Skin crusting, oozing, itching, dryness
Few of us have flawless skin, and we shouldn’t expect our skin to look perfect all the time! But if you live with an autoimmune disease, this organ (and yep, skin is an organ) is likely to give you extra problems, like crusting, oozing, itching, and dryness. Here's what might be going on. A combination of one or more of these symptoms can be a sign of atopic dermatitis, also known as eczema—a common and noncontagious chronic inflammatory condition. You might also be dealing with psoriasis, another non-contagious skin condition caused by an overactive immune system. Symptoms include flaking, inflammation, and patches of skin that are thick, white, silvery, or red. Or, it could be one of a number of other conditions, like cutaneous lupus, a form of lupus that can cause rashes or sores, mostly in sun-exposed areas (the face, ears, neck, arms, and legs). While there is no cure for many of the underlying causes of skin crusting, oozing, and itching, DIY treatments can help keep flare-ups under control and reduce symptoms. Lots of moisturizers and ointments are targeted to skin problems, and some people even use coal tar as a topical treatment. A practitioner who specializes in skin issues can help you find the right products to try. Also, try to avoid skin irritants (wool, lanolin, strong soaps, and detergents are some common culprits), keep stress at bay, and bathe in lukewarm instead of hot water. (We know—those extra hot showers feel great in the moment, but you’re playing the long game here!) Light therapy, aka phototherapy, which involves repeatedly exposing the skin to light (UV-free blue light, artificial UVB or UVA light, or even natural sunlight) in order to slow cell growth, can also help some skin issues like psoriasis. Finally, there are a bunch of science-backed natural and alternative remedies that may help support skin health, like probiotics, Chinese herbs, and vitamin D. Skin issues usually aren’t life-threatening, but they can be super stigmatizing. If your skin problems have a negative impact on your physical or emotional well-being, or if you’re wondering whether they could be a sign of an underlying condition, talk to your practitioner. There are lots of treatment options out there. And while you can’t expect your skin to change overnight, don’t feel like you have to hide in the meantime! It’s fine to go #filterfree anywhere, anytime. Remember, everyone’s skin is different, but hardly anyone’s is “perfect.”
- Cleveland Clinic. Dermatitis. Cleveland Clinic. Dermatitis.
- Cleveland Clinic. Skin conditions. Cleveland Clinic. Skin conditions.
- Frontiers in Microbiology. Probiotics and atopic dermatitis: an overview. Frontiers in Microbiology. Probiotics and atopic dermatitis: an overview.
- Lupus Foundation of America. How lupus affects the skin. Lupus Foundation of America. How lupus affects the skin.
- National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. Skin conditions and complementary health approaches: what the science says. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. Skin conditions and complementary health approaches: what the science says.
- National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Eczema (atopic dermatitis). National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Eczema (atopic dermatitis).
- The journal Brazilian Annals of Dermatology. Atopic dermatitis and Vitamin D: facts and controversies. The journal Brazilian Annals of Dermatology. Atopic dermatitis and Vitamin D: facts and controversies.