Xerosis of the skin is a common condition in the elderly1, known as senile xerosis. It is characterised by dry, scaly skin. These symptoms can be accompanied by cracking and itching2. But what exactly is senile xerosis? What are the causes? How can it be prevented and its symptoms minimised?
of people over 65 are affected by senile xerosis
reduction in sebum production after 60
Senile xerosis is the medical term for dry skin in the elderly. It comes from the Greek "xeros" which means dry3. It is estimated that senile xerosis affects 55% of people over 654.
Senile xerosis is characterised by shedding (the skin cracks and peels) and roughness (the skin is rough, thicker). It is frequently associated with pruritus, i.e. itching. This pruritus frequently reduces the quality of life of people with senile xerosis5.
Senile xerosis occurs mainly on the arms, legs and lower back5.
Extrinsic or environmental factors6,7: irritants such as soap or cleaning products, rough materials such as wool, excessive use of heating or air conditioning, the climate: cold, dryness, excessive exposure to the sun, etc.
Intrinsic or physiological factors8: The skin is covered by a protective film called the hydrolipidic film, which acts as a skin barrier. It contains fatty substances, sebum and water. Sebum's role is to limit the evaporation of thewater contained in the dermis and to protect the skin from external aggressors. Sebum is produced by the sebaceous glands located in the epidermis and the water contained in the hydrolipidic film comes from the sweat produced by the sweat glands. Production from these glands, both sweat and sebaceous, decreases with age, particularly in women after menopause. It is estimated that the sebaceous glands of women aged 60 have lost 40% of their activity. The water in the dermis evaporates more easily and the skin is less well-hydrated. It becomes drier, rougher.
A history of atopy and, in particular, atopic dermatitis increases the risk of xerosis in the elderly4,9. Other conditions such as psoriasis, hypothyroidism or certain lymphomas can also cause senile xerosis7.
To limit the symptoms and discomfort associated with senile xerosis, skin care should be adapted to suit the physiological characteristics of the skin10 :
For severe forms and intense itching, drug treatments can be prescribed by a doctor.
DEXERYL provides patients with proven clinical studies.
The first thing to do to prevent senile xerosis is to apply a suitable emollient daily, combined with a gentle hygiene routine.
Dexeryl supports you with emollient skin care and cleansers specially formulated for sensitive and dry skin.
DEXERYL Emollient Cream can be used to protect the skin and treat the signs and symptoms of dry skin, particularly in the context of senile xerosis.