Everything you ever wanted to know about asteatotic eczema

Asteatotic eczema is extremely dry, cracked skin that has fissures and scales.  It’s very common in elderly patients, usually appearing on the shins, although it can also show up on the hands or trunk of the body.  It’s also possible for younger patients to suffer from this extreme type of dry skin condition.  Asteatotic eczema is also sometimes referred to as xerosis.

Most causes of asteatotic eczema are environmental, although some diseases can also cause extremely dry skin.  The most common cause of xerosis is the weather.  People who live in regions that get very cold tend to have much drier skin than those who live in warmer climates.  People living in desert regions with very low humidity may also experience asteatotic eczema.  Along the same lines, heating and cooling inside your home can also cause your skin to dry out because it tends to reduce humidity in the air. 
Another thing that can cause your skin to dry out drastically is very hot baths or showers.  Hot water tends to dry the skin after it evaporates, so it’s best to keep the temperature of your water at a lukewarm level. 

Two health problems that tend to cause extremely dry skin are psoriasis and thyroid disorders.  If you have either one of these conditions, then you are certainly at a higher risk to develop asteatotic eczema.  Other risk factors for this skin disorder are living in a low humidity climate, and frequent baths or showers.  People over the age of 65 are also at a higher risk for this skin disorder.

If your doctor suspects that you have asteatotic eczema, then he will conduct a careful examination of your skin.  He will also ask about your bathing habits and about any other disorders that are related to this skin problem.  If you don’t already know that you have a health problem that contributes to asteatotic eczema, then your doctor will probably run some other tests to see if you do indeed have any of these other health problems.

Most people who suffer from extremely dry skin will find relief from some simple lifestyle changes.  Avoiding long, hot showers and baths can really help clear up this problem.  Also applying moisturizer right after bathing can help a lot.  If your condition is severe or accompanied with other skin problems like psoriasis or ichthyosis, then your doctor will probably prescribe a topical cream or ointment in addition to these small lifestyle changes.  If your doctor believes your extremely dry skin has also brought about dermatitis, then he will also prescribe a topical steroid lotion that contains hydrocortisone.  Dermatitis is a serious complication of severely dry skin that results in red skin that also itches.  Your doctor may also prescribe wet dressings with an astringent if your skin has become so dry that it started to crack.

Getting help for asteatotic eczema is very important because it can lead to other, more serious problems down the road.




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