016: Can Fluoride Be A Hidden Trigger For Your Skin? w/ Melissa Gallico

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Got ongoing adult acne? You’ve probably tried the soaps, lotions, and medications for acne, but nothing works.

What if the source of the problem is fluoride in your water? We are learning more and more about how fluoride can negatively impact your skin in ways you might not have realized.


Or, listen on your favorite app: iTunes (Apple Podcasts) | Spotify | Stitcher | TuneIn | Subscribe on Android

My guest, Melissa Gallico, is the author of The Hidden Cause of Acne and F is for Fluoride. And does she know how to research! Melissa is a former military intelligence officer, Fulbright scholar, and intelligence specialist at the FBI. This may not sound like the CV of an expert in fluoride, but while working all over the world, Melissa noticed that her chronic acne cleared up whenever she wasn’t exposed to fluoride. That sent her on a research mission to discover just what the link between fluoride and skin conditions is.

Fluoride is in more places than most of us realize. We need to watch our exposure to these sources which can turn up in unexpected places. Melissa shares her discoveries about where fluoride is found (chicken bones, really?) and what you can do to limit your exposure to it.

Have you taken steps to avoid fluoride? Tell me about it in the comments!


In this episode:

  • The many different ways we are exposed to fluoride in our environment
  • The various skin issues that fluoride exposure can cause
  • What common foods contain high amounts of fluoride
  • How to protect your pets from fluoride exposure
  • What to look for in a fluoride-removing filter



“I tried drinking non-fluoridated water and right away I saw such a dramatic difference.” [4:06]

“The only thing predictable about how someone responds to fluoride is that the response will be unpredictable.” [7:33]

“Fluoride accumulates in your bones over time. The estimated half-life of fluoride in bone is 20 years. So when you consume fluoride today, and it is sequestered in your bones, half of it is still there 20 years from now.”  [11:14]



Find Melissa online

Follow Melissa on Instagram | Facebook | Twitter | Youtube

Check out Melissa’s book and GET YOUR COPY HERE

Want to try some amazing toothpaste with hydroxyapatite instead of fluoride (+ other products)? Try RiseWell!

Berkey Water Filters – Excellent choice to remove fluoride and other contaminants from your water!

Quercitin + Nettles Supplement

Labs To Request For Skin Rash Issues


016: Can Fluoride Be A Hidden Trigger For Your Skin? w/ Melissa Gallico

016: Can Fluoride Be A Hidden Trigger For Your Skin? w/ Melissa Gallico FULL TRANSCRIPT

Jennifer:              Hi everyone and welcome back to The Healthy Skin Show . Today I have a very special guest. I always have special guests, but this guest is somebody that I met this past summer and I will be honest with you. While while I do have, I do have an admitted grudge, I guess you could say against fluoride. She sorta takes, she takes fluoride issues to a whole new level and and also helped me understand how fluoride can negatively impact your skin in ways that you might not think. So. That's why I wanted to have her on as a guest today because you may be looking for answers, especially for why you may have ongoing chronic adult acne. You've tried everything and this can be one of the underlying issues. So Melissa Gallico is the author of the hidden cause of acne as well as the book called F is for Fluoride.

Jennifer:              She is a former military intelligence officer, Fulbright scholar and intelligence specialist at the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Yes, that is the FBI guys. I've already told her. She's a very smart cookie, where she instructed classes for FBI analysts at Quantico and provided analytic support for national security investigations. She graduated with honors from Georgetown university and has a master's degree from the university of St Andrews in Scotland. Melissa, thanks for joining us.

Melissa:               Thank you so much for having me.

Jennifer:              Well, I had to ask you because obviously you know, how, how on earth did you get so interested in fluoride because most people probably aren't this interested. I just like to remove it with a really good filter from my water. But tell us what got you so interested and passionate, I guess we could say against fluoride. So.

Melissa:               Yes, you could definitely, definitely say that.

