Dry skin is first defined by feelings. People feel that their skin is dry because they consider it is uncomfortable, tight and possibly rough and think the application of an appropriate product will provide relief. These symptoms can sometimes be accompanied by itching and burning sensations.
A doctor, however, will decide that skin is dry (the term xerosis is also used) based on objective criteria: a dull appearance, specific clinical epidermal signs of desquamation, cracking, sometimes inflammation and loss of elasticity. Irregularities on the skin’s surface are even more significant with dry skin.
Dry skin provides a favourable environment for eczema to develop, especially particularly in the form of pityriasis alba (dry patches). They generally appear on the cheeks and arms of children with systemic dry skin (that occurs as part of atopic dermatitis).
Within the range of dry skin, there are various stages :