Thursday, January 5, 2017

' Tis The Season Of Dry Skin

Shed Snake Skin. Photo Courtesy
Early in October last year Anna's skin started to flake. And when I say flake, I really mean flake. His legs looked like they had dandruff. Not loose dandruff that can be brushed off. It was skin pealing but still attached by a tenuous skin-thread. And it was more on his legs than his arms; while his face looked well moisturized (like that of a baby's)! 

I teased him a couple of times that he was shedding like a snake. The first couple of times he did not react. Then one day he says, "It can't be like a snake's. We would be able to see a continuous sheath of skin. You have to find another term." And so I did. I just called it flaked skin!

I wasn't sure if I should run off to the doctor. I asked Anna if his skin itched and he said, "No." As the skin was not broken / cracked and it was not itching I decided not to make a trip to the doctor. I decided to research the internet and find solutions.

Dry flaky skin on leg. Photo Courtesy
One of the primary reasons for dry skin in the elderly is the absence of oil glands. Also, all my research told me that Anna had to avoiding hot baths, use a moisturizing soap, not use a heater / air conditioner, moisturize skin with a hydrophobic ointment / lotion, drink lots of water and avoid alcohol. All of which he did.

Anna is massaged everyday with mustard oil. We use a gentle glycerin soap for bathing. After a bath, he is again massaged with a Vaseline / coco butter lotion. Nothing worked to improve his skin. Then I decided to replace the lotion with coconut oil. And voilà, in 2 days all his flaking skin was gone! I couldn't believe it! It was again soft and wrinkly smooth. Now I could happily tell Anna, "Your skin is more baby soft and smooth than mine!"

My Parachute Coconut Oil
I have struggled with dry skin all my life. It is so bad that I even get dry patches on my stomach and back. When I saw coconut oil work so well with Anna, I decided to use it myself. Even tho' I did not like the smell of coconut oil on my skin, I bore the ever-so-slight discomfort for the health of my skin. And it worked! Surprisingly well!

I was so pleased with the effect of coconut oil, that at the first opportunity I got, I proudly pulled-up the sleeve of my shirt and showed Anna my arm.

Me: Anna, look at my arm. Is it looking different?

Anna: It looks like your arm.

Me (running my nail over my forearm): Anna, see my skin is no longer dry.

Anna: How come?

Anna sleeps as his face shines!
Me: Anna, I used coconut oil. Just like we used on you.

Anna: I hope it was pharmaceutical-grade coconut oil.

Me: No Anna. I used Parachute coconut oil.

Anna: You should only use pharmaceutical-grade coconut oil.

Me: Why Anna? 

Anna: You are young. You should use only pharmaceutical-grade coconut oil. Your skin has to last longer.

Me (I giggle a little at being called "young"): OK, Anna.

---- We continue to use a variety of techniques and lotions to keep Anna's skin moisturized and soft.
As I do for mine.