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Surprising Dry Skin Cause and Cure

Updated on February 19, 2018
LiteraryMind profile image

I am not a health professional. However, from time to time I stumble upon things in my own experience that might be helpful to others.

Dry Cracked
Dry Cracked | Source

The Saga of One Woman's Dry Skin Problem and Solution

I noticed in my late fifties that my skin became super dry. This is not surprising as our bodies and skin tend to change as we age. What was surprising is that my lower arms looked the same way my grandmother's did when she was in her mid eighties. That, and it seemed to happen rapidly, rather than gradually.

The next thing I noticed was my legs. The skin was as flakey as strudel. If I wore dark socks in winter, and took them off the inside was covered with flakes of skin. Banging the socks together caused a cloud of dead skin to form in the air. Yech!

Tree Bark
Tree Bark | Source

Getting to the Heart of the Dry Skin Problem

Trials and Tribulations

I have always had "normal" - not dry/not oily -- but sensitive skin. Early on I learned to cover up in the sun and to use sunscreen or I would blister and peel. I always took care of my skin, so why was this happening to me and why so suddenly? It seemed to come on suddenly.

At an appointment with my Naturopath, for another reason, I mentioned my arms. Due to the sudden onset of the scaly flakes I though it might be symptomatic of another problem. My Naturopath, who I have the utmost respect for, and has helped me with so many other problems, replied, "That's your bark dear. I tell all my patients that as we age we all develop bark. Try a little lotion". THIS, was not the answer I was hoping for; I had lotioned. Moreover, I left her office mumbling to myself "now, I am a gnarly old tree".

Not wanting to become a self-obsessed narcissist, I decided to let the aging process take its course and accept it -- although not happily.

Then I went to my Dermatologist for some skin tags around my eyes. She suggested that I also have a body check for anything that looked cancerous. In the process of scrutinizing for suspicious moles, she noticed my dry skin and seemed alarmed it was so bad. When she asked what kind of soap I was using, I indicated I was currently using an olive oil soap and she agreed that was exactly right for my dry skin. Her advice was that I IMMEDIATELY apply moisturizer to my towel dried skin after showering.

Okay, I diligently did what she said. I applied every kind of moisturizer I could get me hands on, without success. Then, I tried baby oils and vegetable oils from the kitchen. My skin was somewhat softer and smoother for a little while, but it a few hours I was back to sandpaper arms and snowflake legs.

My Accidental Discovery

No More Snowflakes and Bark

One day, I was cleaning out my kitchen cabinet and I came across a bottle of Vitamin A tablets, that I bought, but never took. They weren't expired yet, and I thought before they expire I should probably take them. Thinking that I don't eat as many Vitamin A rich foods in the summer, as I do in the winter, maybe I could use some. (In the winter I eat more sweet potatoes, carrots, pumpkin and winter squash). I started taking one 8000 IU capsule a day.

In about two weeks, I noticed how smooth my legs were. There were no more snowflakes falling. Then sometime after that I noticed my lower arms were smoother. "What's going on", I wondered. Then the light dawned that the only difference was that I was taking Vitamin A.

Over the next few days, I noticed other things. Those little bumps in back of my arms were smoothing out and that "V" shaped area from my neck to cleavage was looking pretty great.

After 4 weeks my legs remained smooth, my lower arms, although not 100% perfect are about much less scaly.

Many years ago, I read Let's Eat Right To Keep Fit by Adelle Davis. I was very impressed at the time and made many changes to my eating habits. I whisked out my old yellowed paperback copy and sure enough in Chapter 7, Ms.Davis discusses the changes to skin when a Vitamin A deficiency is present. She also discusses it in her book Let's Get Well.

I believe I eat a pretty well balanced diet of whole grains and fruits and vegetables. My guess is that as I aged I need more Vitamin A.

Not Everyone's Dry Skin Solution

Give It Some Thought

If a Vitamin A deficiency could be the cause of your dry skin, this might be worth a try. A good place to start is by reading Lets Eat Right to Keep Fit. Adelle Davis goes in considerably more detail about the symptoms of a Vitamin A deficiency.

Another caveat-- my understanding is Vitamin A is one of a few vitamins that can be toxic in too high a dose. You should really consult a physician or naturopath to determine a safet dose for you. Or, consider a safer route and just up your intake of yellow and orange vegetables and fruits: carrots, apricots, squash, pumpkin, etc.

Dry Feet?

I have found the only way to soften feet is to cover them with any sort of cream -- baby oil, olive oil, Vaseline -- it doesn't matter. Put on a pair of cotton socks and go to sleep. After a few nights of this, you will have feet like a baby.

Not Everyone's Dry Skin is Caused by a Vitamin A Deficiency

Try the link below to helpful beauty hints

Read Paula Begoun's Books

Her books are virtual encyclopedias. They give in depth information on cosmetics and skin products. She explains ingredients and what they do, which to look for and which to avoid.

She gives great tips that help you avoid buying costly products that don't work.

