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Xerosis or Dry Skin – Causes, Symptoms and Self care

Xerosis, also called dry skin is rough, cracking, scaly skin. It is a condition of normal hardening of aging tissue. Dry skin mostly occurs during the winter months, when heating systems dry the air. In this process, healthy cells of skin are shrivel and this leads to the formation of wrinkles and fine lines. It is most common on the legs, but often affecting the entire skin surface. Severe xerosis is common in the elderly, and can cause eczema.

Causes of Xerosis

– Central heating of home and other buildings is very drying to the skin.
– Less of essential oil in the outermost layer of epidermis due to which the water content fail to stick to the skin.
– Low humidity and cold temperatures make winter xerosis.
– Genetic defect in skin barrier function.
– Anemia, HIV, Liver and biliary disease, Diabetes mellitus, Medications
– Use of harsh soaps.
– Vitamin A deficiency
– Hormones abnormality from the thyroid gland may lead to xerosis.
– Weight loss.
– Increasing age
– Alcohol and caffeine can visibly dry your skin.

Symptoms of Xerosis

– Tightness of the skin after bathing.
– Wrinkles and crack on the skin.
– Shrunken-ed and dehydrated skin.
– Itching and redness of the skin.
– Most of the symptoms are worst in winter due to low humidity.
– Develop fluid-filled sores that can ooze fluid or crust over.

Self Care for Xerosis

– Keep the skin lubricated.
– Soap should not be used as it irritates and dries the skin.
– Moisturize oils or lotions, using mild soaps when bathing, and avoiding rubbing the skin dry after a shower or bath. Instead, pat gently with a towel.
– Maintaining a balanced diet, exercising, and drinking plenty of water contribute to healthy skin.
– Emollients are creams that can be applied to the affected area.
– Use lukewarm water in winters, not hot water for bathing.
– Alpha hydroxyacid lotions work very well for treating and preventing dry skin.
– When you have finished swimming, rinse off the chlorine with cool to warm water.

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