Ep 22 - Integrative health, gut health, and the skin with Dr. Kaitlyn Popp

Kaitlyn Popp

What does butt acne and gut health have to do with your complexion? No doubt, there is a connection between what goes IN our bodies and what shows up ON your skin. What is the correlation? What is integrative health? How does it affect your skin? They say our gut is our “second brain,” and if 80% of our serotonin comes from the gut, what else is affected by it? Mood disorders, depression, anxiety, and good skin are all effected by gut microbiome. Listen to Dr. Kaitlyn Popp explain it all!

00:00 Speaker 1: You are listening to ASCP Esty Talk, where we share insider tips, industry resources and education for aestheticians at every stage of the journey. Let's talk, 'cause ASCP knows, it's all about you. 
00:16 Ella Cressman: Hello, and welcome to ASCP Esty Talk, the Ingredients Decked Out series. Here, we explore the fascinating world of ingredients and how they work within the skin. I'm Ella Cressman, licensed practicing aesthetician and a founder of the HHP Collective. And today, we're gonna pivot a little bit. So rather than speaking about specific ingredients, we're gonna talk about collective overall health. I'm very excited to be joined by Dr. Kaitlyn Popp, who is a chiropractor, and I love that. Her last name is Popp, and she's a chiropractor, [chuckle] but also an integrative medicine practitioner. What's unique about Kaitlyn is that she uses a functional medicine model, which is an individualized patient-specific approach, which makes it great because then you can address the underlying cause of disease in order to promote wellness for each unique individual. 
01:07 EC: She recognizes the importance of integrating specifically suited methods of therapy to treat the whole person and not just the symptoms, which brings us to how we are here with Dr. Kaitlyn Popp today is she is also a client of mine. And so I'm going to share a fun story in that she comes to me for bikini waxes. And over a bikini wax, it had been... Gosh, how long had it been, Kaitlyn? At least a few months because we've been in lockdown. And I think we can all agree that during lockdown, we have eaten things we don't normally eat, we have not stuck to our workout schedules, whatever it is, and we're dealing with a lot of stress. And so she said, "Don't mind my butt acne. I know it's [chuckle] because I've been consuming more gluten." And I fell in love with that statement, even as... And not even awkward at all for me, but I fell in love with that statement, and it spurred a conversation of inside-out health. So Dr. Kaitlyn, tell us, what is the correlation between butt acne and integrative health?  
02:17 Dr. Kaitlyn Popp: Well, thanks, Ella. It's something that I actually have struggled with in the past, and it's kind of led me down the road to where I'm at today. It all started with butt acne and skin issues. 
02:33 DP: So I was a dancer through college. And in college, I had a lot of joint issues and a lot of acne, specifically on my butt. And I was always in a leotard, so I was blaming the leotard. And I went to see this Eastern medicine chiropractor, and he was the first to tell me that I was allergic to gluten and dairy, and that if I didn't cut it out of my diet, that I would end up with rheumatoid arthritis. [chuckle] 
03:06 EC: Oh, wow. 
03:09 DP: That's kinda... I ignored this man for a while because I was in college and dairy was life, and so was drinking. 
03:14 EC: And pizza. 
03:15 DP: And pizza. [chuckle] So I was miserable, and I kept getting worse and worse until I decide to listen to him. And I totally revamped my diet and worked on my gut, and my joint pain went away, my butt acne went away. Everything cleared up. It was amazing. So from that perspective, that's kind of where I started down the path, and he is the first to tell me that everything starts in your gut. It doesn't matter where you start, you gotta start in your gut if you wanna heal everything else. 
03:49 EC: Now, I hear they refer to the gut as your second brain. 
03:52 DP: They do. So 80% of serotonin is actually in your gut, not your brain. So if you're experiencing a lot of mood disorders, depression, anxiety, it's usually because your gut microbiome is off, rather than your brain. 
04:14 EC: I think it would be... I think it could kind of historically have led to, "I'm feeling depressed. I'm gonna take a pill," when really, it could be other... That could even actually exacerbate it more. 
04:26 DP: Exactly, and anti-depressants are one of the main things that are prescribed, especially now. This year, the amount of over-prescribed anti-depressants is pretty crazy, obviously due to the level of stress people are experiencing. 
04:41 EC: I think something that as aestheticians we have to consider, which is a parallel to what you do, is we have to consider whole-body health. So we can't just look at a pimple on a chin, for example, and say, "Here's an ingredient. Here's a salicylic or here's a benzoyl peroxide," because at that point, we're just addressing symptoms and not root cause. We do have the added challenge of staying within our scope of practice, but we also address that there are other co-factors to skin, lackluster skin, maybe because of stress or emotions. And I think one... I think it's really, really important as aestheticians, when we're doing our evaluations or consultations that we consider that, which is why a lot of intake forms include those questions: What's your lifestyle like? What's your stress level like? How much water do you drink? How much exercise do you do a day? So we do have the tools to look at the holistic picture, even though we are bound by our scope of... By our licensure to only address histological function. 
