Does The Sun Play A Factor
In short, yes, the sun can worsen eczema and psoriasis. But it may also help both conditions.
Sunlight is a source of ultraviolet radiation. Too much exposure to UV rays can lead to sunburn, skin damage, and skin cancer. But some sunlight can be beneficial for lowering skin inflammation. That is why light therapy is a treatment for both eczema and psoriasis. Light treatment is done in a healthcare providers office and is managed to ensure your skin doesnt burn. Small hand-held units are also available for at-home use.
Getting some sun outdoors can be helpful, as well. But it is important that you wear sunscreen and dont stay in direct sunlight for more than 15 minutes. Keep in mind, heat and sunlight can cause flare-ups for some people, so this approach isnt helpful for everyone.
Psoriasis Diet: Foods To Eat And Avoid If You Have Psoriasis
A range of treatments are available for psoriasis, from skin ointments to drugs that alter your immune system. But can easing the symptoms of this common condition be as simple as changing the foods we eat?
For the more than 8 million people in the U.S. who live with psoriasis, diet may play a bigger role than we think in how our bodies handle inflammation. , a registered dietitian at Johns Hopkins Medicine, offers insight on which foods to eat and which to avoid if you have psoriasis.
Causes Of The Diseases
Eczema and psoriasis, while two distinct conditions, have something key in common. Both diseases, says Dr. Amy Paller, Professor of Dermatology and Pediatrics at the Northwestern Feinberg School of Medicine, involve the human immune system, just in different ways.
With psoriasis, the immune system is overactive in a manner that leads to the growth of too many new skin cells, too fast. These cells pile up on the surface of the skin, causing thick scales or plaques that can be dry, flaky and painful. Psoriasis can be triggered or worsened by stress, skin injury, cold/dry weather, medications or infections. Genetics also seem to play a role with psoriasis risks running in families.
While experts dont completely know what causes eczema, a combination of genes, immune system tendencies and triggers are believed to be involved. People with eczema tend to have overly-reactive immune systems that, when triggered by a substance outside or inside the body, respond by causing inflammation. Researchers have also found that some people with eczema have a mutation in a gene that plays an important role in the skin barrier leaving the skin more vulnerable to dryness, irritants and allergens . Similar to psoriasis, stress can also trigger eczema and family history can increase eczema risks.
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Getting Clear On Psoriasis
Having psoriasis isnt easy. It can be physically and mentally challenging, causing uncomfortable symptoms and making you feel disconnected from loved ones and daily activities. But the right information, treatment plan, and support can make a big difference in your health and happiness.
Our podcast, Getting Clear on Psoriasis, is here to help. Host and psoriasis patient David Brandt guides listeners through important topics about living better with psoriasis. Each episode includes relatable insights from fellow patients and key information from leading dermatologists and other experts. Listen now.
Hydrocortisone Creams And Ointments
You can buy a mild corticosteroid like hydrocortisone without a prescription. For a few small patches of psoriasis, a mild hydrocortisone works well. If you have more than a few small patches, youll likely need a prescription corticosteroid to see results.
Whether OTC or prescription, this medicine works quickly to:
Reduce the itch
If you have cracked or bleeding skin, an ointment will likely feel better than a cream. Ointments tend to be more soothing and less irritating than creams.
MoisturizerThis may help anyone who has psoriasis because psoriasis makes the skin dry and scaly. Moisturizer helps to seal water in the skin, which can:
Help your skin heal
Dermatologists recommend applying moisturizer once a day, and more often when your skin is really dry. When shopping for a moisturizer, you want to select a:
Heavy cream, ointment, or oil rather than a lotion
Product that you like and will use
Oil can be especially healing, but its also messy. To reap the benefits of oil, try applying it before bedtime.
Moisturize before washing
For best results, you want to apply your moisturizer within 3 minutes of bathing and after washing your hands.
Scale softenersYoull find OTC products and prescription medicines that contain salicylic acid. This active ingredient helps to:
Remove and soften scale
Removing the scale helps other medicine that you apply to your skin to work better.
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How To Identify Eczema And Psoriasis
Both eczema and psoriasis are common skin conditions that affect the majority of people all over the world. Eczema is a chronic skin condition that is identified by red and itchy rashes on your skin whereas psoriasis is an autoimmune disease that causes thick patches on the skin that might also itch.
Although both psoriasis and eczema have somewhat similar symptoms including rashes, red patches, itchiness and dryness, the causes of these two skin diseases are quite different from each other.
If you have any of these symptoms it is better to get diagnosed by a professional dermatologist rather than doing a self-analysis. You might not be able to differentiate between psoriasis and eczema by yourself.
How Can You Tell Whether You Have Eczema Or Psoriasis
The two diseases are very different, but they have some similarities that can make it difficult to tell them apart. This is particularly true for certain areas of the body, like the hands, or when the disease covers the entire body.
