At Paul Klein, DPM, FACFAS, when we tell patients they have xerosis, we’re quick to follow up with “that’s a scary sounding word for very dry skin.” Winter is a time of year when we see more patients with this condition due to the fact that heated homes, cars and offices can create excessive dryness in the air and consequently, for your skin. Cold temperatures and windy conditions further increase the risk of xerosis.
Signs of xerosis are very dry, flaking skin that may be itchy and red. In more extreme cases, it may lead to a scaly appearance and even cracks in the skin.
Who’s at Risk?
While anyone is subject to dry skin, this extreme form is more likely to affect the following patients:
- Diabetic patients
- Patients with an inherited tendency for xerosis
For most people, xerosis is not a dangerous condition. The exception to this is patients with diabetes or other immune or circulatory suppressing conditions. In these cases, excessively dry skin that develops cracks can become the sight of wounds and ulcers that may be slow to heal and lead to serious infections.
The treatment for xerosis is a combination of active and preventive measures. First, our podiatrist, Dr. Paul G. Klein, will want to see you and evaluate the condition of the skin on your feet and heels. The foot doctor will also get a complete medical history and ask if other members of your family have ever had this condition. The following treatments and precautions may be recommended:
- Extra emollient creams and lotions applied several times a day to the affected areas
- Limiting the number and length of showers and avoiding using overly hot water
- If you swim for exercise, you should rinse off the chlorine immediately following your session
- Make sure you are getting adequate amounts of Vitamin A in your diet
- Drink plenty of fluids to keep your body hydrated
- Using non- drying soaps for bathing and washing your clothes in detergents designed for sensitive skin
Usually these measures will clear up xerosis in a relatively short period of time. If dry skin persists or you see cracks developing, it’s important that you contact our Wayne, New Jersey office right away by calling: 973-595-1555.