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TMHS 614: Secrets To Healthier Skin & The Natural Beauty Reset – With Dr. Trevor Cates
Have you ever thought about what your skin can tell you about your overall health? Whether it’s dry skin, acne, or eczema, the presentation of your skin can often indicate a deeper issue happening internally. Instead of treating these conditions as isolated problems, it’s important to take a holistic approach and address underlying imbalances or inflammation from the inside out.
Today’s guest, Dr. Trevor Cates is a naturopathic doctor, bestselling author, and the founder of The Spa Dr. She helps patients worldwide treat skin conditions and balance hormones through holistic methods. In her new book, Natural Beauty Reset, Dr. Cates explains how to address underlying imbalances and optimize health with a root-cause approach that leads to healthy, vibrant skin.
You’re going to hear how your food choices impact your skin and how addressing gut health can improve your appearance. Dr. Cates is sharing important principles on topical skincare, including the truth about personal care ingredients, pH levels, and sunscreen. You’ll learn about the skin microbiome, how stress can present on the skin, and the most common mistakes folks make with their skincare routine. Please enjoy this interview with the amazing Dr. Trevor Cates!
In this episode you’ll discover:
- How sleep deprivation can impact your skin health.
- What connection the thyroid has with the skin.
- How your skin can give you clues about your health.
- What leaky skin is.
- Warning signs that your skin’s barrier function has broken down.
- The #1 trigger food for skin problems.
- How insulin production can cause acne breakouts.
- The best way to determine if dairy consumption affects your skin.
- How the skin microbiome works.
- What you should know about the gut-skin connection.
- How frequent hand sanitizer use impairs the skin microbiome.
- What to look for in a facial cleanser.
- The long-term side effects of using birth control to treat acne.
- How stress can worsen inflammatory skin conditions like rosacea and psoriasis.
- The connection between self-worth and self-care.
- What the ideal pH is for skincare products.
- Important information about products that claim to be natural.
- The two most common skincare mistakes.
- How to create a DIY face mask.
- Why hormone imbalances impact skin health.
- The importance of building a consistent, calming bedtime routine.
- Which foods are the most supportive for skin health.
- The difference between chemical and mineral sunscreen.
Items mentioned in this episode include:
- Ettitude.com/model — Use the coupon code model15 for 15% off organic bedding!
- Organifi.com/Model — Use the coupon code MODEL for 20% off!
- Naturalbeautyreset.com/model — Preorder today to claim your bonuses!
- Clean Skin from Within by Dr. Trevor Cates
- Hormones, Health, & Harmony Docuseries
- Connect with Dr. Cates Website / Podcast / Facebook / Instagram
Thank you so much for checking out this episode of The Model Health Show. If you haven’t done so already, please take a minute and leave a quick rating and review of the show on Apple Podcast by clicking on the link below. It will help us to keep delivering life-changing information for you every week!
Shawn Stevenson: Welcome to The Model Health Show. This is fitness and nutrition expert, Shawn Stevenson, and I'm so grateful for you tuning in with me today. The health of our skin can be a huge indicator of our health overall. We tend to think that our skin just happens, but it's really an outermost representation of what's happening internally. Whether it's related to our diet, whether it's related to our stress, and even what's going on with our sleep quality can all show up on our skin.
For example, a recent peer reviewed clinical trial set out to find how sleep deprivation could potentially impact our skin health. The study found that sleeping less than six hours a night for just five nights in a row caused the study participants to have fine lines and wrinkles in their skin increase by 45%, blemishes went up by nearly 15%, and redness increased by nearly 10%. In other words, we literally wear our lack of sleep on our faces. And yet another study... And this was published in the journal Clinical and Experimental Dermatology, found that adequate sleep protects our skin against accelerated aging and accelerates recovery from excess sun exposure.
Fantastic. Really, again, this is looking at what's happening from the inside out. We tend to think that our skin is just something that just happens, it is a victim to what's going on in the external world, but truly, you're about to discover some of the secrets of skin health and, really, beauty overall, and our definition of beauty, and how we can really access the very best version of ourselves. As we mentioned a little bit, it's called beauty sleep for a reason, so sleep is one component.
On this episode, we're going to be talking to one of the foremost experts on skin health and overall beauty and wellness about the component of nutrition. How does that play into our skin health and our beauty and our perception of ourselves? What about topical things? What about the things that we're putting on our skin? What role does that play? What's really happening in the beauty industry? This multi-billion-dollar industry. Is it actually yielding the results that people think it is? Or is it leading to more skin problems, more dysfunction with our... Not just our beauty and our appearance, but our health overall. So, incredibly powerful conversation.
And as mentioned, it's called beauty sleep for a reason. Our sleep quality is a huge component, not just obviously in our appearance, but our health overall. Our metabolic health is dramatically influenced by our sleep quality. And one of the areas of sleep that's getting the most attention right now that's really controlling and regulating our sleep quality, has to do with something called thermoregulation.
So, this is really our body's ability to manage its temperature when faced with different environments. Our body is always seeking to manage and find a balance regardless of what's happening in the external world. And also, we've evolved having a natural drop in our core body temperature in the evening that helps to facilitate sleep. It's kind of like an "on program" to elicit reparative enzymes and hormones that help to facilitate good sleep and help us to move efficiently through our sleep cycles. So being too hot in the evening or having improper regulation of our own body's internal thermostat can be leading to some difficulties with our sleep quality.
For example, there's a study that was published in the American Journal of Physiology that's denoting that insomniac, people that have chronic sleep issues, tend to have a significantly warmer core body temperature than normal before going to bed. So, there is an inability or dysfunction with their body to manage and have proper thermoregulation, specifically before they go to bed where, again, we should be cooling off. But this is one of the hallmarks of chronic sleep issues. But this impacts all of us. This is why sleeping in a cooler environment tends to improve sleep quality. Of course, today we have the gift of being able to manipulate the external temperature, we have an external thermostat.
But also, what can we do, as far as our internal thermostat, to help to support that? It really has a lot to do with what are we wearing when we go to bed. Are we putting on clothes that cause insulation and cause us to overheat? And that can disrupt our sleep quality. Even our bedding is another thing that's being looked at to the degree that it's actually being studied through clinical trials.
In a brand-new study, and this was including 32 participants doing a three-week clinical trial to look at their bedding, the sheets that they were using, to see how it impacted their sleep quality. So, they use one week at their baseline, monitoring their sleep objectively and subjectively with sleep monitors, as well as them tracking their own kind of sleep diary to see the impact on their sleep. One week at baseline and their regular average everyday sheets. Then they had another week where they were utilizing organic bamboo lyocell sheets that have thermo-regulating support and also moisture wicking for people that tend to sweat and that kind of thing. And then they had another week where they were using kind of conventional cotton sheets.
And they tracked all of these metrics and here's what they found. When folks were sleeping on the thermoregulation supportive bamboo lyocell sheets, the participants had a 1.5% improvement in their sleep efficiency, meaning that they were actually sleeping an additional 7.2 more minutes of restorative sleep per night. So, 7.2 more minutes on average just by changing the bedding, changing the sheets that they were sleeping on.
Now, that might not sound like a lot, but you extrapolate that, 7.2 minutes over the course of a year, that's 43 extra hours of restorative sleep. There's a big difference between being in the bed and being unconscious even, and or being awake and getting actual efficient sleep where we're going through our sleep cycles efficiently.
Also subjectively... So that's objectively... Monitoring their sleep through sleep tracking devices. But subjectively, participants found that their mental alertness the next day improved by upwards of 25% after sleeping on the bamboo lyocell... Organic bamboo lyocell sheets from Ettitude. And 94% of people preferred sleeping on Ettitude sheets. Ettitude sheets are free from harmful chemicals, irritants, allergens that are common in bedding and even with our mattresses, for example. They're gentle on sensitive skin, including acne, eczema, psoriasis, dermatitis, people that have skin conditions.
The messages are so profound in how they're actually getting better sleep just by sleeping on these bamboo lyocell sheets. They're anti-microbial, self-deodorizing and they're breathable and moisture wicking, supporting thermal regulation. And right now, you can get 15% off the incredible organic bamboo lyocell sheets from Ettitude. Go to ettitude.com/model. That's E-T-T-I-T-U-D-E.com/model. Use the code model 15 at check out, and you're going to get 15% off.
