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Dry itching skin in the elderly

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A 58-year-old woman came with complaining of dry skin. She states that although her skin normally gets dry in the winter, this year has been a lot worse and her skin feels dry and itchy.

She denies any allergies to medications. She states she typically takes 20- to 35-minute showers and likes the water to be hot. She does not use lotion regularly, but will use it sometimes in the summer when she wears dresses. Her diet is normal, she drinks 2 glasses of water a day, and nothing has changed recently, except the weather. She wants to know if there is anything you recommend for dry skin.

She was asked to put on an oil-based emollient immediately after bathing.

She should take 3- to 5-minute baths in tepid water, 2 to 3 times per week, until her skin improves; pat dry her body to avoid excessive loss of skin oils; and immediately apply an oil-based moisturizer.

She should also use the moisturizer 3 or 4 times each day until her skin is back to normal. She can also benefit from indoor environments where the humidity level is higher than normal. In addition, drinking more water will help her feel less dry.

Moisturizer is a major component of basic daily skin care, particularly in presence of epidermal barrier alteration and reduced epidermal water content. It is an important part of a dermatologist’s strategy to maintain skin health as well as treating various dermatoses which co-exist with skin dryness and are linked to impaired skin barrier function, such as in atopic disorders as well as other types of dermatitis. This Case Report discusses the use of moisturizer both for skin health maintenance as well as a definitive or adjuvant therapy for many kinds of dermatitis.

The pre and post values showed increased skin hydration after the treatment duration of four weeks. The skin pH levels initially were normal and increased during the treatment period and again declined to normal pH of the skin by the end of four weeks. The viscoelasticity (VE) increased after treatment, but the elasticity values were rather not much affected. The melanin and erythema values increased during cream application and had returned to normal with the completion of treatment.

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