Numerous vitamin or mineral deficiencies can cause severely dry skin. According to the American Osteopathic College of Dermatology, or AOCD, dry skin, also known as xerosis, is a common problem among Americans. Dry skin, including severely dry skin, may be caused by environmental factors, certain medical conditions and vitamin or mineral deficiencies. Consuming a healthy and balanced diet is an effective way to ensure that your body gets an adequate amount of vitamins and minerals.
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Vitamin A Deficiency
Vitamin A deficiency, also known as retinol deficiency, can cause severely dry skin. According to the World Health Organization, vitamin A deficiency is a public health problem in more than 50 percent of all countries, especially countries in Africa and Southeast Asia. Young children and pregnant women in some developing nations are usually most vulnerable to vitamin A deficiency. The Merck Manuals website states that vitamin A helps to maintain your epithelial tissue, or the cells that line the cavities and surfaces throughout your body. Your liver stores between 80 percent and 90 percent of your vitamin A. Common signs and symptoms associated with vitamin A deficiency include drying, scaling and thinning of your skin, night blindness and other vision problems, respiratory infections and impaired immunity. According to the Merck Manuals website, you can develop vitamin A deficiency from inadequate dietary intake, fat malabsorption conditions or liver disorders.
Iodine deficiency -- a rare condition among Americans -- may cause severely dry skin. The University of Michigan Health System, or UMHS, states that iodine deficiency is caused by lack of iodine -- a chemical element your body requires for physical and mental development. The UMHS states that iodine deficiency, which is more common in women than men, is the most common cause of preventable mental retardation and brain damage in the world. After many months of iodine deficiency, you may develop a condition called hypothyroidism. Common signs and symptoms associated with iodine deficiency and hypothyroidism include severely dry skin, coarse hair, fatigue, depression, cold intolerance, modest weight gain, constipation, muscle cramps, impaired concentration, aches and pains throughout your body and swelling of your legs. The treatment for iodine deficiency and hypothyroidism varies slightly from person to person.
Vitamin B-2 Deficiency
Vitamin B-2 deficiency, also known as riboflavin deficiency, can cause severely dry skin, especially around your mouth. According to the Linus Pauling Institute -- a nutrition-related research institute at Oregon State University -- riboflavin, or vitamin B-2, is a water-soluble B vitamin that is an integral component of the coenzymes flavin adenine dinucleotide, or FAD, and flavin mononucleotide, or FMN. The Merck Manuals website states that vitamin B2 deficiency usually occurs with other B-vitamin deficiencies. One of the most common signs and symptoms associated with vitamin B-2 deficiency is angular cheilosis, or angular stomatitis. Angular cheilosis is an inflammatory lesion at the corners of your mouth that manifest as deep cracks or fissures. In some cases, the cracks may bleed when your mouth is opened, and shallow ulcers or a crust may form in the affected area. Other common signs and symptoms associated with vitamin B-2 deficiency include conjunctivitis, sore throat and seborrheic dermatitis.