Dry skin occurs when your skin loses too much water and oil. Dry skin is common and can affect anyone at any age. The medical term for dry skin is xerosis.
Xerosis; Asteatotic eczema; Eczema craquele
Dry skin can be caused by:
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.
Exams and Tests
The health care provider will examine your skin. You'll be asked about your health history and skin symptoms.
If the provider suspects the dry skin is caused by a health problem that hasn't been diagnosed yet, tests will likely be ordered.
Your provider may suggest home care measures, including:
If your dry skin is from a health problem, you'll likely be treated for it as well.
To prevent dry skin:
Coulson I, Cunningham C. Xerosis. In: Lebwohl MG, Heymann WR, Berth-Jones J, Coulson I, eds. Treatment of Skin Disease: Comprehensive Therapeutic Strategies. 4th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2014:chap 250.
Habif TP. Atopic dermatitis. In: Habif TP, ed. Clinical Dermatology: A Color Guide to Diagnosis and Therapy. 6th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2016:chap 5.
Review Date: 8/20/2016
Reviewed By: David L. Swanson, MD, Vice Chair of Medical Dermatology, Associate Professor of Dermatology, Mayo Medical School, Scottsdale, AZ. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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