I can't tell you, it's night and day difference, literally, when sleeping on Ettitude sheets versus everything else. I love. I love my Ettitude sheets. It's just... It's one of those things you can't really describe. You've got to experience it. And also, they want to give you a 30-night sleep trial. So sleep on them, dream on them, and if you don't love them, you can send them back for a full refund. And I promise you, you won't. You're going to love them so much. Head over there. Get yourself some Ettitude sheets. Go to ettitude.com/model. Use the code model 15 at check out for an exclusive 15% off. Now, let's get to the Apple Podcast review of the week.
ITUNES REVIEW: Another five star review titled, “Best Show Ever”. Evergreen info by Just A Mom 23. “I have no idea why I waited so long to listen to this podcast, but now that I have, it's the best health and nutrition information I've ever heard. I love the way Shawn makes it plain and how deep he goes into the science of things. I started at the beginning, episode one, and I've been listening daily for the past week. I appreciate him sharing his story about his diagnosis and how he was able to rebuild his body. I was given a similar diagnosis, so I know that I too can get to a state of excellent health and feel good in my body. I'm excited for the journey ahead and truly appreciate this wisdom and sound information.”
Shawn Stevenson: Yes, you can, and I'm excited for you as well. So powerful. Thank you so much for sharing a little bit of your story and sharing your voice over on Apple Podcast. I truly, truly do appreciate that. If you get to do so, please pop over to Apple Podcast or whatever platform you're listening on and rate and leave a review for the Model Health Show. It really does mean a lot. And listen, we're just getting warmed up. And this conversation today is another part in that equation of looking at how our health and the outer most expression of our health is really made from the inside out. So, let's get to our special guest and topic of the day.
Our guest today is Dr. Trevor Cates, and she's the author of the USA Today national bestselling book, Clean Skin from Within, and also the founder of The Spa Dr.: Natural Skin Care.
She received her medical degree from the National University of Natural Medicine in 2000 and was the first woman licensed as a naturopathic physician in the State of California. She's been the physician in several world-renowned spas and continues to help patients from around the world with a focus on mental health, skin, and hormones. She's been featured everywhere in popular media, including The Doctors, Extra and much more. And Dr. Cates is also the host of the Hormones, Health and Harmony docu-series, The Woman's Doctor podcast, and the public television special, Younger Skin from Within. Let's jump into this conversation with the one and only, Dr. Trevor Cates. Thank you so much for coming to hang out with us. I appreciate it.
And one of the things that we don't really think about when we see ourselves in the mirror, what we're seeing is our representation of what's going on internally. And so, our skin is a huge part of that portrait that we're seeing. And in the book, you talk about how our mood, how our hormones, how our health overall and our skin are deeply intertwined. Can you talk a little bit about that? Because I think, again, we see our skin as something very superficial.
Dr. Trevor Cates: Right, I know. I think a lot of times people forget that our skin is our largest organ, and it is interconnected with the rest of our bodies. And oftentimes, skin is what gives us early warning signs that something's out of balance in the body. And a low thyroid function, dry skin can be one of the first signs of low thyroid. And when we're stressed, sometimes our skin just becomes more reactive. There are a lot of things that show up on our skin first, and then it clues us in to other imbalances in the body. But unfortunately, I think a lot of people look at skin as just something that is annoying, right? First of all, what can I do to cover it up? Suppress it? And not really realizing that your skin is actually giving you clues about your health.
Shawn Stevenson: Wow. It's like this external feedback mechanism, right? And one of the little fun facts I learned about very early on in my career was that our skin is one of the first things that... It's developed when we're developing. It's kind of like the outermost portion of our nervous system. And we don't think about that on a day-to-day basis of how our skin is sensing the environment and sending data back, but also, it's sending out data from what's going on internally.
Dr. Trevor Cates: Yes. I think our skin is so fascinating. And we have a whole bunch of micro-organisms that live on the skin, we have hormones on our skin, we have stress responses on our skin. There's a lot going on the surface of our skin. And it has a lot of big important functions with the body. Because it's on the outside, it's there to protect us from the outside world. So having that barrier function is so important, but the problem is, is that it starts to break down for a lot of people. They develop things like leaky skin.
Shawn Stevenson: Talk more. Say more.
Dr. Trevor Cates: Well, I think a lot of people talk these days about leaky gut, where the digestive track lining becomes more permeable than it should, and so food particles can slip through, get into the blood stream, and create a number of issues, including autoimmune issues and things. But our skin also has a barrier function, and it can start to break down as well. So, then our skin becomes more permeable.
And so, whatever we put on our skin actually could get absorbed more easily, but what people see, what they notice is... Like with leaky gut you can't see it. You can't notice it. But with leaky skin, you start to notice things like irritated skin, eczema, acne. And so those are signs that that skin barrier function has broken down. And it's really important to build it back up.
Shawn Stevenson: Bananas. That is bananas. This leaky skin, if you think about it, why would that matter? It's like... And you talk about this in the book as well. The things that we put on our skin; our skin eats too. It absorbs. And a lot of the things that we're... Conventional stuff, people are putting on their skin every day. They're putting dozens of toxicants really, that are in all of these different creams and lotions and all these things, so you then absorb more of these... Some of them are even carcinogens.
Dr. Trevor Cates: Yes. Hormone disrupting effects, carcinogens, a lot of toxicity issues in our personal care products. On average, people use nine personal care products a day, which exposes us to 126 unique ingredients, and that's according to the Environmental Working Group. And the problem is, is that the FDA doesn't regulate ingredients in personal care products very well. So many of these ingredients unfortunately are quite toxic. And in Europe, they've banned over 1000 ingredients, whereas in the US, they've banned 11 ingredients. So it's really up to us as consumers to do a little research on what we're putting on our skin, especially people who have compromised skin, like the leaky skin issues.
Shawn Stevenson: Yeah. And if people want a reference point, there's actually a lot of hormone creams that we literally rub into our skin to change what's happening with our hormone cascade. And we're doing that with just about everything that we're putting on our skin in general.
Dr. Trevor Cates: Yeah, absolutely. I think a lot of times people forget that that's a route of medication. That we use nicotine patches or hormone creams like you mentioned, but yet people will put things on their skin without really thinking about, "Is this going to get into my body? Is this getting into my bloodstream? Where is it going and what is it doing?" And I think a lot of times we want to trust that the FDA, different organizations, and companies are looking out for our best interests. But as a doctor and as a skin care manufacturer, I can tell you, it's been an interesting ride to start making skin care products and looking at the lack of regulations in the industry and knowing what can be... What people can get away with.
So, like for example, with manufacturing, The Spa Dr. Skincare products, my manufacturer will sometimes say to me when I start asking, "Okay, have we tested for this? And what's the pH of this and how is this?" She'll say to me, "You know, other companies don't do all of this." That you go above and beyond. And I said, "Well, why wouldn't everybody... Why wouldn't every manufacturer want these testing... This kind of testing done on their products?" And people don't know that there are things even in ingredients, you can change your formulas without telling your customers. You could change a certain percentage of the ingredients without changing the list that's on the label.
Shawn Stevenson: That is nuts. It's so crazy. And again, our skin eats, there's regulation over food... Not that well, by the way, either. But again, we have this underlying trust factor that there is this entity out here... It's looking out for our best interest, but if you look... I'm a big results person. If you look at the results of our society, we're not in a good state. The things that we're consuming, whether it's the things we're exposed to externally or internally. And that leads to this important question and insight, which is, we tend to think that our skin just happens. It's just skin. It just happens. But our skin is really made from the food that we eat. So let's talk a little bit about that.
Dr. Trevor Cates: Yeah, absolutely. What you eat plays a huge impact on your skin. And it's interesting that with conventional dermatology, a lot of times... Most of the time dermatologists don't talk about this with their patients. But I think there's more and more research coming out with this connection, so we really can't deny the connection anymore. And I could tell you with all of the... With the books that I've written and all of my patients, and they definitely see the difference in what they eat and what shows up on their skin. So, there are certain foods that really trigger skin issues. The biggest one is sugar.
