Dry skin (technically called xerosis) is one of the most common of skin health complaints. Moisturizing products account for nearly 10 billion dollars in annual sales. Even though, according to the National Health Interview Survey, 3 or 4 percent of the population suffer from xerosis, it’s tough to find an adult American who doesn’t have at least some degree of skin dryness. Even kids are susceptible to the condition. According to an article published the September 2006 issue of Current Allergy and Asthma Reports, atopic dermatitis, a cutaneous disease characterized by dry skin, affects 10-20 % of American children.
Yet, despite its ubiquity, dry skin should never happen! The skin is exquisitely equipped with various mechanisms that are supposed to assure the tissue remains hydrated. When that doesn’t occur, something in the ordinarily resilient and responsive cutaneous biochemistry is tweaked. In other words, dry skin is much more than a superficial cosmetic concern. As insignificant as it may seem, it’s a fully-fledged health care issue. Dry skin is a symptom, and symptoms are the smoke which indicate a biochemical breakdown fire.
In this way the symptomology of xerosis is a message; it’s a harbinger and indicator that somewhere in the body something is wrong or something is missing. In this way, skin dryness, like other symptoms, should be regarded as a friend; it’s an announcement of increased risk of other, more significant health care challenges including heart disease, autoimmunity and even cancer!
Though all of the above diseases can be associated with xerosis, most of us believe that the symptoms of xerosis are merely superficial. So, to deal with the itchy flakes and uncomfortable dryness, we merely put a moisturizer on and forget about the matter. Even skin care professionals are entranced by the illusion. Dermatologists, estheticians and cosmetologists, like their patients, address skin issues by working topically.
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