Asteatotic dermatitis is a dry skin condition that is also known as eczema craquelé, due to it appearing like dry and cracked mud. The condition is also commonly known as winter eczema or winter itch. The term ‘asteatotic, refers to a lack of oil. Underlying skin can be inflamed whilst the upper layer is dry and scaly with cracking.
What part of the body is affected by asteatotic dermatitis?
This dry skin condition mainly affected the shins, but can also be found on the lower flank, upper limbs and trunk
Who is prone to asteatotic dermatitis?
This skin condition mainly effects the elderly. Dry skin commonly occurs in the sixth decade. In the average person the dry of skin at this age goes relatively unnoticed however.
The condition affects males slightly more than females and occurs worldwide. Supposedly it is more likely to affect people who do not look after their personal hygiene.
A microscopic look at asteatotic dermatitis
A close up look of the dry skin reveals that asteatotic dermatitis is not caused by a deficiency of the skins natural oil (sebum) but by a problem with the stratum corneum. The stratum corneum is the protective outer layer of the skin. The problem lies in the decreased levels of intercellular lipids (fats) which results in the production of excessive corneocyte production. Corneocytes are like the “bricks” of the stratum corneum that are held in place by a cornefied envelope to form the protective skin barrier. This results in a reduced water binding ability and Natural Moisturizing Factors. The outcome is loss of pliability, dessication of the stratum corneum which eventually dries and cracks.
Causes of asteatotic dermatitis
Causes of asteatotic dermatitis are exogenous (from outside) and endogenous (from within) to the body.
External causes include:
- low humidity
- low temperature
- chronic UV damage
- excessive use of soaps and cleansers that damage the stratum corneum
- prolonged exposure to water and excessive scrubbing
- the use of irritating substances on the skin such as perfumed products
Treatment of asteatotic dermatitis
A successful treatment of requires that we treat both the inside and outside of the body.
- avoid long showers or baths and once daily only
- avoid excessively hot baths as this will open up the pores of the skin
- avoid the use of perfumed soaps and body washes, instead using gentle cream based cleansers
- avoid harsh scrubbing of the skin
- apply a moisturizing cream that is oil based and with Natural Moisturizing Factors and ingredients that help to repair the damaged stratum corneum, several times daily (your practitioner will advise you of the most suitable).
- ensure the body is receiving optimum nutrition for wound healing
- essential oils taken daily (your practitioner will advise you of a suitable dose)
- nutritional supplements to help the body retain fluid effectively
- avoid smoking
- stimulate the circulation by taking short walks, regularly.
- do gentle body brushing to stimulate the circulation
- follow an antiinflammatory eating program that is rich in whole foods and phytonutrients
Follow the treatment program recommended by your Skin Care Specialist