Health A-Z


Clinical Definition

Xerosis is a dermatologic condition often linked with pruritus and becomes much more common with age, most often affecting the legs, elbows and forearms.  Pruritus sets in as xerosis is easily irritated; the condition is exacerbated by overuse of soaps, perfumes or hot baths.

In Our Own Words

Xerosis is the medical term for dry skin. With age, dry skin becomes much more common, often affecting the limbs and elbows as well as other body parts. Overuse of soaps, antiperspirants, perfumes and hot baths can make the problems worse, as can dehydration, sun exposure, stress and smoking.

Skin inflammation or dermatitis, such as allergy-related dermatitis, and a variety of other conditions can cause dry skin. A doctor’s visit is recommended for severe dry skin or itchiness. Moisturizers, a humidifier and keeping showers to 10 minutes or less in warm (not hot) water can help the condition.

Symptoms and Side Effects

  • Skin tightness
  • Itchiness
  • Flaking
  • Scaling
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