Caring for Sensitive and Extra Dry Skin
“When they check for skin sores in the nursing home, the nurses,
physicians, and technicians for blood-drawing come in and everyone is nervous.
If you have a skin sore, they just slap an expensive bandage on it, which does nothing.”
–Comment from a client in California
The above quote, that came to me from an elderly client, demonstrates a sad reality regarding American health care. Although an “ounce of prevention” is worth a “pound of skin cure,” it is difficult to convince the medical establishment to invest in the largest organ of our body.
Hospitals and nursing homes often fail to maintain a patient’s basic skin health.
While Medicare will pay for complex bandages, they focus on selling expensive dressings to cover sores and offer little incentive to try low-cost measures to prevent complications (aka, Looting the U.S. Treasury).
Just slap on a bandage to hide the symptoms: out of sight is out of mind when extra dollars can be made at the cost of health.
Copper Peptides Can Help
If you suffer from extra-sensitive skin, you know that the pound of prevention analogy I mentioned is worth far more than the pound of pain you feel from developing open sores or cracks. The key is to prevent such unpleasant consequences with the aid of copper peptides to help maintain skin health while preventing problems.
Besides not having to suffer from a painful wound, copper peptides offer important health benefits that can prevent serious damage from ever occurring in the first place.
Healthy skin possesses a strong resistance to irritants and microorganisms, but once damaged, it is prone to infections, inflammation, and allergic reactions. The result is direct damage to the skin itself, an inhibition of the normal repair process, the chronic generation of free radicals in the damaged area, or a combination of the three.
For individuals with limited mobility (such as people in wheelchairs), the attempt to maintain skin health poses a constant quandary. Chronic rubbing and pressure can cause irritation, bedsores and skin ulcers. It is vital that we heal these conditions rapidly in order to avoid serious complications.
Photographs at Right
Example of healing “at-risk” skin: In the top photo, the patient has two open skin ulcers visible in the left, top and bottom of the photo. On the right side of the top photo, there are reddish fissures developing into skin ulcers. In the bottom photo, the application of copper peptides to the periphery of the skin ulcers has healed the fissured skin while the open ulcers still remain. It is in the early stages of skin breakdown that skin can be quickly healed.
Copper peptides help rebuild the protective skin barrier formed by the acid mantle and underlying epidermal lipids. This barrier prevents the entrance of bacteria, viruses and irritants into the skin, limits water loss and keeps our skin healthy, smooth and well-moisturized. The acid mantle is the combination of sebum (oils) and perspiration that forms a protective emulsion on the skin rendering it less vulnerable to damage and attack by environmental factors, such as sun and wind, while leaving it less prone to dehydration. A healthy acid mantle maintains moisture and provides a soft appearance.
The mantle also has strong antioxidant properties since it contains lipo-soluble antioxidant vitamins such as retinol and vitamin E. Normal skin is somewhat acidic, falling into the pH range of 4.2 to 5.6. This acidity inhibits the growth of foreign bacteria and fungi and the skin remains healthier. Many cleansers and other skin-care products are alkaline (often having a pH of 9 to 10), which can strip off protective oils and exacerbate acne, allergies, and other problems.
The epidermal barrier is the next line of skin defense and it is formed by dead skin cells filled with hard proteins called keratin and glued together with a special kind of oil. It is like a fortress wall that keeps away allergens, irritants, and microorganisms. Strong detergents and solvents such as acetone can dissolve barrier oils and weaken skin barrier.
A copper peptide cream should be designed to adjust the skin’s pH level into the acidic range. And the product should contain high levels of lipids such as squalane, cetyl alcohol, glyceryl stearate and stearic acid that resemble the fats of the acid mantle. Squalane/squalene are the skin’s most important protective lipids, but they decline as we age (from levels of up to 15 percent in teenagers’ skin to less than 5 percent in adults over age 60), resulting in dryer skin.
Extra-sensitive skin is usually skin with a disrupted barrier and it carries a special danger in that it is prone to infection. Immune cells in the skin naturally produce hydrogen peroxide to fight bacteria. Many report good results by pre-washing the skin with 3 percent hydrogen peroxide for sterilization and blotting it reasonably dry before applying copper peptides. Some clinicians do not recommend the use of hydrogen peroxide because they say it increases skin damage. In contrast, my review of medical literature has found many reports of improved healing after washes of hydrogen peroxide at low concentrations (1 to 10 percent). However, skin damage is occasionally observed when applying higher concentrations. So any use of hydrogen peroxide on injured skin should be with strengths of 1 to 3 percent and no higher.
This common disorder is caused by a combination of factors including slow skin-repair, exposure to irritants and an alkaline shift in the skin’s pH. The mechanism of eczema is complex, but the trigger point is usually continuous damage to the skin barrier that allows the entrance of irritants. Therefore, the first and foremost step in preventing eczema complications is skin barrier restoration. Many have found relief from eczema by applying a light coating of a copper peptide cream or serum to the affected area daily.
Treating Very Dry Skin
As we age we tend to develop drier, less oily skin, prone to cracks and fissures, causing it to grow irritated, inflamed, and itchy. The condition worsens in areas with relatively few oil glands, such as the arms, legs, and trunk. We develop dry skin more often during the fall and winter due to a combination of low humidity and frequent bathing.
Some dermatologists believe that dry skin has worsened in recent decades because we take more showers and baths today than in the past. People used to bathe only once or twice a year allowing their skin a chance to replace its natural oils between cleansings.
Conventional oil/water moisturizers can temporarily relieve parched skin, but they do not address the fundamental problem and can worsen the condition over time by weakening the outer protective proteins. Biological healing oils, such as emu oil and squalane, are the best moisturizers for extremely dry skin.
