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Difference Between Plaque Psoriasis And Eczema

What Causes Psoriasis And Eczema

Difference between Eczema and Psoriasis

Causes of psoriasis

We dont know the exact cause of psoriasis, but we do know that its a type of autoimmune disease, meaning that an overactive immune system is involved. The main symptom of psoriasis is thick skin plaques, caused by skin growing too quickly.

Your genes and family history can play a role in whether or not you develop psoriasis. About 40% of people with psoriasis have a family member with psoriasis. And if one parent has psoriasis, a child has about a 30% chance of having it.

Then, there are triggers that can worsen psoriasis symptoms. While each person is different, common triggers for psoriasis include stress and certain infections, like strep throat. Some medications can also act like triggers. Examples include lithium, propranolol , and hydroxychloroquine .

Causes of eczema

The word eczema actually refers to a group of skin conditions that can cause your skin to become red and itchy. Common types of eczema include atopic dermatitis, seborrheic dermatitis, and contact dermatitis.

Often, when people talk about eczema, theyre referring to atopic dermatitis, the most common type of eczema. In fact, over 18 million Americans have atopic dermatitis, 13% of which are children. For this article, well stick to talking about atopic dermatitis.

Like psoriasis, eczema can worsen with triggers. These can include dry skin, stress, and different irritants, like wool and perfumes. Everyday allergens like pollen and dust mites can also be triggers.

There Can Be Overlap Between Eczema And Psoriasis

  • Still in some children, its hard to tell the difference. In this case, a dermatologist might diagnose the child with psoriasiform dermatitis.

  • Sometimes, a child has both eczema and psoriasis, so there can be some overlap.

  • A dermatologist, however, will generally be able to differentiate between these two relatively common skin disorders.

All content solely developed by the American Academy of Dermatology

What Is The Difference Between Eczema And Ps

When it comes to appearance, psoriasis appears scaly, red, itchy and dry whereas eczema appears as cracked, red, itchy dry skin. Both conditions are caused by a malfunction of the immune system. Psoriasis is mainly caused by white blood cells that attack the skin, whereas eczema is linked to allergies.

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How Is Psoriasis Diagnosed

Doctors usually diagnose psoriasis by examining the skin, scalp, and nails. Theyll also ask whether someone else in the family has psoriasis and if the child recently had an illness or started taking a new medicine.

Rarely, doctors might take a skin sample to check more closely. A biopsy can tell the doctor whether its psoriasis or another condition with similar symptoms.

Eczema Vs Psoriasis On The Face

What are The Difference between Eczema and Psoriasis ...

Psoriasis is typically found on elbows and knees, but a person with scalp psoriasis may find patches extending to the forehead, ears, and other areas close to the face. Eczema may also be found on the face and appears as pus-filled blisters. In both cases, there can be extreme itching and discomfort.

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How Do You Treat These Conditions

Mild cases of both psoriasis and eczema usually resolve with the use of topical cortisone. Meanwhile, moderate or severe cases respond to immunosuppressive drugs like cyclosporine or methotrexate. Severe cases can also respond to phototherapy or UV light treatment. Eczema can also prompt secondary infections, so doctors might prescribe systemic antibiotics to calm these inflammations.

Besides treating the root of the condition, patients could also use an ointment or moisturizing cream to prevent itching and dryness. Look after your overall health as well eat healthy food, drink enough water, and get plenty of exercise. Forming these habits is a good preventive measure against future flare-ups. Coupled with an effective eczema cream, patients can lead healthy lives free from chronic rashes and dry skin.

There is currently no cure for most types of eczema or psoriasis. However, it is possible to manage symptoms by following a treatment plan and taking care of your skin.

What Is The Difference Between Eczema And Psoriasis

Eczema vs psoriasis how can you easily tell the difference between these two skin conditions?

First, well need to answer two very important questions:

  • What is eczema?
  • What is psoriasis?

Answering these questions will give us a solid base of information about the differences between these two skin conditions, allowing us to then go further in-depth about available treatments.

Eczemamedica is proud to produce an organic eczema relief cream made from all-natural ingredients. Keep reading to learn more about the differences that distinguish eczema vs psoriasis, and to learn more about our eczema relief cream.

What is Eczema?

Eczema affects millions of people around the world in fact, you may have eczema yourself but many of us couldnt answer this question for a million dollars: what is eczema?

Eczema is a long-lasting skin condition characterized by red patches of inflamed skin that become irritated, itchy, and sometimes blistered and pus-filled. Eczema is not contagious.

Patches of eczema flare periodically, caused by a hypersensitivity reaction in the individual. Triggers in the environment such as irritants and other allergens are responsible for these flare-ups. Severe eczema can lead to cracking of the skin, as well as oozing and bleeding from the subsequent wounds. This type of eczema can be dangerous, as infections are more likely to occur when the skin is broken.

What is Psoriasis?

What is the difference between eczema and psoriasis?

Treating eczema vs psoriasis

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The Difference Between Eczema And Psoriasis

The main difference between eczema and psoriasis is the treatment for each. While both are highly itchy and often associated with skin irritation, eczema tends to be less severe than psoriasis. There are also some key differences between the two, including the triggers and treatments for each condition.

