Dry Skin Medical Term: Symptoms, Causes, And Treatment

Last Updated on March 9, 2023 by louischilton

Dry skin is a temporary condition that is usually not serious, it comes mostly during winter periods, hot showers, and the use of harsh ingredients.

Also, when the skin loses natural oils and sweat glands in the epidermis, it makes the skin lose water which may lead to dry skin.

When left untreated, it can leave your skin rough and cracked. It affects all ages but is most common in older people.

There are so many home remedies in place to improve your skin, and even the use of moisturizers can be of great help. Most importantly, Keep reading to know about dry skin and its medical term, causes, and treatment options.

Dry Skin Medical Term Symptoms, Causes, And Treatment

What Is The Medical Term For Dry Skin?

The medical term for dry skin is xerosis, the name “Xero” is a Greek word that means dry. Xerosis is a condition in which the skin’s natural oils have been stripped away, and the upper layers of the skin become dehydrated and cracked. It can affect people of all ages but is more common in adults over the age of 60.

This excessively dry skin condition is mostly found on their legs, arms, back of hands, and their scalp.

Most people suffer xerosis during winter when the cold air outside and the hot air inside create a low relative humidity resulting in loss of moisture in the skin.

Xerosis is a little bit critical, its less severe form is called xeroderma. Most time they can cause some level of discomfort, itchiness, and inflammation.

Xerosis Major Causes

Xerosis or dry skin is caused by so many factors, and most times the causes increase with age. But the major cause of dry skin include

  • Low humidity
  • Frequently use hot water
  • The use of harsh detergents
  • Exposure to the sun

Other dry skin causes include

  • Genetics
  • Fragrance
  • Diabetes
  • Lack of vitamins A and D
  • Zinc deficiency
  • Certain medications, including some antihistamines, antidepressants, antibiotics, chemotherapy drugs, blood thinners such as Coumadin, and lithium; also some topical medications such as retinoids
  • Genetics

What Are The Symptoms Of Xerosis

Dry skin is very easy to identify, some major dry skin symptoms and signs include

  • Scaly patches on the body or face, including those with thickened plaques of skin that may crack open
  • Skin itching and cracking
  • Skin redness in the affected area
  • Excessive dullness of the skin

How Is Xerosis Of The Skin Diagnosed?

Xerosis of the skin is diagnosed using a series of tests.

Our first step will be to look at your medical history. We will discuss with you any conditions you have, as well as any medications or skin treatments you are currently using. This information will help us determine what could be causing your xerosis.

We may also perform a skin biopsy. A small piece of tissue from the affected area on your skin is removed and examined under a microscope in the laboratory.

The biopsy can help us diagnose or rule out certain disorders and infections that may be causing your xerosis. It can also help us figure out how best to treat your condition.

What Are The Complications Of Xerosis Of The Skin?

Without treatment, xerosis can induce a wide range of complications. The most common complication is fungal infections that can cause painful blisters on the affected areas.

Those who suffer from xerosis of the eyes are at a higher risk of developing corneal ulcers. In very severe cases, patients can develop a form of dermatitis called nummular dermatitis, which is characterized by thickened and scaly patches on the skin that resemble coins.

Xerosis can also be accompanied by a number of autoimmune disorders such as psoriasis, vitiligo, and alopecia areata.

Xerosis (Dry Skin) Treatment

Most often this condition can be irritating and can damage the skin when left untreated.

Treating xerosis is one way to keep your skin healthy and also protect you from disease. This treatment is mostly the same as for dry skin.

In order to treat xerosis, you need cleansers and moisturizers with hydrating ingredients to lock in moisture. this will mainly help to relieve the problem.

Other than applying moisturizer and lotions, the following tips will also help in treating xerosis properly.

Skip Ingredients That will Dry Up Your Skin

Most moisturizers are made with drying ingredients, in order to combat xerosis, you need to avoid fragrance, sodium lauryl sulfate, triclosan, retinoid, and alpha-hydroxy acid.

Different studies have shown that these ingredients contribute massively to the drying up of your skin.

Use Homemade Remedies For Dry Skin

Some major home remedies like coconut oil, Sunflower seed oil, and oatmeal are natural moisturizers used for treating dry skin.

Another effective ingredient is honey, some dermatologists reveal that honey is one of the most effective natural moisturizers, so it is an excellent solution for dry, itchy skin.

Reduce The Intake Of Hot Water

If you’re suffering from skin conditions like xerosis, you need to reduce the intake of hot water.

Soaking your skin in hot water for a long can strip your skin of its natural oils and moisture which can worsen the problem.

Shorter Showers Are Mostly Ideal

The more time you spend on showers the more oil is lost. shorter showers are advisable in order to balance the natural oil content of the skin.

  Use Humidifier Regularly

Add moisture to the air using a humidifier, Warm humidifiers increase the moisture content in the air and stop the moisture in your skin from evaporating.

Moisturize Regularly

Regular moisturization is key to healing severe cases of xerosis, this should be done after a shower to help prevent water loss and keep your skin out of bacteria.

Option For oil-Based Moisturizer

Some dermatologists believe oil-based moisturizers are more effective at holding in moisture than water-based moisturizers.

Exfoliate with care

Regular use of a wet towel or exfoliating cleanser can help remove dry skin flakes and refresh your skin. But this can sometimes over-strip and damage your skin, so be careful when using it.

How Long Will It Take To Fix Dry Skin?

It will take up to a week to fix dry skin. Your skin is a complex organism, and when you stop to consider the fact that your skin is made up of over 100 different layers of cells, it’s easy to see why it might take some time for dry skin to get back on track.

First off, your skin needs time to recover from the effects of being dehydrated. This includes repair, hydration, and rejuvenation of your epidermis, the outermost layer of your body’s largest organ.

When you are in a state of dehydration which is what causes dry skin, your body isn’t able to produce enough oils or natural lubricants that would normally keep your skin soft and supple. As a result, your skin can become more prone to getting dried out further down into the layers below.


We hope you enjoyed reading about dry skin medical terms. There is a lot of information online about what causes dry skin and what you can do about it.

The most common one is dehydration. If you’re constantly feeling dry and flaky, this could be a sign that you’re not drinking enough water.

Your skin is your body’s largest organ, and it relies on water to do its job. If you’re not properly hydrated, your skin won’t be able to perform at its best. If you’re getting older, your skin may also be drier because it’s not as elastic as it once was.

We hope you found this article helpful. If you have any questions about dry skin or about skin in general, please contact us anytime at [email protected].

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