Xeroderma or Dry Skin

Hands | Dermatology | Xeroderma or Dry Skin (Symptom)


Xeroderma literally means dry skin. It is a condition involving the integumentary system, which in most cases can safely be treated with emollients and/or moisturizers. Xeroderma occurs most commonly on the lower legs, arms, the sides of the abdomen and thighs. Symptoms most associated with Xeroderma are scaling (the visible peeling of the outer skin layer), itching and cracks in the skin.

Dry skin is a very common skin condition characterized by a lack of the appropriate amount of water in the most superficial layer of the skin, the epidermis. Dry skin may be a mild, temporary condition lasting a few days to weeks. Dry skin may also become a more severe, long-term skin problem for some.


A person with dry skin has a condition in which the surface of the skin does not make enough oil to keep it moist. Oil production decreases with age. Most people with dry skin do not have a serious illness. Dry skin is common and often responds to simple therapy at home. A small number of people can have skin conditions which can make the skin overly dry. Examples include atopic dermatitis, eczema, and psoriasis.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Severe or persistent dry skin that does not respond to home care may need to be treated by a doctor. Home care should include use of a moisturizing lotion and avoiding harsh soaps that could over-dry the skin. Frequent bathing can also lead to over-drying. Other treatments for dry skin may include oatmeal baths, avoiding sun exposure, and sunscreen.