Dry Skin (Xerosis)


Dry skin, also known as “xerosis”, is a condition involving the integumentary system, which in most cases can safely be treated with emollients or moisturizers. Xerosis is a very common condition. It happens more often in the winter where the cold air outside and the hot air inside creates a low relative humidity. This causes the skin to lose moisture and it may crack and peel. Bathing or hand washing too frequently, especially if one is using harsh soaps, can contribute to xerosis. It can also be caused by a deficiency of vitamin A, vitamin D, systemic illness,severe sunburn, or some medication. Detergents such as washing powder and dishwashing liquid can cause xerosis. Xerosis occurs most commonly on the scalp, lower legs, arms, hands, the knuckles, the sides of the abdomen, and thighs. Symptoms most associated with xerosis are scaling (the visible peeling of the outer skin layer), itching, and skin cracking.

Management

  • Topical emollients or moisturizers like petrolatum, vegetable oils/butters and mineral oil.

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