Xeroderma (literally “dry skin”) is a condition involving the integumentary system, which in most cases can safely be treated with emollients and/or moisturizers. Xeroderma occurs most commonly on the scalp, lower legs, arms, the knuckles, the sides of the abdomen and thighs. Symptoms most associated with xeroderma are scaling (the visible peeling of the outer skin layer), itching and cracks in the skin.
Xeroderma is a very common condition. It happens more often in the winter where the cold air outside and the hot air inside creates a low relative humidity. This causes the skin to lose moisture and it may crack and peel. Bathing or showering too frequently, especially if one is using harsh soaps, may also contribute to xeroderma. Xeroderma can also be caused by a deficiency of vitamin A, vitamin D, systemic illness, extreme overexposure to sunlight (sunburn), extreme underexposure to sunlight, or some medication.