Don't Go to the Cosmetics Counter Without Me: A unique guide to skin care and makeup products from today's hottest brands — shop smarter and find ... (Don't Go to the Cosmetic Counter Without Me)
Don't Go to the Cosmetics Counter Without Me: A unique guide to skin care and makeup products from today's hottest brands — shop smarter and find ... (Don't Go to the Cosmetic Counter Without Me)
I am so impressed with this book. I first started using it many years ago and the information is so valuable. Learn which inexpensive cosmetics have the exact same, or better ingredients than the expensive ones.

Everyone welcome -- you do not have to be a member of Hubpages.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

© 2011 Ellen Gregory

Welcome! I Would Love to Hear From You - Let's Share and Care

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    • yayang0405 lm profile image

      yayang0405 lm 

      6 years ago

      I also experience dry skin especially on the months of December and January because of cold season. This is really helpful. Thanks for sharing.

    • Marja79 profile image


      7 years ago

      I have super dry legs and itchy. For me vitamins are not enough to fix it, but I use lotion + baking soda mixture and olive oil. Well I still have dry skin, but at least it is not itchy.

      Great lens, vitamins are so important and so many people would benefit from eating them!

    • Sylvestermouse profile image

      Cynthia Sylvestermouse 

      7 years ago from United States

      Oh, wow! I have never heard Vitamin A recommended for dry sky, and I certainly have trouble with dry skin in the winter. I will definitely give Vitamin A a shot myself. Thanks for the suggestion!

    • smine27 profile image

      Shinichi Mine 

      7 years ago from Tokyo, Japan

      Fortunately I do eat a lot of pumpkins and carrots and other root vegetables throughout the autumn and winter months. My skin gets extremely dry.

    • lesliesinclair profile image


      7 years ago

      I think there's something to this story, as I've neglected those deep yellow foods at times as well, and have also noticed the dryness, and a craving to get some more Vit A foods back into my diet. What I've noticed lately is that my hands are less dry since I'm concentrating on the deep yellows.

    • Bellezza-Decor profile image


      7 years ago from Canada

      Coconut oil is also a very good oil for extremely dry skin. I have found Lac-Hydrin AHA lotion to be the best. It has lactate (milk) that eliminates the dry dead skin resulting in a much moister skin.

    • WriterJanis2 profile image


      7 years ago

      This is good to know about vitamin A. I will pass this information on to someone I know who has dry legs.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      What a wonderful relief for you and discovered all because you didn't want to be wasteful! I love how descriptive you are here with your strudel flying all over the place. Now this is personal if I've ever seen personal! You had me remembering years ago when Mom had dry feet, I think it was her chiropractor that said to put vaseline on her feet and wrap them in plastic bags at night it it was an amazing transformation but she sounded funny walking around and well worth it! :)

    • TolovajWordsmith profile image

      Tolovaj Publishing House 

      7 years ago from Ljubljana

      Vitamin deficiency is certainly one of major reasons for skin related problems. We too often forget the skin is actually our biggest organ and we only look at it from aesthetic point of view. Thanks for this info about vitamin A.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      I have scary similarities with my dry skin which started about age 60... about the time i started having those dreaded hot flashes. Lower arms look like dry crackled mud and i sure could relate to the dark socks having all that dry skin. I too shook them when i took them off and couldn't believe the cloud. cough.. cough!! Also, hands, arms, legs look as bad as my grandmothers did and she lived to be 99. I KNOW i don't eat enough fruits and vegs so I plan on talking to the nurse practitioner at my next routine check-up about Vit-A. Thank you so much for posting this article. At least now there MIGHT be help for me yet.

    • Chocolatealchemy profile image


      8 years ago from London, United Kingdom

      Wow, great Lens - thanks for all the useful tips. I'm going to try eating more Vit A foods - maybe juicing carrots more regularly. And I can recommend Coconut Oil as a wonderful natural moisturizer for dry skin and hair!

    • ItayaLightbourne profile image

      Itaya Lightbourne 

      8 years ago from Topeka, KS

      This makes so much sense! I am now reading Adelle Davis' book that you recommended and I am understanding several of my symptoms. Looks like I might be needing more vitamin E as well. Thank you very much for this info about possible causes for dry skin. :)

    • sukkran trichy profile image

      sukkran trichy 

      8 years ago from Trichy/Tamil Nadu

      thanks for sharing some valuable information on dry skin causes and cure. an informative lens.

    • Loretta L profile image

      Loretta Livingstone 

      8 years ago from Chilterns, UK.

      I think I'll have to up my amount of orange fruit and veg. I'd be nervous to take extra vitamin A. Great lens though, it's nice to know my skin isn't the only flaky one.

    • Linda BookLady profile image

      Linda Jo Martin 

      8 years ago from Post Falls, Idaho, USA

      Thanks for the dry skin ideas. I don't have too much of a problem with it. Maybe that's because I love fresh carrot juice!

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      oh I hope this is my problem too! I've been fighting dry skin for years but as I'm getting older too, it's definitely worsening. I already take extra Vit C in the winter, maybe I need to swap to multivitamins & see what else fixes itself! lol

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Interesting. I will research this more as I prefer natural solutions to our natural problems. I like the naturopath describing your skin as bark. Funny but unfortunate.