Sugar is one that I see a lot of people have an issue with their skin. A lot of times people think about sugar as it relates to weight, but it also impacts our health in so many ways. And so what happens is, when we eat sugar or really anything that causes the blood sugar to rise, to spike, is that when we get that increase in blood sugar, that triggers an increase in insulin, which is a hormone that helps with their blood sugar regulation. But with an increase in insulin that triggers excess sebum production and also androgen activity. And these are two of the big things that are known to trigger acne breakouts.
So people who are prone to acne may really want to take a good look at how much sugar that they're eating, but also... It also increases glycation issues in the body. So, when we eat a lot of sugar, it increases our blood sugar. Glucose can bind to collagen on our skin, making it more rigid and less elastic. So that leads to more wrinkles, pre-mature aging, which... Hey, I know that wrinkles are natural, but none of us want more than we already have. Right?
Shawn Stevenson: Yeah. Yeah, that's so powerful. We don't... Again, we think that these things just happen, but we can exacerbate the issue, especially with that sugar consumption. So that's one of the... Especially you doing this work and working with patients and being such an impactful voice in this space, you know the big triggers, so one of them obviously is sugar, what's another one of those big triggers for breakouts and for disruptive skin quality?
Dr. Trevor Cates: Yeah, so dairy would be another big one. And I think a lot of times people don't really believe it until they cut it out, and that's really one of the easiest things to do, is if you don't believe it try going without it, but you have to give it a good 10 days to get it out of your system. So, to really eliminate sugar or dairy and see the effect it has on your skin, it's a 10-day kind of thing, and to really get it out of your system. But dairy does tend to trigger acne breakouts, it's really more pro-inflammatory, it's a common food intolerance or allergen, and so it is definitely one of the biggest of the trigger foods, and then I also think that people forget that dairy comes from a lactating mammal, in order for a mammal to lactate, she's got to produce hormones and those hormones spill over into the milk and get into the dairy products. So even if it says no added hormones, organic, all of those great things, just the nature of it being milk is that it's going to have hormones in it. And one of the biggest underlying factors of skin issues is hormonal imbalance.
Shawn Stevenson: Wow, again, we have this disconnection in our thinking where again, it's just milk, got milk? We don't really think this is a hormone therapy in a sense. We're getting an infusion of something that is definitely ripe with an abundance of hormones, and again, with our thinking today, we've identified a lot of these different components, but there's still so much that we don't know. So just that piece, because I was going to ask you, what is it about dairy? And that's really a big catalyst behind it. Obviously, it can be the sugar content as well, but you mentioned that it's a big allergen for a lot of people, and also the hormone cascade. Now, this is not anti-dairy, it's going to depend on you and your genetics, it's going to depend on your current state of health and how your body processes these things, but I've seen the same thing, hands down. I remember I was working at the gym in my university, and there was a kid at the front desk, and he was an Indian kid, he was from India, and he had come there to go to college, and he had just acne every inch of his face was covered in acne, except his eyes.
And he saw people coming in and seeing me and leaving out and over months, seeing them looking healthier and all the things. And so, one day I was coming in and he was just like, "Excuse me, I got a question for you." And he kind of pulled me to the side he was like, "Do you know anything about skin health and this kind of thing?" And I asked him a little bit about his diet because this is... By the way, this is a little coaching tip, ask questions, don't just tell them your thing. But I asked him about his diet, and in his culture, there's milk consumption, but here, the milk and the dairy products also, that's a whole different story, and I just told him to just pull that one thing out of your diet, just drop that, and it's a true story, he went home for the break in between semesters. So, I guess this was maybe over the summer, and he came back, and he looked like a new person. His skin was so, not completely clear, but the acne was just like little spots, and his attitude is the way that he walked and the way that he talked had changed, and I realized that he had tied so much of his confidence to his skin, and he was just like thanking me and all the things, I was like, I didn't...
At the time, again, I had a difficult time understanding that I was even involved, I just told him to do this one thing, and he did it, and I was just like, "You took the action." And so again, I've seen this firsthand, and that little word of advice, but this also brings me back to something that you said earlier, and I would love to hear you talk about this. You mentioned microbiome, when we're talking about our skin, we know about... Again, the gut microbiome a lot of people are aware of that part of our lexicon, but our skin has a microbiome too.
Dr. Trevor Cates: Yeah, absolutely. And we talk a lot about the gut microbiome, all these micro-organisms that live in the gut and help our digestion and all of these great things. But the skin also has its own array of micro-organisms that live on it and protect it, and it's very different than the gut microbiome, as far as the types of microorganisms that live on our skin, but it's also really important, and so when it gets out of balance, we can get breakouts, we can have a number of skin issues as part of the connection with leaky skin. As our skin might start to become more damaged, it might not have that nice barrier function that it normally has, and so we also see with an impaired skin microbiome, premature aging, so it's an age accelerator as well.
Shawn Stevenson: Alright, so this is a great bridge that I'm seeing right now, so our skin, this microbiome of our skin is an important factor of our health, it's protective of our skin, but what happens when it gets disrupted? So, one of the common treatments for a variety of skin issues is antibiotics. So, talk about that connection.
Dr. Trevor Cates: Yes, and so there is a really important connection between the gut microbiome and the skin microbiome, and there's a lot of research showing the gut skin connection, the gut brain skin connection. And so, when our gut gets out of balance from taking antibiotics and it creates dysbiosis, where harmful out of balance basically. That can create an imbalance, a harmful imbalance in the skin microbiome as well, so acne breakouts, a lot of different chronic skin conditions can result from that. And so, what we want to do to restore that balance is to do it both internally and externally. They're both really important, and with my patients I like to generally start with a big focus from the inside out, helping with the gut microbiome, because a lot of these people that have that dysbiosis on their skin, it started in their gut. And again, skin is oftentimes one of these early warning signs, and so I'll see people that don't have digestive symptoms, and so they're thinking there's nothing wrong with my gut, but I have these skin issues, but yeah, when we do testing on their gut health, they have got dysbiosis.
Shawn Stevenson: Wow. That's a powerful association. Again, our skin is giving us this feedback, so also topically, so now looking at the other part of the microbiome, the skin microbiome being damaged, a lot of things we're putting on our skin is probably going to be disruptive as well.
Dr. Trevor Cates: Yeah, so a lot of... We're using a lot of hand sanitizers, a lot of antimicrobial soaps, cleaning products for our homes, all of these things impact our skin microbiome. It's really pretty fascinating because when you think about the gut microbiome, it's contained inside our bodies, but our skin is right on the surface. And so, who we live with, who we spend time with, if we have animals around us, the hygiene practices we have, what kind of products we use, all of that can disrupt our skin microbiome.
Shawn Stevenson: Bananas, this reminded me of a soap that I used to use because of their commercial. It was Lever 3000 or whatever it was, antibacterial, antimicrobial, all these things, and it's the opposite really of what we want. It's damaging my skin and potentially again, creating this leaky skin, and you just mentioned we are at an all-time high of hand sanitizers. And again, there's a place for safety, good hygiene, all the things, but what's really happening is we're damaging that barrier, that protective barrier, and we're literally creating this term that you shared with us today, leaky skin. We're going to end up doing the opposite thing, which we're trying to protect ourselves, we're really damaging this natural barrier that we have.
Dr. Trevor Cates: Yeah, a lot of more people are noticing eczema, getting eczema on their hands, from all the hand sanitizers use or over-washing of their hands, and I know it's a tricky thing because we don't want to be germophobic because there are microorganisms that actually are good for us and do protect us, but there are ones that are harmful, and so we definitely want to find this balance. So, when you look at your hands, if you just use regular soap washing your hands is actually better than using hand sanitizer when you can, and just if you have to use hand sanitizer, just try and minimize it when you have to, but when you can just wash your hands.
