Dermatologists and Skin Care

Xerosis (Dry Skin): How to Get Rid of It?

Written by
Dr. Vasantha K S
and medically reviewed by Dr. Sneha Kannan

Published on Jul 04, 2018 and last reviewed on Jul 04, 2019   -  1 min read



Is your skin is severely dry and itchy? Read the article to find the causes, risk factors, and ways to prevent it.

Xerosis (Dry Skin): How to Get Rid of It?

Skin is the largest organ in the body. It not only protects your body from the entry of toxins, pollutants, and ultraviolet rays, it also is the primary defense mechanism for infections and disease. Skin that is well hydrated is able to protect the body better.

What Is Xerosis?

Xerosis is the medical term used to describe dry skin but in its more severe form.

What Are the Symptoms of Xerosis?

  • Severe dry skin.
  • Itchiness/pain.
  • Red and inflamed skin.
  • Scaly appearance.

What Causes Xerosis?

  1. Washing hands/bathing too frequently.
  2. Using harsh soaps.
  3. Showering with excessively hot water that strips the skin of its natural oils.
  4. Poor water intake.
  5. Low humidity conditions.
  6. Dry winters.
  7. Prolonged exposure to the sun.
  8. Central heating/air conditioning.

What Are the Risk Factors?

  • Aging: As we age, our skin becomes thin and brittle.
  • Diabetes: People with diabetes are more prone to dry skin.
  • Certain medications: Some common medicines like diuretics and cholesterol medications cause dryness and flakiness.

How Can Xerosis Be Prevented?

  1. Stay hydrated.
  2. Moisturize the skin with creams containing urea, glycerin, and AHA (alpha-hydroxy acids) immediately after a shower.
  3. Have a healthy diet rich in zinc, vitamin E, and omega-3 fatty acids.
  4. Avoid rubbing the skin vigorously with rough towels after a bath. Instead, gently pat dry.
  5. Natural products such as olive oil, almond oil, and flaxseed oil help soothe the skin.
  6. Avoid soaps, perfumes, detergents and other products containing drying agents such as alcohol.

For more information consult a dry skin specialist online -->

Frequently Asked Questions


What Is Xerosis?

“Xero” means dry, and xerosis is the medical term to describe a severe form of dry skin.


What Is Xerosis Cutis?

“Xero” means dry and “Cutis” means dermis or skin. Xerosis cutis or xerosis is another name for abnormally dry skin.


How Do You Treat Dry Skin?

Some tips to prevent and treat dry skin are:
- Take short showers with warm water and use a fragrance-free and gentle cleanser.
- Apply moisturizer, lotion, or cream after washing.
- Use unscented skin care products that are free of harsh chemicals.
- Use hypoallergenic detergent to wash your clothes.
- Use a humidifier to add moisture to the air.


Which Vitamin Deficiency Causes Dry Skin?

Vitamin A and D deficiency can result in dry skin and other skin problems. Vitamin A is responsible for the repair of skin cells and fights inflammation due to a skin infection. And severe vitamin D deficiency may result in eczema.


How To Get Rid Of Dry Skin?

To get rid of dry skin:
Avoid long and hot showers.
Moisturize your skin after washing.
Avoid using scented and harsh soaps.
Avoid prolonged sun exposure.
Drink plenty of water.


What Causes Dry Skin?

The common causes of dry skin are cold and dry weather, heaters and fireplaces make the air and your skin dry, long hot showers, scented and harsh soap and detergents, and skin conditions like eczema, psoriasis, etc.


What Can I Eat To Stop Dry Skin?

Foods that can help maintain healthy skin and fight dry skin from the inside are fatty fish, avocado, sweet potato, walnuts, cucumbers, broccoli, and green tea.


Which STDs Can Cause Dry Skin?

STDs (sexually transmitted diseases) that can cause dry skin in the genital areas are herpes and HIV (human immunodeficiency syndrome) infection.


How To Get Rid Of Dry Skin On Face?

If the skin is dry in patches on your face, try doing the following:
Wash your face with a soap-free and gentle face wash.
Moisturize your face after every wash.
Use a moisturizer containing glycerin, shea butter, or ceramides.
Use a gentle scrub to exfoliate the skin 2 to 3 times a week.
Use hydrating face masks.


Why Does Dry Skin Itch?

Dry skin becomes irritated and itchy because they lack natural oils, or it can be due to an allergic reaction. Avoid scratching the skin as it can infect it.

Last reviewed at:
04 Jul 2019  -  1 min read




Related Questions & Answers

I developed itchy and dry skin after dyeing hair in salon. Can you have a look?

Query: Hello doctor, I have a question about my skin condition. I have developed a really itchy and dry skin after I dyed my hair. Here are the symptoms. I do not know what the condition is as my appointment is months away. Can I attach pictures?  Read Full »

Popular Articles Most Popular Articles

Do you have a question on Dry Skin or Senile Xerosis?

Ask a Doctor Online

* guaranteed answer within 4 hours.
Enter Your Health Query
You can upload files and images in the next step.



Disclaimer: All health articles published on this website is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical diagnosis, advice or treatment by a trained physician. Seek the advice from your physician or other qualified health-care providers with questions you may have regarding your symptoms and medical condition for a complete medical diagnosis. Do not delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice because of something you have read on this website.