Merck Manual

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Xeroderma

(Xerosis)

By

James G. H. Dinulos

, MD, Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth

Last full review/revision May 2021| Content last modified May 2021
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Topic Resources

Xeroderma is dry skin that is neither inherited nor associated with systemic abnormalities.

Xeroderma results from delayed shedding of the superficial cells of the skin, yielding fine white scale. Risk factors for xerosis include the following:

Severe dry skin on the hands may become inflamed, leading to hand dermatitis (hand eczema).

Diagnosis of xeroderma is based on clinical evaluation. Xeroderma can usually be differentiated by inflammatory disorders such as atopic dermatitis and psoriasis by the absence of erythema in xeroderma. Unlike the fine white scales of xeroderma, ichthyosis is characterized by fish-like scales.

Treatment of Xeroderma

  • Maximization of skin moisture

Treatment of xeroderma is focused on keeping the skin moist:

Patients who develop hand dermatitis sometimes require topical corticosteroids to decrease inflammation and maintain the skin barrier.

Drugs Mentioned In This Article

Drug Name Select Trade
No US brand name
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