I’ve seen a ton of commercials on television lately about eczema and psoriasis. These skin conditions aren’t the nicest subjects to write about but one or more of these conditions affect 3–10% of people in the world. This is an increasing trend. With changes in the weather, it’s a discussion worth having. So here’s a quick look at the causes and treatments for seborrhea, eczema and psoriasis.
What are eczema and psoriasis and Seborrhea?
Seborrhea, eczema and psoriasis, and seborrhea are three distinct skin conditions that share some similarities but also have notable differences in their causes, symptoms, and treatments.
Eczema (Atopic Dermatitis):
This is a chronic inflammatory skin condition believed to be caused by a combination of genetic, environmental, and immune system factors. Common symptoms include red, itchy, and inflamed skin, along with dryness, scaling, and sometimes oozing or crusting. It can occur in patches anywhere on the body.
It often involves moisturizing to prevent dryness, avoiding triggers that worsen symptoms (like certain fabrics or allergens), and using topical corticosteroids or other immunomodulatory creams to reduce inflammation during flare-ups. In severe cases, systemic medications might be prescribed.
Psoriasis is an autoimmune disorder where the immune system attacks healthy skin cells, causing them to build up rapidly on the skin’s surface. The exact cause is not fully understood. Psoriasis is characterized by raised, red, scaly patches of skin often covered with silvery scales. It commonly occurs on the elbows, knees, scalp, and lower back.
Treatments vary based on the severity of the condition. Topical treatments include corticosteroids, vitamin D analogs, and tar-based products. Phototherapy using ultraviolet light can be effective. Systemic medications, including oral or injectable immunosuppressants or biologics, might be prescribed for more severe cases.
Seborrhea (Seborrheic Dermatitis):
Seborrhea is a common skin condition thought to be influenced by factors like genetics, hormones, and an overgrowth of yeast on the skin. It often presents as red, scaly, and greasy patches, commonly on areas rich in oil glands like the scalp (resulting in dandruff), face, and chest. Dandruff may be considered the mildest form of seborrheic dermatitis. The two conditions are similar in that they both cause a white-to-yellowish scale. If you have psoriasis or rosacea, you’re also more likely to develop seborrheic dermatitis. If you have both psoriasis and seborrheic dermatitis, the condition is called sebopsoriasis.
Mild cases can be managed with gentle cleansing and regular shampooing. Over-the-counter antifungal shampoos, topical corticosteroids, and creams containing zinc or selenium can help control symptoms. In more severe cases, prescription-strength treatments may be necessary.
Dry skin can make eczema and psoriasis worse:
When temperatures fall and the humidity goes away and the humidity is low, it can signal the flare-up of existing seborrhea, eczema, and psoriasis. Because low or no humidity causes dry and flaky skin, a buildup of dead skin cells can often happen. As a result, any product that one attempts to apply to combat dry skin has a hard time absorbing due to the layer of dead skin cells. This absorption issue includes issues when using topical ointments or creams meant to help skin conditions like eczema. It can help the absorption of products if you can exfoliate the skin before trying any creams, ointments, or treatments for dry skin. However, if your skin is compromised and/or sensitive, you need to proceed with caution.
Check With Your Doctor:
It’s important to note that eczema and psoriasis and seborrhea can have overlapping symptoms. Treatments can vary from person to person. Lifestyle factors like stress, diet, and proper skin care can also influence these skin issues. There are topical products that you can purchase over the counter in drugstores (see the advicesisters’ skincare stories), but you might want to consult a qualified medical professional or your dermatologist for personalized advice. As to low humidity in your home, we’ve offered tips on advicesisters.com