What is Xerosis?
Xerosis is the medical term for dry skin. The word itself comes from ancient Greek, divisible as xero- (dry) + -osis (condition). Usually old and dead cells normally drop off or are removed easily, but dry skin cells cling to the healthier cells and accumulate.
Xerosis can affect any area of the skin, although the more vulnerable areas are the face, hands, feet, legs (shins), abdomen (along the sides), genitals, and arm-pits.
As the name implies, dry skin occurs as a result of a lack of moisture. The skin can lose moisture in a number of ways.
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. Bathing with hot water, spending extended periods of time in the hot sun, and the skin’s natural aging process also remove moisture and oils from the skin.
Symptoms of Xerosis
The symptoms of dry skin include:
flaking and fine lines
Skin feels rough
cracks in the skin
Treatment of Xerosis
In most cases no treatment is required. if treatment is desired,it may be helpful to apply a prescription to the skin or medication can be injected into the bumps themselves.
# 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.
# Severe xerosis, as in diabetic patients, is treated with a prescription medicated lotion. In some cases, xerosis can cause severe complications in diabetic patients, requiring amputation of the foot.
Maintaining a balanced diet, exercising, and drinking plenty of water contribute to healthy, supple skin. If you must spend time in the sun, wear a sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 15 or higher. If you are a diagnosed diabetic, have your feet examined regularly for signs of xerosis and its complications. Keep your feet well moisturized to prevent dry, cracked skin.