What is Dry Skin or Xerosis?

Xerosis indicates the medical term to highlight abnormally dry human skin. This name has arrived from a Greek word i.e., Xero that means dry. Despite being minor and a temporary problem, dry skin or xerosis causes a lot of discomfort. In this situation, skin requires moisture to retain its smoothness. However, with the increase in age, skin becomes relatively more rough and dry because it losses oils and water.

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What is Dry Skin or Xerosis?

Dry Skin or Xerosis on Legs

Dry skin or xerosis on your legs is also a common problem to take place at almost every age. In this case, a person has to deal with nuisance related to itching and drying of his/her lower portion of the leg. In this situation, skin specialists and other similar types of professionals recommend for the application of over-the-counter products to give relief to periodic dry leg’s skin and some simple yet few changes, which include putting limit on temperature and length of your shower for controlling such problems.

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Dry Skin or Xerosis on Legs

Causes of Dry Skin or Xerosis

The problem of dry skin or xerosis usually takes place based on following major causes:

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  • Dry skin or xerosis usually is caused whenever oil’s protective layer that remains present over the surface of the skin declines and its cells lose moisture contents.
  • Many times, dry skin or xerosis problem takes place according to age factor or relatively low indoor humidity due to forced air conditioning or air heat.
  • Dry skin or xerosis may also be caused because of underlying medical conditions, which include psoriasis or a disorder that usually leads to the formation of thick yet scaly plaque over human skin.
  • Rough and dry skin may also takes place as thyroid disorder symptom, which further reduces the activity of oil and sweat glands.

Symptoms of Dry Skin or Xerosis

Until now, skin specialists have identified the problem of dry skin or xerosis in different body parts based on following symptoms:

  • Finding of itchy, dry and scaly skin on human’s legs and arms.
  • A symptom of dry skin or xerosis is that the skin usually feels very tight, particularly after a person takes bath.
  • Problem of flaky and white skin.
  • Pink or red skin causing too much irritation.
  • Presence of fine cracks on your skin.

Tests to Diagnose Dry Skin or Xerosis

Once your primary care physician or skin specialist identifies the skin problem in hands, arms, legs or any other part of your body, the doctor would recommend you to undergo few common tests and diagnoses with the objective to come-up with proper treatment for dry skin or xerosis. These include:

Initial Physical Exam for Dry Skin or Xerosis:

Skin specialist will recommend patients to conduct a proper physical examination and ask them about their medical history. This will include details about almost everything i.e., when you started facing the problem of dry skin or xerosis, like itching, pink or red color skin or any other issue. In addition, doctor will also ask patients about different factors, which make the problem worse or better, their bathing habits, food habits and most importantly, steps patients follow to care or maintain their skins in good condition.

Thyroid Check and Other Diagnostic Tests for Dry Skin or Xerosis:

After the doctor collects details about your basic habits and medical history, he/she may suggest you to go for specific diagnostic tests and thereby, check whether the problem of dry skin or xerosis takes place because of any underlying medical problem, like hypothyroidism or underactive thyroid problem.

Treatment for Dry Skin or Xerosis

Treatment of dry skin or xerosis usually involves regular usage of moisturizers on your skin. In this case, doctors usually recommend for the application of any oil type of cream, as it is relatively more effective to hold in moisture as compared to any other cream based on water. In addition, to treat with the itching problem or patches on skin because of its dryness, doctors recommend for application of those creams, which contain specific ingredients in the form of urea and lactic acid. Moreover, if you are particularly facing the problem of itchy skin, you may also consult your doctor for topical steroid type of medication, like for instance hydrocortisone type one percent cream.

Is Vaseline Good For Dry Skin or Xerosis On Your Face? 

Yes, vaseline is somewhat good to deal with dry skin or xerosis problem of human face. One can opt to protect the face’s skin by applying Vaseline petroleum jelly that mainly locks in the moisture for targeting few common problems related to dry and flaky skin present on the face. In addition, it creates a barrier on your skin surface, seals in the moisture and protects from few common dry skin or xerosis causes on your face, like strong sun of summer, high winds and cold weather.

Home Remedies for Dry Skin or Xerosis

There are few of the simple and easy home remedies available for treatment of dry skin or xerosis problem:

  • Olive oil can be used as a home remedy for dry skin or xerosis. Olive oil has large numbers of healthy fatty acids and antioxidants, which are good for human skin. It helps in soothing and avoiding dry skin condition from entire part of your body.
  • Another home remedy for dry skin or xerosis is milk cream. Milk cream comes with lactic acid that allows exfoliation of dry skin condition. In addition, the cream has soothing nature that allows preservation of the delicate pH level present in human skin. If this is not enough, you will find milk cream as acting as a perfect moisturizer.

How Long Does It Take To Get Rid Of Dry Skin or Xerosis?

Dry skin or Xerosis is not a long lasting problem, one can easily get rid of it within few days to few weeks with proper treatment and care. Use of natural products and oils will help you to get over it quickly. In order to get rid of the problem of dry skin or xerosis, you should apply few creams, which usually come with deep hydrated formula to exfoliate dead cells of your dry skin and allow for specialized moisture boosts to allow deep penetration in the skin, particularly, in upper layers present in epidermis, while at the same time increases moisture level. This helps you to get instant restoring, smoother look and gentle softness of your skin. One interesting fact about such creams is that it is of long lasting type and allows intensive moisturizing for a period of 24 hours.

Prevention and Lifestyle Changes for Dry Skin or Xerosis

Although, it is not possible to prevent dry skin or xerosis, particularly based on your age; you may opt to reduce or avoid dry skin or xerosis symptoms based on simple modifications in your daily routine. These lifestyle changes include the following:

  • Individuals should strictly avoid the usage of extremely hot water for taking bath or shower. Instead, they should go for the best option as lukewarm water or even cold water and this is a major lifestyle change for dry skin or xerosis.
  • If you are facing the problem of dry skin or xerosis, you should definitely take relatively short showers or baths.
  • One should strictly avoid the exposure of his or her body in excessive amount of water. This means, you are supposed to spend only limited hours in any hot tub or a swimming pool filled with hot water.
  • You should always choose to apply only gentle cleansers that remains free from any harmful component, like alcohol, fragrances and dyes.
  • You should pat your dry skin after you take your bath by using your towel rather than rubbing the same towel over your skin.
  • Another good lifestyle change for dry skin or xerosis is to increase your intake of water on daily basis to stay hydrated for a long time.
  • Put a limit on the usage of soaps on your dry skin areas and always go for mild soaps, which come with additional oil components.
  • Patients facing the problem of dry skin should never scratch their affected areas.
  • Application of oil-based lotions and moisturizers frequently during winter season and after completing the bath is very much essential to retain healthy skin and prevent dry skin or xerosis.
  • Even though you go out by covering your affected skin area, you should apply a suitable sunscreen lotion before going to outdoors in sun.
  • Apply a suitable humidifier to boost the presence of air moisture in your own home.
Pramod Kerkar

Written, Edited or Reviewed By:

, MD,FFARCSI

Pain Assist Inc.

Last Modified On: March 7, 2018

This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer

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