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The Biology Behind Eczema and Psoriasis
By: Claudia C. Aguirre, PhD
Posted: June 29, 2012, from the July 2012 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.
Erythrodermic psoriasis is a particularly inflammatory form of psoriasis that affects most of the body surface.
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Once a full consultation with the client and possibly her physician is completed, proceed with a treatment using minimal products and procedures. A good way to compensate for minimal skin treatment time is to add on stress-relieving techniques, because there is a psychological component to eczema and psoriasis. Complementary therapies, such as aromatherapy, acupressure, reflexology, massage and inhalation techniques can be coupled with skin treatments to lower stress hormones and control inflammation.
Gentle cleansing and exfoliation is crucial to allow the penetration of rich, emollient moisturizers used on dry, sensitive skin. Avoid harsh exfoliants and detergents, and look for ingredients, such as lactic acid. Use anti-inflammatory ingredients, such as red hogweed, ginger, oats and chamomile, coupled with barrier-repairing oils, including evening primrose, borage, argan and sea buckthorn. Finishing a treatment with a physical sunscreen, such as zinc oxide or titanium dioxide will ensure that harmful UV rays do not cause further damage.
Coaching the client on home care is also an integral part of skin health maintenance. Not only will they need to comply with their prescribed skin care regimen; they will also need to have realistic expectations in terms of time, and expect to see the extended benefits of their treatments long after they are performed. Because these are chronic inflammatory skin conditions, these clients can be a valuable business opportunity, with an increased likelihood of return bookings. Both eczema and psoriasis present highly visible symptoms, and because of this, clients are motivated to help skin improve. Skin health management is a top-of-mind priority for this client’s lifestyle, distinguishing your services from occasional treatments. Don’t be afraid to tackle these skin diseases in the treatment room; the reward could be greatly beneficial to you and your clients.
1. L Maintz and N Novak, Getting more and more complex: the pathophysiology of atopic eczema, Eur J Dermatol, 17 4 267–283 (2007)
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