's Opinion

Ancient Philosophies for Modern Skin Care

By Dr. Shirley Madhu00e8re | June 14, 2010

Detoxing the skin goes back many, many years, explains holistic surgeon Shirley Madhére.

The ancient Greeks and Egyptians believed in the humoral theory of health, that the body was composed of four basic substances. When these substances, or humors, are out of balance, one is unhealthy. The ancient peoples also believed in “autointoxication” or endogenic toxicosis. As defined by the American Heritage Medical Dictionary, autointoxication refers to “self-poisoning resulting from the absorption of waste products of metabolism, decomposed intestinal matter, or other toxins produced within the body.” The idea that intestinal waste could affect the “humors” with resultant ill effects is not new. In fact, it is as ancient as 3000 B.C. when the Greeks were first thought to have created a civilization.

In modern times, the interest in autointoxication as a possible factor involved in illness has seen a resurgence. Practitioners, primarily those in complementary medicine but also including some allopathic physicians, describe that the internal imbalance may manifest as symptoms as psoriasis, eczema, acne and rosacea, to name a few.

Proponents of detoxification, the process of correcting the state of autointoxication, advocate that regularly assisted elimination does the body and mind good. Through a variety of techniques, “detox” can be undertaken with or without medical supervision. Types of detox include specialized diets (as juice cleanses), oral supplementation (as Glisodin Skin Nutrients Advanced Detoxification Formula), baths, dry skin brushing, exercise, enemas, deep breathing, herbal remedies and homeopathic medications, among others. The purported advantages are cited as a sense of well-being, weight loss, mental clarity, increased energy, improved immune function, clear skin, and improved overall health. However, the concept of detoxification remains controversial, despite the reported health benefits.

The body has a highly effective and efficient system of “auto-detoxification.” The skin occupies approximately 18 sq. feet on the body and contains two million sweat glands. If the primary organs become overloaded, sweat carries toxins to the surface to be eliminated. Since the body is naturally programmed to rid itself of wastes, critics of external detoxification label the “evidence” supporting the techniques as anecdotal “pseudoscience” that is not substantiated by modern medicine or current toxicology studies.

Whether one is for or against detoxification, it remains clear that food may serve as medicine. Thus, it behooves those interested in beauty, wellness and longevity to eat responsibly, ensuring that what is ingested helps to maintain function, support normal physiologic systems and sustain a healthy life.

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About the Author
Dr. Shirley Madhère is a graduate of Boston University, where she received a B.A. after a liberal arts education concentrating on English, biology, classical dance and French literature. Having simultaneously cultivated a desire to study medicine, she matriculated at the Dartmouth Medical School and the Brown University School of Medicine combined program.She also strengthened her foundation in science by obtaining concurrently a Master’s Degree at the Brown University Graduate School.

Dr. Madhère’s subspecialty training was undertaken in Cosmetic Surgery at the New York Eye and Ear Infirmary under the tutelage of some of New York City’s most renowned plastic surgeons. A native New Yorker of multicultural background and with international interests, she remained in New York City to begin her private practice.

Dr. Madhère’s medical interests are diverse, and include skin care, general health,and age management. Her practice is aimed also at balancing and integrating these concepts with a focus on aesthetic surgery of the face, breast surgery, body contouring as well as general plastic and reconstructive surgery. Dr. Madhère believes that beauty radiates from within and that the external form and visage are reflections of inner health of the mind and body.The fusion of these concepts to practice a multidisciplinary approach to aesthetics, wellness, form and function is paramount to Dr. Madhère’s success in practicing “holistic plastic surgery.”

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