Shawn Stevenson: Yeah, we use that hand sanitizer to the degree our hands feel numb, just you feel all the coldness of the air. It's definitely overused and it's so crazy because we can just be walking around, walking in a mall, walking through a store and there's hand sanitizer pumps everywhere and I... Without fail, because it's in my awareness, I spot them and then I see people using them, they just walk... They're not even thinking about it. They're not necessarily looking for some place to sanitize their hands, they just, "Oh, let me go ahead and give me a little dabble of that, this microbiome destroying sanitizer because it's out here for free." So, it's really important for us to be aware of this. So, one of those big culprits... What about alcohol-based skin products, there's a lot of that. Even for facial cleansers.
Dr. Trevor Cates: Yeah, so alcohol on the skin can be drying and damaging as well. There are a number of ingredients. I think a lot of people don't really think about what's happening on the surface of their skin and that... I think one of the big things that people do, in addition to the... Wanting to kill germs is to get rid of oils and debris and things, so another big thing that people make a mistake with are the types of cleansers that they use, that they're over-doing it. These sudsy kinds of cleansers. Especially for the face, it actually disrupts the natural oils in our skin, and so a lot of those people with oily skin want to use more cleansers, but yet they're actually just disrupting that natural balance and the natural oils on our skin are one of the things that helps our skin microbiome and also the pH of our skin, and that our skin does best with a mild acidity and a lot of these cleansers, soaps and sudsy kinds of things, they actually increase the pH of our skin and throw off that natural balance.
Shawn Stevenson: This is blowing my mind. This is blowing my mind. So again, we do this stuff on a daily basis, we don't think about it. We don't think about what's creating these actions from the products that we're using as well. So, there's a variety of skin issues that people can struggle with. You mentioned things like eczema, things that have an autoimmune component, acne, dry skin, excessively oily skin and the like. Let's talk about the standard of care right now when people are going into their dermatologist, which again, this is a valuable field of study, but oftentimes, and this is the same with our conventional medicine system right now, unfortunately we're treating symptoms. And so, some of the common things that people are using for acne, for example, might be birth control pills. So, let's talk about some of the standard of care.
Dr. Trevor Cates: Yeah, absolutely. Unfortunately, a lot of women, when they go in to see their doctor and they've got acne, they are put on birth control pills to suppress that acne breakout, and unfortunately, birth control pills come with a number of issues. And they really should be reserved for birth control only and not be given to women that... To manage symptoms like acne. And women are also... Put on them often times for issues with their period, their cycles and painful periods and things. And unfortunately, it further disrupts the gut microbiome, which is probably already disrupted in the first place, and that's partly why they have acne most likely, and hormonal imbalances. It creates nutritional deficiencies, and it suppresses certain hormones, like it suppresses testosterone, so it's going to further create imbalances with hormones.
So, the thing is, in my practice, I've been seeing patients for 22 years, I see the women that want to go off the birth control pills or that are having all the issues with them, and so they're the ones that tell me, "I went off, all my symptoms came back." And then they're dealing with all of the side effects from that medication as well. And maybe they're trying to get pregnant, or they're trying to clear up their skin issues or whatever they're trying to go about in their normal lives, but yet, they've created all these issues in addition to what they already had.
Shawn Stevenson: Yeah, this is so... So many people experience this, but it's become normalized for just... These are, "birth control pills", but they're being prescribed for skin issues or for managing your cycle, and I've seen the same thing repeatedly, friends that have been on birth control pill for a number of years, they get off, crazy outbreaks, and the same thing, now they want to get pregnant, and it's just so much disruption that takes place, but it's become normalized for us to utilize these things as a culture and not really get the education. And also, the reason we do it is we want a solution and that it pains us sometimes, especially our outer appearance, and we look for a solution, and if we have a physician who can provide us with something that can suppress that symptom, often times we'll do the thing, but we don't question what the long tail effects might be.
Dr. Trevor Cates: Yeah, acne is a really challenging condition for anyone who struggled with skin issues, especially on their face, people know how debilitating it can be because it's such an embarrassing thing. It's so hard to hide, and it's just... It's something that people see every time they see you, they see the acne in your face, just like that, that guy that you were talking about that you see, and I can't begin to tell you how many patients I've had who have acne, when it clears up, how it's like... You changed their life.
Shawn Stevenson: Yeah.
Dr. Trevor Cates: And I get it. As a child, I struggled with skin issues, and I have a very fickle skin, so over the years, I've had just about every skin issue, but as a child, I had eczema and I had little bumps on my face, and I was so embarrassed by my skin. I didn't feel like a normal kid. And so, I really get the impact it can have psychologically, and how when you're suffering with it, when you're struggling with it, you're willing to do anything to get rid of it, and if you hear from one of your friends in high school or something, "Oh, I might clear it up 'cause I'm on birth control pills." Or the doctor says, "Yeah, this will get rid of it right away." You just want to jump at it. You don't even think about what's going to be the long-term consequence of this.
Shawn Stevenson: Yeah. Oh, man. And this is also bringing up... So, I mentioned our skin being an extension of our nervous system, for us to really get in touch with the fact that your thoughts, your level of stress, these things are going to affect your skin quality as well, right?
Dr. Trevor Cates: Yeah, absolutely. We get caught in this vicious cycle of skin stressing us out, but then stress actually can make skin issues worse. So when we're stressed out, our adrenal hormone, cortisol kicks in and with an increase in cortisol, that can worsen inflammatory skin conditions including acne, eczema, rosacea, some of the most common, psoriasis, some of the most common skin conditions can get worse by a higher stress, so it's really important as part of the plan, if you're... When you're looking at more of a holistic approach to skin, to include mindset, stress management practices as part of treatment.
Shawn Stevenson: Wow. Yeah, I think a person or 20,000 can identify stressful conditions bringing about issues with their skin. But then there is some over-arching, even expressions of viral things like herpes virus, or shingles from stress, manifesting through the skin. So again, we might tie it to that cognitively, but even if we're talking about breakouts and the like, our mood is going to affect our outer appearance, and I got to ask you about this because you mentioned when you were younger, and I was shocked when I read your book and you shared the story, you didn't think you were beautiful. And I'm sitting across from you now, just like "What the... " So can you talk a little bit about that because obviously it's a big catalyst for the work that you do today?
Dr. Trevor Cates: Yeah, absolutely. Yeah, I grew up in a family full of really, what society calls, the beautiful people, and I thought I would look in the mirror at myself and think "I'm an imposter. What am I doing in this family? How did I get here?" And I think part of it was my skin struggles, so that was part of it. And then also, I was looking through a lens that was just sort of warped. I was looking in mirrors for my beauty, which is, it really comes from within. You have to have a balanced state of health, and that includes hormonal balance and addressing gut issues and all of these things, but also realizing that you got to deal with the things inside. And some of its physical, some of its emotional, some of its maybe even spiritual, so I had to do a lot of work around that, but I'm really grateful for it though, because it's allowed me to help a lot of other people.
Shawn Stevenson: Yeah, so I'm sure that you see that, 'cause it's a thing, especially in our society today, where we're looking at this external validation and also an external assertion of what beauty is supposed to be, and the crazy thing is that that can actually change, it's just a socially accepted thing on what beauty looks like at a certain time, that changes. It's so crazy, and if we don't fit that mold, we automatically start to negate ourselves.
Dr. Trevor Cates: Absolutely. And again, it's another one of these vicious cycles that we get in is that we start to really tear ourselves apart and think, "Oh, I'm not pretty enough, I'm not worthy enough, I'm not all these things enough," and then that triggers this hormonal imbalances and stress response and all of these things. But I think it's really important to realize, first of all, I think we forget that we really are worth taking care of ourselves, and we can't take care of ourselves and have really great self-care practices and healthcare and all of that, unless we realize that we're worth it. And, so many people struggle with emotional issues, it's one of the reasons why after 12 years of seeing patients, I went back and got a Master's degree in spiritual psychology, because I wanted to be able to give my patients more tools, to help them with some of these emotional things, because I realized I was telling them all the things to do to help them get their health back on track, but if they are not addressing some of the emotional stuff and they don't feel that they're worth it, they're not going to make those decisions.