05:45 DP: That is extremely important. And then once you know those things, you know how to interact with other medical professionals and cross-refer, and that's how you really end up treating the whole person. 
05:57 EC: So can you take us through your process of evaluation because everybody is so unique. There's no... We're all a bunch of snowflakes. 
06:08 EC: So how do you treat the individual? What is your intake process like, or your evaluation? Is it ongoing?  
06:15 DP: Yeah, it's always ongoing 'cause we are constantly changing and evolving, but my initial appointment with patients is pretty in-depth. I usually allow a 90-minute appointment to go through a full health history, and it starts with a 30-page intake form, which no one's happy with me when I give that to them. But it goes through every possible exposure you may have had, family history and current health concerns. So we really dive really deep into your health history and current health. And you start developing patterns over time, and you can build a timeline and it's pretty amazing. When big events happen in your life, they trigger health issues, so a lot of autoimmunity comes out at big major life events. So it's really good to get that whole picture with the patient right up front. So I start with the full intake, and I really prefer to look at bloodwork along with that. So either recent bloodwork that the patient had, or I'll order a comprehensive blood panel to get the objective with the subjective. 
07:26 EC: So what are you looking for in this blood panel?  
07:31 DP: I am looking at your immune system, so your white blood cells, red blood cells. We're looking at your organ function, so your liver, kidney, gallbladder, thyroid, so your hormone-endocrine system, and the level of inflammation that you may have in your body. So that's like the lipid panel and then cardiac markers. There's a lot of trends that I can see in bloodwork that points to where your area of weakness is. 
07:58 EC: Fascinating. So you're like an investigator. [chuckle] 
08:02 DP: It is. I love it. 
08:03 EC: Like Sherlock Popp. [chuckle] So you said life events can cause health issues. What are some of... Do you feel like... I feel like we're all experiencing a big life event right now collectively. 
08:20 DP: Exactly. 
08:21 EC: But what are some other ones?  
08:23 DP: Any major loss that you had in your life, whether that be a person or a job, a big move, like a transition, pregnancy. So it's amazing the number of autoimmune conditions or just conditions that are underlying come out after pregnancy, and it's very common. So just big events, and that's like a physical stress on your body. So it could be physical. It could be emotional. Yeah, and then with COVID, this is obviously stressful for everyone with their job and the economy shifting and not being able to socialize and see people. 
09:01 EC: So many co-factors. And I gotta be honest, I'm getting angry whenever I hear the word COVID 'cause I'm like so over it. 
09:08 DP: Same. 
09:09 EC: So I'm on the this second wave, life event. There was the first wave. It's almost like stages of grief, but I feel like I'm on the second wave of it. So the first stage was like, "This isn't really happening. Wait a minute. Holy crap, this is really happening. Oh my gosh. When is it gonna get back to normal?" And now, I'm at stage two where I'm like, "Alright already. Enough. Let's get back to it." So I feel like this is like a double down. 
09:35 DP: I don't think you're alone with that. [chuckle] 
09:37 EC: Yeah, so do you see... Are you seeing like a... And that we're limited, right? Virtual. I can't be in the room personally with you right now having this podcast recording because of new changes. So are you seeing an uptick?  
09:51 DP: Yeah, and I feel like a lot of people may not understand what they're experiencing. There are some people who are really in-tune their bodies and they know that the lack of human interaction and normalcy in their schedules is affecting them, but a lot of people don't have that awareness. So when I do chat with my patients and it comes up, they feel very validated by that. 
10:15 EC: Hey guys, stop. Let's take a quick break. 
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11:07 EC: Let's get back to the conversation. So are you doing more virtual consultations now?  
11:13 DP: I am doing virtual consultations, and I always have that option open. I am also doing in-person since having re-opened, which is nice, and I'm getting what I need out of human interaction but I still... I do definitely have that option for virtual. 
11:30 EC: That's good. Yeah, I think going back, it's... For me as a licensed skin care practitioner, going back, it's nice 'cause we get to visit with our clients again or our patients again, but it's so different that it feels not the same. Like I was hope... And that's probably why I'm in the second wave, alright already. 
11:50 DP: It's amazing when you can't see someone's full face, how that changes your interaction with them. You can't read a person in their entirety. You can't see how their mouth is moving. 