Both eczema and psoriasis cause similar symptoms, including skin rash, itching, and skin discoloration. While the symptoms of both diseases are the same, there are important differences between the two conditions. Often, the skin in these two conditions looks very different. The symptoms of eczema are more obvious in the skin, while those of psoriasis are subtler.

Those suffering from eczema can seek medical care from a dermatologist to find the best treatment for their symptoms. Both conditions have different treatment needs, but both have similar symptoms. A physician can help you determine which type of skin disease you have by examining your skin and determining your underlying health. Depending on your age and other risk factors, you may experience a flare-up of either condition.

The symptoms of psoriasis can vary depending on where the disease is located on the body. Plaque psoriasis appears as thick, red, and painful lesions on the bodys surface. The signs of psoriasis include cracking, bleeding, and inflammation. For some people, the symptoms of psoriasis occur after a particular trigger.

What Does Psoriasis Look Like

Eczema vs. Psoriasis- What Your Skin May Be Telling You About Your Health

Although psoriasis occurs at any age, it most frequently appears between the ages of 16 and 22. If you have skin plaques that may be psoriasis, call specialists like the dermatologists at Park Avenue Dermatology for an evaluation.

There are different types of psoriasis. Plaque psoriasis is most common.

Thick, red patches of painful, itchy skin can appear on any part of the body, but often on the scalp, lower back, knees, and elbows. Other types of psoriasis appear on other areas of the body, like the feet, underarms, or groin area.

If you have psoriasis, your chance of developing other health problems like psoriatic arthritis, diabetes, Celiac disease, and metabolic syndrome increases.

Both eczema and psoriasis are chronic skin diseases that cause red, dry, scaly skin rashes. Although they share similar signs and symptoms, their underlying causes are different. As a result, the ways in which the diseases are treated can also differ sometimes significantly.

Given this, it is important that you get a formal diagnosis if you suspect eczema or psoriasis. Fortunately, there are ways your healthcare provider can differentiate the two diseases so that they can be treated appropriately and effectively.

Jessica Olah / Verywell

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What Causes Psoriasis

Psoriasis is an immune system problem. Your immune response overreacts, causing inflammation, which leads to new skin cells growing too fast.

Typically, new skin cells grow every 28 to 30 days. But in people with psoriasis, new cells grow and move to the skin surface every three to four days. The buildup of new cells replacing old cells creates the silvery scales of psoriasis.

Psoriasis runs in families. There may be a genetic component. Parents may pass it down to their children.

A Life With Psoriasis

Although psoriasis comes and goes over time, its a lifelong condition. A lack of public understanding about psoriasis causes many people with this condition to feel isolated and ostracized.

But most people with psoriasis lead fulfilling, active lives. Here are some tips you can try to avoid psoriasis triggers.

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Where Did It Appear

Eczema and psoriasis both can appear on any part of the body. However, both conditions have areas where breakouts are predominant.

Eczema breakouts tend to appear on the areas of the body that bend like behind the knees and inside elbows. It can also be on your ankles, wrist, and neck. Babies may have it nearly anywhere on their bodies.

Psoriasis may also appear all over the body however, there are areas where it tends to appear that eczema doesnt, including:

  • Soles of the feet and palms of the hand
  • Fingernails and toenails
  • Eyelids
  • Mouth and lips

If your rash is in these areas, that is a good indicator that you are dealing with psoriasis and not eczema.

What Are The Differences Between Eczema And Psoriasis Topic Guide

Psoriasis Vs Eczema

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What Is Plaque Psoriasis

Plaque psoriasis is the commonest form of psoriasis which is characterized by the appearance of reddish well-demarcated plaques with silver scales usually on the extensor surface of the knees and elbows. Lower back, scalp, and ears are the other common sites affected by this condition. New plaques can emerge at the sites of new trauma. This is known as the Kbner phenomenon. Occasionally the lesions can become itchy or sore.

Figure 02: Plaque Psoriasis

Plaque psoriasis is managed in the same manner as mentioned above.

What Are The Types Of Psoriasis

In children, common types of psoriasis include:

Plaque psoriasis. This is the most common type of psoriasis. It causes plaques and silvery scales, usually on the knees, elbows, lower back, and scalp. They can be itchy and painful and may crack and bleed.

Guttate psoriasis. This type often shows up after an illness, especially strep throat. It causes small red spots, usually on the trunk, arms, and legs. Spots also can appear on the face, scalp, and ears.

Inverse psoriasis. This causes smooth, raw-looking patches of red skin that feel sore. The patches develop in places where skin touches skin, such as the armpits, buttocks, upper eyelids, groin and genitals, or under a womans breasts.

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How To Differentiate Eczema And Psoriasis

Psoriasis is a chronic condition of the immune system. It causes red, scaly patches on the scalp or the skin of the elbows and knees, though it can occur anywhere on the skin. Meanwhile, eczema or atopic dermatitis is an inflammationcommon triggers include dry skin or chemicals. Neither of these is contagious, though people with either condition can pass it down to their children.

