Xerosis - Symptoms & Treatment
Xerosis can affect any part of the body, Xerosis can commonly known as the Dry Skin which is common problem in the elderly but can also affect younger individuals and childrens. When it results in skin that is scaly and itchy, the condition is called pruritus . Xerosis is the medical term for dry skin. Central heating of home and other buildings is very drying to the skin. The climate in central Illinois and specifically Champaign-Urbana makes dry skin symptoms more severe, especially for our students who come from more humid geographical areas. We all have a natural oil coating over our skin produced by the skin oil glands. Dry skin with fine scaling, usually most prominent on the legs. If this oil is removed, then the skin becomes dry which can lead to cracking, which can lead to inflammation. Xerosis is usually a long-term problem that recurs often, especially in the winter.
Symptoms of Xerosis
The main symptom of Xerosis is itchin which depend on how large an area of skin is affected, The itching can be severe and persistent, especially at night. . Xerosis of the foot is common in patients with diabetes and can lead to severe complications, such as ulcers, infections, and cracks in the skin (fissures). Bathing provides the skin will moisturize temporarily, but it removes the skin's oily lipid layer and in the long run causes more moisture loss than gain. The most severe form of dry skin is called Nummular Eczema (comes from Nummus meaning coin-shaped. generally the most symptoms are
- Symptom of tightness or tautness after bathing.
- Skin appearing shrunken or dehydrated.
- Skin feels rough.
- Deep fissures or cracks that may bleed.
- Most of the symptoms are worst in winter due to low humidity.
- Develop fluid-filled sores that can ooze fluid or crust over. This can happen when the skin is rubbed or scratched or if a skin infection is present. This is known as an acute (sudden or of short duration), oozing rash.
- Be scaly and dry, red, and itchy. This is known as a subacute (longer-duration) rash.
- Become tough and thick from constant scratching ( lichenification ).
Causes of Xerosis
Dry skin is caused by a lack of moisture. This is most common during the winter months, when heating systems dry the air. Xerotic eczema may develop when the skin is so dry that it cracks and becomes inflamed. The wrong moisturizing lotion can have the same effect. Generally, water-based lotions (Lubriderm, Keri lotion, others) are best cosmetically but oil-based creams are more effective in trapping moisture. Xerosis can be caused by many factors, including:
- washing with excessively hot water,
- Long hot baths or showers, can remove our natural oil and lead to xerosis. One should never take more than one bath or shower a day.
- Use of harsh soaps can worsen and cause xerosis.
- Cold winter weather worsens xerosis because the amount of moisture contained in cold air is much less than the amount of moisture in warm air.
- using nonmoisturizing soap,
- showering or bathing more than once a day, and
- bathing for long periods of time.
Treatment of Xerosis
There are many treatment exits. these are
- Treatment is intended to restore the natural oil to your skin.
- Many people have seen marked improvement with natural formulas such as Epitrex .
- Keep the skin lubricated.
- Do not use soap; you will get clean by soaking in the oil-water combination. Do not take more than one bath or shower a day.
- Use lukewarm water, not hot. Hot water dries out the skin.
- Alpha hydroxyacid lotions work very well for treating and preventing dry skin. Neostrata 15 AHA Body/Face Lotion is a very effective treatment when applied to moist skin after bathing.
- Soap irritates and dries the skin, soap should not be used on your xerotic skin.
- When bathing limit the use of soap to your face, armpits, genital area, and feet. Use Cetaphil soap, Oil of Olay, Dove or Basis.
- If you like to swim during the winter months, you should not use soap when getting out of the pool. When you have finished swimming, rinse off the chlorine with cool to warm water.
- After the shower apply a bath oil or a moisturizer to all of the skin as above.