As the air becomes drier in the winter, it is not uncommon for skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis to flare up. Add the stress of the holidays, warmer than usual baths or showers, and your age and all of this can all contribute to the conditions as well.
While both psoriasis and eczema can cause itchy, irritated, and blotchy patches on your skin, there are some essential differences between the two. Eczema is a term used to describe the general itchy skin conditions that can be caused by dry skin, certain illnesses, an allergen, or even stress. Psoriasis is a long-lasting autoimmune disease characterized by patches of abnormal skin.
Eczema is commonly caused by the types of hand soap or laundry detergents you might use. Certain foods can cause your skin to react. Environmental allergens such as dust and pets are also known triggers, as well as cold, dry air and materials that are itchy. Psoriasis triggers can be stress related, caused by medications such as beta-blockers and lithium, and some believe that dairy, alcohol, sugar and red meat may also trigger psoriasis flares.
Treatment differs for psoriasis and eczema, so seeking out a professional opinion will aid in the correct diagnosis and treatment of these skin conditions because, for the untrained eye, both of afflictions can look the same.
It is recommended that you use detergents and soaps that are free of scents and dyes and keep your skin moisturized. When the furnace is on, it is advisable to run a humidifier. Sometimes the use of an over-the-counter hydrocortisone cream can help to calm the itchiness but don’t be afraid to seek professional advice if a topical creme or lotion isn’t helping or you experience severe itching or patches that blister or ooze. Phototherapy, which is the use of ultraviolet light can also subdue the inflammation.
You can try soaking the affected area for 15 minutes in a lukewarm bath with baby oil, oatmeal or Epsom salts added to it. This may relieve the irritation and loosen the dead skin. You might also consider an over-the-counter cream that contains salicylic acid or one with coal tar to reduce discomfort. Once again, if the condition persists or worsens, you should seek professional help such as the Laser and Skin Care Medspa can offer.
Keeping a journal of when your flare-ups occur and the symptoms associated, can help you to manage the problem. It can also assist a professional to see patterns or triggers that can lead to better treatment options. If you have questions or would like more information on either of these skin conditions or treatment options, please do not hesitate to contact the staff at The Laser and Skin Care Medspa.