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Xerosis is an abnormal dryness of the skin or mucus membranes.


Dry skin usually gets worse during the winter.

Older people are usually affected more by this condition.


Your skin may get dry, scaly, itchy, and red. You may also have fine cracks on the skin.

The problem is usually worse on the arms and legs.


Treatments include:

  • Moisturizers, especially creams or lotions that contain urea and lactic acid
  • Topical steroids -- for areas that get very inflamed and itchy


To prevent xerosis:

  • Do not expose your skin to water more often than needed.
  • Use cool bath water.
  • Choose gentle skin cleansers that are free from dyes and perfumes.

Alternative Names

Asteatotic eczema; Eczema craquele


Beiber T, Bussmann C. Atopic dermatitis. In: Bolognia JL, Jorizzo JL, Schaffer JV, et al, eds.Dermatology

Gilchrest BA. Skin disorders. In: Duthie EH, Katz PR, Malone ML, eds.Practice of Geriatrics

Habif TP. Eczema and hand dermatitis. In: Habif TP, ed.Clinical Dermatology

Update Date 11/12/2014

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