Xerosis is the medical term for the common dry skin derived from the Greek words ‘xero’ meaning dry and ‘osis’ meaning ‘disease’ or ‘medical disorder’. Dry skin is common across age groups and is the result of lack of moisture in the skin’s outer layer. It might be due to ageing or even due to diseases.
Dry skin can occur in any part of the body although some areas, such as arms, feet, hands and lower legs are more prone than others. Common symptoms of dry skin include:
While any person can get dry skin, some are more prone than others. Most common causes include:
Ageing: Skin becomes thinner and drier as we age. People above the age of 40 are recommended to use a moisturizer every day to stay away from dry skin.
Climate: The place where you live affects your skin texture greatly. People living in dry climates, such as desert or extremely cold, dry places are more prone to dry skin.
Diseases: Individuals who had atopic dermatitis (eczema) as children tend to develop dry skin as adults. Even psoriasis contributes towards dry skin.
Job: Nurses, hair stylists and those involved in professions that require them to often wash their hands with water all through the day can be affected by dry or cracked skin. Swimmers too can be affected as some pools have high chlorine levels which can cause dry skin.
Taking showers frequently, certain medications, living in an air-conditioned surrounding 24*7, washing hands frequently and certain soaps and detergents can also contribute towards dry skin.
Before suggesting any treatment, the dermatologist will examine your skin, question you about your problem, diagnose you and then suggest the appropriate treatment plan. If the physician doubts any underlying health problem to contribute towards dry skin, he/she may recommend you for further tests.
Once diagnosed with dry skin, the dermatologist recommends using these treatment options:
Dietitian Nutritionist Dr. Nafeesa Imteyaz.