Psoriasis is a rare and extremely uncomfortable skin disorder. We want to make psoriasis and other skin conditions like this more manageable!
What Is Psoriasis?
Psoriasis is a disease related to the immune system and affects our largest organ - the skin.
Usually, our skin cells die and shed about every 10-30 days. However, psoriasis is when skin cells are created 10 times faster than normal, as fast as 2-3 days.
Instead of the dead cells flaking off in a healthy way, they build on top of each other, forming bumpy scales with red segments and silvery, whitish scales called plaques.
These "plaques" feel as they sound - itchy and extremely painful, causing stinging, burning and the sense of tightness.
Most often, plaques form on the knees, elbows, low back and scalp, but they can appear anywhere.
A dermatologist tests for the disease by taking a biopsy of the affected skin. Compared to eczema, the skin appears thicker and even more inflamed.
Types of Psoriasis:
Psoriasis comes in a few different shapes and forms. Often, one type of psoriasis may lead to another.
Additionally, psoriasis contributes to a couple more serious health conditions like diabetes, heart disease, depression, and psoriatic arthritis.
- Plaque psoriasis: We talked about plaques previously! Plaque psoriasis looks like red patches, sometimes with a thin layer of scales forming on top. Small plaques may merge together to appear like a larger plaque.
- Guttate Psoriasis: Suddenly, small white bumps cover an area of the skin, often on the torso, legs, and arms. This is more common on kids and young adults who are recovering from strep throat.
- Inverse Psoriasis: In this type of psoriasis, there isn't always that scaly texture. Most likely on the armpits, buttocks crack, or genitals, inverse psoriasis appears to be smooth, red and raw, sometimes with a coating of white or grey, and often with pain and soreness.
- Postular Psoriasis: Found on the extremities like the hands and feet, postural psoriasis looks like small bumps filled with pus. When the pus dries, the dots appear brown and sometimes harden. This is extremely painful and makes any activities that use your hands and feet nearly impossible to do without crippling pain, like walking, texting, cooking, standing, etc.
- Postular Psoriasis Generalized: A very rare form of psoriasis is when those bumps on your hands and feet spread across your body. First, your body quickly becomes very dry and tender, then is infested with pus-filled bumps which burst, break, and leak across your skin within the day. The pus dries, hardens and peels your skin, leaving a raw, bright, smooth surface underneath. The process repeats itself, accompanied by fevers, chills, headaches, and weakness. If not intervened, this type of psoriasis leads to death.
- Erythrodermic Psoriasis: This is another life-threatening psoriasis, which typically begins with a worsening of one of the former types. Skin appears to look bright red and badly burnt, spreading over the body. People experience weakness, fatigue, fevers, excruciating itchiness, chills, and a rapid pulse. They might experience hypothermia due to their inability to stay warm.
- Nail Psoriasis: Often accompanied by another type of psoriasis, nails become affected by the disease and turn yellow or brownish, crumbly and rough. Dead cells buildup under the nails, so the nail beds may begin to lift and detach from the finger. Dents in the nails called "nail pits" may appear. This is not comfortable!
- Psoriatic arthritis: When psoriasis extends to your joints, they feel weak, achy and stiff. This is most common in fingers, toes, your heels and the back of your legs.
Who Is affected by Psoriasis?
Thankfully, this isn't too common and affects about 2-3% of the global population.
People of any age can be diagnosed with psoriasis, but the buildup of a plaque is most common during the ages of 15-30. Even babies can develop this disease!
Usually, once you have this disease, it'll stay with you for life. There is one exception - young kids with guttate psoriasis may see their disease disappear for good.
Mostly, Caucasians and folks living in Northern Europe are the ones affected by psoriasis. However, anyone is susceptible to the disease.
What Causes Psoriasis?
The cause of psoriasis is still unknown, but it may run in the family. Sometimes it skips a few generations, but scientists are studying and theorizing it is some sort of gene mutation.
What we definitely know - the immune system plays a role in this disease, causing inflammation and the fast reproduction of new skin cells.
Thankfully, this disease is not contagious. No need to worry about your S.O. catching your plaques - they can rub cream on your back for your own benefit.
