Someone recently asked me about how to heal chronic dry skin. This issue is caused by a few factors:
There is a dry skin cycle that occurs. Excessive external dryness coupled with heat and/or excessive washing with soaps, the use of various chemicals in commercial skin lotions, can lead to the deterioration of the skin’s natural barrier leading to rapid evaporation and loss of flexibility.
Then the body responds by producing new skin cells and releasing pro-inflammatory substances. This leads to flaking, itchiness, redness and scaly skin. The itchy skin can lead to scratching which creates excoriations and secondary issues, like infections of bacteria or fungus. Unfortunately, this new skin is more susceptible to further damage by dry and hot conditions, so the cycle continues until it is a chronic one.
There is also an internally causation to dry skin. As the skin is governed by the liver, when blood volume is low, via either lack of hydration or a true blood deficiency (seen in many menstruating age females), then the skin is not properly fed the nutrients it needs to repair itself. Nutrients like biotin, silica, vitamin C, MSM sulfur and EFA’s (essential fatty acids), more specifically, PUFA’s (poly-unsaturated fatty acids), are some of the more important ones to mention.
To break the dry skin cycle, an internal and external regime is the key to success.
Hydration: Drink plenty of pure, living water that is not poisoned by fluoride, chlorine or drug residues. At least 3L a day and you can add a pinch of Himalayan Crystal Salt into it to assist absorption. Find out where your local springs are, gather & use this water for drinking and cooking. You can also look into home water filtration systems, especially for showering as the chemicals from water can also break down the skin’s barrier and contribute to the inflammation cycle.
Topical support: I have designed a few remedies that assist dry skin by providing a substitute barrier that prevents further evaporation & offers the skin direct nourishment to assist in its repair. My Wildcrafted Jewelweed Salve is designed to stop itching and condition the skin. It contains 4 big skin botanical healers: jewelweed, plantain, comfrey & red clover. Customers are impressed with the results of this product and it is excellent to have during winter to prevent dry, itchy skin.
My Calendula Wound Care Salve quickly heals open skin and nourishes it with lanolin. It upregulates the skin repair mechanisms and helps to reduce inflammation and scaliness.
My Sweetgrass & Lemon Balm Skin Calm Cream with chaga, chamomile, colloidal silver & sulfur removes the threat of infection while calming inflammation, soothing the skin with its botanical infusions and assisting barrier repair with raw cacao butter.
The Goods All Purpose Salve is a great general support for skin over all, softening, moisturizing and taking care of any fungal secondary infections.
Foods: Eating Yin nourishing foods like black and Aduki beans, sesame seeds, eggs, nettle, asparagus, coconut milk, & miso are helpful. Increase omega fatty acids via spinach, walnuts, chia seeds and safe, wild caught fish sources. Lentils, kidney beans, prunes and most green vegetables are excellent blood builders.
PUFA’s – Poly-unsaturated fatty acids can also be taken in supplement form like Genestra’s Super EFA, Super EFA Capsules Genestra or for babies and children, Nordic Naturals’ Baby’s DHA and Complete Omega Junior.
Sulfur – MSM Sulfur assists in the repair of skin. Homeopathic sulfur is a classic remedy for dry, itchy, damaged skin.
B-Vitamins – VItamin B deficiency can cause acne, sensitivity to sunlight, cracked lips, dryness, wrinkles, rashes, and an uneven complexion. Take a good 100 mg complex supplement like this one each morning with breakfast. This lends energy as well, for the day.
Ascorbate (Vitamin C) – Vitamin C should be taken in the correct format: ascorbate (reduced and buffered) state. My favourite is The Right C by Biomed, as 1/2 tsp is 2 grams. You can take 3-5 doses a day, just never stop high doses of vitamin C suddenly as it’s harder on the body to compensate for such a sudden loss. You can take this to bowel tolerance for a short while, if you wish.
Silica – Silica is a vital trace mineral that supports the structure, or scaffolding of skin. Food Grade Diatomaceous Earth is an excellent way to get this into your diet, you can add 1/2 tsp into a smoothie for ease of taking. Most fruits and vegetables carry this mineral in their own ‘skin’, the peel. Best to eat organic, non-sprayed produce in this regard.
This list is not an extensive one, as there are many more remedies and nutrients that support skin health, but I wanted to address this question and create the beginning protocol I would suggest starting with for any chronic dry skin issue. If this didn’t take care of the matter then I would seek deeper root cause issues or other blocks to be cleared.
Amandha D Vollmer
BSc, Herbalist,Reiki Master,
Holistic Health Practitioner,
Degree of Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine
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