Xerosis is a type of skin condition where the skin is abnormally dry. Literally, ‘Xero’ in Greek means Dry and ‘osis’ means condition. Though not a serious problem, the condition is unsightly in appearance. It is more of a cosmetic concern for people who are conscious about their appearance and image.
People of any age can suffer from xeosis, but the condition is more common in elderly individuals. Generally the milder form of xerosis has dry skin with mild itching. Severe form of xerosis is characterized by itching, dryness, cracks and fissure on the skin surface.
Xerosis can occur anywhere on the body, but frequently it is seen on arms and legs. Xerosis is not contagious neither it involves any internal organ.
What Are The Causes Of Xerosis?
Each individual has different type of skin. Some people have sensitive skin since they are born, while in many others, their skin may become sensitive with atmospheric changes.
With growing age, the sebaceous glands and sweat glands present under the skin tend to shrivel and produce less amount of oil. Oil is needed to keep the skin well lubricated. The outer oily layer of the skin helps to retain the moisture in the skin. It also keeps the skin smooth and supple. But when the oily layer does not exist, water under the skin gets evaporated giving rise to dry and parched skin. It looks similar in appearance to cracks in mud during drought or in dessert. When the atmospheric humidity is high, there is less evaporation and xerosis is less noticeable. Evaporation of moisture increases with low humidity making xerosis more visible.
Certain environmental factors responsible for xerosis include; excessive bathing which robs the moisture under the skin. Use of heater and air conditioners can also cause dry skin. Extreme hot or cold climate with low humidity level is also responsible for xerosis.
Signs And Symptoms Of Xerosis
Generally xerosis is common among old people, but it can also prevail in young individuals.
- The skin becomes rough and dry.
- It appears red.
- Itching is mild in the localized area.
- Cracks and fine lines appear on the skin surface.
- The skin appears parched and fissured.
- There may be scaling and peeling of skin.
- Skin looks dehydrated and shrunken.
- The xerosis skin appears like cracked porcelain. These cracks arise from the loss of moisture beneath the skin surface.
- In winter xerosis becomes more prominent due to low level of humidity.
Home Remedies For Xerosis Or Dry Skin
Xerosis is a dry skin condition that is effectively controlled with the help of home remedies. Home remedies that replace the lost water and oil from the skin. However, the condition may reappear if the preventive treatment is abandoned. Following are the home remedies for xerosis.
- Avoid bathing with very hot water. Instead, always bathe with lukewarm water. Hot water robs away the oil from the skin layer making it vulnerable for dehydration.
- Use of coconut oil. Apply coconut oil over the affected area when the skin is moist. The oil applied during this period will retain more moisture. The best time to apply it is soon after you take bath.
- Use a good moisturizer at least two times in a day over the skin. This will protect the skin layer from becoming dry. It will also prevent dehydration from the skin. Regular application of moisturizer is beneficial in dry winter climate.
- Applying Shea butter is effective in reducing dryness of skin and controlling xerosis.
- Do not use soaps that contain harsh chemicals. Instead use bath gels.
- Use a humidifier in your bedroom when there is low humidity level.