Treating Diabetic Skin Problems
Diabetes causes many skin-related problems. The most visible signs include slow wound healing, dry and cracked skin with loss of elasticity and tone. It is vitally important to rapidly repair broken and cracked skin before an infection sets in. Leg and foot sores are the leading cause of amputations associated with broken skin that becomes infected.
Many diabetics who apply copper peptides report that daily applications have lead to a quick improvement in their skin health.
Treating Skin After Burns, Radiation Treatment, and Chemotherapy
Burns caused by thermal injuries, radiation treatment, and chemotherapy heal quite slowly. After the burn, a “zone-of-stasis” often grows around the inflamed tissue, turning it into an oozing sore or skin ulcer.
Under these circumstances, the body does not receive the proper signals to heal the skin. This inability to repair can result in scarring and permanent damage. Chemotherapy also slows skin repair and increases the development of sores.
Approximately 25 percent of people are allergic to nickel, and many more are sensitive to plants such as poison ivy and poison oak. Many cosmetic ingredients such as fragrances and plant essential oils can cause skin rashes and allergies as well. For example, in Europe cosmetic manufacturers now list on the package 26 common allergens found in plant essential oils if they are present in the formulation. This measure was introduced due to many complaints from customers who developed rashes, skin redness and other problems after using products with those substances. Copper peptide products work well in these situations and is much safer than cortisone and other corticosteroids. Corticosteroids (including cortisone) stop the inflammation but produce damaged and thinned skin (often 50 percent thinner) by inhibiting the natural repair process. Overuse of corticosteroids can promote diabetic conditions, thymus involution, immune suppression, the spread of cancers, bone damage, and cataracts.
In one study, a copper peptide cream both accelerated the recovery of skin after injury and had an anti-inflammatory action on the skin of nickel-allergic subjects who were exposed to nickel salts. (See references)
Because allergies are so diverse, I recommend that you first test a copper peptide product on a small area of skin. If your skin responds well, apply a light coating once or twice daily until the allergy is resolved.
Treating Contact Dermatitis
Contact dermatitis is an inflammation of the skin caused by direct exposure to an irritating substance. A corrosive chemical agent (an irritant) such as acetone or sodium lauryl phosphate, damages skin cells causing their membranes to break down, which in turn triggers an inflammatory response from the skin’s immune cells. With repeated exposure the condition may become chronic. Healthy skin does not allow entrance to irritants, but as soon as there is some damage to the barrier, there is a high possibility of dermatitis.
This is why contact dermatitis often occurs after we shave or wax our face, arms or legs, because when we run a razor blade over the skin or pull out hairs with a waxing strip, we remove some of the skin’s protective barrier. These hair-removal methods not only make the skin more prone to dermatitis, but they also allow bacteria and viruses to invade and thus infect our skin. Since viruses can cause warts, we often get these growths in frequently shaved areas, including the legs of women and the beard area in men. The more rapidly we heal our skin barrier, the better we can protect it against viruses and bacteria.
Another common culprit is nail-polish remover, which contains acetone or acetonitrile. This flammable solvent extracts skin fats, damages the skin on the fingers and cuticles, and often produces hangnails, skin flaking and increased incidence of dermatitis.
AIDS and Skin Health
Persons with AIDS and HIV face a constant battle to maintain their dermal health. Small abrasions and cuts heal at a snail’s pace due to their depressed immunity. Skin infections pose a never ending threat that can rapidly turn into annoying exudative lesions and mycotic infections. Copper peptides have been shown to restore normal skin repair and hair growth in immunosuppressed animals: their immune systems were suppressed by pretreatment with cortisone or chemotherapeutic drugs (See references). However, no copper peptide product has been approved by the FDA for use on open wounds or skin ulcers.
Five million people in the United States suffer from psoriasis, a skin condition that produces inflamed, itchy, thickened, and cracked skin. Many individuals have reported that daily applications of copper peptides help alleviate the problems associated with mild psoriasis outbreaks. In 1996, Professor DiJun Rong of Shanghai Medical University wrote Skin Biology: He claimed that after treating his psoriasis patients with copper peptides, he observed lesions and itchiness reduce and quality of skin improve. Copper peptides lower Tumor Nerosis Factor alpha (TNF alpha) a protein that may trigger psoriasis outbreaks (See references).
Copper Peptides Plus Emu Oil
To enhance the benefits of copper peptides to better address the skin issues resulting from eczema, psoriasis and other skin conditions, I suggest you follow with a light application of emu oil. The fatty acid composition of human skin oil shares a similar profile with emu oil. This similarity may offer one of the factors that enables emu oil to demonstrate such positive actions (Zemtsov et al 1996).
Numerous studies have shown the effectiveness of emu oil. A study by Lopez and colleagues found strong anti-inflammatory effects of topically applied emu oil after skin was exposed to a very strong irritant (Lopez et al 1999). Politis and Dmytrowich found that if emu oil was applied two days after injury, it aided the healing process.
Researchers at the University of Texas Medical School found emu oil at up to 100 percent concentration in lotions to be non-allergenic, non-comedogenic, bacteriostatic, and to have low irritation potential (Politis & Dmytrowich 1998).
Throughout history, emu oil has been used to help alleviate the discomfort of skin conditions such as arthritis, shingles, eczema, psoriasis, and other inflammatory conditions (See references).
The information provided on this website is for educational purposes only.
Any suggestions mentioned are not for the treatment or prevention of any skin disease or condition.
If you have a special skin concern, please consult a physician or dermatologist first.
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