These two issues are some of the least understood in all medical communities and I can't tell you how many dermatologists I've heard speak on it. No one has come to a consensus of causation and most doctors seem to feel it just a "well, that's what your body does and here is a steroid cream to get it to go away right now."
Further investigation into current science has, however, brought me back to exactly what I have suspected all along.
This article from 2014 cites, "there is substantial evidence that our western lifestyle leads to some of the reported increase in eczema occurrence over the past years although this has not pointed to specific environmental risk factors or has translated directly into functional preventive measures . "
There is also a wealth of studies coming out about these types of diseases and the lack of proper bacterial colonization on the skin. It turns out that not only is the proper gut flora crucial for digestion and survival (acidopholus and other probiotics being the ones we hear about most often) but we are discovering that the same is true for skin health. Thus, we can surmise that especially in children, exposure to bacteria is important. I'm not talking about bad scary bacteria, but bacteria that occurs naturally in soil and around animals. Some science has attempted to connect the lack of childhood diseases through vaccines as another possible culprit for the extreme rise in eczema and psoriasis in the last 50 years.
There is also a gene mutation that seems to correlate that is called the filaggrin mutation. We have seen that people with this mutation not only have a greater propensity for skin diseases, but also for food allergies.
So, what in the world to DO with all this? I'll give you some ideas about what has helped my clients. I have cleared up some eczema and psoriasis entirely and I have at least greatly lessened it for my other clients.
The biggest food allergy I've seen so far in correlation is to dairy products. Try cutting out dairy for just one month and 5 days to see if you see a difference. I understand deeply that this is not an easy request, but it's very worth knowing if something you're eating is one of the causes.
At the base of treatment: Stop using soap and stop using it most assuredly on the affected areas. Also be careful that soap does not even rinse down onto those areas in the shower.
~~~Switch to a gentle body scrub with herbs like comfrey, horsetail, and calendula. A scrub with deeply healing oils and butters like shea butter, ucuuba butter, hemp seed oil, and camellia oil can change your whole life when it comes to these diseases. Applying them while the skin is wet and warm is a beautiful way to provide the vitamins and healing fatty acids to your skin and it becomes more available for the skin to uptake and use what it needs in a wet environment. If your patches are open sores, then use a body scrub that is very very low in salt and is sugar based. Only used powdered sugar and salt scrubs. And don't *scrub* with it. Apply gently and rinse.
~~~Get these four herbs and make a paste with them daily and apply it to the area: comfrey, horsetail, calendula, and meadowsweet. You can purchase these in powdered form from Mountain Rose Herbs for a good price.
~~~I have formulated Second Skin for these such issues and it works wonders when applied 2-3 times a day. With ingredients like neem oil, aloe vera, sulfer salt, dead sea salt, cold pressed oat oil, and chamomile essential oil- it takes the cake on deeply nourishing the skin so that it can start to heal itself back over and start creating "normal" skin cells instead of the scales.
~~~ You will still need an oil rich moisturizer that includes unrefined shea butter (high in vitamin A) and has the thickness to trap in moisture without creating an unbreathable barrier.
These are my best suggestions and they have worked wonders for my clients. I wish you all the best and I have the deepest respect and understanding for the physical and mental pain that constant itching, open sores, and embarrassing skin issues can cause. My love to everyone.