Review on June 05, 2009
As far back as 1923, fatty acids, which can be regularly ingested in a balanced diet, have been known to be important for maintaining healthy skin. Many medical professionals would also highlight them in the fight against itchy skin, especially as we age and skin becomes dryer naturally. Fatty acids are not produced in the body and can be found in a wide range of foods and herbal remedies, notably oily fish and supplements such as evening primrose oil.
Itchy skin can develop in anyone at any age and for a variety of reasons, however it is at menopause that itchy skin can become a serious burden and is most common in women. This type of itchy skin can be caused by low or wavering levels of estrogen in the body.
Evening primrose oil, a supplement regularly suggested for other menopause symptoms, such as hot flashes, is known to contain fats and a substance called gamma-linolenic acid. New research undertaken in India, by Calcutta Medical College, focused on a type of itchy skin called atopic dermatitis and the treatment of this type of itchy skin with evening primrose oil.
Often very painful and first found in childhood, this type of itchy skin was suffered by all the participants of this study. Two groups of outpatients were picked at random and one group took 500-mg of evening primrose while the other group was given a placebo containing 300 mg of sunflower oil. Over five months the skin conditions of these patients were clinically assessed to discover if their symptoms related to itchy skin improved.
The results show that 96% of the group taking evening primrose oil suffered from dramatically improved itchy skin, whereas only 8% of the placebo group saw similar results.
Researchers point out that, '.since not all researchers across the world have found the same good result, further large trials on Indian patients are needed.'
It's important to always consult a doctor before a woman alters her supplement in-take, however this research may signal the beginning of the end for menopause sufferers with itchy skin.
- "Evening primrose oil is effective in Itchy Skin, atopic dermatitis: A randomized placebo-controlled trial", Swapan Senapati, Sabyasachi Banerjee, Dwijendra Nath Gangopadhyay Department of Dermatology, Calcutta National Medical College, Kolkata, India, 2008.