A process characterized by pruritic, dry, cracked, and fissured skin, common in the elderly.

Associated with decreased activity of sebaceous and sweat glands in the elderly, and is one of the main contributing factors.

Decreased skin thickness and decreased hydration also play key roles in the pathogenesis.

Occurs most frequently on the legs.

When severe overlaps with ichthyosis.

Occurs in association with tinea pedis.

Xerosis has the appearance of cracked porcelain.

Skin cracks arise from loss of water from the epidermis.

The process of xerosis disrupts the desquamation process.

Xerosis results in powdery flakes they become visible on the surface of the skin.

Xerosis is more severe in winter, when humidity is low.

The process is partly considered inflammatory due to accompanied erythema and some inflammation, but the condition results in large part from physical changes in the skin that occur with normal aging.

Treatment involves keeping the skin moist.

Utilization of a humidifier, and mild soaps and bath oils to preserve the natural oils of the skin are helpful.

Natural emollients of the skin must be replaced, and moisturizers, such as dimethicone 1%, can be applied to damp skin to seal in the moisture are additional measures that can be taken.

An effective rehydrating agent for the skin is ammonium lactate 12% lotion.

Avoiding agents that abrade the skin, such washcloths or rough clothing is important.

Topical corticosteroids are not indicated to treat xerosis.

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