Neither one is contagious, which is another point they have in common.
There is usually a clear visual distinction, however. For psoriasis:
- the patches have a much brighter red tone
- the lesions have much clearer more well-defined edges
- the patches are thicker and covered in thick, white scales.
The following additional signs may indicate psoriasis:
- Psoriasis is very rare in infants, but when it does affect this age group, it appears in the diaper area as bright red, well-defined patches with no scaling.
- Psoriasis can appear in children. Often, the outbreak is preceded by an infection, and the patches are spread out over the body: guttate psoriasis.
- In adults, psoriasis affects different areas of the body, particularly:
- the front of the knees
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Psoriasis Vs Eczema: Differences Images Treatment
- Psoriasis and eczema both present as patches of red, scaly and itchy skin, but psoriasis plaques tend to be thicker
- Psoriasis is an autoimmune disease, while eczema is triggered by genetic or environmental factors
- Neither condition is contagious
- Treatments for both are similar, but eczema sometimes requires antibiotics due to infection from open sores
To the untrained eye, psoriasis and eczema are quite similar in appearance. Patches of red, dry skin develop which can cause itching, embarrassment, and have an impact on quality of life.
And while they share some of the same characteristics and treatment options, the underlying cause of these two common skin conditions differs and determines the best approach to reducing future flare-ups.
Psoriasis Vs Eczema: Whats The Difference
If you have patches of itchy, inflamed, or red skin, youre not alone.
Chronic skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis can be uncomfortable but are very common.
Eczema affects up to 15 million Americans, many of whom are infants and young children.
Psoriasis is also widespread, impacting 3% of adults in the United States.
Although eczema and psoriasis are different conditions that require specific treatment plans, it can be difficult to distinguish between them.
Even general practitioners can misdiagnose patients with psoriasis.
So if you have patches of symptomatic skin and are unsure what is going on, its important to make an appointment with a dermatologist to get an accurate diagnosis.
In the meantime, this article will help you learn more about psoriasis and eczema, including the symptoms, causes, diagnosis, treatment, and risk factors for each.
Ill also explain the triggers for psoriasis and eczema, as well as how to prevent flare-ups and when to see a doctor about a skin condition.
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When To See A Doctor For Psoriasis Or Eczema
The National Psoriasis Foundation recommends that anyone living with psoriasis see a dermatologist. Its especially important to see a dermatologist if your psoriasis symptoms are getting worse, if you develop new symptoms, if your joints start to hurt, or if the treatment recommended by your primary care physician isnt working.
If you have eczema and your symptoms get worse or if you show signs of an infectionred, painful, oozing, or blistery skinthen its best to see a doctor as soon as possible. If youve seen a doctor already and the treatment plan they gave you isnt working, a dermatologist will be able to give you more specialized care.
What Is The Relationship Between Psoriasis And Your Diet
Psoriasis is a chronic autoimmune skin disorder. The body mistakenly attacks its own tissue, explains Wesdock. It starts overproducing skin cells, which lays down plaques on your skin. Plaques are red, scaly patches that can be itchy or painful. Sometimes psoriasis is accompanied by psoriatic arthritis, an inflammatory joint condition.
Neither of these conditions is caused by anything you eat, but theres an important link between your diet and psoriasis. Many foods are known to cause inflammation throughout the body. In some people, this widespread irritation can make the symptoms of psoriasis worse.
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Psoriasis And Eczema Share Some Symptoms So Getting A Proper Diagnosis Is Key To Treating And Managing Both Conditions
Maybe you first noticed patches of skin that are dry, scaly, or cracked. Or perhaps you detected a rash, or felt a burning or itchy skin irritation. While these symptoms could be caused by a number of conditions, eczema and psoriasis are likely culprits.
Eczema and psoriasis are two common inflammatory skin diseases. They can both present as red rashes on the skin that can be itchy or painful, says Alexandra K. Golant, MD, FAAD, dermatologist andMedical Director, Faculty Practice, Mount Sinai Health System in New York. However, in some patients there is not as clear a distinction, which can make a clear diagnosis more difficult, says Golant.
Though eczema and psoriasis share some common traits, theyre actually very different and have different treatments, so its helpful to know the difference between eczema and psoriasis, what causes each condition, and how they are managed.
Eczema affects about 31.6 million people in the United States, or roughly 10 percent of the population, according to the National Eczema Association. It can take many different forms, but the type of eczema that dermatologists see most often is atopic dermatitis, which is common among people who have a personal or family history of allergies or asthma.
