Xerosis is the medical term for severe dry skin. It is a common condition which people of all ages are susceptible to in which the skin is itchy, flaky, or scaly, and has a rough feel due to lack of moisture which could lead to cracking of skin and/or bleeding. Each person experiences these dry patches in a different place of the body.

There are several causes of xerosis, including as overbathing, harsh soaps, UV damage, cold or dry conditions, and sun exposure. There are several ways a patient can treat dry skin, such as moisturizing and using year-round sun protection.

Different types of dry skin:

  • Contact dermatitis: When something that irritates or triggers an allergic reaction comes into contact with the skin, contact dermatitis develops. Patients can experience a skin rash in addition to having dry, itchy, and red skin. Nickel-based jewelry metals, personal care products, detergents, and medicines are a few examples.
  • Seborrheic dermatitis: A condition known as dandruff in adults or cradle cap in children can cause dry skin on your scalp. Additionally, dry, flaky skin patches on the face, chest, and the inside creases of your arms, legs, or groin might be a symptom of seborrheic dermatitis. It can also affect the navel less frequently. When the body reacts to a typical yeast that develops on the skin, it might cause this kind of dermatitis.
  • Eczema: Several skin disorders collectively result in red, dry, bumpy, and itchy skin patches. If the condition is severe, it may result in skin breaking, which increases the risk of infection. With irritants, allergies, and stress, this common skin disease can get worse.
  • Athlete’s foot: The fungus that causes athlete’s foot can resemble dry skin on the feet. Dry, flaky skin on the soles of the feet is a symptom of athlete’s foot.


Patient may only experience dry skin during the winter, or they may need to seek long-term treatment. Dry skin is frequently temporary or seasonal. Age, health status, skin tone, environment at home, and sun exposure may all affect the signs and symptoms of dry skin.

  • Skin that is itchy, dry, and scaly
  • Skin that feels rough
  • Skin tightness
  • Skin flaking with an ashy appearance may affect dry brown skin or black skin.
  • Skin scaling or peeling
  • Skin cracking that may cause bleeding
  • Skin that can be reddish on white people or grayish on brown and black people.

Rashes may appear on those who have extremely dry skin. Itchy, swollen, or different in color from the skin around it, usually red to purple, the rash may feature small, pimple-like lumps. Dermatitis, which means swollen and inflamed skin, is the medical term for this rash.

Changes in lifestyle and home treatments work well for most cases of dry skin. Healthcare provider or a dermatologist may be able to assist the patient if there is persistent signs and symptoms despite the self-care, skin becomes painful, inflamed, sore or infected that cause by scratching, and if the condition causes the patient having difficulty to focus on the daily life or sleep.


A decrease of moisture on the skin’s surface has been related to dry skin, usually due to environmental factors.

Low humidity places or a cold and windy conditions could cause dry skin. Also, heat producers could also cause dry skin such as central heating, wood-burning stoves, space heaters and fireplaces all reduce humidity.

A person may develop xerosis if they take a long time to shower or bathe and scrub their body excessively. The natural oils on your skin can also be removed by taking more than one bath per day. A lot of widely used soaps, detergents, and shampoos eliminate moisture from your skin since they are designed to remove oil.

Patients who has atopic dermatitis and psoriasis are more likely to have dry skin than the general population. Others are those who are following cancer treatment, dialysis, or certain medications.

Risk factors

Dry skin can occur in anyone. However, the following factors increase your risk for the condition:

  • Age: Individuals over 40, as the skin’s capacity to retain moisture declines with aging. The skin begins to thin as a result of the drying out of the skin’s collagen and fat. This is a typical aspect of the aging process of the body.
  • Climate: Living in cold, windy conditions or low-humidity climates could increase the risk of xerosis. The skin’s moisture may be impacted by the temperature of the environment. Dry skin is a result of dry climates, such as those that resemble the desert or those that are cold and windy. Although dry skin can develop year-round, it is frequently worse in the winter.
  • Occupations: Certain occupations, such as farming, hairstyling, or nursing, might cause xerosis, especially if the person must often immerse their hands in water. This also includes working with soil, clay, or cement with the hands.
  • Medical condition: If someone have genes that leads to dry skin or have a medical condition that manifests as dry skin, they might be more susceptible to developing it. Allergies, eczema, diabetes, hypothyroidism, and kidney illness are some of the ailments that cause xerosis.