Scientific Area

Dry skin or asteatosis

CATEGORIES SCIENTIFIC AREA

Scientific collaboration between Professor Marco Toscani and Dr. Pasquale Fino, Chair of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgery, Umberto I Health Center – “Sapienza” University of Rome.

Dry skin or asteatosis is a scalp condition deriving from a lipid deficiency.
It is often associated with a situation of exacerbated dehydration. We can identify both internal and external causes for this anomaly.

Dehydration plays a key role among the internal causes.
Skin dehydration is often caused by self-intoxication, due to the presence of excess fat alcohols. An excessive presence of fat alcohols in the blood causes an imbalance in the anchorage and/or elimination of minerals, and the excess elimination of these minerals results in dehydrated skin. A shortage or lack of vitamin A may also cause asteatosis.

The action of alkalis and/or dehydrating substances such as chlorides, sulphates, iodine tincture and alcohol may cause asteatosis. Environmental factors are well-known external causes for the condition.
It is important to remember that low external temperatures cause a sudden and quick drop in sweat production, corresponding to a related drop in liquids on the skin.

The use of alkaline shampoos and strong anti-grease shampoos results in the reduction of oils on the skin. Since the shampoo eliminates fat alcohols, the skin dries out, leading to a process of dehydration.
Lotions with too much alcohol should be used with caution, since they cause massive dryness and dehydration of the skin.
An excessive use of alkaline-reducing-oxidizing substances composed of keratolytics (products that degrade keratin) make the keratin brittle, fragile and dehydrated.
Using a hair dryer with air that is too hot dehydrates the keratin and makes it brittle and fragile.

When dry and dehydrated, the skin is fragile and brittle and tends to flake. The reduction or absence of the acidic-hydrolipid layer reduces self-sterilization and therefore the dry skin with dandruff becomes a fertile breeding ground for pathogenic microorganisms that foster infections. If grease is reduced, hair becomes dry, rough, opaque, porous, fragile and often static and tangled.

A dry scalp (asteatosis) is the result of a reduction in the hydrolipid content of the skin, which causes dandruff, dry hair and itchiness. We can identify three different scalp problems, according to the variation of the relation between the lack of water and oils.
When sweat glands do not function well, impeding an adequate flow of water to the skin, it will become dry and dehydrated.
An oil deficit can be identified in dry, alipidic skin, occurring when the sweat glands do not produce a sufficient amount of sebum.

In dry, dehydrated and alipidic skin, we can observe a lack of both water and lipids (sebum). This situation results in asteatosis. Asteatosis is caused by both sweat gland disorders and environmental factors (cold environments).
Personal hygiene practices that are excessively drying, the use of alkaline and anti-grease shampoos, vitamin deficiencies, reduced consumption of vitamin A and an excessive use of alkaline-reducing-oxidizing substances all cause skin dehydration.
Dry, thin and off-white flakes form in the presence of dry skin and dandruff, accompanied by scalp itchiness, without pain on the skin and risk of seborrheic dermatitis.

Useful trichological treatments for dry hair are composed of regenerating, hydrating and nourishing substances and hydrophilic, natural oils. On an external level, these substances must provide oils and water in sufficient quantities for nourishing the skin. Massaging the scalp is also useful, with the function of preventing the accumulation of toxins that make the skin hard and compress the capillaries, of producing capillary vasodilation, facilitating the arrival of nourishing substances (anabolism) and of stimulating sebum secretion (production of essential sebum) that is useful for fighting dry skin and hair.

Laser treatments are also useful, facilitating blood irrigation to the bulbs, and revitalizing the activity of the pilosebaceous apparatus and sebum production.

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