Conditions They’re Linked To


Eczema usually comes along with dry, sensitive skin. You may have someone in your family who has it or has asthma or hay fever.

Psoriasis is linked to other serious health conditions. If you have it, you may also have diabetes, heart disease, or depression.

Whether it’s psoriasis or eczema, your doctor can recommend ways to get relief for it.

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What Symptoms Should You Watch For

Visually, it can sometimes be difficult to tell one condition from the other.

You have to look at all the clinical aspects of a rash to distinguish between eczema and psoriasis, including the history and the patients other medical problems, Dr. Fernandez says.

The common signs dry and/or cracked scaly skin, itching and red patches or plaques may show up for either.

With psoriasis, the plaques on your skin are likely thicker and have dry scaling. But sometimes thats not enough to tell between the two with the naked eye, Dr. Fernandez says.

A more obvious clue fluid leaking through the skin points to eczema.

When we see that, we definitely think about eczema instead of psoriasis, he says. But there are definitely times when we cannot tell the difference. And, in those cases, we will perform biopsies.

Can You Treat Eczema And Psoriasis The Same Way

Some of the medications that are used to treat psoriasis may help treat eczema and vice versa. This doesnt necessarily mean that theres a one-size-fits-all treatment plan for both conditions though. A dermatologist can help you find a treatment plan that will work best for you based on your individual symptoms and medical history.

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Where On The Body Is Eczema Likely To Appear

Atopic dermatitis flare-ups usually appear where the limbs bend and skin folds trap moisture, causing irritation. Typical spots for eczema flare-ups include:

  • Behind the knee
  • Neck
  • Wrist and hand

Eczema, which can be triggered through contact with an allergen or other irritant in the environment, can produce a rash anywhere on the body.

Whats The Difference Between Psoriasis & Eczema


Nothing is more satisfying than scratching an intense itch. Likewise, nothing is more frustrating than a persistent itch that evades relief. Psoriasis and eczema are two relatively common skin disorders that cause dryness, itching, and rashes which can become red and inflamed with scratching.

Psoriasis and eczema sometimes look very similar, but its the differences that may help you and your doctor come to a diagnosis. Heres what you need to know about the causes, symptoms, and treatment options for both.

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What Are Symptoms Of These Conditions

Visually, it can sometimes be difficult to tell one condition from the other. You need to look at various aspects of the rash to distinguish themboth manifest as dry, itchy scales, red patches, and plaques. At times, psoriasis causes thicker plaque, and eczema could produce a serous exudate or leaking fluid. In most cases, though, medical professionals have to perform biopsies to be sure.

What Does Atopic Dermatitis Look Like

Atopic dermatitis can cause itchy skin with small, red bumps, or red to brownish-gray patches/rash. Itching is often more common and severe than in psoriasis. Scratching can cause the bumps to ooze fluid and crust over.

The condition often begins during childhood and can continue up to adulthood.

Common sites of rash are the cheeks, inside of the elbows, behind the knees, and over the neck.

A person with atopic dermatitis is also more likely to have asthma or hay fever. Moreover, a family history of hay fever or asthma puts the person at higher risk of atopic dermatitis.

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What Is Erythrodermic Psoriasis

Erythrodermic psoriasis is a rare form of psoriasis associated with extreme inflammation, itching and pain that affects most of the body. Other symptoms include large sheets of shedding skin , an increase in heart rate, swelling due to fluid retention and significant changes in your body temperature. Its important to seek immediate medical attention if you’re experiencing a flare-up of erythrodermic psoriasis as it can lead to pneumonia or heart failure if left untreated.6

The Dry Skin Of Psoriasis

The most powerful treatment to eliminate psoriasis and eczema

Not all psoriasis patches appear dry or scaly. At times, large red patches may have no visible scales. However, the patches of psoriasis can build up from dead skin cells to the point of scaling and peeling.

Removal of large scales should not be forced. Gentle removal will prevent breaking the skin and causing bleeding.

Some psoriasis patches may build up a very thick, white layer of dead cells before shedding scales.

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When Did It Start

One factor that helps a dermatologist tell the difference in psoriasis, eczema is determining the age of people at the onset of the skin condition. Eczema normally appears in infants and continues through adulthood. On the other hand, psoriasis typically appears in the late teens to early twenties but can appear in children.

Can You Have Both At The Same Time

Yes, you can. This is known as a condition called eczematous psoriasis. This typically presents as an eczema rash and psoriatic lesions in specific areas such as behind the knee, the crook of the elbow, or other folds in the skin areas where sweat and moisture can get trapped and irritate the skin. This overlapping condition also tends to cause more itching than psoriasis alone due to increased inflammation.

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What Are The Treatment Options

Though the underlying causes are different, treatment is generally similar, Dr. Fernandez says. You should see a dermatologist for any rash that doesnt go away with over-the-counter medicine, he says.

  • Topical cortisone, especially if you have a mild case.
  • Immunosuppressive drugs for more moderate to severe cases.
  • or ultraviolet light treatment for severe cases.

Also, eczema can prompt a secondary infection so your doctor may use topical and systemic antibiotics to remove bacteria and calm the inflammation.


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