Eczema, psoriasis and rosacea are skin conditions that can affect people at any age. Some people are born with dry skin and have lower levels of natural oils while those with skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis are more likely to have symptoms of dry skin. There may be many causes of dry skin so a proper medical diagnosis will help confirm whether you have a skin condition rather than dry skin. These skin conditions are quite common and it’s likely that you will know someone or maybe you are someone who is experiencing one of these conditions. So, what are the symptoms of eczema, psoriasis and rosacea and what triggers the flare ups? And is there anything you can do to alleviate the discomfort associated with these conditions.
Eczema is a common condition that affects the skin, causing redness, itching, inflammation, thickening of the skin and sometimes infection if left untreated. It affects both children and adults. It’s also known as atopic eczema or atopic dermatitis. Eczema is often linked with other allergic condition such hay fever and asthma and genetics or hereditary factors may increase the tendency to develop eczema. However, the exact cause of eczema is still unknown.
In people with eczema the skin does not retain moisture very well resulting in super dry skin and itchy skin Scratching itchy skin causes the skin to feel itchier which is not only very uncomfortable but it increases the risk of open wounds and infection. Hydration is one of the most effective ways to treat dermatitis so it’s important to keep applying creams daily to help protect your skin’s natural barrier and to prevent dehydration.
Psoriasis is another common condition and shows as red patches of skin that is scaly and itchy usually on elbows and scalps but they could appear on any part of the body. In people with psoriasis, their skin is replaced every few days instead of over a few weeks. The skin cell builds up causing the skin to become thickened, dry and scaly. People of any age can get psoriasis and it usually develops from late teens onwards. Although there is no cure for psoriasis, there are treatments that can help manage the symptoms of this condition.
Rosacea is noticeable due to the reddish blush like appearance and swollen bumps on the face. The redness is accompanied sometimes by visible red blood vessels is typically found on the nose, cheeks, forehead and chin although it can also occur on other parts of the body. There is no cure for rosacea but treatment can help control the symptoms however if left untreated tends to get worse.
For people living with severe eczema, psoriasis or rosacea it’s important that you seek medical advice to help with an eczema treatment plan and medicated topical ointments that suits your specific situation and there is no single treatment for everyone. Early treatment can help save your skin from scarring by alleviating the symptoms such as itching and inflammation.
Taming the beast – how to get your flare-ups under control
Although there is no permanent cure for eczema, psoriasis or rosacea sufferers, there are some things that you can do to adjust your life style to minimise flare up and alleviate discomfort.
- Keep skin hydrated by applying moisturiser daily. It’s important to use moisturizers and creams that are made specifically for sensitive skin, as certain ingredients such as glycolic acid, salicylic acid, and retinol can cause flare-ups so best avoid products using these ingredients. If you love to exfoliate, keep to a minimum and use a gentle product to prevent the skin from drying out. After exfoliating, make sure you apply a moisturiser to the skin afterwards to lock in the hydration. Cleanse and wash using oil-based products and avoid harsh soaps and synthetic cleansers which may further dry out and damage skin
- Minimise exposure to triggers and irritants that may cause flare ups. Reducing exposure to sun, heat and dust may help, even avoiding artificial colours and preservatives may improve conditions for some people with allergies. Stress is also a known psychological trigger for eczema and dermatitis flare-ups so why not try exercise or meditation to improve your health & wellbeing. Food and diet in particular spicy food and alcohol may cause the onset of a flare up as would irritants such perfumes, soaps, and synthetics. Try to minimise frequency of washing as constant exposure to water and soap products can damage the natural protective barrier of the skin which will lead to dry and cracked skin and in some instances infection. So be kind to your skin and make sure you wear gloves when washing up!
- Itching is a common symptom of eczema and psoriasis. To keep this under control, use cold application to reduce the itch and risk of scarring and infection due to scratching. Antihistamines and some over the counter cortisone products may also help reduce itch but be sure to follow the instructions on the mediation and seek medical advice for alternate options if this does not help. Prolong and over use of these products may be detrimental, in particular cortisone creams which can cause thinning of the skin if used long-term.
- Resist temptation to keep scratching your skin and or peeling flaking skin. This can be quite challenging if you have children living with a skin condition. Rather than peel of the bits of dead skin, it’s better to just keep moisturising to reduce further irritating your skin. Cracks and bleeding skin increase the risk of infection and bacteria entering our body.
- Choose products and remedies that are formulated specially for dry, sensitive skin and your particular skin condition. To complement any medical treatment that you may be prescribed, why not seek out natural eczema remedies. They tend to have fewer ingredients and are derived using ingredients from nature. Look out for fragrance free and unscented products as synthetic fragrances may exacerbate sensitive skin.
- Lastly remember to apply a daily sunscreen. Exposure to the sun will damage already dry and sensitive skin so be friends with your hat and find a natural sunscreen that does not contain any harsh ingredients
If you are living with atopic dermatitis, we would love to hear how you manage the flare ups and what natural eczema treatment and skin care products you use to alleviate the dryness.