Melissa:               I didn't use to be that way. I always had the fluoride treatments at the dentist and I always use fluoridated toothpaste and I drank fluoridated water and I never really thought much of it. But I also had really bad cystic acne, chronic acne as a teenager, as an adult for almost 20 years into my mid thirties. And because of my job, I had the experience of living in a lot of different countries and I would live in a country in Africa or Europe or the Caribbean and just have effortlessly clear skin. And coming back to the United States, even just for a week visit, I would start to break out again. And I didn't understand what it was. And I always lived in a different place in the United States. It wasn't like it was one city and I wasn't making drastic changes to my diet. I wasn't doing anything different with my skincare routine. So it didn't make sense to me. I would see the dermatologist living in the States and they said, Oh, it's, it's genetic.

Melissa:               Or it's hormonal. Uand they, I tried Accutane, you know, I did all of the harsh, you know, conventional treatments and they were helpful, but they didn't get to the root cause. And I did experience side effects. So,uthis last time when I did the Fulbright in Scotland, again, I had perfectly clear skin and I thought, you know, I'm in my thirties. Okay, maybe I outgrew acne finally. And then I came back to the States and again, it was worse than ever. And so I just thought, okay, I'm an intelligence analyst, I am going to figure this out. And I suspected the water because I could kind of tell within a few days of going to a new location if it was going to be one of those places. And I thought maybe it's like lead or some kind of trace element like copper or that piping or something.

Melissa:               And I was trying to figure it out. And one of the variables was fluoride. And this resonated with me when I first heard it because I had fluoride pills as a child and I developed dental fluorosis, which is like a slight discoloring of your teeth. It's worse in certain people. A mine isn't really bad, but it's definitely there where I had a lot of fluoride exposure when I was a child. So I just tested it out by, I had already started washing my face with bottled water just because I knew, you know, it was better. It felt better on my skin, but I tried drinking non fluoridated water. And right away I saw such a dramatic difference, I couldn't believe it. So I thought, okay, well there's definitely something to this. And eventually I was able to completely clear my skin by learning how to avoid fluoride, not just in my water, but it's also in the food supply for different reasons, you know, cause things are made with fluoridated water and it's also a common pesticide, which a lot of people don't know.

Melissa:               And there's certain foods that are very high in fluoride because of this pesticide. So over time, trial and error, I completely cleared my skin. I wrote a little free PDF guide for people. Like if you have this weird allergy thing that I have, you know, here's how to hear it. And I heard from so many people, I couldn't believe it. I just was astounded. And one woman wrote to me and said, your book saved my life. I never would have figured this out. And I just thought, I need to write like a real book, not this like 20 page PDF thing that I'm giving away on random website. So I I actually wrote a book that's the one you mentioned, The Hidden Cause Of Acne. It came out in May and you can see from the reviews on Amazon, it's a real condition. It's not uncommon. It's just not commonly known about. So people don't know to eliminate fluoride from their diet to clear their skin.

Jennifer:              Hmm. That's so interesting. I mean, I know too, from my perspective, having worked as a clinical nutritionist, my big thing with fluoride is that it is in the same family. It's in the halogen family. And so fluoride and iodine look somewhat similar.

Jennifer:              And so when you are having thyroid issues, that can be one, you know, even chlorine, chlorinated water, you go into a swimming pool a lot you're exposed to chlorine, same family. And so that can start to cause issues with the thyroid. So for me, that was my main, that was my main thought. Always. Like that's why I was sort of like, eh, fluoride, take it or leave it. My teeth are in good health. I, you know, I take good care of them and I don't know that I buy into the idea anymore that fluoride is really the fix here, not a dental expert by the way everybody. So that it will take it or leave it with that. But I think this is a really interesting connection between fluoride and acne. Have you found any relationships as well, even outside of acne with other skin issues? Or has anyone else commented to you or shared with you that they've had other chronic skin issues and that perhaps following this I don't know.

Jennifer:              What would you call it, a low fluoride regiment would actually help them?

Melissa:               Yeah, actually. So I thought I had figured out this amazing thing about acne that no one had figured out before. But I recently read a book by an allergist from the 60s and he was writing about it way back then.

Jennifer:              Wow.

