Xerosis is a common skin ailment which is characterized by dry, flaky and dull skin. Given below is some information on the circumstances under which one may develop xerosis symptoms, along with ways to prevent this condition from arising.
The changing texture and appearance of the skin is often a cause of cosmetic concern, especially for those who are very conscious about their looks. All of us dream of having a flawless skin that is free of blemishes. Not only does clear and radiant skin enhance one’s beauty, soft and supple skin definitely makes one look younger. On the other hand, dry and rough patches on skin reveals the lack of moisture. Dry skin is a very common skin problem that affects us mostly during the cold season. More often than not, dryness of skin is attributed to the exposure to the harsh environmental conditions, but other factors could also contribute to dry skin. Abnormal dryness of the skin, which is medically referred to as xerosis, is a condition that can be avoided if one pays attention to the aspect of skin care. In this article, we would be going through some of the common xerosis symptoms, along with ways to prevent xerosis.
Symptoms of Xerosis
Abnormal dryness of the skin is also referred to as xeroderma or xerosis cutis. The characteristic signs of xerosis start appearing when the transepidermal water loss, which is the amount of water that is lost through the outermost layer of the skin through evaporation or diffusion, is more than normal. The natural oils that lubricate the skin act as a barrier, and lower the quantity of water that may be drawn out through the epidermis. However, the production of natural oils may decrease and the body’s ability to retain moisture may also get adversely affected as one grows older. This is the reason why, dry skin is common in elderly people.
Wondering how to identify the signs of xerosis? Well, take a look at your skin and see if it is dull, dry or dehydrated. It is the body’s natural oils and moisture that keep the skin supple, and therefore, skin may feel tight or rigid due to excessive loss of moisture. Healthy skin is soft and smooth to touch, whereas the skin that is affected by xerosis would be rough in texture. Skin could even become tough or parched. Scaly skin is another characteristic sign of xerosis. Patches of hard and scaly skin are bound to appear due to the loss of natural moisture of the skin. The dead skin cells may accumulate on the surface of the skin, and this dry and dead skin may then start flaking or peeling off. If the skin is not moisturized soon enough, it may even crack due to the lack of moisture. Lines on the skin become more pronounced.
If one doesn’t pay attention to the aspect of skin care at this time, one may even become prone to developing other skin conditions. For instance, dry skin is also believed to be the underlying cause of atopic dermatitis, which is an inflammatory skin condition that is characterized by itchy skin. Crusting or scaling of skin or development of itchy rashes are characteristic signs of this skin condition. Those who have dry skin could develop boils, pus-filled abscesses or other skin infections, if they scratch over the affected skin. One may even develop deep fissures that could even bleed. High incidence of rashes that are accompanied by pruritus (itching), in people suffering from xerosis, is usually associated with the lack of skin care, however, some people could be predisposed to developing dry skin. The severity of the symptoms of xerosis could vary depending on one’s lifestyle. For instance, those who spend a lot of time outdoors, and are exposed to the harsh environmental conditions, are definitely at a greater risk of developing dry skin.
How to Prevent Xerosis
Dehydration is one of the most common contributory factors when it comes to xerosis. Since inadequate intake of water could make one susceptible to dry, rough and flaky skin, one must stay well-hydrated at all times. Prolonged exposure to sun could also cause transepidermal water loss, which is why, one must minimize exposure to sun, or wear broad-rimmed hats and apply sunscreen before stepping out in the sun. Skin may also become dry due to the use of heating systems during the cold season, and therefore, there’s a great need to compensate for the loss of moisture. This can be achieved by applying good quality moisturizing creams or emollients.
Taking hot showers can also cause loss of the natural oils or the lipid layer of the epidermis, and one must therefore, use lukewarm water for bathing. While makeup products can enhance the way one looks, harsh chemicals that may be used in the cosmetic products may cause xerosis on face. One must therefore, buy cosmetic products that are manufactured by reputed brands. One must never sleep with the makeup on. Women must wash off the makeup and moisturize their skin at night. Besides makeup products, soaps or bathing gels that contain harsh chemicals could also cause xerosis. Thus, people who often develop dry skin, must therefore, consult a dermatologist about the skin care products that must be applied on the skin. Nutritional deficiencies or medical conditions could also make one susceptible to dry skin. Therefore, one must follow a healthy diet that includes of fresh fruits, vegetables and other food items that would help to keep one’s skin in good condition.
The best way to alleviate the symptoms of xerosis is to keep the skin moisturized and well-protected from the harsh environment. Besides the skin, other tissues of the body could also get affected by dryness. For instance, xerophthalmia and xerostomia are medical conditions that are associated with the abnormal dryness of the conjunctiva and the mouth respectively. However, xerosis or xeroderma is a far more common ailment than the xerostomia and xerophthalmia.