To lessen the dryness of their skin a lot of people apply a moisturizing cream every day, sometimes a few more times a day. The fact that this needs to be done everyday means that these products does not address the underlying reason of the dryness. This article is meant to provide information on how dry skin comes about and how it can be treated and even cured with Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). After reading this article, you will know how to keep your skin more supple, elastic and moisturized and more importantly, healthier.
A couple of months ago, I had a male patient in his mid 30’s who had been suffering from very dry skin since he was a child. The dryness caused severe itching all over his body as well as scaling and cracks in his skin. His dry skin often led to eczema and infections and severe itchiness especially during hot weather. Of course, this significantly affected his quality of life. His work was affected as well and so was his sleep. He tried all sorts of creams, and cortisone all without success in stopping the dryness.
I examined him using TCM diagnostic procedures that included physical examinations of the symptoms, signs, pulse, and tongue. I arrived at a diagnosis of disorder of the Liver, Kidney, and Lung (specifically, excessive Heat in the Lung & Liver and Kidney Yin deficiency). With his help I formulated a plan of treatment that included Miami Chinese medicine and acupuncture. Moreover, I recommended a suitable change to his diet and lifestyle. His skin began showing signs of improvement after a month of treatment and at the end of three month there was a 97% decrease in all of his symptoms. His life began to change. He felt more comfortable and happy with his life and work and was able to get good adequate sleep each night.
Do Certain Internal Organs Have a Relationship with the Skin?
We all know that the largest organ of the human body is the skin. The skin possesses specific pathological and physical functions that are intimately related with specific internal organs of the body. Listed below are the organs that are closely affiliated with the skin and its issues.
1. The Lung and Skin – the Lung is considered by Chinese medicine to govern the skin. It controls the opening and closing of the skin pores. When the Lung dysfunctions, the health of the skin is affected which can lead to the following conditions:
i. The function of the Lung is affected when external pathogens such as Heat (virus) and Wind infiltrate the body. This result in sore throat, sneezing and shingles or rashes on the skin.
ii. Besides suffering from a phlegm disorder and cough, you can also suffer from dry skin if have been smoking for a long time.
2. The Liver, Heart, and the Skin – The flow of blood and emotions is dominated by the Liver and Heart and any change in the emotions and blood flow can affect the skin. This means that if a person has problem in the function of his Liver and Heart, it may result in a buildup of toxins in his bloodstream which causes flare ups on the skin, which in turn, causes or exacerbates rashes, eczema, pimples, and other skin problems.
3. The Kidneys and the Skin – The original yin and yang of a person, which governs all the phases of the skin and body, is dominated by the Kidneys. Any disorder in the Yin and Yang energy of the Kidney will lead to skin problems like excessive perspiration, hot flashes (especially on the face and neck), and dry skin.
4. The Large Intestine and the Skin – The Large Intestine and the skin have a very close relationship with each other. Too much eating, especially of spicy and hot foods (and also too much drinking of alcohol and soda) can lead to toxin buildup in the intestines leading to adverse skin symptoms and other kinds of issues including itchiness, rash, pimples, boils, as well as bloating, pungent flatulence, and constipation.
The Symptoms of Dry Skin
Dry skin may arise immediately or slowly during the course of time. It can manifest as skin that is painful, scaly irritated, cracked, or itchy and can develop on the elbows, nails, mouth, lips, and even the heels of your feet. If the dryness has been around for quite a while, it can make the skin weak and vulnerable to eczema, infection, itchiness, or rash on top of the dryness. Depending on the person’s specific condition, the symptoms may be severe or mild or may be permanent or may come and go.
Dry Skin Causes
It is important to state that each person’s medical history, constitution, and lifestyle are different and unique in their own way. The cause of one’s dry skin may be different even if they’re suffering from the same dry skin. What’s important is that one needs to know the exact cause of his dry skin so that it can be treated in the proper manner.
Deficiency in Blood and Liver Yin
For most acupuncturists, this type of underlying disharmony is the most common reason for dry skin. This problem arises more in women past the age of menopause and over the age of 40 and women after labor. Males can also suffer from this type of disharmony.
Deficiency in Blood and Liver Yin can arise from weak blood circulation to the skin and deficient Yin. As a result , the skin does not receive enough moisture and nutrition which besides the dry skin may also result in a dream interrupted sleep, insomnia, strong emotions, anxiety, hot flashes during sleep, and in the evenings, excessive thirst, a feeling of too much heat in the body, unhealthy looking nails, dry stools, and hair loss.
Heat in the Lung & Liver
There can be several reasons why excess Heat in the Lung and Liver arise. These may include pneumonia, virus, cold, flu, Heat coming from the other organs, drugs, spicy and hot foods, or chronic alcoholism. When the Lung or Liver overheats, the skin can become dry and unhealthy. Besides skin dryness this type of disharmony can lead to constipation, insomnia, extreme emotions, dry eyes, red eyes, dry throat, and dry cough. People suffering from Excessive Lung and Liver Heat can be prone to hay fever, eczema, or asthma, as well.
Beside the aforementioned causes of dry skin, there can other several reasons for dry skin. These include: eating certain types of foods, certain, drugs, chronic illness of injury, and poor blood circulation, among many other factors.
What to do if you have dry skin
Change your Diet and Lifestyle. This means that you should:
1. Get adequate sleep – be sure you get enough sleep; the best time to sleep is before 11pm. Avoid going to sleep late in the night
2. Exercise in comfortable and nice settings – Swimming, slow bike rides, slow walking,, and yoga are just some of the things that can improve the health of your skin. Avoid doing these activities under strong sunshine.
3. Eat cooling foods and lots of green leafy vegetables – These include pear, celery, lemon, cucumber, eggplant, carrots, mung beans, spinach, and peppermint and/or green tea among many others.
4. Stay away from deep-fried, spicy, and hot foods as well as alcohol – these are the foods that may increase Heat in the Lung, digestive system, and Liver, and flare up the skin and therefore are foods that should be AVOIDED if you have dry skin: lamb, shellfish, chives, garlic, ginger, and onion.
5. Relax – your work and lifestyle should be arranged in such a way that it does not cause too much stress. Avoid being too emotional as it can affect the Liver and result in too much Liver Heat.
TCM and Other Modes of Treatment
TCM is an excellent way of resolving dry skin if you have used up all other forms of conventional modes of treatment. The most important thing is finding out the cause of your dry skin in order to determine the correct treatment for it.
If you have been suffering from dry skin for a very long time, the first thing to do is to talk to your doctor or healthcare provider. He will give you a general health check to determine the root cause of your problem and treat it accordingly.
Dry skin is a problem that can be treated or even cured. It all depends on how well you care for your skin and on knowing what really causes your skin to dry up.