What Can I Do for Dry, Itchy Winter Skin?

by Dr. David Williams
Filed Under: Healthy Skin, Q&As
Last Reviewed 02/06/2014

When winter arrives, I have to cut down to one shower a week because of my itching skin. It drives me crazy. The more I bathe, the worse it gets. The rest of the year I'm fine. I've tried powders, oils, and skin moisturizers, and nothing seems to work for more than a few hours. Do you have some kind of remedy for dry, itchy skin?

 

There are several causes of dry, itchy skin, but the most frequent is an underlying thyroid imbalance. Using creams and lotions to solve the problem is a waste of money. I've had about as much luck using skin creams for this condition as I’ve had using those liquid drain cleaners for a stopped-up sink—none.

How Your Thyroid Affects Your Skin

The thyroid gland is much like a thermostat that sets the rate at which your body burns energy. It also produces hormones that allow your skin to absorb glucose, and regulates the metabolism of fat-soluble vitamins specifically needed by the skin.

Thyroid symptoms commonly show up during a change of seasons, when the thyroid must readjust the body’s thermostat to match environmental temperature changes. A weak or undernourished gland may not be able to handle the extra work, leading to symptoms like yours.

For example, when the thyroid is underactive, the skin may receive as little as 20 to 25 percent of its normal blood supply. The lack of nutrients reaching the skin can cause it to become dry, flaky, and irritated.

Correct Dry, Itchy Skin by Supporting Your Thyroid

Fortunately, the dry, itchy skin caused by an underactive thyroid can usually be corrected nutritionally.

An underactive thyroid gland is usually low in iodine. Iodine is the main component of the thyroid hormone.

Adding iodine-rich foods, like sea kelp or alfalfa, to your diet may help, but iodine supplements are usually needed. You'll find iodine supplements in tablet and liquid form at nearly all healthy food stores. I've personally experienced the best results with a liquid iodine product called Iosol, made by TPCS.

Never take antiseptic iodine intended for cuts and scrapes. They are poisonous.

Depending on the severity of your problem, you should see results in a couple weeks.

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