Asteatotic dermatitis and Eczema Craqulae refers to the same condition. Asteatotic dermatitis is inflammation of the skin due to skin dryness (xerosis). Not everybody with a dry skin will develop skin inflammation. The more severe the skin dryness and the longer the skin dryness persists the greater the chance of developing skin inflammation. Skin dryness leading to skin inflammation equals Asteatotic dermatitis.
The cause of the dry skin is therefore ultimately also responsible for the Asteatotic dermatitis.
So, what are the causes of dry skin?
- Frequent bathing without applying moisturizers
- Using irritant soaps and cleansers
- A dry environment due to weather, air conditioning or heating
- Skin damage due to chronic sun exposure
- An insufficient diet or malabsorption
- Zinc deficiency and Essential fatty acid deficiency
- Other skin diseases e.g. Atopic eczema or Ichthyosis
- Systemic diseases e.g. an under active thyroid and Diabetes
- Kidney insufficiency
- Drugs, especially diuretics
- Malignancies (cancers) e.g. Lymphoma, Breast malignancies, Gastro-intestinal malignancies etc.
Please note that it is extremely unlikely that the cause of your dry skin/Asteatotic dermatitis is a malignancy. It is infinitely more likely that the dry skin is caused by one of the other items on the list.
The treatment of dry skin/Asteatotic dermatitis has two parts. First, to eliminate the cause and second to apply moisturizers regularly. Sometimes the cause of the dry skin/Asteatotic dermatitis is unclear and you are then left with regular moisturizing. Please do not use any perfumed products or regular soaps. Moisturizers containing urea or lactic acid is useful, because these compounds hold water in the skin. Occasionally topical corticosteroids are also needed.
Remember, if the cause of the dry skin/Asteatotic dermatitis is not eliminated you will have to continue using moisturizing and occasional topical corticosteroids indefinitely. If your Asteatotic dermatitis is not controlled by the above measures allergic contact dermatitis, irritant contact dermatitis and systemic causes may require investigation.