About Itchy Skin & Vitamin Deficiency

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About Itchy Skin & Vitamin Deficiency
About Itchy Skin & Vitamin Deficiency (Image: omniNate, Flickr)

There are many potential causes for itchy skin. Some of them result from relatively minor problems like topical irritation caused by overly strong detergent or an allergic reaction to some sort of skin product. It could also result from serious liver problems, malnutrition or even over-consumption of vitamin A. Taking more vitamin E and building a more healthy, balanced diet reduces the vulnerability of the skin to rough, itchy patches.

Significance

Itchy skin leads to further dermatological issues such as dry, flaky skin or acne. Malnutrition leads directly to skin issues. It's one of the first signs that this condition is starting to have a negative effect on the body. To ward off itchy skin, take a multivitamin and eat a diet that contains fresh fruit and vegetables every day. If the skin issues clear up within a week or two of enriching the diet, then you've resolved any vitamin deficiency. Skin problems are usually first apparent on the face, but other sensitive areas include the upper arms, elbows, thighs and neck. This often leads to soreness and itchiness over time if left untreated.

Function

Vitamin E protects cells against free radicals--damaging byproducts of energy production in the body. This damage frequently becomes visible as an itchy skin rash. Vitamin E is an antioxidant that helps improve the immune system. It has been shown by some studies to reduce the chances of developing cancer or heart disease when taken regularly either in supplement form or within the diet. Both genders should take in about 200 International Units (IU) of Vitamin E per day to promote healthy skin. Vitamin E deficiency presents in the skin as increased sensitivity to the sun and reduced ability to retain moisture, leading to dryness.

Features

Anti-oxidants are available from just about any healthy food. Nuts and healthy oils like canola and olive oil are rich in Vitamin E. Carrots, oranges, strawberries, kiwis, grapefruits and others have lots of Vitamin A , which is great for skin. Nuts, fish, shellfish, red meat, garlic and chicken also have plenty of antioxidants. More or less, if the food is natural, unprocessed and fresh, it will ward off itchy skin rashes due to its high vitamin content. Men should take 900 micrograms of Vitamin A per day, and women should take in 700 micrograms. Vitamin A deficiency shows up first by leading to dry skin, dry hair and cracking fingernails.

Considerations

Topical vitamin-enriched skin creams can also make itchy skin patches disappear, but it's like fighting the ocean if it doesn't accompany a healthy diet. Apply the skin cream only after washing the face or area affected by a rash. Do not dry it vigorously--pat dry and leave the area damp. Calamine lotion is particularly beneficial for itchy skin resulting from an allergic reaction or abrasion. This lotion will only manage the symptoms, however, it will not resolve any vitamin deficiency issues.

Benefits

Practicing good nutrition leads to healthy, clear and beautiful skin. Avoid eating too much dairy, processed foods, baked goods, candy, soda and other such treats if you are concerned about vitamin deficiency and the ensuing skin problems. Although it is possible to overdose on vitamin A and to get itchy skin as a result, that generally only happens when there are either liver function problems or when an adult takes more than 20 mg of vitamin A per day. Be aware that pregnant mothers who take more than 10 mg per day can cause birth defects in their unborn child.

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