The Analyst™

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Healthy

  Dry skin  
 
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Signs, symptoms and indicators | Contributing risk factors | Other conditions that may be present | Recommendations

 

Dry skin, at its worst, can be known as Dermatitis, Ichthyosis, or Eczema. Those topics are discussed elsewhere if appropriate. This section is just for mild to moderate dryness. Dry skin is recognizable by its tight, rough feel and its dull appearance; it is apparent in its upper-most layer, the epidermis. Roughly 80% of the body's epidermal cells are made of keratinocytes, composed of soft protein keratin. The epidermal cells are born in the lowest layer of the epidermis, the basal layer. As these cells rise toward the outer layer, they undergo many changes, including the increase in the amount of keratin they produce. By the time the cells reach the top, they are no longer alive, and are formed entirely of keratin.

Keratin needs water to keep it pliable and healthy; when there is not enough water, the keratin crumbles and the cells can't stay together. This is what happens when the skin becomes dry. When the water content of your skin drops below ten percent, it gets rough, chaps, and scales. The skin's surface normally contains 10%-20% water. When there's too little water in the outermost layer, it loses flexibility, itches and may crack. In order to keep this from happening, a way must be found to keep water trapped in the skin, keeping the keratin healthy.

General Tips for Dry Skin
If you're like most people, your personal cleansing and bathing habits probably grew out of your childhood and teenage years. For most of us that means frequent baths and showers, deodorant soaps, and a variety of facial cleansers. But if you have dry skin, those habits and products may be one of the main reasons why your skin is in such poor shape. These habits can strip your skin of the scanty amounts of moisture and oil that it has. Here are some steps to take, which can restore moisture and suppleness to your skin:

  • Cut back on baths and showers, even facial cleansing.
  • Scale back showers or baths to at least every other day or less. In between, you can perform sponge baths on odor-causing parts of your body.
  • Where the face is concerned, dry skin sufferers should wash with a cleanser only once a day, preferably in the evening. In the morning, just splash cool water or use a moisturizing toner and apply moisturizer. Because cleansers can strip away sebum and natural moisturizing factors from your skin, washing at night gives your skin time to replenish itself, before you need to face outside elements, such as wind, cold, and sunlight. Morning scrubs don't give your dry skin time to recover its defenses before you go outside.
  • Rinse off thoroughly. Soap can leave a film on your skin that is drying. Wash off all residues of soap carefully. Some doctors recommend that you rinse your face carefully-from fifteen to twenty-five splashes-to remove all soap.
  • When drying off, pat your skin - rubbing can irritate dry skin.
  • Avoid using astringents and clarifying lotions on your face. These products contain alcohol and can irritate dry skin.
  • Overheated houses are one of the main reasons dry skin seems to occur more often in the winter. The less hot air that circulates, the better chance you have of keeping some humidity in the air. Frequent warming and cooling can also contribute to skin dryness. Use a humidifier in dry areas, or add more plants, which perform much the same job as a humidifier, keeping more moisture in the air.
  • Saunas and steam baths can make you sweat, and sweat can leach out natural moisturizing factors in your skin, leaving your skin drier than it was before.
  • Protect your hands by wearing gloves. Chapped and irritated dry skin on the hands is a common problem for people with dry skin. Try rubber gloves to protect them from hot water and detergents. If you are allergy-prone, wear a cotton pair underneath. You could develop contact dermatitis from the rubber in the gloves.

 

 
 

Signs, symptoms & indicators of Dry skin:
 
 
Symptoms - Skin - General  Thin/thick un/thick cracked heel calluses

Counter-indicators:
  Oily/moist skin
 
 

Risk factors for Dry skin:
 
 
Autoimmune  Diabetes Type I
 Signs of Type 1 Diabetes, as it progresses, may include dry skin, blurred vision, unexplained weight loss and a thin, malnourished appearance.

Diet

  Dehydration
  Need for Dietary Improvement

Environment / Toxicity

  Mercury Toxicity / Amalgam Illness
 Exceptionally dry skin has been associated with mercury toxicity.

Hormones

  Hypothyroidism
  Low Testosterone Level, Female
 Dry and thin skin may be a sign of lack of oil production from your sebaceous glands. A lack of oil production can be related to a decline in testosterone. Normally it is believed that testosterone can only worsen skin by causing breakouts of acne. However, low testosterone levels can lead to worsening of skin conditions as well. Restoring testosterone to normal levels can make skin look much thicker and smoother than it was before.

  Hypoparathyroidism
  Low Estrogen Levels
  Low Adrenal Function / Adrenal Insufficiency

Metabolic

  Anorexia / Starvation Tendency
  Pyroluria

Nutrients

  Vitamin A Toxicity
 Chapped lips and dry skin, which may be early symptoms, will occur in a majority of patients with vitamin A toxicity, particularly in dry weather.

