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Xanthelasma palpebrum | Xerosis


Xanthoma is the medical term fat deposits in the skin and the most common type is xanthelasma palpebrum which usually occurs on or near the eyelids.

  • Inherited disorder of fat metabolism. This form usually affects children or young adults and runs in the family.
  • Increased fats in the blood.
  • Idiopathic (of unknown cause).


  • Soft yellow slightly plaques (raised patches) on the inner upper eyelids and occasionally, the lower lids as well.


    Click on image for larger view

  • Heart disease if fat levels are increased in the blood.
    What you can do
  • You should consult a doctor.
    What the doctor may do
  • Measure the blood lipids (fats) and prescribe lipid lowering agents, if they are elevated.
  • Treat xanthelasma palpebrum with the carbon dioxide laser or trichloroacetic acid.


    Xerosis, dry skin or chapped skin is a common problem in the elderly but can also affect younger individuals and children.

    Dehydration of the outer layer of the skin due to:
  • Low humidity, for example, in winter and under air-conditioning.
  • Excessive use of harsh soaps.
  • Inheritance (see ichthyosis).
  • Taking of diuretics (drugs used to remove water from the body).
  • Dry skin with fine scaling, usually most prominent on the legs.
  • Generalised itching.
  • Xerotic eczema may develop when the skin is so dry that it cracks and becomes inflamed.
  • Nummular dermatitis or discoid eczema has a tendency to develop in areas of xerosis.
      Xerotic eczema.
    Click on image for larger view
    What you can do
  • Take antihistamines to relieve itching.
  • Add moisture to the air - leave containers with water by radiators and air conditioning vents.
  • Take shorter and less frequent baths.
  • Apply moisturisers regularly or use bath oils.
  • Consult a doctor.
    What the doctor may do
  • Exclude underlying causes.
  • Prescribe topical steroids if complicated by xerotic eczema or nummular dermatitis .