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Xerosis

Definition

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

Alternative Names

Asteatotic eczema; Eczema craquele

Causes, incidence, and risk factors

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

  • Do not expose your skin to water more than needed.
  • Use cool bath water.
  • Choose gentle skin cleansers that are free of dyes and perfumes.

References

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

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


Review Date: 11/20/2012
Reviewed By: Kevin Berman, MD, PhD, Atlanta Center for Dermatologic Disease, Atlanta, GA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc., Editorial Team: David Zieve, MD, MHA, David R. Eltz, Stephanie Slon, and Nissi Wang.
The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
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