Recognizing skin conditions of Eczema and Psoriasis
Effected areas usually appear very dry, thickened, or scaly. In fair-skinned people, these areas may initially appear reddish and then turn brown. Among darker-skinned people, eczema can affect pigmentation, making the affected area lighter or darker.
Psoriasis symptoms can vary from person to person but may include one or more of the following:
- Red patches of skin covered with silvery scales
- Small scaling spots (commonly seen in children)
- Dry, cracked skin that may bleed
- Itching, burning, or soreness
- Thickened, pitted, or ridged nails
- Swollen and stiff joints
Psoriasis patches can range from a few spots of dandruff-like scaling to major eruptions that cover large areas. Mild cases of psoriasis may be a nuisance. But more severe cases can be painful, disfiguring, and disabling.
Most types of psoriasis go through cycles, flaring for a few weeks or months, then subsiding for a time or even going into complete remission. In most cases, however, the disease eventually returns. If you are trained in sugaring treatments, you can treat psoriasis, as long as the areas effected by psoriasis are not weeping/cracked and bleeding, and if they don't have swollen joints. It may be very tender to sugar over the affected joint areas.
Several types of psoriasis exist, but the most common are listed below. Aestheticians can generally perform sugaring for hair removal and/or just to treat the condition confidently and safely. These include:
- Plaque psoriasis: The most common form, plaque psoriasis causes dry, red skin lesions (plaques) covered with silvery scales. The plaques itch or feel sore and may occur anywhere on your body, including your genitals and the soft tissue inside your mouth. You may have just a few plaques or many, and in severe cases, the skin around your joints may crack and bleed.
- Scalp psoriasis: Psoriasis on the scalp appears as red, itchy areas with silvery-white scales. You may notice flakes of dead skin in your hair or on your shoulders, especially after scratching your scalp.
- Nail psoriasis: Psoriasis can affect fingernails and toenails, causing pitting, abnormal nail growth, and discoloration. Psoriatic nails may become loose and separate from the nail bed (onycholysis). Severe cases may cause the nail to crumble. You would not perform sugaring hair removal on this condition.
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!
It is your responsibility, as an aesthetician, to understand as much as you can about the skin in order to better serve your clients' needs safely and effectively. Aestheticians are not "qualified" to diagnose skin conditions, and if you are ever in doubt about treating the skin with sugaring or any other treatment and product, it is always best to err on the side of caution. Let your client tell you what the condition is and if they are not certain, perhaps a visit to the doctor is best before you decide to go forward and treat them. Make good use of a Client Record Card so that you can log everything about your client's treatments and its progress. A treatment release form is also good protection for you and your salon/spa.
There's a balance to offering safe aesthetics. Sharing this particular article with you is to inform you that with professional sugaring and a very precise technique, you can perform sugaring hair removal treatments on psoriasis and eczema conditions.
How can you tell the difference?
Psoriasis lesions are typically thick, red, and scaly (dry). Although eczema lesions may be similar if they are chronic, they also can appear as moist and oozing areas. It is said that it is even difficult for the medical industry to tell the difference sometimes.
When is it NOT OK to sugar these two skin conditions?
The only time you cannot perform sugaring hair removal treatments on psoriasis or eczema is when the effected area is weeping, moist, or oozing. Also, as you sugar over the effected area to remove hair and/or to gently exfoliate the skin, you may get to a point where the skin starts to split and weep, and even bleed a bit. That would be your cue to STOP treatment and perform your post-care. A tonic with myrrh can be very beneficial because of its antimicrobial, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory properties.
Precautionary steps for safe aesthetics and to prevent contamination:
- Always wear latex or Nitrile gloves on both hands
- Examine your client's skin for any visible infection or disorders.
- Keep a reasonable distance between you and your client (breathing space).
- Disinfect all contaminated surfaces and instruments such as beds, tweezers, scissors, and clippers.
- Use disposable equipment whenever possible.
- Use clean linen for every client and use hot water when laundered.
- Use the proper pre- and post-epilating procedure for every client.
- Wash hands thoroughly before and after every client.
- Use tubes or jars with pumps for creams.
- Cover any cuts, inflamed, or broken skin with a bandage.
- Dispose of blood contaminated materials in a double wrapped plastic bag.
- Puncture wounds are proven ways to spread HIV and Hepatitis B, so be careful when handling sharp instruments.
Since primary infections may take between two and 20 days to show, you may be treating a client who has no visible signs of infection. Many skin infections, in their early stages, can mimic less severe skin conditions and could be transmitted through even the tiniest abrasion in your hand. Although these infections are treatable with antibiotics and it is not certain if they pose a threat to our life, there is one however that is life threatening, the HIV virus (AIDS). Every time we extract hair and blood spots appear, there could be potential danger. Wearing protective gloves is a very sensible and professional approach.
Why is professional advanced sugaring hair removal safe for eczema and psoriasis?
Let me start by saying that this has become the easiest question in the world for me to answer besides why I love my children! Advanced sugaring is safe for these conditions because it will not further damage the skin. The process – if correctly learned and practiced – will gently exfoliate the skin cell accumulation in the effected eczema or psoriasis areas. But that's not where the sugaring stops… the client gets a triple-instant benefit from the sugaring.
Sugar has a natural healing property... making it an ideal natural product to exfoliate damaged skin! As you mold the sugar paste over the effected area, some of the sugar seeps below the skin's surface. While the sugar is on/in the skin cells, it is promoting healing. Repeating this process from molding, seeping, and flicking to remove the sugar paste simultaneously serves as a gentle exfoliation and healing procedure. Let's not forget that we are likely also sugaring to extract their hair too!
Because of the factors mentioned above, you can safely and effectively remove unwanted hair from areas effected by eczema or psoriasis without causing further damage or causing contraindication.
Lina Kennedy, president of Alexandria Professional headquartered in Welland, Ontario Canada. 800-957-8427, www.alexandriaprofessional.com