Eczema, Psoriasis, Dermatitis, and Rosacea: What You Need to Know
Eczema, Psoriasis, Dermatitis, and Rosacea: What You Need to Know
This content has been reviewed and approved for quality and accuracy by James O'Loan (GPhC: 2084549)
Having a skin condition is uncomfortable for a number of reasons.
It looks unpleasant, it can be itchy, irritating and be extremely sensitive.
These conditions can be caused by a number of different conditions, but they can be treated in a number of different ways as well.
Three common skin conditions are Eczema, Psoriasis, and Dermatitis, each caused and treated in different ways.
What is Eczema?
Eczema is a skin condition that causes red, cracked and itchy skin.
The most common form of eczema is atopic eczema.
Atopic eczema is caused by an allergic reaction.
Atopic eczema is most common in children but can occur in adults’ skin too.
Changes to the skin caused by eczema include blisters and even thickening of the skin, in long-term cases of eczema.
Where does Eczema occur?
Eczema can break out in many areas but is most common in the following areas:
The affected areas can become less affected or the symptoms can flare up and make the skin more irritated than normal.
What causes eczema?
This is still not fully known.
It is believed that it can be hereditary, and the genetic makeup isn’t perfect, which means that skin can’t protect from the elements like non-eczema prone skin does.
If a history of hay fever or asthma is in your family, then the chances of eczema are more likely.
Who does eczema affect the most?
Eczema is most likely to be found in children, even from an early age.
As a child gets older it will most likely disappear, but can return later on, even in adulthood.
In rare cases, it will develop for the first time in adulthood.
Can eczema be cured?
At this time, there is no known cure for eczema, meaning that it cannot be stopped completely.
One of the ways to reduce irritation is to avoid soaps and bubble baths.
There is a wide range of treatments that help to reduce the effects of eczema, but none will get rid of the condition completely.
There are many different creams out there that help to reduce the redness and itching caused by eczema.
These will not contain any fragrances or soaps that could irritate the skin.
Instead, they contain what are called emollients. An emollient is basically what helps to soften and smoothen the skin.
This will rehydrate the skin, which reduces the effects of eczema.
A lotion will work largely the same way a cream does.
The biggest difference between the two is the oil content.
Creams contain more oil, which is more suitable for colder climates, whereas a lotion is better in the summer.
A lotion will also keep more water in the skin. This is because a lotion contains more purified water.
A bath oil is quite self-explanatory; it is an additive that is added to a bath to help hydrate the skin that has dried out as a result of eczema.
What a lot of bath oils don’t tell you is that they are also suitable to be used in the shower.
You use them like you would any shower gel, which can’t be used because they would irritate the skin.
What is Dermatitis?
If you’re looking at the title and the structure of this so far, you’d be right to expect Psoriasis to be the next topic of interest and not dermatitis.
There is a good reason for this switch.
The reason is that dermatitis and eczema are in fact the same thing.
Wherever the word ‘eczema’ is, you could replace with ‘dermatitis’ and it would apply 100% the same, no changes needed.
What is Psoriasis?
Psoriasis is another skin condition that causes red, itchy skin.
With psoriasis, however, it makes the skin have crusty patches of skin with silvery scales.
What causes Psoriasis?
Psoriasis is caused by cell reproduction in the skin, which usually occurs every 3-4 weeks.
However, those who suffer from psoriasis will experience this every 3-7 days.
This build-up of cells is what causes psoriasis patches to appear on the skin.
It is said to be caused by an issue with the immune system.
Your immune system should target disease and infection but psoriasis suffers will have it targeting healthy cells as well.
Psoriasis can be triggered by injury to the skin, using certain medicines, or even throat infections.
Can Psoriasis be cured?
Like with eczema, there is no actual cure for psoriasis that will completely get rid of the condition, but there are a variety of treatments that can reduce the effects of the condition.
Some of which are the same as the treatments for eczema.
Creams that help to treat psoriasis work the same as they would for eczema/dermatitis.
They go into the skin and help to rehydrate the skin has been dried out.
It also will repair the skin that has been damaged and will be free of any fragrance and colours, which could cause irritation.
For those wanting something a little thicker and hydrate more, then there are lotions.
These will work mostly like a cream does, and are interchangeable for lotions for eczema as well.
Psoriasis Bath Additives
There are also a number of additives out there which are oils that are added to bath water in order to create a hydrating bath that helps to repair the affected skin.
Some will also be able to be used as shower gels too.
There are also standalone shower gels that will help to relieve the effects of psoriasis.
Other Psoriasis Treatments
There are a number of other treatments for psoriasis that are available but not as readily. These include:
- Dithranol – Dithranol is a powerful cream treatment that is used in hospitals to treat psoriasis. It is used under supervision because it can stain everything it comes into contact with. Also, a too high concentration can burn the skin. It is applied by someone wearing gloves before being washed off after 10-60 minutes.
- Ultraviolet B (UVB) Phototherapy – UVB Phototherapy uses light that is invisible to the human eye in order to slow down skin cell production. This form of treatment is reserved for those who use other treatments but they didn’t work. Each session is only a few minutes but you could need up to 8 weeks of sessions, 2-3 times a week.
- Psolaren plus Ultraviolet A (UVA) Phototherapy – This is a more potent form of UV ray treatment that requires you to take a tablet containing psolaren, which contains compounds that make the skin more sensitive to light. Then the UVA light is used which goes deeper into the skin than UVB rays. This treatment is used if others have not worked.
There are also combination treatments that use creams containing coal tar, or even dithranol, combined with UVA or UVB phototherapy.
What is Rosacea?
Rosacea is a condition which is common but often misunderstood as to what it is.
Rosacea is most often found in the face. It can be treated using long-term treatments.
This condition makes the affected area of the skin appear red and make veins in the face more visible.
What causes Rosacea?
There is no definite known reason as to why rosacea appears, but there is a number of different possibilities that have been hypothesised:
- Blood vessel abnormalities – Blood vessels in the face could be the main cause of a number of symptoms, including blushing redness and blood vessels being visible. It is suggested that sun damage to the skin is responsible for this.
- Genetics – Rosacea can often be found in families, though which gene, if any, is responsible is not known at this time.
- Skin peptides – It is said that Rosacea can be triggered by external triggers such as UV light, spicy food, alcohol (in particular red wine), exercise, heat, and stress.
- Microscopic mites – Microscopic mites have been suggested as to be one of the causes of rosacea, though there is no definitive conclusion that they are. Scientists say that the mites live in the skin but people with rosacea have significantly more of them. It isn’t known if that is a cause or effect of rosacea.
Like other skin conditions, rosacea cannot be completely cured, only treated to reduce its effects.
An easy, accessible option is cream which repairs the skin by working to restore the skin’s natural barrier that protects against irritation and infection.
Aside from specific creams for rosacea, you can also use skin moisturisers that are designed for sensitive skin.
Other treatments are available, but they require a prescription. These include creams as well as antibiotics.
For skin conditions, there is a range of treatments out there that help to reduce the symptoms and clear up the skin.
Unfortunately, none of these treatments will cure the condition as there is always a chance of it returning.
This is why it is important to find the right solution for you.