Shawn Stevenson: Yeah. Wow, yeah. So, this is literally from the inside out, just like with our skin, which is... It's a more of a physical manifestation, but our skin health and what we see in the mirror starts from the inside out in every sense of the word. The question I want to ask you then, because our society is obsessed with treating from the outside in. We've got a multi-billion-dollar industries of beauty, of skin care, of all these things, trying to again, push things from the outside in and try to change what we're seeing. What did you feel when you would see back in the day, Proactive commercials coming on TV? What did you used to think?
Dr. Trevor Cates: Well, I think that we're always looking for a quick fix and a solution, and sometimes we don't want to take some of the time that it takes for... To do the work. I grew up with a family that was really into natural medicine from a really young age, so I always was a little wary of anything that had a bunch of different side effects to it, because I knew that a natural approach was really helping support the body. And, being a naturopathic physician, one of the big things is that we really understand that the body is very wise, and when we just get our body the tools that it needs to restore balance, we don't need the medications, we don't need all these other things. Now, when it comes to beauty, my books are not anti-beauty books, believe me. I understand as a woman that, our need and want to dress up, wear make-up and do all the things to... It's just part of our self-care ritual, but we want to do it from a place where we're not just doing it to impress other people or for some external reason, but just because we enjoy it.
Shawn Stevenson: Yeah. I love that, I love it. It's a marriage, to be able to choose the things versus it’s kind of being a psychological control, which it is for so many people, and your new book is Natural Beauty Reset, and it's a wonderful articulation of these things and actually giving people some proactive... Damn it. Proactive, not those guys, but proactive steps that they can do and by the way, when I was in college, Proactive has been out there for a long time. Their infomercials were fire, getting people to take action. I got it when I was in college, and it came with a little packet of some multi-vitamins and then the skin care stuff. So again, there is a nutrition component here, but we're still trying to treat the symptom, versus what does your diet look like, what does your emotional state look like, what about the stuff that you're putting on your skin? Is this actually really good for you? And so, I want to ask you about what are some of the things, just simple things that we could use for our skin health, because of course, we've talked a little bit internally, and we'll get more into food in a little bit. What about the topical treatments? So, what about things like one ingredient, coconut oil, for example?
Dr. Trevor Cates: Okay. So, coconut oil is an interesting one, because it's natural, it's a great oil. Some people have a hard time using straight coconut oil, especially people who are more acne prone. But we use coconut oil in the Spa Doctor's, My Skincare line, but we do it with other ingredients in it, to help it be a great balanced formulation. So, just using coconut oil by itself may not be the best thing, especially for people's faces, but there are a lot of really great natural ingredients out there, and one of the biggest things I don't know that people know about is that going back to the pH of our skin, and that a lot of the products that we use, have a high pH. So, a pH over 5.5 is actually going to be damaging for our skin, and even water has a pH of 7 and that's neutral. So, to help really support our skin, the health of our skin, we want skincare products ideally in the 4.6-5 pH range, especially for our face, and the research shows that that's the magic, that sweet spot for our skin to help the skin microbiome to keep it from breaking out, from aging faster than it should, all of those things.
So, that's one of the biggest things. And a simple thing people can do is actually test the pH of their skincare products. You could just get pH strips and check and see what it is, and if it's over 5.5 or even if it's too acidic, it could be damaging. So, we just... That's one of the big things. And then another big thing about skincare products is, I know a lot of companies are now making natural or hypoallergenic skin care products, or they put, "Contains CoQ10" or "Contains Green Tea" on the label. I think it's really important for people to know that there's a lack of regulations when it comes to what people, manufacturers can put on the label. The words natural and hypoallergenic have no regulation around them. So, anybody can call their product natural, anyone can call their product hypoallergenic.
So that's not enough. You have to turn it over, look at the ingredients and see does it contain synthetic fragrance because fragrance is loaded with hormone disrupting chemicals. These endocrine disrupting chemicals, hormone disrupting chemicals have been connected to problems with infertility, thyroid disease, obesity, early puberty, issues with menopause, breast cancer, prostate cancer, a number really. If you think about anything having do with our hormones, it could potentially disrupt them because hormone disrupting chemicals, they bind hormone receptors in the body and the body thinks that it's getting a hormone, and so it acts differently. And so, we really want to reduce our exposure to those. So just because it says natural on the label, doesn't mean that it actually is clean and not toxic.
Shawn Stevenson: So good, this is so important for people to know. Thank you for sharing that. It's this concept of health washing, right? So, manufacturers, again, this is, especially with publicly traded companies, the mandate is increasing the value for their shareholders. And if a company, for example, finds out, okay, gluten-free is hot right now, and you can look at the market for that and just start putting those things on your, on the label like gluten-free, whatever the case might be, even though it's been gluten-free forever, whatever the thing might be, if just them putting it on the label, they know it's going to increase their share of the market. They'll put gluten-free on water, water is gluten-free already but you are putting that on a label is going to psychologically nudge people, "Oh, I heard gluten-free is good for you so let me get that." So, the same thing with these beauty products, which made with green tea or antioxidants. So, they know these catch words that the public is becoming aware of and using that health washing, the usually terrible lists of ingredients that are in the product and psychologically manipulating people to buying their product, it's crazy pants.
Dr. Trevor Cates: Yeah, it's really unfortunate. It is what led me to create The Spa Dr. Skincare Line because when I was seeing patients, and this is back when I was working out of the Waldorf Astoria in Park City, and I got a lot of questions about skin at that time, which is part of what led me to write my first book. But my patients were saying, "Okay, Dr. Cates, I know you told me to choose natural products so that I don't have all these hormone disrupting chemicals in the skin care products, but I can't find any that work, I can't find any that I like or can I really trust the word natural." And so that's when I started to say, "Okay, well, let me find some that I can recommend." And I started looking at all these ingredients and asking a lot of questions to manufacturers, testing the PH of products, and I'm thinking, "I can't find any that meet my criteria." So that's when I actually found a formulator and decided to create my own, because I knew, maybe I'm a little bit of a control freak, like this, but [chuckle] I knew that I could provide a truly clean, natural and effective skin care product for my patients if I created my own. Yeah.
Shawn Stevenson: So awesome. I'll do it. I got this; I love you so much. We've got a quick break coming up, we'll be right back.
It's no secret that processed food manufacturers have a team of scientists chemically constructing Frankenfoods that are incredibly addictive but also causative agents of degeneration and disease. It's one thing to tell yourself to stop eating these processed foods, it's another thing to our biology that can actually become addicted to some of these chemical and sweet elements. Well, researchers have recently discovered that there is a natural food element that's able to help our brains and our biology resist the urge to eat hyper-palatable fake processed foods. A study published in the peer review journal Appetite found that chlorophyll can actually aid in weight loss and reduce the urge to eat hyper-palatable foods. What's really interesting is that it was also found to increase the release of glucagon-like peptide-1, which according to research published in the Journal of Endocrinology has a potential to trigger body fat redistribution. This means that it's sparking the release of visceral, AKA belly fat and increasing the ratio of subcutaneous fat, which appears to be more protective against metabolic diseases. Pretty cool stuff found in chlorophyll.
What are the most chlorophyll dense foods that you can find? Well, anything green is going to have chlorophyll, it's an indicator of the chlorophyll content, but specific foods like chlorella getting its name from chlorophyll is really taking things to another level. Chlorella is actually 50% protein by weight, its complete protein, one of the most protein-dense nutrient sources ever discovered. It also contains carotenoids like lutein and zeaxanthin that have been found to protect our vision from things like macular degeneration. And to top it off, a double-blind placebo control study published in Clinical and Experimental Hypertension found that chlorella was able to significantly reduce blood pressure of test subjects with hypertension by the end of the 12-week study period.
So being an actual source of treatment for people experiencing hypertension, something remarkable about it. Chlorella, combine that with spirulina, another nutrient-dense super algae, which is 71% protein by weight and spirulina, of course, is also another remarkable source of chlorophyll, along with being rich in B vitamins and copper and iron, list goes on and on in the micronutrient ratios. I get them combined together with other powerful super foods in the Organifi green juice formula. Go to organifi.com/model. That's O-R-G-A-N-I-F-I.com/model, you get 20% off their incredible green juice blend. Their red juice blend is amazing as well, my kids love it. Their goal is remarkable. Just everything that they carry. They're doing things the right way. Organic, low temperature processed to help to retain the nutrients, and they taste fantastic. Go to organifi.com/model for 20% off. Now, back to the show.