    • Fridayonmymind LM profile image

      Fridayonmymind LM 

      8 years ago

      I'm with you about the socks - works a treat. The vit A sounds interesting,

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      I saved your article and going to read later, because now going to Mall. It looks very helpful for dry skin. I am facing this problem.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Great information on the cause of dry skin!

      Thanks for sharing.

    • Adventuretravels profile image


      8 years ago from UK

      My wife has very dry skin and always complains about it. I shall certainly tell her to read your lens. Thanks for your lens. I do love Squidoo - don't you :0)

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Never really thought of Vitamin A as a reason for dry skin but it's obviously something to think about.

    • favored profile image

      Fay Favored 

      8 years ago from USA

      Thanks for the information about Vitamin A. We tend to forget that our skin needs to be nourished from the inside out.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      i thought i was age, too. I will try the vitamin A. Thank you.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Thanks for the reminder. My skin is not fabulous, but it isn't dry. My hair is falling out. Like shedding. I'll take a little vitamin a, and find some omega 3s. Maybe that will do the trick. Loved your lens. Inspiring.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Thanks for good wisdom here. Something to be aware of...

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      What a curious turn of events; I notice that neither health practitioner was the source of the solution. Did you bark at her for the bark comment ;->?

    • SusanRDavis profile image

      Susan R. Davis 

      8 years ago from Vancouver

      I had a bit of a problem with skin flaking off for a while. My mom - who does great things with various lotions - suggested a lotion/cream at Bath and Body Works that has some paraffin in it. It acts as a moisture barrier to keep the moisture in the skin. I don't need more than an ultra thin layer of it. Normally when you apply some lotion, if it doesn't all absorb deeply, especially if the skin is dry and scaly. Some of it gets rubbed off or feels greasy and your skin dries out quickly anyway especially hands where you are handling a lot of paper or things that dry your fingers and palms out. I tried that and haven't had that problem since.

    • DIY Mary profile image

      Mary Stuart 

      8 years ago

      Thank you for this very useful information. I will keep it for future reference in case the same thing should ever happen to me or to someone I know.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Thank you for sharing these useful information.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Thank you for sharing these useful information.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Useful tips. Thanks.

    • Kailua-KonaGirl profile image


      9 years ago from New York

      Thank you so much for the information. The same thing has been happening to me. I had run out of the Vitamin A I usually take and hadn't replenished it. The more crap the MD has prescribed the worse my skin has gotten. I will now get back on my Vitamin A pronto. *Angel Blessed* and I've added your link to My Squid Angel Wings to be featured in the "Healthy Living » Alternative Medicine" neighborhood.

    • debnet profile image


      9 years ago from England

      Off to buy some vitamin A!! Blessed by a Squid Angel ;)

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      I haven't tried Vitamin A - hmmm maybe I will. I do use something with success called Animal Scents Ointment from YoungLiving and it works well for me.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      You may have just solved a puzzle for me. Thank you!

    • firstcookbooklady profile image

      Char Milbrett 

      9 years ago from Minnesota

      I will have to find out more about Vitamin A deficiency.. Thanks for this lens!

    • traveller27 profile image


      9 years ago

      Thanks for sharing your story.

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 

      9 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Very interesting. I also have dry skin so I need to find out if Vitamin A will help. Thanks for the info.

    • LiteraryMind profile imageAUTHOR

      Ellen Gregory 

      9 years ago from Connecticut, USA

      @TravelingRae: Thank you for your comments. I love your travel lenses

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      You just described my skin and I'm only in my early 30's. I'm going to try taking vitamin A supplements and see if they help.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Am only 20 but am still too conscious about my skin, I better buy those capsules as well ha before I need it badly..Thank you for sharing such useful information.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Great lens, and congratulations on the purple star! I do agree with your warning, though--Vitamin A, being a fat-soluble vitamin, can be toxic if taken in too high a dose.I suffer from very dry skin in winter, so I'm going to give this a try!

    • Johanna Eisler profile image

      Johanna Eisler 

      9 years ago

      Thank you! I've been neglecting Vitamin A. Hopefully this will help. :)

      CONGRATULATIONS on your purple star!!!

    • Joan Haines profile image

      Joan Haines 

      9 years ago

      I've got dry skin too. I think I'll eat more orange foods. Thanks.

    • paperfacets profile image

      Sherry Venegas 

      9 years ago from La Verne, CA

      Adell Davis. I have never seen someone mention that nutritionist. I read both those books. I still have the one with the recipes. Remember reading her take on margarine? I switched back to butter after reading Let's Eat Right.." In the early 2000 then scientists discovered it. Don't eat hydrogenated fats. Twenty years later! I am glad I was twenty years ahead of everyone else.

      I do have the dry skin now. The lower leg and feet the most. Thanks for the reminder.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Helpful advice!

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Great insight on this lens. Thanks for sharing. I'm going to tell a relative about this.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Thanks for writing ths lens. I have noticed the same problem. I will give your advice a try. Now I am off to try one of your yogurt receipes from you oter lens for lunch.


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