Psoriasis vs. Eczema: Understanding the Variations


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Dealing with dry, itchy pores and skin is uncomfortable at greatest and it could even mess along with your high quality of life. In spite of everything, you possibly can’t simply inform your pores and skin rash to take a break when you cope with different issues.

However dermatologists say the easiest way to make your signs higher is to determine what could possibly be behind your pores and skin points. Are you coping with psoriasis, eczema, or one thing else solely? Dermatologists break down learn how to know the distinction between psoriasis vs. eczema—and learn how to get assist.

What’s psoriasis?

Psoriasis is an autoimmune situation that develops when your physique makes pores and skin cells too rapidly, the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) explains. This causes pores and skin cells to pile up and kind seen patches or spots on the pores and skin. Thankfully, a psoriasis rash isn’t contagious, per the AAD.

Specialists In This Article

  • Cindy Wassef, MD, board-certified dermatologist and assistant professor on the Rutgers Robert Wooden Johnson Medical College
  • Gary Goldenberg, MD, board-certified dermatologist practising in New York Metropolis
  • Ife J. Rodney, MD, FAAD, board-certified dermatologist and dermapathologist, founding director of Everlasting Dermatology in Maryland.

What’s eczema?

Eczema is a standard pores and skin situation that often begins in childhood, and causes itchy, dry, and infected pores and skin, the AAD says. Like psoriasis, eczema isn’t contagious.

How do the signs of psoriasis vs. eczema examine?

“Psoriasis and eczema are each power pores and skin situations, however they’ve distinct variations,” says board-certified dermatologist Ife J. Rodney, MD, founding director of Everlasting Dermatology Aesthetics. “Whereas they share some related signs like redness and itching, their underlying causes and the looks of affected pores and skin differ.”

These are the principle signs of psoriasis, in response to the Nationwide Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Pores and skin Illnesses (NIAMS):

  • Patches of thick, crimson pores and skin with silvery-white scales that itch or burn, and often present up on the elbows, knees, scalp, trunk, palms, and soles of the ft
  • Dry, cracked pores and skin that itches or bleeds
  • Thick, ridged, pitted nails
  • Poor sleep high quality

And these are the highest indicators of eczema, NIAMS says:

  • Crimson, dry, extraordinarily itchy patches of pores and skin
  • Rashes that will ooze or weep clear fluid, or bleed when scratched
  • Thickening and hardening of the pores and skin

How do I do know if it’s eczema or psoriasis?

Whereas each situations trigger pores and skin rashes, they present up otherwise, says Cindy Wassef, MD, an assistant professor on the Rutgers Robert Wooden Johnson Medical College. Psoriasis typically causes a rash that’s a salmon pink, darkish purple, or grey shade, relying on an individual’s pores and skin tone, she says, including that the patches are likely to have a silvery scale.  “It may be related to nail findings, like pitting,” she says.

“Eczema is extra of sunshine pink to brown shade, with a advantageous white scale,” Dr. Wassef says.

Location issues, too, while you’re attempting to find out whether or not you’re coping with psoriasis vs. eczema. Whilst you can technically have indicators of both situation wherever you’ve gotten pores and skin—whether or not that’s eczema in your scalp or psoriasis in your face—every tends to indicate up in several spots. “Psoriasis lesions are most typical on the scalp, elbows, and knees,” says Gary Goldenberg, MD, a board-certified dermatologist practising in New York Metropolis. “Eczema is most typical on the backs of knees and fronts of elbows.”

What causes these situations?

There’s a distinction in what causes psoriasis vs. eczema. “The precise reason behind psoriasis just isn’t totally understood, however it’s believed to contain an immune system malfunction,” Dr. Rodney says. “Genetics additionally performs a major position in psoriasis.” (Which means, you probably have a household historical past of psoriasis, the percentages of you growing the situation are larger than common1.)

“Eczema is commonly linked to a mixture of genetic and environmental components,” Dr. Rodney says. “Triggers for eczema can embrace irritants like soaps and detergents, allergens like pollen or pet dander, infections, and stress.”

However “each situations may be attributable to environmental components, stress, sickness, vitamin, and different components that we maybe don’t perceive,” Dr. Goldenberg says.

How is remedy totally different?

Remedy can range for psoriasis vs. eczema, relying on how extreme the signs are. “For delicate eczema and psoriasis, the preliminary remedy with topical steroids could be very related,” Dr. Wassef says. “Nonetheless, for extra extreme instances, injectable medicines that work on the immune system goal totally different areas for eczema and psoriasis. It could be essential to know which rash you’ve gotten.”

Generally, psoriasis therapies can embrace topical corticosteroids, vitamin D ointments or lotions, immunosuppressive medicines, and light-weight remedy, Dr. Rodney says. (In the meantime, you’ll need to keep away from exfoliants.) Then again, most forms of eczema are often “managed with moisturizers to maintain the pores and skin hydrated, together with topical corticosteroids or immunomodulators to scale back irritation,” she says. “Avoiding triggers and allergens is essential for managing eczema.”

How are you going to forestall psoriasis and eczema?

It may be tough to completely forestall psoriasis and eczema attributable to their genetic elements, Dr. Rodney says. However she says that flares and signs can often be managed by way of way of life modifications.

“For psoriasis, managing stress, avoiding harm to the pores and skin, and adhering to prescribed therapies may help forestall exacerbations,” Dr. Rodney says. “For eczema, sustaining correct pores and skin hydration with common use of moisturizers, figuring out and avoiding triggers, and practising good skincare routines can forestall flare-ups and cut back the severity of signs.” Seasonal eczema care can be key.

For those who’re coping with a pores and skin rash and also you’re unsure what’s behind it, speak to your dermatologist. They’re well-versed in each pores and skin situations and might often offer you a analysis after inspecting your pores and skin, Dr. Wassef says. From there, you possibly can give you a care plan collectively to assist discover the soothing aid you are after.

Effectively+Good articles reference scientific, dependable, latest, strong research to again up the data we share. You possibly can belief us alongside your wellness journey.

  1. Solmaz, Dilek et al. “Affect of Having Household Historical past of Psoriasis or Psoriatic Arthritis on Psoriatic Illness.” Arthritis care & analysis vol. 72,1 (2020): 63-68. doi:10.1002/acr.23836


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