12:00 EC: Yeah, or that I'm actually raising a lip like, "Ugh." [chuckle] 
12:03 DP: Exactly, which helps sometimes. 
12:04 EC: Do you think I'm smiling?  
12:08 EC: Ha ha. Neener-neener. [chuckle] So you talked about when you were in college. What was your undergrad? What were you studying before?  
12:17 DP: I was an English major and I studied dance and mass communications. 
12:22 EC: So this really shifted your focus, this chance meeting. This butt acne changed you. 
12:26 DP: [chuckle] Yeah, it really did, and I started down the legal admin route. But at the same time, I was still seeing this chiropractor, and he changed my life and I was fascinated, and then I was trying to tell everyone else that they should be doing this, and no one listened to me. So I ultimately think I went back to school so people would listen to me, [chuckle] so I could change more lives. 
12:49 EC: That's awesome. That is amazing. So when he told you that you couldn't have gluten and you couldn't have cheese, which was basically your staple diet at the time, I bet that was very challenging. You mentioned it, but I think that's probably... What you really have a lot of your clients do is an elimination diet. What does an elimination diet look like?  
13:09 DP: Well, first, we have to recognize that we have a strong emotional connection to food. It makes us feel better, so... [chuckle] And they're producing... It gives us a serotonin lift. So it's really hard to tell people not to do something. But with the elimination diet, the reason for it is to clear up your detoxification pathways, so your organs can work better. And in the process, you heal the lining of your gut, which is only one cell-layer thick, which is pretty crazy to think about. That's less than the layer of your skin. So giving your body a break, so the detox pathways work better, and letting the lining of your gut heal, so you have less reactions to food if you are experiencing reactions like in your skin, [chuckle] is really important. So I like to start everyone off on the elimination diet or a modified version if it's difficult for them before I start throwing a bunch of supplements at them or anything else, 'cause nothing... You want your body to work optimally before starting regimens. 
14:20 EC: I'm excited about this. I'm super excited because I feel, as an aesthetician, it's great to have alliances with medical professionals. And often, it feels a little bit challenging. For example, like referring someone to a good dermatologist who still respects the aesthetic profession. But as I mentioned, we're limited by our scope of practice, so I can't put someone on an elimination diet, but I do know the correlation between food and face, or food and arms with keratosis pilaris on the arms, for example. There definitely seems to be, as a non-medical professional, a correlation with dairy, for example. But I can't say that or I could tell just from having worked on so many clients that this is probably a gluten response or a hormone response to stress. And I can always tell even... I can't always tell, but I can assume that you might be ovulating right now because you have a little breakout right by your ear. And so I can't say those things, but to be able to send someone to a trusted professional like yourself that could work through those things, might really enhance our practices. 
15:29 DP: It's really... It's wonderful that you notice that and you see the correlation of even where the breakouts are on your face, what the possible skin condition could be on your arm, and butt acne. They all... They definitely correlate to gut, and they correlate to hormones. And yeah, it's nice to see that in your profession. 
15:48 EC: Well, and I think that's also because we are able to see such a [15:53] ____ number of people, but also, I experience it myself. I'm depressed. I'm depressed, I think. And you and I have talked about this, too. I'm depressed about what's going on. I feel like a lack of control, like things are so completely out of my control, I'm just riding this wave. I hate coming to the shop to work on clients with a mask and a shield and "Don't touch me." I can't hug my clients. They have... It feels very clinical, but not in the clinical good... It feels very sterile. And so I have noticed... And then you have just topical irritations like maskne that a lot of people are experiencing. But if we look at something like maskne, that we're blaming it on these masks, and I think there was a report on one of the new stations that it was fungus living because of your breath. And I'm like, "Well, some people, I can understand that." [chuckle] 
16:40 DP: Right? [chuckle] 
16:41 EC: I have some doozy breaths in front of me before, but also, it could be the stress hormones 'cause they're in the exact same area in that chin and jaw area. So I have experience breakouts personally because I have been traditionally medically diagnosed with hormone issues repeatedly, but I don't know. It seems like everyone has a different answer. So I'm... 
17:03 DP: Well, and you're stressed out. 
17:05 EC: And I'm stressed out. 
17:06 DP: And you're wearing a mask. So what is it? [chuckle] 
17:07 EC: Yeah. 
17:08 DP: It's all the above. 
17:09 EC: And my breath, my breath. [chuckle] 
17:11 DP: I know. 
17:13 DP: Well, at least no one could smell it. [chuckle] 
17:15 EC: I can. 
17:16 DP: I know. I [17:18] ____ see that... 
17:18 EC: And I think people can. 'Cause working on some clients, I could smell their stress breath through their mask. It goes into... 
