331: Holistic Dermatology

Dr. Stacey Shillington And Ashley James

Many of you may have heard of Holistic Dermatology, and some of you may have not. Holistic Dermatology indeed exists. And it’s all about healing your skin with Naturopathic Medicine. To explain how Holistic Dermatology works, join me and my guest, Dr. Stacey Shillington in this episode.

Acne Struggles

Dr. Stacey Shillington grew up in Alberta in the 80s and dealt with acne. At the time, she had no idea what Naturopathic Medicine or Holistic Dermatology was. As a teenager, she tried topical creams, and her doctor even put her on the birth control pill to control her acne.

For a few years, everything was fine. But in her late 20s, Dr. Stacey Shillington wanted to go off birth control. She got into yoga to get into her body and get interested in health.

Eventually, Dr. Stacey Shillington decided to get off the birth control pill. As a result, her skin completely flared up. She recalls being in Asia at the time traveling the world.

When this happened, it changed Dr. Stacey Shillington’s personality. She was outgoing before the flare up and turned to hide away from the world. Dr. Stacey Shillington was shocked at how much her acne changed her personality. Then when she went back to Toronto, Dr. Stacey Shillington couldn’t face going back to her old job nor meet her friends.

“Doctors suggested many things. Looking back, I’m surprised I didn’t go for those options because I was so desperate. But something inside me said that wasn’t the solution,” recalls Dr. Stacey Shillington. 

She adds, “I spent a ton of money trying everything out there. So, I spent all my time researching skin care. Not much made my skin better. I was married when I went off the birth control pill, and my skin flared up. Then I ended up getting divorced.” 

Seeking Natural Remedies

Somebody then suggested to Dr. Stacey Shillington to see a Naturopathic Doctor. The Naturopathic Doctor wasn’t able to completely clear her skin, but the doctor really changed Dr. Stacey Shillington’s philosophy on health care and eventually fast-tracked her journey to learn about Holistic Dermatology.

“She said my skin is like this because there is an imbalance in my body. And the way to heal your skin is to balance your body and find the root cause of your acne,” shares Dr. Stacey Shillington. “So, I went back to school to become a Naturopathic Doctor, so I could learn how to do this.”


Dr. Stacey Shillington realized acne and skin care problems are debilitating to people. They affect our quality of life. And the solutions out there are not solving the problem. There’s a huge void. So that is what inspired Dr. Stacey Shillington to go back to school and learn all about Holistic Dermatology.

“My whole career as a Naturopath has been focused on treating the skin, learning how to heal the skin, really helping people get their lives back and living their lives fully,” Dr. Stacey Shillington said.

More To Learn

A year after graduation, Dr. Stacey Shillington started working in a dermatology clinic in Toronto. She worked there for about 11 years. Time and work allowed her to become proficient in her career.

“When I was a Naturopathic Doctor studying, they always said the gut and the skin are intimately related. And it’s true. Your skin is often a reflection of what’s going on in your gut,” said Dr. Stacey Shillington.

Dr. Stacey Shillington also said that there are tons of research in the last 6 to 10 years about the microbiome. There are a hundred trillion microbes that live in our gut and on our skin. And when there’s an imbalance in the microbiome in the gut, eventually that imbalance is going to present itself on the skin.

Right Diet

According to Dr. Stacey Shillington, changing your diet and eating foods that are less inflammatory is essential. This is to heal your skin and to reduce inflammation in the gut. Healing gut is critical to improving your skin.

“You can be eating the very best diet, but if your gut is in trouble if you have an overgrowth of certain pathogens, that has to be addressed as well in addition to changing the diet. This is to heal the skin fully,” Dr. Stacey Shillington advises. 

She adds, “I get my patients into an anti-inflammatory diet. There are certain foods out there that cause inflammation more than other foods. Dairy is a very inflammatory food especially for people who have acne.”

Recommended Foods

Sugar is a drug in itself. And Dr. Stacey Shillington says it impairs insulin sensitivity. It leads to high androgens and again points to acne. High sugar fruits, maple syrup, and honey also have the same effect.

“It’s not that you can never eat these foods again. But you cannot eat these foods while you are healing the gut and reducing inflammation in the body,” said Dr. Stacey Shillington.

Dr. Stacey Shillington on the contrary, reveals that berries are amazing for acne patients. It is because berries reduce inflammation and have a low glycemic index. They’re not likely going to spike insulin levels. 

“I also love cruciferous vegetables. Broccoli, arugula, cauliflower, and brussels sprouts detoxify the liver. Food is a fantastic medicine, and it can help the body function so much more efficiently. It sets the stage for diving in to start healing the skin,” Dr. Stacey Shillington said. 

Other Foods To Avoid

Dr. Stacey Shillington shares that doctors at the turn of the century used to call acne diabetes of the skin. So, treating acne as a metabolic condition is often one of the keys to solving it.

“I love berberine. It is amazing for acne. Not only does it help regulate the blood sugar, but it also helps support the liver, and it is also anti-microbial. So, it helps solve any dysbiosis in the gut,” Dr. Stacey Shillington said.

According to Dr. Stacey Shillington, chocolate is so inflammatory for people with skin problems because it contains theobromine. She says there was a May 2014 study where it showed that theobromine could increase acne. Thus, dairy, sugar, and chocolate are the foods that should be looked at if you have inflammatory skin disorders.

The other food as well that many people find surprising is oatmeal. Dr. Stacey Shillington says oatmeal contains an element that decreases sex hormones binding globulin in the blood.

“And when you have decreased levels of it, you have more testosterone in the blood. Testosterone is an androgen and contributes to the production of acne,” explains Dr. Stacey Shillington.

