Xerosis is another name for dry skin, or a condition in which the skin does not have enough oil on it, so that it takes on the appearance of being dull and can have flakes if it gets scratched. Dry skin, or xerosis, can appear rough and scaly, and small lines can appear on the surface of the skin. In addition, the skin can sometimes become cracked in appearance. When it has become dry, the skin can feel tight, and it can even turn red or itchy. In more extreme cases, the affected individual can perhaps experience pain. Some people even develop rashes or have larger portions of their skin succumbing to the condition of dryness. This condition is much more prevalent during the winter months, or during colder times of the year. It has also been labeled as winter itch, or asteatosis.
If an individual lives in a climate that has little or low humidity, that person sustains a stronger chance of developing xerosis. The condition develops when a person’s skin becomes dehydrated. This condition can evolve as a result of the skin losing some of its water. As time passes, if the skin is not rejuvenated or remoisturized, the oils on the epidermis, or the skin’s outer layer, run the risk of becoming depleted. It is usually under conditions similar to these that people experience dry skin or xerosis.
Because water composes almost one-third of the epidermis, dry skin is a condition that can affect almost anyone, given the right conditions. This development can be short term and episodic, or it can be more chronic, depending on the season and the person’s existing predisposition towards developing xerosis. If a person is under extreme stress, this can cause the manifestation of dry skin, or if a person is already predisposed towards xerosis, lots of high pressure factors can exacerbate the condition and intensify the symptoms.
Xerosis primarily occurs when a person’s skin contains around ten percent or less of water. If a person’s natural oils have been lost from the outer layer of the skin, then this development can influence the emergence of dry skin. The oil usually prevents the evaporation of the water in the skin; if the natural oils are depleted or diminished in any way, the skin can respond accordingly and become dry, scaly, and itchy.
Almost any person can develop dry skin, including people of both genders, all ages, and with a wide variety of ethnic backgrounds. Although dry skin is fairly readily treatable, the condition should be addressed in a timely manner to avoid possible infections being able to penetrate the skin in its weakened condition. The skin serves as the primary defense in deflecting infections, so treating xerosis is important. As soon as the condition starts to persist, a physician or dermatologist should be contacted to establish a regular and effective treatment protocol. The severity of the symptoms of xerosis can increase, and the overall health of the skin can become worse, the longer the condition is in place without being addressed.
In addition to climate-based factors like extremely cold temperatures, if a person takes baths often, that individual could be at a higher risk of contracting xerosis. This could especially be the case if the type of detergent or soap being used is rather harsh as opposed to being mild. This could also be the case if a person takes extended or prolonged baths, or soaks in water for long periods of time. Swimmers who spend time in pools during the colder winter months could also be at a greater risk of experiencing xerosis. Also, persons who have other skin disorders, or who do not have a healthy and sustained nutritious diet, these people can also contract dry skin. In particular, if a person does not ingest enough of Vitamin A and C, this can impact the skin’s condition, as can partaking of caffeine and processed sugars. Some older persons also have a higher risk of having dry and irritated skin. If a person takes lots of hot baths or showers, the water temperature can increase the possibility that the individual will develop dry skin.
If a person’s skin has been exposed to the sun for prolonged periods of time, or if a person has a preexisting skin condition, that individual might be at greater risk of developing xerosis. During the winter, people tend, of course, to run their heaters more frequently and for longer durations. Being in this type of external environment can also elevate a person’s chances of developing and experiencing xerosis. A doctor should always be consulted to determine the best course of action to take in treating xerosis.
Learn more about Xerosis.