Xerosis or very dry skin: symptoms, causes and treatment

The skin, that vital organ that protects us from the external environment, can suffer from various conditions that compromise its health and appearance. There are some factors that harm our skin and therefore cause it to dry out, and in the following article we will explain it to you, but lately the main factor is time. Due to climate change, the temperatures that are so characteristic and different depending on the time of year and the type of air, make our skin dry out and look duller. In this article we tell you what xerosis is, what symptoms you may experience and how you can treat it.

What is xerosis or very dry skin

Xerosis is the technical way of talking about very dry skin. This happens when the skin loses a lot of water and oil. The stratum corneum is the outermost layer of the skin and that is where xerosis occurs . In normal situations this layer contains between 10-15% water, but when this percentage decreases by at least 10% it is when we talk about cutaneous xerosis and the skin looks fragile, rough, and dull, even “cracks” appear and it begins to peel.

One of the main factors involved in the appearance of xerosis is age. Everyone can suffer from it, but it is more common in women, since female skin is much thinner and more delicate. Aging causes a decrease in skin functions, such as retaining hydration. It usually appears mainly on the arms and legs, although the most common area is the heels.

Another factor that implies the appearance of xerosis is an external, environmental factor, due to the decrease in humidity and lack of precipitation, along with the heat waves that we have suffered. That is why the epidermis is exposed for a long time to hot and dry environments, which causes our skin to end up drying and dehydrating.

Causes of extremely dry skin

  • Heating: drier air indoors due to heating
  • Climate: Winter air is cold and dry or warmer environments are also drier
  • Too many baths or exfoliations: Being in the shower for a long time or exfoliating your skin too much can cause the skin to become more dry. Additionally , bathing more than once a day can remove natural oils from the skin.
  • Abrasive soaps and detergents : some soaps/detergents contain components that will eventually remove oils from the skin
  • Other skin conditions : People who suffer from atopic dermatitis or psoriasis are more likely to suffer from xerosis
  • Medical treatments: there are some treatments that are so strong that they cause dry skin, such as cancer treatments, receiving dialysis, or taking certain medications.
  • Aging: as we have said before, as we age, the skin becomes thinner and stops producing as much oil as our skin needs, therefore it does not retain as much water.

Main symptoms of xerosis

Symptoms of xerosis can vary depending on age, health, skin tone, living environment and sun exposure. Some of the symptoms are the following:

  • tight skin
  • Skin that looks rough
  • Itching
  • Redness of the skin
  • In dark skin, peeling that causes an ash gray appearance
  • Peeling in paler skin
  • Cracked appearance on the legs
  • Deep cracks that can bleed

Treatment of xerosis

Dry skin is usually temporary or seasonal, but in some cases long-term treatment may be necessary. In the end, the type of treatment that can be carried out to solve xerosis will be changes that you will have to make in your lifestyle and habits, including home remedies. To make your skin look moist and healthy you can follow the following points:

  • Wash your face gently: preferably use an alcohol-free, non-foaming cleanser. If you use any cosmetic, it is better to choose one that contains a cream or oil base and sunscreen of at least 30, even on cloudy days.
  • Moisturize your skin: Apply moisturizing cream several times a day, especially when you feel that your skin is dry, or after washing your hands or bathing. There are some ingredients that promote skin hydration and recovery, such as: urea, ceramides , fatty acids and glycerol.
  • Warm water and reduce shower time: avoid spending a long time in the shower and especially with hot water, as they eliminate the skin’s natural oils. Try not to shower more than once a day and for about 5-10 minutes.
  • Moisturizing soaps: use fragrance-free moisturizing soaps and then apply a moisturizing cream. Try to avoid using sponges and rinse and pat dry.
  • Humidifier: indoor air can dry the skin due to heating, even making it worse and causing itching and peeling. A humidifier can be used to make the indoor air more humid.
  • Clothing fabrics: cotton allows the skin to breathe while wool, even if natural, can irritate the skin.
  • Wash clothes: when cleaning the rattan, try to use detergents without dyes or perfumes, as they can irritate the skin.

In the event that these tips do not help to relieve your symptoms, you should go to your doctor so that he or she can develop a specific treatment for your skin.

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