Xerotic Eczema Explained by Dermasil Labs
Dry skin is called xerosis, or xerotic eczema. This is a term derived from a Greek word ("xeros") meaning "dry." It should not be confused in name with "psoriasis" (another, more serious disease), or "cirrhosis" (a disease of the liver).
Xerosis is a very common, non-infectious condition which occurs with greater frequency during the fall and winter months, usually because of the low humidity and most of all, too frequent bathing. In fact, excess bathing is the most frequent cause of skin dryness and itching. During cooler weather and periods of excess bathing, the skin dries out progressively. In fact, many people call xerosis "Winter Itch" because of its regular worsening in Winter. The condition is usually found in areas of the body where oil glands are not numerous, such as the arms, legs and trunk area.
Water is the most drying influence on the human skin! Although it sounds like it should help dry skin, it really washes off the necessary skin oils that retain the skin's water. This natural moisture makes the skin supple and soft. Television and other commercial advertisements have made us all too conscious of constant cleansing of the skin.
Repeated cleansing removes the skin's natural oil layer. This allows evaporation of the skin's water, which, in turn, leaves the very substance of the skin dry. In other words, water and bathing are extremely drying to the skin. As a matter of fact, xerosis is only a product of recent years, because people never used to take as many baths and showers as they do now. And if they only took one or two baths per week, as many of them did, people had a chance to re-accumulate natural body oils between baths.
When the skin dries out, the dead top layer becomes stiff, and on bending, actually cracks. This cracking phenomenon causes fissures down into the depth of the skin which then becomes irritated, inflamed and very itchy.
This problem is by no means confined to one age group or sex. It is found in young children, as well as middle-aged and elderly adults. Even teenagers can have dry, xerotic skin on the non-oily parts of their bodies. Generally, however, the older you are, the worse the tendency for dry skin.
There are many contributing factors to xerosis besides the season of the year, excess bathing and age. The second most common cause is the usage of harsh antibacterial soaps. Soaps contributing to dry skin are Dial, Zest, Safeguard, Lifebouy, Irish Spring, Coast, Phase III, Ivory, Lava, Shield and all liquid soaps. While it may be true that Ivory Soap is 99.44% pure, it is also true that it is equally as drying. It is not generally advised.
What can you do about your extremely dry skin?
First of all, decrease your baths to a maximum of one every other day or less, if possible. Many patients decrease to one or two baths per week, spot bathing as necessary between baths. If you have a child with this problem, the same applies to him or her.
The whole principal of bathing and soap usage can be summed up by using The Three "Gets" of bathing: "Get in, Get clean, and Get out!"
DO NOT pour any bath oil into your bath water because of the severe danger of slipping! Only use bath oils by pouring a small amount into your hand and smoothing it on over the already-wet skin you have just bathed. Then you just blot dry with a towel to save most of the oil on the skin.
If your condition warrants it, a cream or lotion may be prescribed or recommended to calm the inflammation of your dry, irritated skin. We would recommend Dermasil
Use creams only in a single area - for widespread areas, the lotions work better. It needs to be applied often enough to keep your skin soft and moist.