Health Q&A

Understanding The Difference Between Psoriasis & Eczema

January 29, 2019

What is the difference between psoriasis and eczema?

Many people are confused between psoriasis and eczema because both are skin conditions that cause extreme discomfort and irritation, and both are characterised by what appears to be a visible rash. In addition, both psoriasis and eczema tend to occur in unpredictable patterns of flare-ups followed by periods of remission. So how can you tell the difference?

Take a look at the differences between these two conditions

Psoriasis is an autoimmune disease caused by an overactive immune system, which launches an inflammatory response against the body. Eczema, or atopic dermatitis, refers to chronic inflammation of the skin caused by hypersensitivity to certain irritants.

The symptoms of psoriasis and eczema also differ in nature and so are characterised by the following:

Psoriasis

Eczema

  • Occurs as scaly plaque patches on the palms, foot soles, elbows, knees, scalp or face
  • Characterised by a silvery or leather appearance with raised swelling
  • Occurs as a red rash on the cheeks, neck, inner elbows, back of the knees, wrists or ankles
  • Dry, itchy patches or lesions that are crusty or oozing liquid

Causes of psoriasis and eczema

Both psoriasis and eczema require symptom management. This involves minimising or avoiding factors that can cause a flare-up.

The most common triggers for psoriasis tend to be:

  • Stress and anxiety
  • Cold weather
  • Dry skin
  • Certain medications, like beta blockers or lithium
  • Upper respiratory infections
  • Smoking
  • Food allergies or intolerances
  • Having an existing medical condition, like diabetes or high blood pressure

The most common triggers for eczema tend to be:

  • Certain types of perfumed soaps and shampoos
  • Household chemicals, like detergents
  • Cigarette smoke
  • Synthetic fabrics or wool
  • Mould or pollen
  • Food allergies or intolerances
  • Extremely hot or dry climates
  • Bacterial, viral or fungal infections

Natural remedies for psoriasis and eczema

Psoriasis and eczema are both treated using a combination of topical creams, prescriptive medications and specific therapies, like phototherapy. There are also a number of natural remedies you can try to prevent an outbreak or ease the symptoms. Try the following natural skincare solutions for psoriasis:

  • Apply apple cider vinegar to your head to ease the irritation of scalp psoriasis (but avoid this treatment if your scalp has been scratched or is bleeding)
  • Get some sun: 10 to 15 minutes of ultraviolet rays are a great form of Vitamin D. Just remember to stay safe and practise sun safety to avoid sunburn or heat stroke
  • Season your bath with Epsom salts and have a good soak for at least 15 minutes
  • Add turmeric to your meals or take as a supplement. The curcumin in turmeric can help heal wounds by decreasing inflammation or oxidation
  • Practise relaxation methods like yoga or meditation to alleviate stress
  • Include skin-hydrating omega-3 fatty acids, found in fish like salmon, tuna or sardines in your diet
  • Use Aloe Vera gel or cream on the affected areas as this nutrient-rich plant is an excellent anti-inflammatory

While there is no cure for eczema, you can manage the symptoms by protecting the skin from flare-ups and helping your skin to heal quickly. One of the best ways to treat eczema is by keeping your skin well moisturised and by avoiding the urge to scratch. Try the following natural skincare solutions for eczema:

  • Add ground oats to a lukewarm bath because it is a great hypoallergenic moisturiser due to its high oil content. Soak for at least 10 – 15 minutes for best results
  • Take Evening Primrose Oil supplements or apply topically as a cream because it’s rich in omega-6 fatty acids that help reduce inflammation
  • Moisturise with coconut oil because of it anti-bacterial properties that can prevent infections (especially if your skin becomes cracked)
  • Try witch hazel, which is renowned for its astringent properties and can alleviate the itching that causes people to scratch and break their skin
  • Use hydrating calendula cream to improve blood flow to the areas of inflammation
  • Avoid foods, which contain may contain allergens. Common trigger foods include dairy, eggs, wheat, nuts and soya products.
  • Drink green tea as the polyphenol properties have anti-inflammatory benefits
  • Avoid contact with harsh materials or irritants like scratchy wool or astringent household chemicals

Having a skin condition can cause extreme discomfort, so it’s important to understand what type of skin condition you may be suffering from and take steps to prevent flare-ups or alleviate the symptoms. At Topmed, we encourage healthy living for improved quality of life. Get in touch today to sign up for cover for yourself and your family.

 

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