Synonyms for xerosis include asteatosis, dry skin, winter itch, and eczema craquelé. Manifestations of dry skin can progress from reddening and cracking to severe persistent pruritis and lichenification. The loss of hydration in the epidermis causes fissuring and cracking of the stratum corneum, making the skin look like antique porcelain (eczema craquelé). As the condition worsens, the skin scales and begin to flake, cracks may extend and deepen, and the skin feels uneven. Local or generalized pruritus may also be present. Chronic scratching and rubbing result in painful excoriations and infected with lesions that become thick and lichenified. Dry skin is the most common skin complaint in the elderly, affecting nearly 75 % of those 64 and older. In a recent study, the most common problem affecting nursing home patients was dry and pruritic skin. Dry skin is worse in the winter due to low humidity [1, 2].
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