I know that there are certain terms in our society, like exfoliation, for example, when it comes to our skin that can mean a wide range of things. And one of the things in your book, you have skin... I love this so much because you're even looking at our bodies are cyclical. Things change based on the time of day, the time of the year, the season of our lives overall. And what if we can provide ourselves with tools so we can adapt and pivot gracefully, versus like we're trying to do the same thing at this time, something that worked in the fall, but it's not as effective in the spring, right? And you've got a fall skincare tips and practices and you mentioned exfoliation here. And so, I want to ask you about that. When we... So, exfoliation is a thing. It's a good thing, yeah?
Dr. Trevor Cates: Yeah. It is. And, yeah, so our skins need change with the seasons. And even in places where people don't really have as much of distinct seasons, like here in California, you don't really have as many of the four seasons as we do in Utah, where I live. But the distance from the sun is changing, and the length of the day changes, so it's longer sunnier days in the summer, shorter days in the wintertime. And so, our skin changes with that and our needs for that skin cell turnover for exfoliation also changes. So, we want to change up our skincare routine on... With the different seasons. That's what I talk about in Natural Beauty Reset.
And exfoliation is an interesting thing because I feel like when it comes to skincare, two of the biggest mistakes people make in their routine, not even talking about the ingredients and all the toxins but cleansing and exfoliating. Those are two of the biggest mistakes people make, the cleansing, we have talked about already. They over-cleanse and they strip the skin of the natural oils. But similar kind of thing with exfoliation. A lot of women are thinking, "Oh, I need to exfoliate every day with these big brushes and harsh exfoliators." They're just like, "The more I scrub, the better. My skin's going to turn all red, and that's good." But you have to remember, our skin microbiome can be kind of delicate. And these oils in our skin, the pH, all of that. So, we don't want to overdo it. Exfoliation is important, but we want to be gentle with our skin. So that's why just using some gentle exfoliation is really all you need.
Shawn Stevenson: Okay. So is there anything... You mentioned certain sponges, for example. Is there something for us to be aware of, what we're using to exfoliate with?
Dr. Trevor Cates: Yeah. So, what I love to use is called a Konjac sponge. And it's spelled with a K. K-O-N-J-A-C. We sell 'em at the Spa Dr. Store. And they're actually a natural substance, they're biodegradable. And when you get them wet, they're really soft, but they still have some exfoliating properties to them. So, they're still gentle, but they do the job.
Shawn Stevenson: Got it, got it. And you also have in here an herbal steam. Can you talk about that and what that will consist of?
Dr. Trevor Cates: Yeah, absolutely. This is something that I think that there's a lot of DIY stuff, people can do things at home. And a lot of women really love doing these, families love doing these. And so, the steam is, you can either if you have... The time of year is when... It's where you have fresh flowers and herbs, you can do it with those. Or if it's in a time of year when you're looking at more in fall and winter, you could use dried, and put them in water, into a steam, and you can use these to really help with your skin, and it's just also just a really nice self-care practice. And so, I think a lot of times we want to mix up what we're doing and not do the same thing all year round, like you were talking about. What I feel like the biggest needle mover is when it comes to skin is all four of these areas, food, movement, mindset, and skincare. And so that's what I always have people go back to is, "What can you do in each of these areas?" And the thing, though, is what led me to write the second book, Natural Beauty Reset, is that I realized with my patients, I was telling them to change it with the seasons, but I didn't tell people that in the first book, and because... So, I wanted to go back and explain how you do that, how you take all four of those areas and make changes for each of the seasons.
Shawn Stevenson: Wonderful. So, how would we do a steam, for example, like, somebody who is oblivious to how that would actually work? I've done like a steam where... For... To help if somebody has a cold, for example. Kind of like an impromptu homemade sauna or sweat lodge, right? So, you get a hot pot of water, put in the middle of the floor, then have the person sit there, blanket over them.
Dr. Trevor Cates: Yeah. And you can... I mean, you can do that, and it's really great for clearing the sinuses too, but it's also good for the skin. And so, you can put flowers... Fresh flower petals in there, like calendula or rose petals. You can do some essential oil drops. And that can, also, just as you're doing that, it steams your skin, it helps kind of soften the skin, make it more supple and hydrated. So, it's just a nice self-care practice.
Shawn Stevenson: You have a lot of great DIYS, do-it-yourself tips in here too, cleansers, steams, and masks. So, what about masks? Let's talk about that. What are some of the DIY stuff that we could do if we want to do a mask for our face?
Dr. Trevor Cates: Yeah, and we can use a lot of things actually, that we find in our kitchen. There are simple and natural ingredients that, hey, if you can eat it, you can put it on your skin and not have to worry so much about the toxicity, right? So, things like honey or turmeric or even... Yogurt, maybe you don't want to eat, but you could put it on your skin. Even sugar is actually something that can be good in DIY skin care, but not so much internally, [chuckle] for the skin.
Shawn Stevenson: What about aloe? Aloe is one of the things over the years, I... Every... Randomly, I'll do like an aloe mask. I usually get the aloe for this certain drink that I make, but then I'll just use what's on my hands and I'll just put it on my face and just let it sit there for a while.
Dr. Trevor Cates: Aloe is one of my favorite ingredients in skin care products and DIY skincare, we use it in The Spa Dr. Skincare products, but the best thing is to have an aloe plant. Like you're saying, just take the aloe plant leaf, get that inside, that gel and use it on the skin. And a lot of people think of it for burns and scrapes, which it's really great for, but it's also just extremely hydrating for the skin, so you don't have to have a burn to put it on.
Shawn Stevenson: So just a little fun fact. And people have to scroll so far back on my Instagram page, because this was back... My youngest son was probably maybe two or three, and he's about to turn 11 now, so I put up a before and after. He fell and he had this scrape on his face and we were just... Of course, we're mortified, right? Just like, "Your little face," and we used aloe. And I had the before and after and it is miraculous. Like, it was as if nothing had ever happened to him. And again, this is way back in the day, this is back when I barely used Instagram, so maybe I post once a month or something like that. But if people want to check that. And maybe I'll try and wrestle it down [chuckle] and put it in the show notes for people to see, but it's really a special food. It's been used for thousands of years, storied and scriptural references, all the things.
So, probably one of the most remarkable things about your book is, you really dive in and talk about hormones, and it's such an important part of the equation is being educated about what's happening in our bodies, which we're so again, externally focused. And so, you talk about some of the most foundational hormones that we hear about, but we don't really understand and how they impact our expression of beauty and also our feeling tone of beauty. So, let's talk about a couple of them. You mentioned earlier, you mentioned testosterone. We tend to think this is a male versus female scenario, but testosterone is important for everybody.
Dr. Trevor Cates: Yeah. Testosterone is important for men and women, for everyone, so is estrogen. I think a lot of men think estrogen is not important for them, but men have estrogen too. But of course, they're different and our hormones are different. Testosterone is really important for women, to give us drive and also to... Not only sex drive, but also just overall drive for life and energy, and building muscle tone. And as we age, our testosterone starts to decline and for women who are on birth control pills, their testosterone is suppressed. So, with low testosterone, women might start to notice they don't have the same level of energy, overall drive, their libido goes down, they might notice their muscle tone is lacking. And what's interesting is, we forget sometimes there's actually muscles under the skin on our face. So, if we lose muscle, we could be creating more sagging skin too, so it's... People notice it with their skin as well. So, testosterone is important.
We also don't want too much testosterone either, the other side of that. So, what would happen with that is that women might start to develop acne, they might start to develop... They might notice these kinds of rogue dark hairs showing up on their face or different places that they didn't expect it, so it's... Hormones are interesting. We want them working for us, not against us. We want them in the right balance. And I remember one time, recently, someone asked me, "Well, what does hormone balance really even mean?" And it's a really good question, because it's not like there's like this point that you've arrived at hormonal balance and you're there. Our hormones change throughout the day. For women, throughout the month, throughout our lives, throughout the seasons. And so, it's this constant thing that we just need to be in flux with but being aware of how they impact our health is really important.
