Eczema and psoriasis are two incredibly frustrating inflammatory skin conditions that have a lot in common, but are totally different things. Commonalities include the fact that doctors don’t know one hundred percent what causes them, they’re chronic but can go into remission and then flare and can occur anywhere on your body. Still, they’re not the same things and the treatment paths are totally different so it’s important to know exactly which one you’re dealing with.
A closer look at eczema
Also known as atopic dermatitis, eczema is almost always itchy and sometimes it’s the urge to scratch that signals the condition’s arrival before it becomes visible. When it manifests, it’s usually as dry, thick or scaly-looking skin and is often an overreaction to an irritant. If you’re fair, it may appear red and then turn brown. If you’re dark, it could mess with your pigmentation by looking lighter or darker.
Health Renewal considers it a symptom of a more complicated health issue so our doctors will take an extensive look at your medical history as well as the health of your gut. Many don’t realise that there’s a big link between gastrointestinal problems and the condition of their skin. An undiagnosed gastric condition like low stomach acid, or leaky gut could easily be the driving force behind your eczema. A food allergy could also be the cause or an aggravating factor so you’ll be tested for those too.
Either way, eczema is generally an allergic response to an irritant, so identifying it is vital. Other ways our doctors can help you manage the condition include prescribing topical medication and advising on nutraceuticals and lifestyle changes like an allergen-free diet, the right skin care and how to get rid of potential triggers, be it an overly fragranced fabric softener or a house full of dust mites.
All about psoriasis
Many people confuse psoriasis with eczema but there is a difference. A chronic autoimmune condition with no cure, it results in the overproduction of skin cells that build up to create a pink or red flare up on those who are fair and one that’s darker on anyone with more melanin. Regardless of your skin colour, the uppermost layer takes on a silvery-looking appearance and, while it often feels itchy and sore, this isn’t always the case.
A psoriasis flare up is caused by certain triggers that will be unique to the sufferer but these could include skin injuries, certain medications, a period of low immunity and lifestyle factors like stress or drinking too much alcohol.
If you’re still confused as to whether you have eczema or psoriasis make an appointment to see one of the doctors at Health Renewal. They’ll be able to help you make a definitive diagnosis, often just by examining your skin, and can help you choose the right skincare products, some of which will be prescription, suggest lifestyle changes and advice on taking certain beneficial nutraceuticals. For example, did you know that low vitamin D levels are incredibly common among psoriasis sufferers? The supplementary form we like best is Ovelle 3D as it contains vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol), the same type created by your body when it’s exposed to sunlight.
A word about rosacea
We’d be remiss not to mention yet another chronic skin condition that can’t be cured but can be very manageable once diagnosed and treated and that’s rosacea. Again, it’s cause is a mystery but the symptoms are clear – a red flush, usually across your face, that’s often accompanied by tiny red bumps that are sometimes mistaken for acne. If left to progress, broken blood vessels begin to appear too.
Fortunately, both can be tackled in a similar way to how we handle eczema – by looking at your gut. Treatment-wise, you may be advised a combination of prescription medicine and topical treatments you can use at home along with an appropriate skincare routine.
The bottom line
If you suspect you’re suffering from an inflammatory skin condition like eczema, psoriasis or rosacea but haven’t been officially diagnosed it’s time to change that. Many eczema sufferers spend years believing they’ve got psoriasis and vice versa and even more attempt to treat themselves using methods that often do more harm than good.