WHO Model Prescribing Information: Drugs Used in Skin Diseases
(1997; 132 pages) [French] [Spanish] View the PDF document
Table of Contents
View the documentPreface
View the documentIntroduction
Open this folder and view contentsParasitic infections
Open this folder and view contentsInsect and arachnid bites and stings
Open this folder and view contentsSuperficial fungal infections
Open this folder and view contentsSubcutaneous fungal infections
Open this folder and view contentsBacterial infections
Open this folder and view contentsViral infections
Open this folder and view contentsEczematous diseases
Close this folderScaling diseases
View the documentIchthyosis
View the documentXerosis
Open this folder and view contentsPapulosquamous diseases
View the documentCutaneous reactions to drugs
Open this folder and view contentsPigmentary disorders
Open this folder and view contentsPremalignant lesions and malignant tumours
Open this folder and view contentsPhotodermatoses
Open this folder and view contentsBullous dermatoses
View the documentAlopecia areata
View the documentUrticaria
Open this folder and view contentsConditions common in children
View the documentAcne vulgaris
View the documentPruritus
View the documentTropical ulcers
Open this folder and view contentsAntimicrobial drugs
Open this folder and view contentsAntifugal drugs
Open this folder and view contentsAntiseptic agents
Open this folder and view contentsKeratoplastic and keratolytic agents
Open this folder and view contentsScabicides and pediculicides
Open this folder and view contentsAnti-inflammatory and antipruritic drugs1
Open this folder and view contentsAntiallergics and drugs used in anaphylaxis
Open this folder and view contentsUltraviolet radiation-blocking agents (sunscreens)
Open this folder and view contentsMiscellaneous drugs
Open this folder and view contentsAnnex
View the documentSelected WHO Publications of Related Interest
View the documentBack cover
 

Xerosis

Xerosis, or dryness of the skin, is the most common form of fine scaling seen, particularly among children and the elderly. It is usually accompanied by mild or severe pruritus and is exacerbated by environmental factors such as exposure to sunlight. In the elderly, xerosis may cause atrophoderma.

Treatment

Every effort should be made to keep the skin moist. Detergents and other degreasing agents should therefore be avoided.

Baths should be tepid rather than hot, and soap should be used sparingly. In cold climates, adequate protective clothing should be worn in cold weather, and in centrally heated premises, efforts should be made to humidify the air.

Emollients such as aqueous creams and emulsifying ointments should be applied once or twice daily to affected skin in severe cases. The addition of a keratolytic agent, such as 1-5% salicylic acid or 5% lactic acid, can be helpful. Salicylic acid should be used sparingly in children because of the risk of systemic salicylism. Occlusion therapy using a 60% aqueous solution of propylene glycol may be effective in unresponsive cases where circumstances permit, but cannot be used in warm or hot climates since it may cause thermoregulatory problems and increase the risk of secondary infection. An aqueous cream containing 10% urea, which has moisturizing, keratolytic and antimitotic properties, may prove more effective than an emulsifying ointment. Sodium chloride, 0.9% solution, is sometimes added to increase the moisturizing effect. α-Hydroxy acids such as pyruvic acid and glycolic acid in concentrations of 0.5-2% have been introduced recently and appear to be useful, particularly in xerosis.

Topical or systemic administration of retinoids may be of value in certain rare forms of ichthyosis in which the hyperkeratosis is caused by hyperproliferation rather than defective desquamation. However, the improvement induced by therapy may not persist after the drug is stopped, and long-term treatment may be necessary.

 

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