Identifying and Managing Xerosis or Dry Skin

Dry skin becomes a problem when there are underlying, more serious skin conditions. Here’s what you should know and how you should manage dry skin.

“Extreme skin dryness can be a symptom of other more serious skin conditions.”

Dry skin is a common phenomenon. Normally, skin has a barrier function that keeps skin hydrated. When skin loses that function, as what happens in certain dermatologic conditions, it becomes dry. Exposure to drying soaps and detergents and environments with very low humidity may also lead to skin dryness.


Dryness in Excess

Xerosis cutis is the medical term for abnormally dry skin. In colder seasons, dry skin becomes a prevalent skin condition because of the lack of moisture and low humidity in the air. Such conditions may cause the skin to appear cracked or flaked. This is why people need to use more moisturizers in the winter months.

Because retaining moisture also becomes more difficult as we age, dry skin is especially an issue for older adults. The older we are, the more our skin loses its natural water and oils, which are necessary for skin lubrication.

Other Culprits for Dry Skin

Aside from natural causes, some of your personal hygiene habits may also have an impact on your skin’s ability to retain moisture.

Over-cleansing and over-scrubbing may strip the natural oils on the skin. The same goes for bathing too frequently or using hot water for bathing. Experts also warn against vigorous towel-drying to prevent damaging the skin further.

Dry Skin Conditions

Extreme skin dryness can be a symptom of other more serious skin conditions:

Medical Conditions and Drugs

Diabetes, hypothyroidism, kidney and liver diseases are diseases that may lead to dry skin. In these conditions, it is important to address skin dryness by regularly using moisturizers to keep skin supple. Certain drugs like antihypertensive agents, isotretinoin used in treatment of acne, and diuretics may also cause dryness.

Atopic Dermatitis

Atopic dermatitis is an example of a possible underlying condition of extreme dryness. It is known as skin asthma by Filipinos. It is a common skin condition characterized by dry skin and red, itchy, scaly recurrent rashes on the skin folds. It is also associated with other atopic diseases such as asthma, allergic rhinitis and food allergies. It is more common in children, especially those below 5 years of age, than in adults.

Mometasone furoate (Elica®) is a specially formulated and doctor-recommended topical ointment for eczema relief and other related skin conditions. Using a topical cream over rashes helps reduce the itch and softens the texture of damaged skin.

Managing Skin dryness

Dermatologists often recommend ointments or moisturizers as treatment for dry skin because of their high oil content. Oil-based products and barrier repair creams help ease dryness by locking water into the skin.

As much as we need external moisture, hydration also begins from within. If your skin does not get adequate hydration, it will manifest by turning your skin dry, flaky, and tight. If you have sensitive skin or if you suspect you may have a more serious skin condition, visit a dermatologist or doctor to get the right treatment.

If symptoms persists, consult your doctor.

ASC Reference No.: B089P021821ES