Dry skin or medically termed Xerosis affects mostly elderly people, but anyone can have problems with the dry skin regardless of age and sex. It is a skin condition marked by visibly dry and rough skin, prone to scaling and cracking. Such scaly skin often feels itchy and itching causes irritations, all of which is known by the name of pruritus. The skin has its own glands that are responsible for oiling the skin, thus making it smooth and good-looking. Due to the decrease in natural oils produced by the skin, dry skin is formed.
This dryness of the skin occurs for several reasons: dry and cold weather, frequent bathing, dehydration, environmental influences and some medical conditions (liver diseases, diabetes, malnutrition, skin diseases etc.). Central heating and the climate with low humidity can affect the skin to a considerable extent. Xerosis usually appears in the cold winter since there is no enough moisture in the air. Inadequate and harsh soaps, as well as frequent or long bathing with hot water dry out the skin.
The most common locations for Xerosis are the legs, particularly shins, arms and the back of the hands, i.e. palms. Diabetes patients have dry skin on the feet. The symptoms may worsen and lead to the formation of the feet infections and ulcers. While, bathing can supply the skin with adequate amounts of moisture and water, frequent bathing causes the outer layer of the skin to flake off. The result of this is dehydrated and non-moisturized skin. In more advanced stages Nummular Eczema occurs recognized by the rash, severe itching and coin-shaped patches on the skin. Dry skin appears as tight and rough skin with shrinks and cracks that may bleed. The skin is inflamed provoking the redness and itching. Dry and scaly skin is termed subacute rash. Constant itching and scratching then may lead to the forming of the crusts or sores full of fluids, named acute oozing rash. As a consequence of scratching or rubbing the skin may become hardened, which is known by the name of lichenification.
There are a number of cosmetic products, alpha hydroxyacid lotions and milk with moisturizing effect. They can be used effectively in the treatment of Xerosis. Rub the oil or hydrating milk onto the skin, preferably immediately after the shower. Avoid having a shower or a bath more than once a day. It is not advisable to use soaps when bathing or washing hands, it is better to use gentle, softening, creme oil shower gels like, for example, Oil of Olay, Dove or Basis. Do not shower with hot water.