And I think most people don't realize how much hormones play a role in our health. And testosterone is certainly one, and a lot of people think of sex hormones like testosterone, but there's thyroid hormones, adrenal hormones, there's insulin, which helps with our blood sugar. We have leptin and ghrelin help with their appetite, we have melatonin that helps with our sleep, we have so many hormones.
Shawn Stevenson: Yes. And one you mentioned earlier too, you mentioned cortisol as well, and like that's... As you mentioned, it's a daily rhythm, for example. Our cortisol is... That balance, it doesn't mean that it's just in this one spot, right? It's just pegged in this certain place. Cortisol ebb and flows as the day goes. If we're living... If our hormones are "in balance," it's going to go up in the morning and gradually go down as the day goes on, to help to facilitate sleep. Because if there's an anti-sleep hormone, it's probably cortisol, but it's not that cortisol is bad, it's just when it's produced at the wrong times and the wrong amounts. And a lot of that is attributed to the way that we live our lives, you know? But I think we tend to feel like victims to these things. "My hormones are out of balance, my hormones are out of whack," but we're not equipped with tools to understand like, this is happening within our own bodies, and we have sovereignty, we have agency, versus again, we tend to reach out like, "Give me something to suppress this or stop this thing from happening," which then leads usually to some other things sprouting up somewhere else.
Dr. Trevor Cates: Absolutely. Two of the biggest things that I hear from patients is, they can't sleep and also their mood. So, a lot of people are put on sleep medications and antidepressants, without really paying attention to, "What's going on with your hormones? Because if we can get those balanced, sleep will be in a better place, mood will be in a better place." And we're not deficient in antidepressants and sleep medications, we're deficient in something else, something else is out of balance. And so, when we really look to that, figure out what that is and get that in balance, a lot of people can go off these medications or avoid them entirely, because they do come with side effects. And so, for example, you're talking about cortisol and what we want to see with cortisol is, we want to see it higher in the morning, so it gives us energy to get up and get going.
We don't have to rely upon coffee, we can drink coffee 'cause we love it, the way it tastes and because we get a boost in antioxidants if we choose to, but we also want to see cortisol go down at night so that we can fall asleep. But a lot of people are doing activities, or their adrenals aren't functioning optimally, so they're not getting that natural shift in their cortisol. So, then they're still amped up at night, racing thoughts, they can't fall asleep at night, so then they turn to sleep medications, but yet, they're not addressing what's happening with their adrenals.
Shawn Stevenson: Right, that sleep medication is going to have a tendency to make you very, very groggy in the morning, you know? Not necessarily even improving the quality of your sleep, but it's kind of this pseudo-sleep that takes place and then what do you do to try to supplant that? You need the coffee, "I need the stimulant," and then you just get into that vicious circle. So powerful. One of the obvious or maybe not so obvious things that we're doing today that's creeping cortisol up in the evening is just being on our screens, being on our devices. Researchers at Harvard found that being on a device in the evening suppresses melatonin, of course, because melatonin is one of those things that's required, one of the pre-requisites is darkness. But also, it increases cortisol, the stress hormones.
Because we are... If we're just looking at that cyclical nature, we've evolved forever, you know, thousands upon a thousand of years, having a very specific light and dark cycle. Now we can basically create a pseudo daytime at night with our devices. And our bodies are not really wired up to be able to associate with these things. It's just reacting to the stimulus that we're providing, which it's like, "Here's all this light at night, you're welcome, figure it out," right? So, it's so powerful. And you talk about these things as well, like, even managing our minds, having some practices for us to decompress. So how important is that today?
It is really important, and I think a lot of times we just... We keep going, keep going, trying to do all the things and being on social media, being on our phones. And we don't take a moment to sort of unplug and give our bodies a break. And I think this one of the things, one of the most powerful things is to figure out a bedtime ritual, a sleep ritual. And I know that might sound kind of cliche or something, maybe not something that you want to do, but it is so powerful that when I finally convince people to do that, when I just have my patients do it, they're like, "Why didn't I do this all along?" [chuckle] Because there are certain signals that our body needs that it's time for sleep. And like you said, sleep medications are not allowing people to get that deep sleep. And they come with a number of side effects. They can be highly addictive.
Shawn Stevenson: Right. Right.
Dr. Trevor Cates: And so, we definitely want to try and get off of sleep medication. And so, setting a bedtime ritual means turning out the lights, getting... Allowing that melatonin to rise. So, dimming things down, turning off the electronics well before bed and doing soothing things, also that will help with reducing cortisol, taking a bath. One of the really interesting things about taking a bath or even a shower before bed is, you go from a warm shower bath to step outside that and it's colder, or you could do a cold blast, you go into... Your body senses that temperature change from warm to cold, it's one of the signals to help your body know it's time for sleep. So, it can help you shift into bedtime. Listening to soothing music, reading a book, an actual physical book instead of on an eReader. And things like that, that just help you unwind for the day.
Shawn Stevenson: So good. So, you talked a little bit about... And again, you go through many of the major hormones, so we talked about testosterone and being overactive or under-active, but what about estrogen as well? So, you mentioned this as well, this is great for... This is really important for men and women, specifically for our brain health, right? Even for men, it's a part of memory consolidation. But can a woman be in a state where she has too much estrogen?
Dr. Trevor Cates: Yes, absolutely. There is something called estrogen dominance. And it's not so much that she... With an estrogen dominant state, it's more of this balance that we have with other hormones like progesterone.
Shawn Stevenson: Right.
Dr. Trevor Cates: So, for a lot of women, they'll start to have lower progesterone, even in their 30s, as we get towards perimenopause. And so, this drop in progesterone in relationship to estrogen is what's called estrogen dominance. So, a lot of women will develop heavy periods, maybe just changes with their cycles, cramping, PMS, and maybe even have challenges if they're trying to get pregnant or a lot of different issues.
Shawn Stevenson: Fibroid tumors?
Dr. Trevor Cates: Yeah, they can have fibroids. A lot of different issues that can arise from that. And so, it's not that we want to suppress estrogen because estrogen is actually good for us, but it's more of this balance of estrogen with progesterone and also making sure that we're metabolizing our hormones. So, one of the things that helps us with balance is making sure that our bodies are properly breaking down the hormones, because there are these feedback mechanisms with our hormones and our bodies. So, if our body senses that it feels like it's too much then it creates other imbalances, but if it's properly breaking down, then it gives the signals, "Okay, we can keep making it. We can keep doing these things."
Now, the thing is, is that there are certain genetic predispositions that some women have that don't metabolize estrogen or testosterone or different hormones as well, and so, for some women they need some extra support with hormone metabolism. So, for estrogen metabolism, one of the most powerful things is actually from the cruciferous vegetables family, it's a component called DIM. And DIM is in broccoli, cauliflower, kale, that whole family of vegetables, and actually helps with estrogen metabolism, breaking down estrogen properly, so we don't end up with that estrogen dominance.
Shawn Stevenson: Wow, awesome. Well, this leads right into something else I wanted to ask you about, which is we already discuss how our skin is really the outermost portion of what's happening internally. It's giving us this great feedback; our skin is made from the food that we eat. What are some of your favorite beauty supportive foods?
Dr. Trevor Cates: Yeah, absolutely. So, we talked about some of the foods that aren't particularly great for skin. And I do want to first mention with... When it comes to food, I don't think there's anything such a thing as a bad food or a good food, it's just there are certain foods that tend to be triggers for certain skin issues, and there are other foods that are more just supportive for our bodies and for our skin. So, no food shaming here. But there are certain powerhouse foods. When we think about skin, one of the most important nutrients or things that we want to get is antioxidants. Antioxidants help protect against free radical damage that is associated with free radical damage associated with accelerated aging, cancer, so we definitely want to get antioxidants in our food. We can also get antioxidants in skin care products too, but anything colorful fruits and vegetables, colorful berries, for example, can be great for getting those antioxidants.
