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  • Definition
    • Xerosis is an abnormal dryness of the skin or mucus membranes.

  • Alternative Names
    • Asteatotic eczema; Eczema craquele

  • Causes
    • Dry skin usually gets worse during the winter.

      Older people are usually affected more by this condition.

  • Symptoms
    • Your skin may get dry, scaly, itchy, and red. You may also have fine cracks on the skin.

      The problem is usually worse on the arms and legs.

  • Treatment
    • Treatments include:

      • Moisturizers, especially creams or lotions that contain urea and lactic acid
      • Topical steroids -- for areas that get very inflamed and itchy
  • Prevention
    • To prevent xerosis:

      • Do not expose your skin to water more often than needed.
      • Use cool bath water.
      • Choose gentle skin cleansers that are free from dyes and perfumes.
  • References
    • Beiber T, Bussmann C. Atopic dermatitis. In: Bolognia JL, Jorizzo JL, Schaffer JV, et al, eds. Dermatology. 3rd ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Mosby; 2012:chap 12.

      Gilchrest BA. Skin disorders. In: Duthie EH, Katz PR, Malone ML, eds. Practice of Geriatrics. 4th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2007:chap 38.

      Habif TP. Eczema and hand dermatitis. In: Habif TP, ed. Clinical Dermatology. 5th ed. St. Louis, MO: Elsevier Mosby; 2009:chap 3.