Other types of eczema include:
- Contact dermatitis
- Nummular eczema
Foods High In Added Sugar
Added sugars in soda, fruit juices, candy, baked goods and other sweets are different from natural sugars in food such as fruit. Our bodies produce insulin to process sugar, but too much added sugar forces our bodies to store that extra energy in fat cells and inflame the fat tissue. Foods with lots of added sugars can also lead to increased levels of inflammatory proteins called cytokines. Some studies suggest that artificial sweeteners such as aspartame may also lead to chronic inflammation.
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Know The Difference Between Eczema And Psoriasis
If you think you have either eczema or psoriasis, you should make an appointment with your GP so they can take a look at your symptoms. In other words, you dont need to self-diagnose!
However, it can be helpful to understand the general differences and similarities between psoriasis and eczema if youre affected by either of them.
Eczema usually appears as areas of dry skin, which may also be itchy, dry, cracked or sore. Depending on your skin colour your eczema may be red, dark brown or grey.
Psoriasis usually causes distinct areas of dry and crusty skin, which are often red with a ragged but clearly defined border. Plaques are often coated in silvery scales.
Eczema is characterised by very itchy skin, which leads to constant scratching. This scratching can in turn cause inflammation and bleeding, and make your skin more vulnerable to infection.
Psoriasis can also cause itching and soreness, but this isnt the case for everyone.
Eczema can occur anywhere but tends to develop on the fingers, inside the elbows, and behind the knees. It can also develop on the face and scalp in children.
Foods That Contain Gluten
Research suggests that people with psoriasis tend to have higher rates of celiac disease. In people with celiac disease, gluten triggers an autoimmune response that causes the body to attack tissues in the small intestine. People with celiac disease need to avoid gluten completely, though some people without the disease have found that reducing gluten in their diet lessens psoriasis flare-ups.
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What Are The Treatments For Eczema And Psoriasis
Eczema is a chronic condition that worsens periodically in between times of mild to no symptoms. Eczema cannot be cured but it may be managed with home care and medications.
Home remedies to reduce or relieve symptoms of eczema include:
- Identifying and eliminating triggers
- Keeping the skin hydrated
- Use thick creams or ointments that contain little to no water
- Apply immediately after bathing for the best results
- Apply twice daily or more frequently as needed
Medications used to treat eczema include:
Where On The Body Is Eczema Likely To Appear
Atopic dermatitis flare-ups usually appear where the limbs bend and skin folds trap moisture, causing irritation. Typical spots for eczema flare-ups include:
- Behind the knee
Eczema, which can be triggered through contact with an allergen or other irritant in the environment, can produce a rash anywhere on the body.
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How Can I Get Started With A Psoriasis Diet
If youre going to change your diet to combat psoriasis, Wesdock recommends starting slowly. Jumping into a highly restrictive diet isnt usually sustainable and may deprive you of important nutrients. Instead, start by cutting out some highly processed foods.
Substitute the pastries and cookies with fresh fruit. Opt for herbal tea or water flavored with fresh fruit, mint or cucumber. If you think theres a specific food or ingredient thats triggering psoriasis flare-ups, talk to your doctor or a registered dietitian.
Being overweight or obese can also make psoriasis worse, so you may want to start a weight loss plan that includes fewer calories and smaller portion sizes. Any psoriasis treatment diet should be accompanied by healthy lifestyle choices. Get plenty of sleep and regular exercise, and try to reduce stress in your life. If you smoke, talk to your doctor about a plan to quit.
Best For Families: Vaseline All Over Balm
Easy to apply to targeted areas
No need to rub in
Can feel greasy on skin
Difficult to use the whole balm stick
Dr. Saedi is a huge fan of Vaseline products, specifically endorsing Vaseline All Over Balm as an effective eczema family treatment. It is great for local areas because the petroleum jelly creates a great barrier to lock in the moisture, she points out. Your average petroleum jelly can be messyespecially with kidsmaking it difficult to target specific areas, thats why I love the balm stick, she maintains.
Active Ingredients: Petroleum | Uses: Targeted protective barrier to lock in moisture
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Triggers For Psoriasis And Eczema
While both conditions are chronic, they can flare up from time to time in response to different triggers.
“Eczema is going to be triggered more by things you’re coming into contact with, like fragrance, nickel, pollen, or preservatives,” Dr. Newsom said. For some people, dust, mold, cigarette smoke, wool, polyester, and sometimes hormones can kick off eczema flares.
Psoriasis can be triggered by skin injuries, sunburns, scratches, and infections like strep throat, as well as alcohol and certain medications.
Stress and dry weather tend to be triggers for both conditions, Dr. Newsom said.
Diet may play a role in both conditions. Some people with psoriasis find some relief by following an anti-inflammatory diet. People with eczema may benefit from talking to a healthcare provider to help rule out food allergens that could trigger flares.
Another way to tell psoriasis and eczema apart is when they start. Although there are plenty of exceptions, eczema usually appears before the age of 5, while psoriasis usually comes on between the ages of 1535.