Although there is no known cause for psoriasis, there are triggers that cause the disease to erupt:
- Weather Conditions - dry, cold climates make it harder for the skin to absorb and retain water. If you live in cool temperatures, pat your skin dry after bathing rather than rubbing it. Also, moisturize on the regular!
- Stress - may weaken the immune system
- An Imbalanced diet - try to eat an anti-inflammatory diet with mostly natural foods to avoid this disease
- Strep infections
- Some medications like beta-blockers taken for high blood pressure, and an antimalarial medication like hydroxychloroquine
Is Eczema the Same Thing as Psoriasis?
Eczema and psoriasis have a lot of similarities and it can be hard to tell the difference at first glance.
Both issues involve red, itchy skin.
Eczema, also known as Dermatitis, is usually found behind the knees, inside of the elbows, around the face and head, and on the hands. People with eczema missing an essential oil in their skin, meaning their skin can't hold enough water.
To avoid and manage eczema, moisturize and clean your skin daily!
Like psoriasis, there are a different types of eczema.
Types of Eczema
Here are the types of eczema:
- Atopic Dermatitis
- Contact Dermatitis
- Dyshidrotic Eczema
- Nummular Eczema
- Seborrheic Dermatitis
- Stasis Dermatitis
The most common type of psoriasis is plaque psoriasis, which is the one that clearly looks like eczema.
Both diseases can be managed, but never fully go away.
Differences Between Eczema and Psoriasis
Eczema is more common than psoriasis. In Canada, about 17% of the population will meet eczema at some point in their lives.
Another difference between the two is the cause of skin issues. As we know, psoriasis is when the immune system creates cells faster than normal. Eczema is caused by environmental issues, exposure to bacteria, allergies, or family history.
Symptoms of the two diseases can appear similar, but psoriasis may contribute to joint soreness and arthritis, whereas eczema doesn't cause these extra symptoms.
Sometimes, a biopsy of the skin is needed to diagnose which disease it is, but a dermatologist can usually tell.
How Psoriasis and Eczema Is Managed
We are going to look at soft, natural ways to ease psoriasis and eczema, but want to point out the unnatural remedies for your comparison.
Unlike natural remedies, there are many side-effects to other treatments. Below are a few:
- Steroid creams
- Retinoid creams - suppress the immune system but can damage the kidneys and raise blood pressure
- Light therapy
- Biological treatments
- Enzyme inhibitors
Managing Psoriasis and Eczema Naturally
No matter what discomforts your skin, there are remedies to soothe the symptoms.
Products with extra additives can irritate sensitive skin further, so it's imperative to stay clear of those. Thankfully, there products that avoid any unnecessary ingredients in lotions and potions. The ingredients are pure and organic, to soothe and replenish your skin.
Here are natural remedies to ensure your skin stays well-hydrated and healthy:
- Hydrating Rescue Balm - This is such a thick balm that it relieves dry patches from psoriasis and eczema. Filled with omegas, it replenishes the driest skin and works wonders to improve inflammation. The ingredients are extremely pure, clean and all-natural. You don't need to worry about anything that will irritate your sensitive skin further! Of course, you don't need to suffer from psoriasis to use this rescue balm!
- Tamanu Oil - Guess what is in our tamanu oil? Tamanu, and nothing else. Tamanu oil is extracted from the seeds of a tamanu plant - a tropical evergreen. For centuries, people who reside in Asia, Africa, and some Pacific islands use this oil topically as medicine. It is high in antibacterial, heals wounds, and protects the skin again bacterias.
- Carrot Pumpkin Soap - this soap feels as good on your skin as it sounds! Carrot seed oil is wondrous for dry, irritated skin. This soap soothes and heals your skin with proteins, zinc, and polyunsaturated fats. Tempted to take a bite? The ingredients are so pure, you probably could!
- Healing Eczema Balm - Have issues around very sensitive areas, like your eyes? Try this balm, which can even be used on babies. Calendula and zinc soften flare-ups and soothe rashes.
Both psoriasis and eczema are far from fun to deal with. Fortunately, there are ways to ease the symptoms and give your skin some much-needed and deserved love!