  EFA (Essential Fatty Acid) Requirement
  EFA (Essential Fatty Acid) Type 6 Requirement
 For those who have been focusing on getting a LOT more of the omega 3s in their diet and have cut way back on the omega 6s, if dry skin is still an issue, increasing your intake of omega 6 oils may help.

Organ Health

  Kidney Weakness / Disease
 Excessively dry, persistently itchy skin is a possible symptom of kidney disease.

Symptoms - Skin - General

  Occasional foot itching
 Feet itch from a variety of reasons. Sometimes they get raw from the abrasion caused by your shoes, or by using poorly fitting socks. Occasionally your feet sweat and the moisture causes your feet to itch, and from time to time they are simply too dirty and the tiny particles that build up make them uncomfortable. Once you have ruled out moisture and dead skin as the cause of itchy feet you can move on the genuine medical conditions that may cause itchy feet.
 
 

Dry skin suggests the following may be present:
 
 
Autoimmune  Diabetes Type I
 Signs of Type 1 Diabetes, as it progresses, may include dry skin, blurred vision, unexplained weight loss and a thin, malnourished appearance.

Cell Salts

  Cell Salt, Kali Sulf Need
  Cell Salt, Nat Sulf Need

Metabolic

  Pyroluria

Nutrients

  EFA (Essential Fatty Acid) Type 6 Requirement
 For those who have been focusing on getting a LOT more of the omega 3s in their diet and have cut way back on the omega 6s, if dry skin is still an issue, increasing your intake of omega 6 oils may help.

  Vitamin A Toxicity
 Chapped lips and dry skin, which may be early symptoms, will occur in a majority of patients with vitamin A toxicity, particularly in dry weather.
 
 

Recommendations for Dry skin:
 
 
Botanical  Glycolic Acid

Habits

  Aerobic Exercise
 Exercise increases blood flow and thus the supply of oxygen and nutrients to your skin.

Nutrient

  Essential Fatty Acids
 Dry skin is often related to a deficiency of essential fatty acids.

Physical Medicine

  Topical Applications
 Although a veteranary item, try going to your local feed store and picking up some BAG BALM. Dairy farmers use it to soothe dry, cracked udders. Many report good results on dry skin, especially cracking skin and heels. Apply at night, follwed with a plastic bag and then sock. If you don't like the bag idea, you can just use the sock. It should be used daily and be left on overnight.

Skin

  Cosmetics / Moisturizers
 Moisturizers improve skin hydration by providing a coating which reduces evaporative water loss.
 
 


KEY
Weak or unproven link
Strong or generally accepted link
Proven definite or direct link
Very strongly or absolutely counter-indicative
May do some good
Likely to help
Highly recommended







GLOSSARY

Acne:  A chronic skin disorder due to inflammation of hair follicles and sebaceous glands (secretion glands in the skin).

Chapped:  Roughened, reddened, or cracked skin, especially as a result of cold or exposure.

Dermatitis:  A general term used to refer to eruptions or rashes on the skin.

Diabetes Mellitus:  A disease with increased blood glucose levels due to lack or ineffectiveness of insulin. Diabetes is found in two forms; insulin-dependent diabetes (juvenile-onset) and non-insulin-dependent (adult-onset). Symptoms include increased thirst; increased urination; weight loss in spite of increased appetite; fatigue; nausea; vomiting; frequent infections including bladder, vaginal, and skin; blurred vision; impotence in men; bad breath; cessation of menses; diminished skin fullness. Other symptoms include bleeding gums; ear noise/buzzing; diarrhea; depression; confusion.

Eczema:  Swelling of the outer skin of unknown cause. In the early stage it may be itchy, red, have small blisters, and be swollen, and weeping. Later it becomes crusted, scaly, and thickened.

Epidermis:  The outer layers of the skin, made up of an outer, dead portion and a deeper, living portion. Epidermal cells gradually move outward to the skin surface, changing as they go, until they become flakes.

Ichthyosis:  Skin disease with extreme scaling.

Protein:  Compounds composed of hydrogen, oxygen, and nitrogen present in the body and in foods that form complex combinations of amino acids. Protein is essential for life and is used for growth and repair. Foods that supply the body with protein include animal products, grains, legumes, and vegetables. Proteins from animal sources contain the essential amino acids. Proteins are changed to amino acids in the body.

Sebum:  The oily liquid covering the skin surface.

Testosterone:  The principal male sex hormone that induces and maintains the changes that take place in males at puberty. In men, the testicles continue to produce testosterone throughout life, though there is some decline with age. A naturally occurring androgenic hormone.

Vitamin A:  A fat-soluble vitamin essential to one's health. Plays an important part in the growth and repair of body tissue, protects epithelial tissue, helps maintain the skin and is necessary for night vision. It is also necessary for normal growth and formation of bones and teeth. For Vitamin A only, 1mg translates to 833 IU.