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.
Symptoms of Psoriasis
- Swollen joints
- Dry skin
- Slivery scales
- Cracked skin
- Red patches
- Scaling spots
Psoriasis can affect a person’s skin for days, weeks and even months. The treatment of psoriasis depends on the type of skin condition one has. Here are the most common types of psoriasis conditions.
- Nail psoriasis: Every type of nail on the skin can become effect from this disease. Sometimes the nails can easily break and crumble.
- Plaque psoriasis: This is the most common type of psoriasis known for its red and dry skin. This type of psoriasis can appear everywhere on the body and it is usually painful. There is no limit as to how many psoriasis patches one can have.
- Psoriatic arthritis: People who suffer from arthritis are subject to constant bouts of psoriasis. Swelling around the knees, spine, joints, toes and fingers are common with this form of psoriasis.
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.
Symptoms of Eczema
- Severe itchiness
- Small bumps
- Leaky fluids from bumps
- Red or discolored patches
- Sensitive skin
- Raised bumps
- Cracked skin
- Swollen skin
Sometimes even the smallest product or element can set off an eczema attack. A few of these causes can come from: dust, mold, pollen, food, detergents and soaps. Environmental factors such as heat and humidity can also cause eczema to flare up.
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.
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.
Age is the most common difference between psoriasis and eczema. Patients with eczema tend to range from newborns to toddlers and preschool aged children. Eczema in adults is rare but can occur. The opposite can be said about psoriasis. Psoriasis is mostly seen among young adults, adults and the elderly. Psoriasis can be seen in children but it is rare.
Besides age, the easiest way to tell the difference between these two skin conditions is the patches of skin? Psoriasis is no stranger to large spaces and will cover up a large portion of the skin, unlike eczema. Itchiness is also large factor in distinguishing the difference between these two conditions. Itchiness can be more frequent and severe in those with eczema. Another significant way to tell the difference between these two conditions is the presence of silvery scales. These scales will only appear on patches of psoriasis and never on those with eczema.
The diagnosis of eczema is usually determined by a dermatologist and can be done clinically. A diagnosis of psoriasis can be determined through a skin biopsy. The patches cause by psoriasis are usually more distinguished than the borders of eczema.
The treatment of eczema can depend on the severity, but it usually treated with creams that have a base of corticosteroid. Topical creams are not always reliable when it comes to treated psoriasis. Drugs such as Certolizumab pegol and Etanercept can help relieve the pain of psoriasis. Unfortunately, both of these skin conditions can make a person feel uncomfortable. The best way to treat both conditions is to seek medical attention from a dermatologist.