CHANGES IN THE SKIN ARE COMMON SYMPTOMS OF PARKINSON’S DISEASE · Parkinson's Resource Organization

CHANGES IN THE SKIN ARE COMMON SYMPTOMS OF PARKINSON’S DISEASE

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CHANGES IN THE SKIN ARE COMMON SYMPTOMS OF PARKINSON’S DISEASE

Kytti St. Amand, Owner of Younger By Tonight

Many people with Parkinson’s develop oily or flaky skin, especially on the face and scalp. Others have trouble with dry skin or excessive sweating. This was discussed in my “Things To Know RIGHT NOW” video on the PRO YouTube channel. There are even studies that have shown a predominance of skin cancer among people with Parkinson’s.

Oily, Flaky or Inflamed Skin – There are tiny glands called sebaceous glands below the surface of the skin. These glands secrete an oily substance into the hair follicles. This oil normally helps protect the skin, but too much can cause problems referred to as seborrheic dermatitis. Signs of sebaceous dermatitis include:

Redness; 

Itching; 

Scaly white flakes or yellowish oils; 

Incurable inflamed areas; 

Oily skin, especially on the forehead, sides of the nose, scalp and eyebrows.

What Can You Do?

Wash the affected area at least twice a day with warm water and rinse with cold water;

Use a neutral, unscented, glycerin soap. Regular soaps dry out the skin. It does not work well on those with dry and sensitive skin. Glycerin soaps are known for their moisturizing properties. It makes the skin feel nourished, soft, and supple. It prevents your skin from drying out;

For dandruff or scaly white flakes, try a shampoo (over the counter) containing selenium, selenium sulfide, salicylic acid, zinc or coal tar;

In severe cases, doctors can prescribe shampoos or lotions containing selenium, ketoconazole or corticosteroids.

Dry Skin – Extreme dryness of the skin also can be a problem for people with Parkinson’s.

What Can You Do?

Use skin emollients or moisturizers and hair conditioners. There are some specifically for people with Parkinson’s;

Hydrate. Drink plenty of fluids;

Consult a dermatologist.

Excessive Sweating – Many people with Parkinson’s experience too much sweating.  Often this occurs on the palms of the hands and soles of the feet. If one is experiencing drenching sweats it can be a medication “wearing off” symptom. 

What Can You Do?

Ask your doctor about adjusting your carbidopa-levodopa or other medications;

Lukewarm showers may be helpful;

Particularly in warm weather, wear lightweight cotton clothes;

Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. Drink plenty of water and avoid liquids that do NOT dehydrate, such as coffee and alcohol;

Your doctor can prescribe medications for drenching sweats that continue and remain uncomfortable. One medication might be propranolol (Inderal®). If this choice is made know the side effects of it. Propranolol is a beta-blocker. Beta-blockers affect the heart and circulation (blood flow through arteries and veins);

For the palms and the feet, your doctor can prescribe topical medications including: Aluminum chloride hexahydrate, Anticholinergics (e.g., glycopyrrolate), or Iontophoresis (a therapy that uses electric current).

Too Little Perspiration – Some people with Parkinson’s perspire too little. This can be a side effect of anticholinergic medications (i.e. trihexyphenidyl, benztropine mesylate and procyclidine). Notice anticholinergics are used also in too much sweating of the palms and feet. 

Most of you may want the answers and fixes right now, so here’s some of my favorite picks if you’re suffering from Seborrheic Dermatitis. (Please remember, it may take only one or a few different products for you to control flare ups).

You can find most of these products at the drug store or Amazon:

Shampoos

Nizoral Shampoo – Active ingredient: Ketoconozole 1% (controls flaking and itching)

Use: Twice per week for shampoo. Use as face wash ONLY IN AFFECTED AREAS... leave in for 3-5 minutes, rinse.

Neutrogena T/Sal Shampoo – Active ingredient: Tar and Salicylic Acid (breaks down rapid skin build up, itching and flaking. Use: twice per week. Leave on scalp ( or affected areas of the face) for a few minutes, rinse.

FACE LOTIONS

Dermoscribe Seborrheic Dermatitis – Active ingredient: Sulfur, Hydrocortisone, Salicylic Acid. Use: apply to affected areas of face twice per day (depending on severity) leave on skin.

Olay Calming Facial Moisturizer – Active ingredient: Aloe, Cucumber, Vitamin B-3 (Helps with cell turnover). Use: Apply twice per day. 

Know the side effects of all medications you are prescribed.

Click here to find the services of Kytti St. Amand and Younger By Tonight in the Wellness Village where they have been members since February 2016.

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Updated: August 16, 2017