17:24 DP: Yeah. I've experienced that as well. 
17:24 EC: Creeps between my shield and my mask. That's probably stress breath from other things going on. So do you... I guess, you work with other professionals, too, to encourage their well-being. You work in cooperation with other professionals. 
17:42 DP: Yeah, I like to think I know a lot of things, but it's hard to know everything. And so knowing your specialty and sticking to it is really important, and then that's how you best treat a patient, and send them off to the best care that they're gonna get. So I do really like working with other professions, and that's why my business name is KATAS Integrative Health. It's integrative. I like to refer. I know I don't know everything. So that is very important, and it's a great model. And I think it's a stronger model here in Denver, which is nice. 
18:21 EC: Yes. Great. Well, you said here in Denver, but is it possible that aestheticians or professionals across the country might be able to work with you?  
18:30 DP: Absolutely, yes. I can work with people in other states virtually, and integrative health definitely does happen in the other states, so not just here. We're just... Denver is a very unique, nice community. But yes, I can work with people out of state. 
18:49 EC: Awesome. Now, I know you do have an upcoming webinar and scheduled live trainings or live presentations. Is that right?  
19:00 DP: Yes, so I'm gonna be starting to do a lot more webinars online just to make information more accessible to people. So we definitely have things coming up, but the first webinar I have is on leaky gut, to go over what it is, how it happens, and what you can do to fix it. So that's gonna be the first one happening in about a month. 
19:29 EC: So before, can you give us a sneak peek of what is a leaky gut? 'Cause that sounds disgusting. 
19:36 DP: [chuckle] So it's a lay term for intestinal permeability, so it's like it sounds. It's holes in the lining of your gut. So when this happens, food particles get in, and that's what causes food sensitivities and chronic systemic inflammation. So when this happens, your body is working harder to clear it. And then, if you don't clear it, that's how autoimmunity forms, so that's when your body attacks itself. So when you have a leaky gut, it can cause all these other things, just because your gut integrity isn't in place. 
20:16 EC: You mentioned detox pathways before, and in addressing leaky gut would be clearing these detox pathways for all of the organs, which I think is good to point out, that the skin is an organ and often a sign of detox. [chuckle] 
20:34 DP: Exactly, exactly. And skin should be the first sign that something is off in your gut or in your body. So if you pay attention to your skin, you can really start diagnosing the rest of what's going on with you. 
20:49 EC: Well, you can diagnose 'cause you're a doctor, but we can't. [chuckle] We can refer to you. 
20:53 DP: You can self-diagnose yeah, but you can refer to me and I can tell you exactly what's going on. 
20:57 EC: Great, well, we're going to have your contact information in the show notes, but can you give us a quick rundown of how we can get in touch with Dr. Kaitlyn Popp?  
21:08 DP: Sure. So the best way to get in contact with me is email, and you can email info@katashealth.com. And if you have any additional questions, I'd be happy to answer them. You can also give our office a call at 720-248-0898, and we are located in Denver, but can also do virtual visits. So if that's something... If you can't make it to Denver, we can still work with you. 
21:35 EC: And that's K-A-T-A-S health.com. 
21:39 DP: Correct. 
21:40 EC: Awesome. Well, thank you, Dr. Popp. I'm looking forward to our appointment where I have to find out what the heck I have to eliminate. Wait, wait, wait. How long is the process of an elimination diet? What is it? What are we looking at here, girl?  
21:53 DP: Yeah, I'm... 30 days, 30 days preferably. I do like to cut out gluten for a little bit longer 'cause it takes six months for gluten to leave the body. 
22:03 EC: Oh, great. 
22:04 DP: But you can really get an idea of whether or not it bothers you after the 30 days. 
22:10 EC: Well, we better get started before Halloween. [chuckle] 
22:12 DP: I'm excited for you. 
22:13 EC: But the Reese's pumpkins, they're coming. 
22:15 DP: Right. 
22:16 DP: Well, thank you, Ella. 
22:18 EC: Yeah. Thank you, Dr. Popp, and we are going to sign off for now. Thank you for tuning in to ASCP Esty Talk, Ingredient Decked Out where we took a little bit of a left turn today. My name is Ella Cressman, licensed practicing aesthetician and ingredient junky. Excited to hear you guys on the next episode. 
22:38 S1: Thanks for joining us today. If you like what you hear and you want more, subscribe. If you wanna belong to the only all-inclusive association for aestheticians that includes professional liability insurance, education, industry insights and an opportunity to spotlight your sick skills, join at ascpskincare.com. Only 259 per year for all this goodness. ASCP knows, it's all about you.

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