Melissa:               So there is research and he was a very famous allergist. His name is George Walbot and he's most well known for discovering the link between emphysema and smoking. Hundreds of peer reviewed articles. You wrote a lot of books. And he became really interested in fluoride because he noticed that this sensitivity is very common. He documented a lot of different dermatological conditions including eczema, chronic hives atopic dermatitis and acne.

Jennifer:              Interesting.

Melissa:               Yeah. Everyone reacts differently to it. Like you mentioned some people, it's you know, the thyroid is really the biggest downside of fluoride.

Melissa:               But he said that the only thing predictable about how someone responds to fluoride is that the response will be unpredictable. Like everyone responded in a different way.

Jennifer:              So here's a question for you. You made a comment that whenever you went to another country, it had to do with the water that you were drinking, you were drinking water, but then you mentioned about using bottled, like a purified bottle water on your face. So is it that we just have to be mindful of the water that we consume, like drink or do we also have to be mindful of a topical application of that type of water as well? So should someone say, be mindful of the fact that if they're taking a shower and they're having this issue, they have to get also like a shower filter?

Melissa:               Yeah, it's really hard to filter fluoride from your shower. Most of the, those filters won't eliminate fluoride because it's just a high output. It's a lot easier to eliminate it from your drinking water. UI was not able to clear my skin completely until I moved to a non fluoridated house, but I think that's because I hadn't really figured out all the dietary sources yet. You know, it was really in the early stages. UI am able to live in a fluoridated house now and have completely clear skin and I do still shower. I just try to limit my time in the shower. I do have a filter, you know, just why not. And I,uI don't take baths.

Jennifer:              Okay. So for them, the major concern here is that more just the consumption of the water and the foods. So where in foods, for example, you know, and I actually never even thought about that. What foods would, you know, you mentioned some of these, what would be like high fluoridated foods that we should be aware of?

Melissa:               Yeah, so the biggest ones are well first anything made with fluoridated water. So you're ready to drink beverages or if you go out to eat and have like rice or pasta or mashed potatoes and it's cooked in fluoridated water, it will contain fluoride. So that's one kind of grouping of fluoride foods. And then another grouping, as I mentioned, is the pesticides. And these it's just fluoride is the active ingredient in this pesticides because it's very toxic. And so the most common culprits are raisins and grapes. So like grape juice. Yes, incredibly high in fluoride. And it was actually the Europeans who noticed this because they test for these things and they said wine from California wasn't meeting their standards for fluoride. And this was a 1989, which happened to be the same year that veterinarians noticed that dogs started dying from grapes and raisins.

Melissa:               So in my book, I have this whole section where I was like looking into this theory that they're not dying from raising poisoning, they're dying from fluoride poisoning. So I really think that's what's going on in the veterinarians haven't looked into it because they don't know that fluoride is the predominant pesticide used on raisins and grapes and that California, it provides half the world raisins supply. So that's one to definitely look out for. Grapes, raisins, that includes grape juice, that includes wine from California. It's not used in Washington state or Oregon. So those wines are fine really anywhere outside of this one area of Fresno where they, where they grow all these raisins and that's where the wine happens to be from as well. That's high in fluoride. So other areas of California are usually okay.

Jennifer:              Interesting that's pretty nuts. And so obviously this is a total aside, but I am an animal lover. And I know that a lot of my listeners also are either have dogs or cats or whatever. So would this also suggest that for our furry friends, we should be giving them filtered water? That does not, you know, where the fluoride has basically been removed.

Melissa:               Yes, absolutely. Animals are just as susceptible to fluoride toxicity. And one thing this applies to animals and people as well. Fluoride accumulates in your bones over time. The the estimate is that the half life of fluoride and bone is 20 years. So when you consume fluoride today and it is sequestered in your bones, half of it is still there 20 years from now. That's not really disputed. That's a national Academy of sciences saying that. So it also accumulates when chickens consume fluoride, it accumulates in their bones. So if you're making soup from chicken bones that aren't organically raised, it will be very high in fluoride. Those were actually my worst breakouts were from chicken stock. That was all natural, no hormones, no antibiotics, but it wasn't given organic feed. And the tolerance for these pesticides on chicken feed is ridiculous. It's like 130 parts per million, which is super high, like water.

