Could It Be Eczema
Eczema is a skin rash from a reaction or allergy. The condition is mainly present in young children. However, older persons can develop the condition. With eczema, the reaction is the bodys immune system attacking the skin. This causes inflammation in areas like the wrists, elbows, knees, and face. More severe cases show up on the hands and feet. Environmental occurrences like pollen, metals, and even stress cause these flareups.
Shingles: A Rash And Severe Pain That Lingers
Shingles is another viral infection that shares some symptoms with psoriasis. Like psoriasis, shingles can make your skin burn and itch and produces a red, blistered skin rash. Shingles is caused by the same virus that first brings on chickenpox. The virus stays in your body and can come back years later to cause shingles, especially during times of stress or infection. The skin rash of shingles follows the course of a single nerve, usually on the trunk. In some cases, severe pain lasts long after the burning, itchy rash disappears. Shingles is more common in people over age 50.
Causes Of Eczema Vs Psoriasis
Eczema and psoriasis are caused by different problems with the immune system. The cause of psoriasis is an autoimmune reaction wherein the immune system misidentifies cells in the skin as dangerous and attacks them. Eczema is an extreme sensitivity, sometimes caused by an allergy, to certain triggering substances. Common triggers for eczema include animals, fabrics, soaps, metals, and certain medications. In other words, psoriasis is caused when your immune system attacks itself, and eczema is caused when your immune system overreacts to an outside substance.
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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.
Psoriasis Vs Eczema: Below The Surface
Although the skin symptoms of psoriasis and eczema can look and feel similar, the conditions are very different below the surface of the skin. Eczema is frequently related to allergies many people with eczema also have food allergies, seasonal allergies and asthma. Psoriasis is a systemic disease, meaning that it affects the whole body. Psoriasis causes inflammation, fatigue, and other symptoms. About 30 percent of people with psoriasis develop psoriatic arthritis, which can cause progressive joint damage and lead to disability. Psoriatic disease can also cause uveitis , which can result in loss of vision.
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Why Is Eczema Confused With Psoriasis
Mistaking eczema for psoriasis is common, as both are inflammatory skin conditions and are similar in appearance. The two not only share similar symptoms, but they frequently develop in the same areas of the body, such as the scalp or hands.
While those are two of the more common sites for flare-ups, both conditions can form anywhere on the body. They also share some common triggers, including cold, dry air and allergens in the environment.
What Innovative Treatments Do You Offer For Eczema And Psoriasis
Correct diagnosis is the first step. We take a thorough patient history and perform detailed testing to determine the skin condition. Depending on your history and symptoms, we may ask for tests such as a biopsy, patch tests or other diagnostic studies. Once we are sure of the diagnosis, we will make treatment recommendations.
We offer a wide range of extensive topical and systemic therapies, as well as ultraviolet light therapycalled phototherapy. UV therapy given in a controlled medical setting can be extremely effective treatments for both conditions depending on the patient.
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Seborrheic Dermatitis: Itchy Scaly Patches
A psoriasis skin rash tends to itch, burn, and feel sore. Patches of psoriasis commonly occur on your knees and elbows. Many people also have scalp psoriasis. The common skin rash seborrheic dermatitis also causes scaly, itchy skin patches. It can occur on your scalp, where it may be called dandruff, or on your face and chest. While doctors don’t know the exact cause of seborrhea, it occurs across the age spectrum, in babies as well as in adults, and is usually treated with creams and lotions.
Acne: Blocked Pores That Lead To Pimples
Some forms of psoriasis appear as pus-filled blisters that may be confused with pimples. Pustular psoriasis forms white blisters that are filled with pus and surrounded by red skin. Far more common than psoriasis, acne also causes a pus-filled pimple eruption. However unlike psoriasis acne is caused by excess oil, blocked pores, and bacteria. Acne is common in teens and young adults and occurs on the face, neck, back, or chest. Pustular psoriasis is usually seen in adults and can occur anywhere on the body, but less likely on the face.
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Heat Rash: Sweating That Leads To Bumpy Red Skin
Inverse psoriasis is a type of psoriasis that forms in the armpits and skin folds under breasts or in groin areas, making the skin red and shiny. Sweating makes this type of psoriasis worse. Heat rash also makes your skin red and forms in skin folds of the groin, breasts, and armpits. Heat rash occurs in hot, humid conditions. Sweating can cause your pores to get blocked and result in a bumpy, red skin rash that stings. Heat rash is more common in newborns, but can also affect older children and adults.
How Psoriasis And Eczema Feel
Psoriasis may be itchy or even sting like a burn. Affected thick patches of skin often feel dry, cracked, and scaly.
