Dry skin happens to all of us. From over-washing your hands to forgetting to apply moisturizer for a few days, anything and everything can cause dry patches to appear. However, some dry skin is more severe than others. Abnormally dry skin, also called xerosis cutis, is fairly common and often leads to discomfort. But, how do you know that your dry skin can be classified as xerosis? To help you crack the case, we’ve rounded up the symptoms of this tricky skin condition, as well as the treatment options and prevention tips. You’ll be on the path to healing in no time at all.
What is Xerosis?
As mentioned before, xerosis cutis is another term for abnormally dry skin. Typically, older adults are more at risk than younger people because dry skin is directly connected to your skin’s oil production. When you age, your skin produces less and less oil, which results in the need for a good moisturizer. Xerosis is also triggered by environmental irritants, such as cold winters, vigorous towel-drying, and extended sun exposure. Those of us with xerosis experience itchy skin, flakiness, redness and dry patches. If left untreated, these symptoms can worsen, leading to bleeding and cracks in the skin.
Lotion, Cream, Moisturizer, Oh My!
One of the best ways to treat xerosis is to moisturize. Lotion & moisturizer restore hydration to the skin, healing dry patches and treating itchy skin. We recommend a thicker, emollient formula that contains oils to lock in moisture. Applying a moisturizer 3-4 times a day is ideal. Plus, if you have dry hands, you should apply it after washing.
If homeopathy is more your thing, you can easily treat dry skin with natural moisturizers, such as coconut oil. Coconut oil soothes skin while stopping itching in its tracks. While you may be tempted to use aloe vera, we suggest skipping it. Aloe vera can make your skin even more sensitive, which can cause further irritation.
Is There a Doctor in The House?
Sometimes, your xerosis may become too severe for at-home care. The constant itching, redness, and flakiness can result in a bacterial infection. If you notice a ring-shaped rash, oozing, excessive peeling, or little to no improvement, we recommend calling your dermatologist ASAP.
How To Prevent Xerosis
Once you heal your dry skin, it can come back to haunt you. Keep it at bay with preventive care! Showering or bathing with lukewarm water instead of hot water, using gentle skin products that won’t cause skin irritation, and using a humidifier to increase the levels of moisture in your home are all important steps to take in preventing xerosis. Bonus points if you stay hydrated and avoid direct sun exposure!
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