To get started, Dr. Stacey Shillington recommends that for three days, eat vegetables, low glycemic index fruits, lean proteins and see how you feel. If you feel better than you did when eating grains, that is a sign that you need to spend some time not eating grains while you are healing and balancing your body.

“And I’m not saying forever because some starchy carbs are essential. Gluten is also so inflammatory. I can’t heal skin when people are eating gluten,” said Dr. Stacey Shillington.

Recommended Oils

Dr. Stacey Shillington said when there are too many omega-6 fatty acids in the body, it’s highly inflammatory. It is found in soybean oil, canola oil, sunflower oil, peanut oil, corn oil, a lot of other veggie oils.

Instead, focus on oils like olive oil which has omega-9 fatty acids, avocado oil, and coconut oil which is saturated fat. Also eat foods that are high in omega-3 fatty acids like salmon, mackerel, sardines, organic eggs, chia seeds, hemp seeds, and flax seeds. Dr. Stacey Shillington also advises to be aware of the oils we are using so we can reduce inflammation.

“Olive oil should be used raw. When it’s heated up at a certain temp, it starts to oxidize. That will create inflammation. So, cook with avocado or coconut oil. Fish oils can be beneficial, and it can make a difference on the skin,” Dr. Stacey Shillington said. 

She adds, “But for acne, I would never recommend fish oils. It’s one of the supplements that will contribute to acne. It’s much better to address other skin conditions like psoriasis.”

Dr. Stacey Shillington also mentions that every single cell of our body is composed of fatty acids. So, to have a healthy body, we have to make sure those cell membranes are indeed nourished.

“There’s a moisture barrier on the skin, and it looks like a brick wall. If the fatty acids are deficient, that brick wall is going to start to break down,” said Dr. Stacey Shillington. “And things that are not supposed to get into the body are going to get into the body and vice versa. So, it’s important to keep that moisture barrier intact to half healthy skin.”


We all manifest imbalances differently. Dr. Stacey Shillington says it’s based on our genes. But 90% of our health is determined by our lifestyle. Diet, sleep, and stress can also improve or worsen our skin condition.

“When you’re stressed and prone to acne, three different biochemical pathways that are activated in the body that contribute to acne,” said Dr. Stacey Shillington. 

She adds, “Exercise is also an important thing. Mindset is also huge. Positive mindset creates resilience against stress.”

Contributing Factors

How much sunlight, regular eating, sleeping, and wake times are also factors that contribute to healthy skin. Dr. Stacey Shillington also says relationships and resentments play a significant role as well.

Our emotions also play a significant role in good skin health. Meditation is essential, and Dr. Stacey Shillington says skin health is better when people practice self-love. You need to be relaxed for your body to heal. 

“Make sure your liver is supported, do detoxes and work on your gut. Try to work on your gut before you get off birth control pills. You want to be balanced as possible,” advises Dr. Stacey Shillington. 

She adds, “When you’re on birth control, you’re not making any natural estrogen or progesterone. It’s shutting down your natural hormone production. And it’s also suppressing androgens which are the hormones that are going to cause acne.” 

Effective Cleanse

Dr. Stacey Shillington recommends Manuka honey to cleanse. She also said that if you don’t have a microbiome that disrupted, you can use oil to cleanse, which is very beautiful and nourishing.

“If you do have a microbiome imbalance, which will result in fungal acne, use something like micellar water. Cleansing should be incredibly gentle. For moisture, use aloe vera gel or jojoba,” Dr. Stacey Shillington advises. 

She adds, “In the palm of your hand, put about a teaspoon of aloe vera gel and a teaspoon of the oil of your choice. Mix it vigorously with a finger for 30 seconds until it turns into a lotion. Apply to face and add essential oils if you like.”

Skin Care Classes

Dr. Stacey Shillington has some amazing classes that will teach you how to take care of your skin. Topping off the list is her 7-week Clear Skin Program which you can also sign up via my link www.learntruehealth.com/clearskin.  There’s a new module each week, and the lessons are simple yet effective.

Another excellent program is Dr. Stacey Shillington’s 8-Week Anti-Aging Skin Care Program. Like the 7-week program, it’s very holistic and effective as well so make sure to check it out on her website.

“I want to change the way the skin is approached. My experience and the treatments available right now are just not helping people and often making skin situations even worse. My mission is to help change that. Get some real healing going on with our skin,” said Dr. Stacey Shillington.


Dr. Stacey Shillington has been practicing Naturopathic Medicine in Toronto for over twelve years with some of the city’s top dermatologists. Inspired by her skin struggles, her specialty has always been healing the skin from the inside out. In addition to her private practice in Toronto, she owns Naturopathic Beauty and runs successful online acne and anti-programs. 

Dr. Stacey Shillington is also a mother to 2 boys and a dedicated yogi and meditator. She graduated from McGill University with a BComm in 1995 and the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine in 2006. 

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Holistic Dermatology – Dr. Stacey Shillington & Ashley James – #331 

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Ashley James

Health Coach, Podcast Creator, Homeschooling Mom, Passionate About God & Healing

Ashley James is a Holistic Health Coach, Podcaster, Rapid Anxiety Cessation Expert, and avid Whole Food Plant-Based Home Chef. Since 2005 Ashley has worked with clients to transform their lives as a Master Practitioner and Trainer of Neuro-linguistic Programming.

Her health struggles led her to study under the world’s top holistic doctors, where she reversed her type 2 diabetes, PCOS, infertility, chronic infections, and debilitating adrenal fatigue.

In 2016, Ashley launched her podcast Learn True Health with Ashley James to spread the TRUTH about health and healing. You no longer need to suffer; your body CAN and WILL heal itself when we give it what it needs and stop what is harming it!

The Learn True Health Podcast has been celebrated as one of the top holistic health shows today because of Ashley’s passion for extracting the right information from leading experts and doctors of holistic health and Naturopathic medicine


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