Psoriasis is a systemic inflammatory illness that can also cause stiffness and swelling in the joints and surrounding tissue. This is called psoriatic arthritis or PsA. People who have PsA may also experience severe pain and fatigue as part of their overall psoriatic condition.
Eczema is actually the umbrella term for seven different types of itchy skin conditions. Eczema is often even itchier than psoriasis. In some cases, people with eczema scratch their skin so much it bleeds. It can also ooze and crust. The inflamed patches might become swollen or feel rough and leathery.
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Plaque Psoriasis: Red Bumps And Silvery Scales
Plaque psoriasis is the most common form of the chronic skin condition, affecting about 80 percent of people with psoriasis. Usually starting as small red bumps on the skin, plaque psoriasis develops into red patches with a silvery, scaly coating these raised patches are called plaques. Plaques usually show up on elbows, knees, and the lower back, and they can last for months or even years without treatment.
What Is The Difference Between Eczema And Psoriasis
Comparing pictures online may be hard as it is rather indistinguishable to the amateur eye. Instead of images, examining the expected feelings can identify one or the other. Identification of key symptoms is the first step into getting a proper diagnosis. Eczema is often misdiagnosed as psoriasis upon initial episode. They arent the same disease are using identical treatments may fail to sooth skin. Hindering treatment can result in scarring or general failure to ever get better. This can lead to dangerous infection or permanent damage to appearance. A new diagnosis may help those afflicted with stubborn symptoms that dont seem to respond to topical treatment.
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Identifying Eczema Vs Psoriasis On The Face
When psoriasis affects the face it often appears on the hairline, in or behind the ear, or on the scalp. Though, it can also occur on the eyebrows and the skin surrounding the nose. The patches or plaques are often well defined with sharp borders. On the face, psoriasis sometimes occurs in association with seborrheic dermatitis, a common skin condition that can also cause red or pink scaly patches.
Conversely, eczema on the face is more common on the eyelid skin or around the mouth, often as a result of a contact dermatitis. Prolonged eczema around the eyes can make the skin look wrinkled and discolored, a phenomenon sometimes referred to as ‘allergic shiners.’
Given the similarities, it can be especially challenging to distinguish between eczema and psoriasis on the face. That said, the biggest hints are that eczema favors the area or around the eyes and mouth, while psoriasis favors the forehead, extending from the brows to the hairline, sometimes covering everything in between.
Appearance Of The Skin Lesion
The skin appearance of in case of eczema may resemble that of psoriasis, but they do have evident differences that set them apart from each other. Eczema is described as dry skin that may appear to be small blisters or raised spots. It is also coupled with excessive itching. On the other hand, psoriasis is rough, red and raised skin, which can be itchy too. The main difference between eczema and psoriasis is that the latter is characterized by scaly flaking that may often cause skin bleeding.
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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
Psoriasis On The Hands
Although many people have patches of psoriasis on the backs of their hands and knuckles, others have outbreaks on the palms.
Intense peeling and 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 the hands may also include nail psoriasis. This condition causes overactive skin cells to produce too many new cells under the nails. This can look like a fungal infection that discolors the nails and even causes them to fall off.
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Whats The Difference Between Eczema And Psoriasis
Eczema and psoriasis are different chronic conditions, though they both cause red, itchy skin rashes. But for doctors, these rashes have slight differences that the trained eye can usually detect.
Atopic dermatitis tends to have less well-defined borders, doesn’t have as much thick scale as psoriasis and tends to be just a little bit more crusty, Dr. Wang explains. Overall, atopic dermatitis tends to be itchier. Both are itchy conditions, but atopic dermatitis is probably more itchy.
Neither condition is contagious, and eczema and psoriasis cant be prevented.
How Are Eczema And Psoriasis Treated
Because eczema is an inflammatory condition, it’s easier to treat than psoriasis. “Whereas, when someone develops an autoimmune condition like psoriasis, they are much more difficult to treat, and they cannot be reversed,” said Dr. Vojdani. “They can only be placed into remission.” But that doesn’t mean there’s no hope for those diagnosed with it.
“Both can be treated with topical steroids like triamcinolone or clobetasol,” said Dr. Bhanusali. “If systemic symptoms occur, which is more common in psoriasis, we can add biologic medications.” This is an advanced medication or injection that interrupts the immune system’s natural response.
There are additional ways to manage psoriasis and eczema at home. This includes avoiding known triggers as much as possible, moisturizing the skin regularly, using a humidifier to keep the air in your home from getting too dry, and avoiding hot water showers or baths. Many people also find success in switching to fragrance-free, sensitive skin-safe products formulated with ingredients like ceramides. When flare-ups do occur, over-the-counter hydrocortisone can be used to alleviate irritation and itchiness.
