Updates on the management of skin conditions

Several articles have discussed the management of various skin conditions recently.

In one [1], the author discusses the management and treatment of people with psoriasis, describing the anatomy of the skin, the causes of psoriasis, and highlights how skin disease can have negative impacts on people’s lives, with social and financial implications.

The topical therapies available include: emollient, coal tar ointment, dithranol, vitamin D analogues, phototherapy, methotrexate, retinoids, and topical steroids. The topical treatment should be chosen according to the individual’s needs, and psychological therapy considered on the same basis. Preventative measures may include avoiding environmental factors such as smoking, sun or stress and also avoiding irritating cosmetics or soaps and scratching.

Another article [2] examines the effects of atopic eczema on children’s quality of life and the management options available. The author suggests that this condition is not always taken seriously by healthcare professionals: the condition can be distressing, complicated, frustrating and time-consuming to treat, and can affect the whole family.

A defective skin barrier is now thought to be a significant issue for atopic skin: when irritants and allergens penetrate the barrier, they can lead to eczematous lesions or worsening of symptoms. An interaction between environmental and genetic factors is thought to be involved.

The various treatment options are all discussed, together with the key role nurses play in education, empowering parents and children with clear and consistent advice. Infected eczema is also discussed, as it is here [3].

Pruritus in older people is discussed here [4], with the author stressing its impact and how common it is. It is important to investigate the cause of pruritus in older people: dry skin (xerosis) is the most common, but there are a range of others. Emollient therapy is key for any pruritus associated with dry skin and some practical techniques are explained, along with other management methods.

[1] Peate I. Management and treatment of the person with psoriasis. Nurse Prescribing 2009; 7(5): 198-203.

[2] Carr JD. Evidence-based management of childhood atopic eczema. Br J Nursing 2009; 18(10): 603-610.

[3] Watkins J. Infected eczema. Practice Nursing 2009; 20(6): 295.

[4] Wheeler T. Managing pruritus in the older person.

Br J Comm Nursing 2009; 14(6): 238-244.