It’s not surprising that many people can’t tell the difference between psoriasis and eczema. After all, both can cause red, inflamed or peeling skin. The two conditions are different and, in many instances, the treatment is different. They also feel different. Eczema usually causes intense itching which can get so bad that scratching cause the skin to bleed. Psoriasis can also be itchy but the skin may also sting or burn. Read below to understand the difference between psoriasis vs eczema.
Psoriasis is a chronic autoimmune condition that causes an overproduction of skin cells. It is characterized by a thick patch of white scales formed from dead skin cells. The skin can become inflames, red and itchy. Psoriasis is not contagious but there is no cure for the condition. Topical, pharmaceutical or light-based treatment can put it into remission.
Also known as atopic dermatitis, eczema can also be a chronic condition. However, it is caused by hypersensitivity to external or internal triggers. These include dyes, fragrances, fabrics and other irritants. The skin may be red, peeling, cracked or blistered but there is unlikely to be scales of dead skin.
Many people outgrow the condition between infancy and childhood or early adulthood but not all do. Eczema often clears up with topical treatment, but irritants or stress can cause new flare-ups.
Both conditions can occur anywhere on the body although some areas are more common.
Eczema On The Hands
Eczema is very likely to appear on the hands since they come into contact with many allergens and irritants on a daily basis. Since many people wash their hands frequently, this can further dry out the skin. Both these realities make eczema on the hands difficult to treat.
Psoriasis On The Legs
The legs and knees are quite prone to psoriasis, generally in isolated patches. Different types of psoriasis have different appearances. Guttate psoriasis presents as many small red psoriasis patches which appear like drops. On the other hand, plaque psoriasis appears as large, shapeless patches with thick red skin or thick white scales.
Eczema And Psoriasis On The Face
Psoriasis can also occur on the face, scalp, and neck. Scalp psoriasis often extends to the forehead and ears. It can be difficult to treat when hair gets in the way.
Eczema On The Face
Patches of eczema on the face can be very itchy and uncomfortable. If there are breaks in the skin because of dryness, bleeding or infection can also occur. Blisters filled with pus are quite common as well.
Dry Skin In Psoriasis And Eczema
Dry patches are very common in eczema but not all psoriasis patches are dry or scaly. The peeling of eczema may look like that associated with sunburn or a blister. Peeling may or may not cause broken skin or open wounds. These need to be treated carefully to avoid introducing infections from bacteria or viruses.
Psoriasis patches can be large and red but not scaly. However, the build-up of dead skin cells can eventually become scaly. They can shed on their own. You should not forcibly remove large scales, but gentle removal can prevent breaking the skin.
Treating Psoriasis And Eczema
Treatment for psoriasis usually starts with the prescription of topical corticosteroid creams. If these do not bring about significant improvement, doctors may recommend light therapy treatment. Oral medication is typically the last resort.
Topical corticosteroids are also used to treat eczema. In some case, over-the-counter creams are enough to clear up the condition. If not, antibiotic creams or prescribed oral medications may be effective. Barrier creams may also be used to protect affected skin from irritants and infections by allowing it to heal.