If you have a skin condition, you know how uncomfortable it can get. Psoriasis and eczema in particular can lead to a lot of discomfort, whether it’s physical discomfort from lesions or rashes or social discomfort from the appearance of the skin. Though these conditions don’t have a cure, there are treatments you can try right at home to help lessen the symptoms. When used with proper treatment prescribed by your doctor, using an infrared sauna can be a great additional therapy to help reduce your discomfort and improve your skin health. Read on to learn more about these skin conditions and how you can use an infrared sauna for psoriasis and eczema relief.
What is Psoriasis?
Psoriasis is an inflammatory disease that affects the skin. It can appear between the ages of 20-60, occurring in both men and women. It is believed that psoriasis is an immune system issue that is caused by skin regenerating at higher-than-normal rates, and that genetics have a big influence on its onset. The disease is characterized by skin lesions most commonly found on the knees, elbows, trunk, and scalp that appear red and scaly. While not contagious, those suffering from psoriasis face physical discomfort from cracked skin.
Even when it seems to be under control, there can be flare-ups that can be minor or ones that make it feel like you’re going back to square one. There is no clear cause for why flare-ups happen, but they are often caused by a change in environmental factors such as:
- Skin injury
Due to the nature of this disease, it can be very difficult to treat and there unfortunately is no current cure. While there is no end-all cure, there are different treatment options for psoriasis depending on the severity of the case. For patients with mild psoriasis, topical treatment with steroids can suffice. Light therapy is also a first-line treatment for moderate to severe psoriasis. However, for moderate to severe cases, other stronger treatments may be needed such as oral or injected medications.
What is Eczema?
Eczema is a group of chronic skin conditions that result in inflamed or irritated skin. The most common type is known as atopic dermatitis, with “atopic” meaning one’s tendency to have allergic reactions. In fact, eczema is often accompanied by allergic reactions such as asthma or hay fever. Though it is most common in children, affecting 10%-20% of infants, eczema can occur at any age with 3% of adults and children suffering from the condition. Eczema is less severe than psoriasis, and is typically easier to manage.
Like psoriasis, the cause of eczema is unknown, but main theories include immune system response, skin barrier issues, and a family history of other allergies. Also, there is no defined reason why eczema flare-ups occur. Each person facing the condition may have different triggers, and some of the most common include:
- Animal dander
- Household products
- Respiratory infections
- Rough fabric
Similar to psoriasis, there is no current cure for eczema, but there are treatments and precautions that can be made to help reduce symptoms and prevent outbreaks. Many people grow out of the condition by age 10, but for those who still feel symptoms, treatment can be fairly easy. Home remedies such as moisturizers, hydrocortisone creams, and antihistamines are popular treatments. For more severe cases, a doctor may prescribe medications or recommend light therapy for extra relief.
Infrared Sauna Skin Benefits for Psoriasis & Eczema
It’s important to remember that psoriasis and eczema are not localized diseases. These skin conditions involve multiple systems and has an inflammatory and autoimmune component. Thus, anything that can affect the body as a whole could help relieve the burden of both diseases, and infrared saunas do exactly that with the many health benefits provided – including fighting inflammation and stress while also helping improve skin health by reducing the severity of skin lesions.
The aspect of both psoriasis and eczema that causes the most psychological and physical stress in patients are skin lesions. These are red patches of skin that are covered with thick and inflamed skin in either patches or scales. They are the result of the disease speeding up the life cycle of the skin cells, which start to build upon the surface of the skin. Infrared saunas have shown promise in this regard since this type of therapy helps reduce the levels of pro-inflammatory chemicals in the blood and stimulates the shedding of this overgrown skin, which leads to a visual improvement of the lesions and physical relief from reduced inflammation and irritation.
Psoriasis and eczema are affected by skin inflammation caused by flare-ups. Infrared saunas have been proven to help decrease systemic inflammation. Studies have shown that infrared sauna use helps reduce the presence of C-reactive protein (CRP), which is an inflammatory marker. The infrared heat also helps promote increased blood circulation, which may help reduce the risk or severity of certain chronic skin conditions. By doing this at a systemic level, infrared saunas do more than just help relieve the skin lesions. They can help control the progression of the disease, lower the frequency of flare-ups, and prevent other inflammatory conditions.
Stress is responsible for the onset and severity of many diseases, particularly those of inflammatory nature. Stress is not just a mental state, it is also a physical reaction felt in the sympathetic nervous system. This is the part of your nervous system that is responsible for fight-flight responses. When this system is overactive, stress can build and develop a wide set of physical and clinical manifestations, especially when there is a pre-existing condition such as psoriasis or eczema. Infrared saunas can also help in this regard by promoting relaxation and homeostasis while fighting the sympathetic nervous system.
Psoriasis and eczema are skin conditions that many face and try to treat. While there is no cure, taking the steps to reduce flare-ups and find comfort can make a huge difference in your quality of life and overall health. Using infrared saunas for skin conditions can help reduce the severity of lesions, decrease inflammation, and lessen stress. You can even include the help of halotherapy, or salt therapy, for added skin benefits and relief from psoriasis and eczema symptoms. For more severe cases, be sure to speak with your doctor for additional treatment.