Psoriasis and eczema are very common dermatological conditions that affect millions of people around the globe.
Previously, we discussed various aspects of these diseases, including their triggers, treatments, and prognosis. In reality, the treatment of these conditions is challenging, chronic, and requires long-term skincare.
This article will cover the role of moisturizing creams in the treatment of psoriasis and eczema and how they help your skin.
What are moisturizers?
As the name implies, moisturizers restore moisture to patches of eczema and psoriasis. They reduce dryness and prevent skin dehydration, which is the last thing you want to happen if you have a chronic dermatological condition.
In general, moisturizing creams aimed for psoriasis and eczema are greasy (e.g., petroleum jelly).
Optimally, you need to apply moisturizing creams within 3–5 minutes after finishing your bath or shower. However, you need to give your cream a little test on a small area of your skin to ensure that it does not cause any irritation or rashes.
Due to the variety of choices when it comes to buying a moisturizing cream, it is quite overwhelming to select the best product for you. For this reason, you should follow a trial-and-error approach, where you apply different types of moisturizing creams until one of them suits your skin condition.
Here are some factors that influence the type of moisturizers you get:
- The type of skin condition you have (e.g., psoriasis, eczema)
- The severity of your symptoms
- What areas of your body are affected?
- The ingredients found in the moisturizer
- The body’s reaction to the product
From the title of this article, you will realize that a moisturizing cream is superior to a lotion since the former contains some ingredients that you would not otherwise find in the lotion form.
The role of moisturizing creams in the treatment of psoriasis
There are several reasons to apply moisturizing creams if you have psoriasis, including:
- You can apply the medication directly to the affected area (unlike oral drugs).
- They soften the affected area, which allows other medications to penetrate into the skin’s layers.
- They prevent skin dehydration and cracking, reducing the symptoms of discomfort and infection.
In fact, moisturizing creams are generally the first-line treatment for the management of mild to moderate psoriasis as they control the itching, scaling, and discomfort.
It is true that some individuals prefer using lotions; however, creams are superior and more effective in preventing itching and dryness.
Additionally, some active ingredients, such as topical calcineurin inhibitors and tazarotene, can only be found in creams.
The role of moisturizing creams in the treatment of eczema
Atopic dermatitis, or eczema, is a chronic inflammatory condition that affects the skin. People with this condition complain of itching, skin dryness, and patches in different areas of their bodies.
The skin barrier also becomes defective due to the mutation of the filaggrin protein, which is responsible for the integrity of the most superficial layer of your skin.
Unfortunately, the changes that occur in your skin when you have atopic dermatitis lead to water loss and make it easier to get exposed to environmental allergens and pathogens, predisposing you to allergies and infections.
Furthermore, the relapsing nature of atopic dermatitis obligates the use of moisturizing creams to temporarily restore the integrity of your skin and prevent water loss.
Researchers found that moisturizers are the most important skin treatment for optimal atopic dermatitis recovery regardless of the severity. These products help in the reorganization of skin layers, which is a key step in the treatment of atopic dermatitis, alongside the avoidance of triggers and the control of inflammation.
With that said, the choice of moisturizer is also challenging since atopic dermatitis increases the risk of another condition known as contact dermatitis.
The active ingredients that benefit atopic dermatitis
Natural oils are common ingredients in moisturizing creams that address dermatoses (e.g., atopic dermatitis); however, the effectiveness and safety of these substances are still unclear.
Scientists suggested that the careful selection of oleic acid to linoleic acid ratio in natural oils plays a big role in skin hydration. In other words, the products that carefully choose the ratio between these two fatty acids are more effective than randomly prepared moisturizers.
Researchers also emphasized the importance of high linoleic acid concentrations to accelerate skin barrier repair and development. As a result, your skin is less likely to get dehydrated, and the severity of your condition significantly decreases.
Learn more about eczema by clicking on this link What is Atopic Eczema?
Ingredients that benefit psoriasis and eczema
When it comes to the chemical composition of moisturizing creams, you will undoubtedly come across hundreds of substances – some of them approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and some are not.
Here are some ingredients that benefit most dermatological conditions:
Salicylic acid is a keratolytic agent, which means it peels off dead skin, helping you get rid of psoriasis and eczema patches.
Coal tar is an excellent substance to slow down the rapid growth of skin cells – the main defect in psoriasis. It also improves skin appearance, reduces itching, and prevents inflammation.
For optimal results, you may want to test the product that contains coal tar on a small area of your skin to make sure that it does not trigger extended skin irritation.
Other ingredients that may help
- Aloe vera
- Zinc pyrithione
The application of moisturizing creams to manage psoriasis and eczema is an integral part of your treatment. You need to speak with your doctor about the best way to apply the cream and the frequency of doing so.
We hope that this article highlighted the role of moisturizing creams in the management of psoriasis and eczema.
Not sure if its psoriasis or eczema? Read this article
Written by Zac Hyde M.D.