What is Scaly Skin?
While some people may suffer from dry skin, others find themselves affected by a more extreme skin disorder called Ichthyosis vulgaris. This skin condition is characterized by extremely scaly skin, especially on the arms and legs, but also on the scalp, back and face.
What Causes Scaly Skin?
The cause for the condition may be hereditary (passed on from a parent) or it may occur from an exposure to a trigger in later life, or certain medications may exacerbate the problem. The scales on the skin range in color from white to gray or brown. Another cause of extreme scaly skin may be psoriasis.
The acquired form of Ichthyosis vulgaris may also be due to internal factors such as:
- Poor nutrition
- Infections, such as leprosy or HIV/AIDS
- Glandular diseases, such as thyroid problems
- Use of certain medications (nicotinic acid, cimetidine, and clofazimine)
Both hereditary and acquired Ichthyosis vulgaris can be soothed in the short term by moisturizing the skin. Any cracks in the skin should be treated immediately to prevent an infection. A physician may recommend a topical cream or lotion containing prescription-strength alpha- or beta-hydroxy acids (glycolic acid, lactic acid, salicylic acid), or a medication with high concentrations of propylene glycol. Isotretinoin may also be prescribed – however this is a very strong medication with many potential side effects.
If a child or adult continues to have very dry, scaly skin despite twice daily application of an over-the-counter moisturizer should see a physician for evaluation.
Natural Herbal and Homeopathic Remedies related to scaly skin
Help for Scaly Skin
Many herbal and homeopathic remedies have been formulated with specific ingredients to help soothe and naturally hydrate scaly skin. Calc flour is a biochemic tissue salt particularly useful for the healing of chapped lips and cracked skin, while Calendula officinalis (Marigold) is an herbal ingredient used to treat skin problems and promote healing.
Chamomile soothes skin irritation and reduces pain and discomfort, without side effects or the risk of addiction. Vitamin E products can also be used topically to ensure optimal skin health. Always use natural remedies from a reputable source.