What is Xerosis and what causes it?
Xerosis in dermatology we call what is commonly known as dry skin. Dry skin can have many causes and these causes can also vary according to age. It is not the same in an elderly person, who are usually patients who have an inability to synthesize lipids well, they have an increase in transepidermal water loss, this causes a dry, cracked, fissured skin that causes itching.. In children, however, the most common cause of dry skin is atopic dermatitis, the well-known Atopia, which is a disease that has a genetic background and is caused by an alteration in the formation of the skin barrier. They genetically have a problem to synthesize the cement that would bind skin cells.
What are the main symptoms?
The main symptom that produces Xerosis, dry skin, is itching. The itching induces the person to scratch, it is believed lesions, erosions, linear lesions many times for that wound that is self-inflicted. And with these injuries many times what induces that patient is eczematization, inflammation, causes dermatitis in those areas of scratching and often with it the over infection of these injuries, which often see children with eczema, scratching , about infected people and that is a vicious circle since it stings them more. When a patient scratches a lot or rubs a lot in the same area because it causes a lot of itching, the skin has a defense mechanism that is lichenification, which becomes more chubby, and that is even worse because it is a vicious circle that makes that the skin itches much more, with which it is very important to cut that cycle of itching and scratching in these patients.
Does it affect children more often?
The Xerosis in children especially appears in atopic dermatitis and atopic dermatitis is a disease that has experienced in the last three decades an increase of up to 20% of incidence in the countries of our environment, in industrialized countries generally. It is the second cause of a visit to the dermatologist at these ages. The reason why it affects more the pediatric age than adults is probably because the cause of atopic dermatitis actually originates in a genetic disorder whereby these children are not able to synthesize a mature skin, a correct skin that serve as a barrier against external aggressions. And what usually happens is that slowly throughout the first years of life that skin matures and already learns to create that barrier. That is why usually atopic dermatitis can be seen in up to 10% or 20% of children especially in the first years of life, while in adults only has an incidence of 5% or 7%.
What is the treatment?
The treatment of dry skin is basically hydration. One thing is hydration in maintenance, not in an acute outbreak of eczema, when there is already involvement of the skin and inflammation and dermatitis is already seen in the skin, which would be maintenance by means of grinding, moisturizing ... we should help even sometimes with good hygiene products for the bathroom. Another thing is the treatment in outbreak. The treatment of atopic dermatitis, for example in an outbreak, when there is already that redness, that desquamation, we must use treatment creams that would be based on corticosteroids many times, corticoids of very different potency, depending on the age of the child, the location ; with very different vehicles, it is not the same to give a cream, a lotion or an ointment. And sometimes other types of treatments, sometimes even systemic, depending a little on the intensity of the picture.