Eczema, Psoriasis and Natural Skincare

While eczema and psoriasis are two distinctively different skin disorders, the outbreak, causes and treatment are generally the same for both. So it is appropriate to consider their respective treatments together.

Eczema

Eczema is a form of dermatitis resulting in inflammation of the epidermis. While the cause is unknown, symptoms range from skin rashes, itching, dryness, crusting, flaking and cracking to oozing or bleeding. The word is derived from a Greek word, meaning "to boil over". "Atopic" eczema is the most common form, appearing to have a hereditary component rather than being directly the result of external allergens or irritants, although individuals with atopic eczema can experience a hypersensitivity reaction to allergens or irritants. It is usually particularly noticeable on the head and scalp. Contact dermatitis (or eczema) on the other hand can be allergic (a delayed reaction to some allergen) or the result of contact with an irritant such as a detergent. Many contact eczema cases are from irritants, so it is well advised to watch carefully what goes onto the skin, including skincare.

Psoriasis

Psoriasis is an autoimmune disease that appears on the skin when the immune system mistakes the skin cells as a pathogen, and sends out faulty signals that speed up the growth cycle of skin cells. The result of this is that underdeveloped cells migrate to the epidermis where they become inflamed. In a comprehensive review on psoriasis, Dr Gary Cole MD describes the most common form as appearing as scales or plaques of dry thickened skin. Plaque psoriasis - as it is known - is commonly seen as red and white hues of scaly patches appearing on the top first layer of the epidermis. In contrast to eczema, psoriasis is more likely to be found on the outer side of a joint (such as elbows and knees) but is also common on the scalp, hands and genitals.

The benchmark pharmaceutical treatment of both psoriasis and eczema is the use of topical corticosteroids. These are effective but come together with adverse side effects that are well documented. The most common of these is that the skin becomes thin and fragile. Other side effects include discolouration, infections and stretch-marks if they are used repeatedly over a long period of time.

Natural plant oils such as Shea Butter, Olive Oil, Jojoba Wax, Castor Oil and others are more often than not very effective in alleviating the symptoms of eczema and psoriasis. Several modes of action may be involved in this process. Firstly these plant oils are rich in essential fatty acids such as Gamma Linoleic Acid that intervenes directly in the biochemical inflammatory pathways to provide an anti-inflammatory action. Secondly, the oils are rich in vitamins that nourish the skin, leading to a healthier skin that is less likely to break out. Thirdly, they moisturize the skin, assisting it to retain water in the outer layers, thus counteracting the dry itchy symptoms. And lastly, they provide a thin oily film over the skin that may provide temporary resistance to environmental allergens.

Coupled with a healthy diet and stress-alleviation, this treatment may well be enough to manage your skin’s appearance and enhance your quality of life. A balanced blend of Shea Butter, Castor Oil, Jojoba Wax, Sandalwood Essential Oil and beeswax is reNu’s solution to alleviating the symptoms of eczema and psoriasis.