Many people do not really know the technical differences between psoriasis and eczema (atopic dermatitis).
Recognizing a patch of skin that is inflamed, red, or peeling as one of these conditions will indeed determine how one treats it.
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Understanding psoriasis and eczema
A thick patch of white scales is indeed characteristic of psoriasis.
Psoriasis happens to be a chronic autoimmune condition that does result in the overproduction of skin cells. The dead cells do build up into silvery-white scales. The skin becomes inflamed as well as red, thus causing serious itching.
There is indeed currently no cure for psoriasis. But some topical, light-based, and systemic pharmaceutical treatments can indeed put the condition into remission. The condition is not contagious.
Eczema, or atopic dermatitis, may indeed also be a long-term condition affecting the skin.
It does occur because of a hypersensitivity reaction. This does cause the skin to overreact to certain triggers, such as dyes, fabrics, soaps, animals, and other irritants.
Eczema is indeed very common in infants. Many people do outgrow hypersensitivity by childhood or early adulthood.
The skin may indeed appear red, inflamed, peeling, cracked, blistered, or pus-filled. Generally, it is not covered with scaly dead skin.
As with psoriasis, dermatitis can also occur anywhere on one’s body and cause intense itching. Most eczema can also be cleared with topical treatment.
Comparing psoriasis and eczema
Psoriasis on the face
Although psoriasis most commonly does occur on the knees and elbows, it may also occur anywhere. This does include the face, scalp, as well as neck.
With treatment, psoriasis on the face and scalp often does resolve, but it may recur.
In several cases, scalp psoriasis does extend onto the forehead, ears, or neck. It can indeed be difficult to treat, especially when hair gets in the way.
Eczema on the face
Just as with psoriasis, eczema on one’s face can rather cause discomfort. The patches can be very itchy, causing further skin deterioration.
Itching can also cause breaks in the skin that do allow bleeding or infection.
The dryness linked to eczema can also cause cracked skin on account of general movement.
Eczema commonly does include pus-filled blisters. Scratching can indeed cause the skin to ooze pus and also create crusty and scabbed patches. Eczema on the face can often be treated topically, but systemic medications may also be necessary.
Psoriasis vs. eczema on hands
Psoriasis on the hands
Although many people do have patches of psoriasis on the back of their hands and knuckles, others have outbreaks on one’s palms.
Intense peeling, as well as dry skin on the hands, can make even simple actions, such as washing hands or picking up a bag, very painful and uncomfortable.
Psoriasis on one’s hands may also include nail psoriasis. This condition does cause overactive skin cells to produce too many new cells under the nails. This can also look like a fungal infection that discolors the nails and even causes them to fall off.
Eczema on the hands
Eczema does appear on the hands very commonly. This is because the hands do often come in contact with soaps, lotions, fabric, animals, and other allergens or irritants.
Frequent washing of one’s hands can further dry out the skin of people with eczema. Eczema on one’s hands can be difficult to treat on account of the constant contact with water as well as other irritants.
Psoriasis vs. eczema on legs
Psoriasis up and down the legs
Psoriasis does frequently occur on the legs as well as knees. Although some psoriasis may rather cover significant portions of one’s legs, other types may also appear in isolated patches.
The different types of psoriasis do have different appearances.
For instance, guttate psoriasis on one’s legs does appear in many separate, drop-like, small red psoriasis patches. However, plaque psoriasis on one’s legs often appears in large, shapeless patches with thick red skin or thick white scales.
Eczema up and down the legs
Eczema on one’s legs may often occur in the body “creases,” such as the back of one’s knee or the front of the ankle. These areas may indeed trap sweat or irritants from clothing as well as the air.
Close contact of irritants with skin as well as areas of skin rubbing together does create a perfect environment for atopic dermatitis to thrive.
If eczema on the backs of the knees is not quickly or effectively treated, it can become very irritating as well as painful. Constant contact from clothing can indeed cause significant bleeding, oozing as well as an infection.
