As CBD continues to receive attention for its wide range of applications, we in turn receive a multitude of questions about its potential to aid with skin issues. Because red, irritated skin is oftentimes a sign of inflammation, many people ask whether CBD for eczema and psoriasis are viable alternatives or supplements to prescription and OTC steroids, antibiotics and creams. While we cannot diagnose or recommend treatments, we can share information on these types of skin disorders that will assist you in making your own informed decisions.
Psoriasis and eczema are different types of skin disorders, and traditionally receive different treatments. However, they both include inflammation.
Psoriasis is an autoimmune disease, meaning an overactive, or aggravated, immune system is involved. Family history can play a role in whether or not you develop eczema, as 40% of those with the disease report a family member with the same. Further, a child of a parent with psoriasis has a 30% chance of developing the condition. The most common type of psoriasis, plaque psoriasis, can cause skin cells to multiply 10 times faster than they are supposed to, leading to bumpy red patches with scales. Psoriasis patches typically show up on elbows, knees, the scalp and lower back. In severe cases, it can cover large portions of the body. Individuals with psoriasis can also develop arthritic psoriasis, another autoimmune disorder which causes pain and swelling in the joints.
Psoriasis has different triggers for flare ups, and can include stress, certain infections such as strep throat, weather, injury to the skin, and prescriptions meds such as beta-blockers for high blood pressure.
Traditional treatments can include steroid and retinoid creams, moisturizers, light therapy and enzyme inhibitors. Enzyme inhibitors block specific enzymes within the body that cause inflammation. They are relatively new to the market and are prescribed for long-term inflammatory diseases.
Further, those living with psoriasis can manage flare ups that include persistent itchy skin, pain and resultant loss of sleep through the following methods:
Eczema, or atopic dermatitis, most commonly appears in children, but can become present at any age. For infants, eczema typically appears on the cheeks, elbows, and knees. For children, it is commonly present on the insides of the elbows, behind the knees and on the hands and wrists. The disorder is characterized by dry, red patches of skin that are extremely itchy. Just like psoriasis, scratching the areas further irritates them and can cause bleeding and thick or leathery skin. Eczema is often associated with asthma, an autoimmune/inflammatory disease, and hayfever (allergic rhinitis), an allergic response to particular allergens.
The primary risk factor for atopic dermatitis is genetics, having a personal or family history of eczema, allergies, hay fever or asthma. While flare ups resemble allergic reactions, it is important to remember that they are not. According to WebMd.com, the most current theory about eczema triggers is that it is a combination of several factors, including:
Triggers for eczema flare ups include external stimuli that can cause irritation, such as soaps, cleansers, perfumes, dust, solvents, environmental pollutants, cold or flu, and allergic reactions to pollen, mold or pet dander. Stress has also been associated with flare ups.
Eczema treatments include many of the same methods mentioned above for psoriasis flare ups. Because the goal is to minimize irritation, inflammation and itch, methods to quell eczema include minimizing drying effects of the skin. The following ideas may help prevent and curb eczema flares: