Xerotic Eczema

Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment of Xerotic Eczema

In the fall or winter, do you experience severely dry, itchy patches on your skin? Xerotic Eczema, also known as “winter itch,” is one of the many types of eczema. It is most commonly experienced in the winter months or in dry climates when the skin is unable to retain moisture.

While xerotic eczema can affect anyone, it is most common in elderly, people with poor circulation, and is often found in the lower leg area. Learn more about xerotic eczema including how you can treat it.

Xerotic Eczema Symptoms

Common symptoms of xerotic eczema include:

  • Dry, itchy, peeling skin
  • Cracked skin
  • Redness
  • Pimple-like bumps

Cracked skin may become infected with bacteria and become crusted or swollen. Shaving can irritate the skin and cause more symptoms in regularly shaved areas.

Symptoms often worsen at night or after a hot shower and may be found on the feet of people who suffer from diabetes. If left treated on diabetes patients, xerotic eczema could lead to other severe problems such as infection, ulcers, or fissures on the feet.

Xerotic Eczema Diagnosis

A doctor or allergist will examine your skin and ask you questions about your health history and lifestyle to determine if a skin reaction is caused by xerotic eczema. In addition to cold, dry weather, skin issues such as dryness, cracking, and redness may be caused by exposure to allergens in soaps or skincare products. An allergist can do skin tests by testing a small patch of skin to discover if your skin is reacting to specific chemicals or allergens in products.

Xerotic Eczema Management

To reduce symptoms of xerotic eczema, avoid itching or scratching the affected area and reduce alcohol use which can further dry out your skin. Increase the humidity in your home and avoid taking hot showers or limit showers to once every other day. Wash with mild, natural cleansers for soaps and detergents to avoid stripping your skin of its natural oils. Using harsh, commercial soaps with chemicals and fragrance may contribute to further reactions causing dry, cracked skin.

Apply thick, moisturizing lotions or ointments within five minutes after a shower and at any time throughout the day when your skin feels dry (especially in winter months). Avoid water-based lotions that don’t hold in moisture or lotions with fragrance, which could further irritate your skin.

Treatment for Xerotic Eczema

If symptoms persist, you doctor or allergist may prescribe a steroid cream for one to two weeks to offer extended relief. It’s important to keep the area clean to avoid bacterial infection. Visit your doctor immediately if symptoms worsen or if an infection develops.

Are you concerned you may have symptoms of xerotic eczema? Get help for dry, itchy, and cracked skin. Visit the local allergy specialists at Allergy & Asthma Specialists of North Florida for tests and treatment recommendations for xerotic eczema.