How The Dermatologists Tell The Difference Between Eczema And Psoriasis
Some of the easiest ways to tell the difference between eczema and psoriasis are looking at the patients patterns and symptoms.
Eczema typically happens in folds and soft creases of the body, such as inside the elbows and knees. Conversely, psoriasis normally shows on the outside of surfaces, like the front of our knees, elbows and shins. Dr. Reimer can also sometimes tell the difference by looking at someones scalp. If they get a scalp rash in the back of the hair, that can be a sign that its psoriasis, not eczema.
Some other ways to tell if its eczema and not psoriasis are how long the person has had it and if they have any other allergies. Typically, people with eczema have it since childhood and have other allergic tendencies like seasonal or food allergies. Psoriasis on the other hand doesnt normally happen until adulthood.
Another difference Dr. Reimer has noted is that in someone with eczema, I find they usually respond faster to therapy, unlike psoriasis that can take longer to respond to treatment.
The last simple way to tell the difference? One of the hallmark signs of eczema is that its so itchy. If it doesnt itch, its not eczema.
Which Parts Of The Body Are Affected By Eczema And Psoriasis
Eczema commonly occurs on the backs of the knees and insides of the elbows.
Eczema can also occur at a number of other sites around the body. In babies it is common on the scalp and face, while in older children it is more common in the creases of the elbows and knees. Eczema can also appear on the neck, wrists, ankles, and other sites where there are creases in the skin. In adults, there are fewer rashes but the hands and eyes may be affected.
Psoriasis commonly affects the scalp, the outside of the elbows and knees, and the lower back.
Psoriasis can also occur elsewhere on the body including on the face, hands, feet, nails, skin folds and genitals. Inverse psoriasis develops where skin touches skin.
Can You Use Eczema Cream On Psoriasis
Mild eczema and psoriasis are treated in the same way. Typically, this starts with creams that lower inflammation in the skin, including both topical steroid creams and nonsteroidal creams. You can also use soothing, over-the-counter ointments to help moisturize the skin. These treatments help decrease both eczema and psoriasis flares-ups.
Severe cases of eczema and psoriasis are also treated in a similar way. New medications called biologics treat both conditions by lowering overactivity in the immune system. Dupixent is a biologic medication commonly used to treat severe eczema. And the biologic Skyrizi is a common treatment for severe psoriasis. These medications can also protect the joints from psoriatic arthritis.
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What Triggers Eczema Vs Psoriasis
The triggers of eczema and psoriasis are nearly identical. Genetics, foods, medications, and stress levels can cause the skin conditions to flare up but it varies from person to person. “For eczema, often environmental factors, like weather cosmetic products can trigger symptoms,” said Dr. Bhanusali. According to Dr. Vojdani, foods with large amounts of histamine, such as strawberries, are another common eczema trigger.
How Do I Know If I Have Psoriasis Or Eczema
To an untrained eye, self-diagnosis of eczema and psoriasis is quite difficult. Both are inflammatory skin diseases with common symptoms. Eczema tends to be seen more in the younger population than psoriasis. Both can have a genetic predisposition, but more important factors for diagnosis include symptoms, what parts of the body are affected, and the patient’s symptoms.
“Eczema is described as the itch that rashes,” explains Kristie Hayes, MD, Nebraska Medicine dermatologist. “Itch is a more common presentation and chronic side effect of eczema. Psoriasis is much less itchy and where it appears on the body is different than eczema. Some patients may experience features of both. Early diagnosis is helpful for both psoriasis and eczema as both conditions can progress. Early steps and treatments mirror each other, depending on how much of the skin is involved and the patient’s age. Early control matters because it reduces the instances of secondary skin infection.”
Eczema can have an early onset and tends to present anywhere from infancy to 2 years of age, and in childhood from ages 2 to 10. Psoriasis tends to present later under the age of 21 and is less common in infants and children.
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How To Tell If Its Eczema Vs Psoriasis
When it comes to eczema vs psoriasis, pinning down exactly what you have can be certainly confusing. There are different types of skin conditions that fall under the dermatitis umbrella. These include atopic eczema and seborrheic dermatitis. Then theres psoriasis vulgaris or simply psoriasis. This can also have a few variations such as plaque psoriasis or erythrodermic psoriasis. Knowing the difference, though, is important. The underlying causes can vary, and so does the possible treatment. Learn the difference between them today.
Psoriasis Vs Eczema: Differences Images Treatment
- Psoriasis and eczema both present as patches of red, scaly and itchy skin, but psoriasis plaques tend to be thicker
- Psoriasis is an autoimmune disease, while eczema is triggered by genetic or environmental factors
- Neither condition is contagious
- Treatments for both are similar, but eczema sometimes requires antibiotics due to infection from open sores
To the untrained eye, psoriasis and eczema are quite similar in appearance. Patches of red, dry skin develop which can cause itching, embarrassment, and have an impact on quality of life.
And while they share some of the same characteristics and treatment options, the underlying cause of these two common skin conditions differs and determines the best approach to reducing future flare-ups.
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What Are The Differences Between These Three
Dandruff, eczema and psoriasis are all different, even though they can look like each other at one point during a flare-up. Dandruff is a universal condition that causes the skin on your scalp to flake off. Its not contagious or a serious condition because everyone can get it at some point in their lifetime
Mild dandruff is a type of seborrheic dermatitis and can be treated with a good shampoo and conditioner. Dandruff can usually be a result of eczema or psoriasis as well.