“In the functional medicine space, we put patients on anti-inflammatory diets like a paleo diet and also reduce the consumption of high histamine-containing foods and support the gut environment with probiotics,” said Dr. Vojdani.
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The Definition Of Eczema
Eczema is not a singular disease. There are different conditions that make up eczema, but youve likely heard of the most common one atopic dermatitis.
This condition arises when your skins barrier is no longer able to function due to damage.
Therefore, youre left with more sensitive skin which then leads to dryness, redness, itchiness and so on.
Eczema typically occurs in infants and young children. Many of those affected outgrow the skin condition while others may see improvement as they age.
Identifying Eczema And Psoriasis
Psoriasis is a common chronic inflammatory skin disease, typically characterised by raised itchy skin plaques. These plaques are usually red, itchy, and covered with thick, silvery scales.
Psoriasis is most commonly found on your knees, elbows and scalp, but it can also affect your nails and legs.
In this skin condition, the life cycle of your skin cells speeds up. This builds up dead cells on the surface of your epidermis, causing red, inflamed and flaky patches of skin.
Eczema is also a chronic, non-contagious, inflammatory skin condition characterized by intense itching. Eczema can cause red, inflamed, or cracked skin. This may be accompanied by hay fever or asthma.
Eczema affects your skins ability to protect it from bacteria and allergens. This leads your skin to respond more forcibly to certain triggers such as dust, skin care products, detergents, animals etc.
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Eczema: Red Itchy Irritated Skin
Like psoriasis, eczema is a chronic skin condition that often causes intense itching. Scratching causes redness and inflammation of the skin, leading to a worsening of the eczema. Scratching can also cause a secondary bacterial infection. The most common type of eczema is caused by a reaction to irritants like detergents, soaps, or household cleansers. So if you have eczema, you should be careful to use mild soap and regularly moisturize your sensitive skin. Your doctor may prescribe a steroid cream or other medications if eczema is severe.
Dry Cracked Skin: Irritation That Can Lead To Infection
Dry, cracked skin is a psoriasis symptom. However, dry air can also cause your skin to become dry and itchy. When the skin is dry and irritated , it’s more likely to get infected. Infection may cause your skin to become red and swollen. If you have any skin rashes that keep coming back or won’t go away, see your doctor. Most cases of psoriasis can be diagnosed with a physical examination but because psoriasis can look like many other skin conditions, a skin biopsy may have to be done to definitively diagnose it.
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Otc Products For Eczema
There are quite a few products you can find that dont require a prescription, but not every product works for every eczema sufferer. These products or medications may also target relief in one way. For example, some might help moisturize the skin while others help with itching or eliminating redness. Its important to know what you want the eczema treatment to do in order to get the results you desire.
What Are The Symptoms Of Psoriasis
Psoriasis affects about 8 million Americans, and like eczema, there are several types. The most common is called plaque psoriasis, according to the American Academy of Dermatology Association , and symptoms include:
- Areas of thick, raised skin, which is referred to as “plaques”
- A dry layer covering the plaques that is silvery-white, called “scale”
The plaques, which can be large or small, may appear anywhere on the body but are typically on the scalp, knees, elbows and lower back.
Psoriasis can affect other parts of the body, too, including the joints, causing the condition known as psoriatic arthritis. About 30% of people with psoriasis develop psoriatic arthritis, Dr. Wang says. According to AAD, symptoms include:
- Swollen, tender joints, usually in the fingers or toes
- Heel pain
- Swelling in the back of your legs
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Diagnosis Of Eczema Vs Psoriasis
Eczema is typically diagnosed by observing the skin and asking questions about patient and family history. A patch test may be performed to confirm whether eczema is due to a specific allergen. Read more details about eczema diagnosis.
Psoriasis is usually diagnosed by a dermatologist by performing a visual exam and taking the patient and family history. In some cases, the doctor may do a biopsy to confirm the diagnosis.
Eczema Up And Down The Legs
Eczema on the legs may often occur in body creases, such as the back of the knee or the front of the ankle. These areas may trap sweat or irritants from clothing and the air.
Close contact of irritants with skin and areas of skin rubbing together create a perfect environment for atopic dermatitis to thrive.
If eczema on the backs of the knees isnt quickly or effectively treated, it can become very irritating and painful. Constant contact from clothing can cause significant bleeding, oozing, and infection.
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Whats The Biggest Misconception About Eczema And Psoriasis
Often, patients think they are doing something wrong that is causing the disease. We want them to understand that these are skin diseases that requires expert evaluation, treatment and follow-up, as well as a lot of hard work on the part of the patient, especially for children and their parents, to treat these conditions.
For more information or to make an appointment, please call .
A version of this information appeared in Baltimore magazine.
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