Is it true that drinking more water would be good for my skin?

We are frequently told that we should drink more water.  Consider too, that skin's most important task is to prevent the escape of our precious body water - this is our critically important skin permeability barrier.  This might lead one to conclude that drinking more water would indeed be good for our skin - just as it is purported to be for the other parts of our body.  But at the heart of this lies a misconception about water and how our body handles this precious resource. … [Read more...]

Elias Delivers Dohi Memorial Lecture to Japanese Dermatology Association

On Saturday, June 15, 2013 Dr.  Peter Elias delivered the Dohi Memorial Lecture at the annual meeting of the Japanese Dermatological Association in Yokohama, Japan.  This invited lectureship is the highest honor accorded each year by the JDA.  The title of his presentation: "Treating Atopic Dermatitis at the Source: Correctve Barrier Repair Based upon New Pathogenic Insights." … [Read more...]

Elias Awarded Honorary Membership in Japanese Society

Following his invited lectureship on June 15, 2013,  Dr. Elias was awarded an honorary membership in the Japanese Dermatological Association at its 112th annual meeting. … [Read more...]

HIghlights of the IID. Part 8: Sunscreens and Vitamin D

Dr. Antony Young of the University of King's College London described how sunscreens, even when used optimally to prevent sunburns, do not prevent the formation of vitamin D in the skin. The study he described in his lecture was remarkable for the stringency of its design.  He and his colleagues recruited lightly pigmented volunteers from Poland to enjoy a week's winter holiday on the sunny island of Tenerife. They divided the volunteers into three groups: one (the ‘control group) was advised … [Read more...]

Scaly Skin and The Barrier

In another post, we consider how a group of inherited skin conditions in which most or all of the body is covered with scales have helped us to understand the how skin sheds its outermost cells. Because visible scales are such a prominent feature, it is not surprising that this family of skin disorders, called ichthyosis, have taught us a great deal about the process of desquamation. But it was not anticipated that they could also teach us about the permeability barrier – that is, skin's ability … [Read more...]

What Is Ichthyosis?

Ichthyosis is the term used for a family of skin conditions that are characterized by a thickened stratum corneum and/or visible scales covering most or all of the body surface. Most ichthyoses are inherited – yet paradoxically, often people with ichthyosis know of no one else in their families with their condition. This can happen if the genetic change that produces the skin condition began with them – that is, if it was a new mutation. … [Read more...]

What Are Lipids?

'Lipid' is the scientific term for fats or oils. Lipids are organic molecules (i.e. carbon-containing molecules derived from living or once living organisms) that are defined by their solubility. They are (relatively) insoluble in water and other ‘polar’ solvents, and soluble in ‘nonpolar’ liquids, such as ether or chloroform. Cholesterol, triglycerides and fatty acids are examples of lipids. … [Read more...]

Scaly Skin and Ichthyosis (Nothing To Do with Fish Skin)

Scaly or flaky skin is what we see when the process of discarding the outermost cells of our skin is no longer invisible – as it should be. The shedding process has gone from being normal, that is, orderly and invisible, to being disorderly or ‘pathological’, and highly visible. The process of discarding these spent cells or ‘squames’ from the outermost layer of skin, the stratum corneum, is called ‘desquamation’. Normal desquamation is accomplished cell by cell and is imperceptible to the naked … [Read more...]

What Is a Fatty Acid?

Fatty acids are a class of lipids (or fats) that consist of a hydrocarbon chain terminating at one end in an acidic, carboxyl group. In the body, they are often bound (‘esterified’) to other molecules to form 'complex' lipids, like phospholipids and triglycerides. In the stratum corneum, unbound or 'free' fatty acids are one of the 3 key classes of lipids that form the lamellar membranes of the stratum corneum. The other two are cholesterol and ceramides. Ceramides are another type of complex … [Read more...]

About Dry Skin

Almost any one may experience may experience dry skin (or ‘xerosis’) at some point in time. For example, one’s skin can feel a bit dry when the relative humidity remains low for weeks on end, as it does in our indoor heated climate during the long winter months in places like Chicago or Winnipeg, or if one soaks in a hot bath too often or too long.  Then too, almost everyone’s skin will dry out somewhat as they age. And our skin often may feel a bit dry, if we are among the many adults who take … [Read more...]

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