Melissa:               It's 0.7 parts per million, like the water that you're supposed to drink. So it's really, really high tolerance for this fluoride pesticide that the poultry is consuming in their feed. And that accumulates in their bones and it's passed on to us when we eat, not just soup but anything made with mechanically deboned meat. So like ground chicken or chicken hot dogs, chicken nuggets, those kinds of things will be very high in fluoride. So I mentioned that with respect to animals because the raw diet is really popular now and they will grind up the bones and put them in. So I never give my dog raw poultry raw chicken or raw Turkey. It's always beef because it tends to be lower in fluoride. And you can find studies from like the environmental working group where they've tested the fluoride content of dog of dog food and it's very high if it contains chicken byproducts.

Jennifer:              Wow. Sorry everybody. I know it's The Heathy Skin Show , but I just like had to ask. I mean, I love my cats and we do filter. We have a special filter that does remove all the fluoride and a lot of pesticides and chemicals, and toxicants and stuff. So,uyou know, and that's the water that we also give our, our cats. So for all of you who laugh at me and think I'm crazy, here you go. Melissa has just explained why what we do is not nuts. It is actually really important and good for them. So as far as skin is concerned, I what I'm guessing here is that the initial advice would be number one, we want to watch how much we are exposed to fluoride in these high fluorinated foods. Like you're saying, you want to make sure you're getting organic pantry number one that you are also, okay, hold on. I'm thinking this through. You want to be get organic grapes, right? Would that be another thing? Okay. Yes, I'm learning with you. Uand then also to finding a filter. How can people find, cause that's to be the question is how, what should they look for when they're looking for a filter? Like does a Brita do it? I always tell people I think Brita's are worthless, but maybe they're not whats your opinion on that, because I'm sure people ask you this all the time.

Melissa:               Yeah, they don't remove fluoride at all. So a Brita won't cut it. You'll really need something a little stronger. Reverse osmosis is very reliable at removing fluoride. There are a lot of different kinds of filters that have different media that can remove fluoride and, and you can see, you know, if they're certified to remove fluoride and how much they remove. So the Berkey is a popular one. They have a special fluoride filter on it. You just really have to be on top of changing it on time because it will lose its effectiveness over time. But I, I usually recommend reverse osmosis just because it's the most reliable.

Jennifer:              Okay, great. Well that, you know, this has been so helpful and eye opening and I'm sure anybody listening to this because this isn't just about skin issues. I think in many respects people have kids, they have grand kids, they're thinking about themselves long term. And oftentimes we think, well, the water smells find the water tastes fine. It should be safe for me, but we don't realize that folks, there is a ton of stuff in the water. And even if, so not all municipalities fluorinate their water. But I believe most do.

Melissa:               There's like 70%.

Jennifer:              Yeah. So you can go, I'm not exactly sure, but you probably could Google this was how I found it for a client Googling does such and such County fluorinate their water? And the answer popped up. So that would probably be the easiest way for you to find out if your tap water is fluorinated. But even beyond that, even if it's not, here's the thing. There's drugs that are in the water. So all of those prescription drugs that people flush down the toilet and dispose of inappropriately are in the water.

Melissa:               A lot of those drugs contain fluoride like Prozac, Paxil, they all contain fluoride in them. So it's just another source of fluoride exposure.

Jennifer:              Exactly. So this is another thing. You want to get all that out of the system. You also want to remove any heavy metals. As Melissa was saying, she thought maybe it was lead, maybe it was mercury, maybe it was arsenic. That there can be actually high levels of those, especially if you live near farmland. Or there's runoff issues. So I would just highly recommend I also have a Berkey, I really love it. And I can put a link to what, which one I actually use in the show notes. And Melissa, I want to make sure everybody can find you. So I'm going to make sure to put all of your links right in the show notes, but your main website is projectfree.me, super simple guys. And then her website for if you want to check out the book is hiddencauseofacne.com and so super easy. But again, if you are driving today, don't worry, it's all in the show notes. I got you covered. Melissa, thank you so much for joining us.

Melissa:               Thank you.