Relieving The Symptoms Of Xerosis

Dry skin, also known as Xerosis, is a common problem for many people, especially older adults and during the colder months. As we age, our skin tends to lose the ability to retain moisture and natural oils, causing dryness and itching. Using special moisturizers combined with daily hygiene modifications can help to relieve the discomfort.


Causes of Dry Skin

One of the major causes of dry skin is the environment. Many people live in a dry environment with central heating which takes the humidity out of the air. Using harsh soaps or detergents can irritate skin and also strip away the moisture and natural oils from the skin increasing the symptoms of dry skin. Additional causes include:

  • Hot showers
  • Long showers
  • Overcleaning or scrubbing the skin too vigorously with a washcloth
  • Bathing too frequently
  • Rubbing skin when drying off with a towel
  • Dehydration
  • Harsh soaps or detergents

Symptoms of Dry Skin

The symptoms of dry skin are often seasonal or temporary but can be lifelong. Therefore, learning how to manage the symptoms can help to control the flares. Some common symptoms are:

  • Itching
  • Scaling, flaking or peeling skin
  • Ashy skin
  • Red or irritated appearance
  • Skin that feels rough or tight, especially after showering
  • Skin that appears cracked or has many fine lines 
  • Cracks that may bleed

It is important to see a dermatologist for moderate to severe symptoms of dry skin, especially if you develop open sores or wounds that do not heal easily. 

Diagnosing and Treating Dry Skin

Complexions Dermatology of Danville and Colonial Heights, VA is pleased to offer a myriad of treatments for moderate to severely dry skin, also known as xerosis cutis. Our board certified dermatologists will examine your skin to ensure no other conditions are present that may be causing the symptoms. Together, we will discuss at-home care options and minimal lifestyle changes that can help relieve the condition.

The goal of treating dry skin is to relieve the associated symptoms. Many recommendations can be implemented at home without having to take or use topical medications such as:

  • Moisturize daily using an oil-based cream instead of or in addition to a water-based cream
  • Staying hydrated by drinking plenty of water
  • Take short showers, no longer than 10 minutes and use lukewarm water rather than hot water
  • Pat or blot the skin dry after a shower instead of rubbing
  • Use soaps that are free from dyes, perfumes and alcohol
  • Moisturize after your shower to help lock in moisture
  • Avoid scratching skin as it causes inflammation and possibly opens the skin making it more vulnerable to infections
  • Use a humidifier in the house during the winter months
  • Wear clothes made of 100% cotton material

If dry skin is severe and affects your quality of life, Complexions Dermatology can suggest an over-the-counter hydrocortisone cream as well as prescribe topical anti-itch creams to help combat the itching and worsening the itch-scratch cycle. Schedule your appointment online or call us at our Danville location (434) 792-0423 or our Colonial Heights location (804) 805-8442 to learn more.

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Monday – Friday
8:00 am – 5:00 pm