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.

Hyperhidrosis

Excess sweat production on the entire surface of the body or just in some areas (especially the scalp, palms of the hands, soles of the feet) is called hyperhidrosis.
Some of the causes that may lead to temporary hyperhidrosis are physical hyperactivity, fevers, saunas, vomiting and dysentery. Causes that may instead lead to a repeated state of hyperhidrosis are hyperthyroidism, hypoglycemia and alcoholism

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Hyperseborrhea

Hyperseborrhea or hypersecretion of sebum is simply a scalp problem due to an excessive production of sebum caused by hyperactivity of the sebaceous glands. Immediate symptoms of hyperseborrhea are scalp itchiness and pain. However, a later symptom is hair loss.

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Cuneiform hair or dwarf hair

This is very short hair, between 1 cm and a maximum of 2 cm in length, which usually has insufficient pigmentation. This hair has a base structure that is quite large, almost like normal hair. It then tends to get smaller towards the end, thus taking on the form of a very pointed cone.
This hair has a strong tendency to fall out.

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Seborrheic alopecia (seborrheic hair loss)

Seborrheic hair loss is a form of premature hair loss that generally afflicts men in their youth (onset between 20 and 30 years of age), mainly affecting the frontal region and the crown. The cause, as the name of the condition suggests, is related to an excess production of sebum that provokes or accelerates hair loss.

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Hair follicles and bulbs

A hair follicle is a formation of epidermal origin, anchored in the dermis and consisting of a hair and its sheath.
The formation of hair follicles occurs early. They begin to appear as early as the second month of gestation. These follicles will continue to form for the entire duration of the pregnancy. At birth, the baby will indeed have the entire supply of follicles with which it was genetically equipped and from this moment on, no others will form.

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Seborrheic dermatitis

Seborrheic dermatitis is a very common scalp condition characterized by the presence of yellow and oily flakes on the skin.

It is associated with erythema, small scaly, and intense itching.
Seborrheic dermatitis is a well-known condition but is still not easily identifiable. Many men and women starting from puberty have oily, greasy, shiny and thickened skin with large hair follicles, especially noticeable around the nose and mouth, forehead, torso, scalp (affected by so-called oily dandruff).

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