Another antioxidant I really like comes actually in wild salmon. Astaxanthin, is a really powerful antioxidant that helps protect the skin from the inside out, and that pink color of salmon is one of the things that indicates that it has Astaxanthin, and shellfish also have Astaxanthin. And so, these things can be really powerful for helping us with our skin. Also, another thing that wild Alaskan salmon would have is Omega-3s. We need these good fats for our skin, and we talk a lot about hydration when it comes to skin, you know, like, how do you hydrate your skin? But some of that hydration comes from the inside out, and not just drinking water, but also getting healthy fats. Our skin really needs those beneficial fats, essential fatty acids. A lot of people end up with essential fatty acid deficiencies, which lead to dry skin, skin issues and so, getting those healthy fats is also really important.
Shawn Stevenson: Perfect, perfect. So, you mentioned berries also with being a great source of antioxidants, any particular favorite?
Dr. Trevor Cates: You know, I think it just depends on what's available too. I'm a big fan of shopping at your local farmers' market if you can. So, whatever happens to be in season, looks the most the freshest and most vibrant. Well, what's interesting about berries is they actually keep their... A lot of their nutritional value, even after they're frozen. So even if it's not in season, you can still get some of the benefits of berries. So, I can't say I have a favorite. I mean, my personal favorite is I grew up in Virginia, and we would pick berries that look like... They're called wineberries, but they actually look like raspberries. So, raspberries are probably my favorite.
Shawn Stevenson: There we go. Alright, we want to know what Dr. Cates loves. Alright, what about from the perspective of the oils that we're consuming, are there some that are particularly supportive of beauty?
Dr. Trevor Cates: Yeah, so omega-3 fatty acids like from a wild Alaskan salmon, as I mentioned, but also getting avocado oil, olive oil, those also can be really beneficial oils.
Shawn Stevenson: Olive oil, got it and avocado oil. So, olive oil, again, that goes back thousands of years. I remember reading some stories about Cleopatra. That's really one of the first times I was researching, aloe a long time ago. It was one of things from Ancient Egypt, and also olive oil is one of those things that have been utilized for... And also, the thing I love about certain foods that have such a storied history is that so many different cultures, even though they weren't in communication so far as we know back then, were using some of the same things. Olive oil being one of those in different parts of the world, even though they might be separated by massive bodies of water, so I love that. Alright, so we've got antioxidants coming from berries, we've got a wild salmon with Astaxanthin, Omega-3s, we've got healthy oils coming from olive oil and avocado oil. Is there anything else, any other of your favorite beauty supportive foods?
Dr. Trevor Cates: Anything that's collagen-rich or things that support our collagen are also going to be beneficial. So, bone broth, gelatin, those are rich in collagen, and also anything that is rich in Vitamin C is going to help support our collagen production naturally.
Shawn Stevenson: Perfect. This is great. So obviously, food is a huge component. It's what's making our skin, but in the book as well, you have some other beauty supportive practices that you teach people about. Can we just talk about a couple of them besides food?
Dr. Trevor Cates: Yeah. Oh, besides food. Well, as I talk about in all of the seasons, there's food, movement, mindset, skin care. So, we really want to incorporate all four of those and change them up for the seasons, but I think... You know, we talked about some of those as far as skin care practices, making sure they're using the right kind of cleanser, choosing clean products, and using gentle exfoliation, using sun protection, but the right kind of sun protection is another one, especially in the sunnier months when we're spending more time outdoors, is that healthier sunscreens. Unfortunately, a lot of the sunscreens out there contain toxic chemicals, including hormone-disrupting chemicals that I've been talking about, like oxybenzone. Oxybenzone is used in a lot of chemical sunscreens, it's a common ingredient, yet it has this hormone-disrupting effect.
But we can... There are healthier alternatives. We can use things that are mineral sunscreens, like zinc oxide is a much better alternative. And so, it's going to create more of that barrier and sort of a chemical reaction on our skin, it creates more of that barrier protection and then using hats and sun cover-ups are also important.
Shawn Stevenson: Yeah, again, just thinking about what did our ancestors do. They definitely didn't have this wide variety of sunscreens, and it's this big ball of energy in the sky that's helped... We wouldn't have life without it, you know? It's just having this better association. And also, one of the things that you're really bringing forward in your work is that, even that, even our antioxidant protection for our skin is coming from the inside out too, because our skin's association with sunlight is going to depend on what we've been eating.
Dr. Trevor Cates: Yes, absolutely. And also, another important thing that comes from the sun is, when the sun hits our skin, we make vitamin D, and vitamin D is a pro-hormone. We always think of it as a vitamin, but it's also an important pro-hormone to help with our other hormones. And so, if we're low in D, it could create hormonal imbalances and other issues. Vitamin D is so important for our immune system, for our skin, for preventing a lot of different chronic diseases, and so, we do want to find this balance even with sunscreen, 'cause when we put sunscreen on, we're not getting that opportunity for our bodies to make vitamin D. So, we do want to find a balance with it and not always be slathered over.
Shawn Stevenson: Yeah, I love it. That could be quotable, "Don't always be slathered over," alright? Listen, your book is fantastic and it's so practical and it's beautiful, it's a beautiful book as well, and I just appreciate you for coming by. You've got some incredible pre-order bonuses. Can you talk a little bit about that?
Dr. Trevor Cates: Yeah, absolutely. So, what I wanted to do is, I wanted to get together a bunch of bonuses to help people complement this book, to really make it easy to use and start implementing right away. So, we've got a couple of workbooks for summer and fall season. I'm also going to lead people through a seven-day live masterclass, and so they get some tips on how to do the seven-day reset for the fall. And then, we also have $50 credit people can use towards the Spa Dr. Products if they want to. There's a lot of really great bonuses to help people implement what's in here, because it's... You know, I think a lot of times we need community, we need some support, we need a little guidance, and so, that's what I wanted to create here.
Shawn Stevenson: Awesome. These are again, all free bonuses that come along when you pre-order Natural Beauty Reset. As of this publishing, you've only got about a week to take advantage of these pre-order bonuses. There's so many awesome ones, it's crazy. But head over to naturalbeautyreset.com/model. Do this like yesterday, and take advantage of all the bonuses, and if you happen to listen a little bit later, run to your local bookstore, or to Amazon, Barnes & Noble and order a copy of Natural Beauty Reset. Dr. Cates, I appreciate you so much. And this has been fun. I love talking about beauty and the manifestation of beauty, but most importantly, the fact that this is coming from the inside out, and how much our psychology plays into this. And so, thank you so much for putting this message together.
Dr. Trevor Cates: Thank you so much for having me on and doing your amazing podcast.
Shawn Stevenson: Awesome. Totally my pleasure. Dr. Trevor Cates, everybody. Thank you so very much for tuning in to the show today. I hope you got a lot of value out of this. It's such an important part of the conversation, to put power back into our hands and determining our physical expression. We often think that we're at the mercy of what's just kind of happening with our bodies and not really understanding that we have agency over what's happening with our bodies and our expression of beauty. And even being able to redefine what beauty is, especially today in our culture, and taking ownership of our own minds, our own perception, and looking within to understand what we define beauty as and becoming the greatest expression of that ourselves. There's so much power in taking control and crafting health with our mind, with our body. And our relationships have a huge impact on our beliefs and expression of beauty as well, and all of these are factors that contribute to our overall picture of Model Health. So again, I hope that you got a lot of value out of this.
Share this out with your friends and family. You can send this directly from the podcast app that you're listening on, and of course, you could take a screenshot of this and tag me. I'm @shawnmodel on Instagram and on Twitter. On the Facebook, I'm @TheModelHealthShow, and we've got some powerful masterclasses and incredible world-class guests coming up very soon, so make sure to stay tuned. Take care. Have an amazing day. I'll talk with you soon. And for more after this show, make sure to head over to themodelhealthshow.com. That's where you can find all of the show notes, you could find transcriptions, videos for each episode, and if you've got a comment, you can leave me a comment there as well. And please make sure to head over to iTunes and leave us a rating to let everybody know that the show is awesome, and I appreciate that so much. And take care. I promise to keep giving you more powerful, empowering, great content to help you transform your life. Thanks for tuning in.
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