Dry skin in psoriasis vs. eczema
The dry skin of psoriasis
Not all psoriasis patches do appear dry or scaly. At times, large red patches may also have no visible scales. However, the patches of psoriasis can indeed build up from dead skin cells to the point of scaling as well as peeling.
Removal of large scales should not actually be forced. Gentle removal will rather prevent breaking the skin and thus causing bleeding.
Some psoriasis patches may indeed build up a very thick, white layer of dead cells before shedding scales.
The dry skin of eczema
Eczema does frequently include very dry patches of skin. These can make one’s skin so fragile that it does crack very easily.
The peeling of eczema may indeed resemble that of sunburn or a peeling blister or callus.
In some cases, the skin may also peel without causing raw skin or open wounds. In others, peeling skin does reveal broken skin or open blisters. These should indeed be carefully treated in order to avoid introducing a bacterial or viral infection.
Psoriasis can develop in very uncomfortable places.
Inverse psoriasis and as well as other types of psoriasis may indeed develop on the genitals, armpits, bottoms of one’s feet, and skin creases. Psoriasis in skin folds or the genital area will indeed appear smooth and shiny, but may also resemble eczema.
Affected areas often do include larger, more solid patches of smoother skin than typical psoriasis. This is indeed likely on account of increased moisture in these areas.
Eczema in inconvenient places
Eczema can indeed occur in many inconvenient places — especially for infants. Diapers, as well as baby creams, may in fact also irritate sensitive skin, causing extreme diaper rashes. In some cases, eczema does cover the entire area that does come into contact with a diaper.
Hypersensitivity to the material of a diaper or even the creams that have been used in washing the area can indeed aggravate the skin. Switching to soft cotton diapers or making use of a different cleanser may also help ease eczema in the genital area for infants.
Adults who suffer from eczema in sensitive areas may also require changing laundry detergents, cleansers, and fabrics.
Severe psoriasis vs. eczema
Severe and pervasive psoriasis
Like most skin conditions, psoriasis can indeed become widespread as well as very irritating. For instance, plaque psoriasis may rather cover almost the entire surface of one’s body.
In extreme cases, inflammation can also become so severe that it does appear and also feels like burns.
Extensive, highly painful, burn-like psoriasis can be life-threatening. This does require immediate attention from a health professional.
Another widespread psoriasis may also simply require standard treatment to partially heal or resolve.
Severe and pervasive eczema
Eczema can indeed also become very serious and cover much of one’s skin’s surface. The amount of skin affected by eczema will depend on:
the sensitivity of the person’s skin
the skin’s exposure to irritants
the type and effectiveness of treatments
Severe cracking, oozing, as well as bleeding that occur in cases of severe eczema can become dangerous. Widespread eczema also does make an infection more likely because of the increased chance of broken skin.
Treating psoriasis vs. eczema
Typically, dermatologists do start treatment by prescribing topical corticosteroid creams. If these are not enough, many doctors will indeed prescribe a light therapy treatment.
If neither of these does improve the psoriasis patches, many dermatologists may indeed prescribe an oral, injectable, or intravenous medication. These medications are in fact the final steps in most treatment plans.
Eczema is rather often treated with a topical corticosteroid cream. In some cases, doctors may also suggest over-the-counter creams.
Other causes of eczema may indeed require antibiotic creams or prescription oral medications.
Some barrier creams may also be useful to protect skin from irritants and infections, allowing it to heal.
Living with psoriasis vs. eczema
A life with psoriasis
Although psoriasis does come and go over time, it is a lifelong condition. A lack of public understanding about psoriasis does cause several people with this condition to feel isolated as well as ostracized.
But most people with psoriasis do lead to fulfilling, active lives. By spreading the word that psoriasis is not contagious and that it is a chronic autoimmune condition, one can help people with psoriasis feel better understood and more welcome in society.
A life with eczema
The condition can indeed be so serious that it can restrict activity. At other times, people with eczema hardly notice their condition.
Understanding the differences between psoriasis as well as eczema can help one recognize and appropriately treat one’s condition.