Eczema and psoriasis are often mentioned in the same sentence, yet many people are unsure of the difference between the two skin complaints. Both are types of dermatitis with shared symptoms of redness, inflammation, itchiness and discomfort, however, there are key differences between the two. Eczema is considered more a symptom than a condition, as another health issue often causes the flare up. It can be triggered by allergies to wheat, dairy, chemicals in toiletries, pollen, mould, pets or house dust mites.
Psoriasis, on the other hand, is a condition linked to genetics, with one in three sufferers having a close relative who also has it (1). It’s an auto-immune disease, and occurs when T-cells, part of the body’s defence system, mistakenly attack healthy skin cells. Unlike eczema, the most common type of psoriasis has silver plaques that form over the top of the redness. It can be aggravated by outside irritants, including the aforementioned eczema triggers.
In a study of people with vitiligo, eczema and psoriasis, 64 percent said their disease affected their socio-economic activity, while 40 percent felt their social life was negatively impacted, including increased pressures and demands in personal relationships (2).
It’s best to look for natural products that aim to treat the conditions rather than mask the complaints, which is what some mainstream products do and which can be detrimental to your health. Firstly, choose a soap-free cleansing product, as soap can be irritating. Look for ingredients such as calendula, which promotes cell regeneration, manuka honey to guard against infection, and soothing aloe vera. Secondly, keep the affected areas moisturised with a skin balm or cream containing nurturing, hydrating and moisturising ingredients such as butters and oils from fruits and nuts – mango, shea, olive, grapeseed are great examples. Liquorice root is an excellent and safe natural alternative to cortisone creams, offering pain and itchrelief. Over time, cortisone creams cause skin to become thin, weak and more prone to outbreaks.
Another great treatment for psoriasis is direct exposure to sunlight; however, it can cause eczema to flare up, so be sure of your condition before venturing out in the sunshine.
Give cheese a chance
A great ‘miracle food’ blend for treatment of both skin conditions is flax seed oil and cottage cheese combined. The benefit of the concoction was discovered by German biochemist Johanna Budwig, who recommends a daily portion of 2tbsp cottage cheese to 1tbsp flax seed oil, blended until the consistency is smooth.
The electron-rich, unsaturated fats in flax oil react with the sulphur protein in cottage cheese to make the oils water-soluble, which means they can permeate cell membranes and rebalance the electron charge in the cells, thus reducing inflammation and healing the skin.