Xerosis means condition of dry skin. Ordinary dry skin condition of xerosis is not that serious. But it is a very uncomfortable condition in which skin looks unsightly and parched. Dry Skin lacks moisture or capability to retain moisture. Plump skin cells become shriveled. Fine lines and wrinkles mark the skin.
Skin becomes dry due to many environmental factors like cold or hot weather, low humidity, excessive bathing, and long-term use of air conditioner or central heating. These factors can be partially or wholly controlled to prevent dry skin.
You can follow some self-care measures to manage the symptoms of dry ski condition such as keeping the skin moisturized, limit your bath time, and avoid harsh soaps and having a skin diet which improves dry skin condition.
For most of the people having dry skin is just a temporary condition, faced mainly in winters only. But some people may have it for their entire life due to lack of some skin’s ability to hold moisture. Older people often experience dry skin condition or xerosis.
Signs and symptoms of xerosis depend upon the climatic conditions, your health condition, type of your skin, your age, how much time you spend outdoors and cause behind dryness of skin. It is often observed that skin of as, lower legs and sides of abdomen are often driest.
One or more of the following symptoms may be experienced in case of dry skin by a person of normal age.
There is feeling of tightness just after bathing or swimming
Skin does not appear smooth, it appear rough and parched.
Appearance of fine lines, wrinkles or cracks
Skin looks dehydrated or shrunken
Person feels uncomfortable with itching (pruritis) which may be intense in sever dryness
Flaking, peeling and scaling
Dry skin may develop fissures which may bleed.
Various environmental factors are responsible for dry skin condition or xerosis. Heredity may also be a factor in severe dryness of skin.
Weather Condition : Skin becomes extremely dry in winters due to cold winds and low level of humidity. If skin is already dry, winters aggravate the skin condition. But people living in deserts feel dryness of skin in summers because of extremely hot winds which draw away the moisture and low humidity level.
Excessive Bathing: Excessive bathing or frequent bathing or spending long time in swimming pool can strip the skin of its natural moisture. Also bathing hot water breaks lipid barrier on your skin.
Use of harsh Soaps and detergent: Bathing with harsh soaps or doing household chores using harsh detergents can make the skin dry and wrinkles. Many shampoos, antibacterial soaps and deodorants damage the skin to a large extent.
Long-term use of central heating and air conditioning reduces the humidity of the place and draw moisture from skin also and make it drier.
There are certain diseases such as Psoriasis, thyroid disorders, dehydration and other factors which can aggravate the condition of xerosis. Excessive smoking and alcohol intake can also contribute to xerosis.
Dry skin can be managed well by taking self care measures but if your skin does not respond to these measures, contact doctor. You should contact Doctor if you can not sleep peacefully because of dryness and itching or there are cuts and infection due to scratching or most of the skin peeling or scaling.
Self care measures are the part of treatment of xerosis. You should keep you skin moisturized by applying moisturizer at frequent intervals, especially immediately after bathing. Limit your time of bath. Do not take hot water for bath. Avoid harsh soaps and detergents.
You can apply nonprescription, over-the-counter creams if you have very dry, scaly skin. These creams may contain lactic acid or urea.
For more sever dry skin condition, like ichthyosis, you can apply prescription creams or ointments to relieve the symptoms in addition to home care.
In case, you get dermatitis as a complication to xerosis, your skin may become itchy and red. In that case, doctor may prescribe lotions containing hydrocortisone.
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