Eczema is a rash that can appear for different reasons. It can be due to the environment that you live in that causes the rash or it can be internal factors that you deal with that can make the rash appear. With eczema, it can be genetics that cause the red, itchy and raised skin or even dry climate.
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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.
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Psoriasis V Eczema Symptoms
It is usually possible for a doctor to tell the difference between eczema and psoriasis just from looking, but sometimes additional testing may be needed at the Harley Street skin clinic to confirm the diagnosis. The effects of these skin conditions can vary, so sometimes they are difficult to tell apart.
- Eczema is usually very itchy. Psoriasis can itch a little, but you could also feel a stinging or burning sensation instead.
- Eczema usually look like rough, red patches, which can become crusty and infected. Psoriasis can cause similar red patches too, but it can also cause silvery, scaly patches and areas of thickened and severely inflamed skin.
- Eczema tends to appear in creases of skin around your joints. Psoriasis is more likely to affect your scalp, face, back, palms, and the soles of your feet. It can also appear in other places, including in your mouth or on your nails.
The symptoms of eczema often appear earlier than those of psoriasis. Most people develop eczema as babies or children, and sometimes grow out of it later in life. Psoriasis usually appears between the ages of about 15 and 35, and it is a lifelong condition.
Treating Psoriasis Vs Treating Eczema
While there are no cures for either disease, both eczema and psoriasis can fortunately be successfully treated with medication and other therapies. And some of the treatments work well for both conditions.
There is considerate overlap in how we treat eczema and psoriasis when it comes to topical treatments, says Golant. However, we have recently seen the FDA approval of a few novel, more targeted non-steroidal agents approved for both conditions, which is a very exciting development.
Corticosteroids, for example, have been used successfully to manage both eczema and psoriasis. These medications prescription or over-the-counter topical creams that are applied directly to the skin can suppress the immune system and ease the inflammation and irritation common to both diseases. And many OTC ointments and creams can be used by people with eczema and psoriasis to keep skin moisturized and healthy.
Other prescription medications, known as biologics or systemics, are specifically targeted to the causes of eczema and psoriasis. These may be pills taken orally, or they may be injections or intravenous infusions. Some, such as methotrexate, azathioprine, or cyclosporine, can be used for both diseases, but many of the newer medications are designed to target individual proteins involved in the immune response and are therefore specific to one disease or the other, but not both.
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Early Detection Of Psoriasis And Eczema Is Key
Depending on a wide variety of factors, treatments can be very similar for both conditions. Seeking proper treatment and taking good care of your skin will help limit symptoms. Hydration is extremely important, especially early on for patients with a family history. Increasing hydration will also help to control the itch, particularly with eczema. Various kinds of topical therapies can be highly successful as well.
“Be sure to establish a relationship with a primary care provider. See them regularly so they can observe skin changes and answer questions. Telehealth has been a huge help in terms of increased access to dermatologists and our ability to help more patients. Patients can send in a picture of a rash and get advice within 24 hours,” says Dr. Hayes. “I recommend patients see a dermatologist yearly to establish a good baseline. There are areas of your skin you cannot easily see, so it’s a good idea to have trained eyes on it with regular full-body skin exams. Include the skin in your regular health care maintenance, just like you would get your blood pressure checked or routine teeth cleaning. Early detection is key.”
How To Tell The Difference Between Eczema And Psoriasis
The symptoms of eczema and psoriasis are very similar, which is what makes it so hard to tell the two apart, but there are a few minor distinguishing characteristics. “Psoriasis will go on the outer portion of a joint, so that’s on the elbow itself or the top of the knees,” said Dr. Vojdani. Dr. Bhanusali added: ” presents as thick scaly plaques that are sometimes itchy.”
Eczema, on the other hand, usually appears in the crease of joints, like behind the knees, in the bend of the neck, in armpits, and on eyelids. “Eczema tends to present as pinkish patches,” said Dr. Bhanusali.
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Where They Show Up
Eczema often appears on parts of your body that bend, like your inner elbow or behind your knees. You can have it on your neck, wrists, and ankles. Babies sometimes get it on their chin, cheeks, scalp, chest, back, arms, and legs.
Psoriasis often shows up on places like your:
You may also have patches on other areas, such as:
- Fingernails and toenails
Eczema usually results from things that irritate your skin, like:
- Juices from produce or meats
Things that cause allergies can also set off eczema, like:
Infections can start up eczema, and so can stress, sweating, heat, humidity, and changes in your hormones.
Psoriasis shares some of these triggers, like stress and infection. But you can also get flare-ups when your skin is injured, for example by:
Some medications can also bring on a psoriasis flare, like lithium, which treats bipolar disorder, or drugs for malaria.
Eczema Vs Psoriasis: Key Differences
Now that you know that both eczema and psoriasis can be itchy and inflamed, you might be scratching your head wondering what exactly sets them apart then. To help break it down, weve listed out the key differences, below.
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The Differences In Appearances
Eczema makes your skin red and inflamed. It may be scaly, oozing, or crusty. You may see rough, leathery patches that are sometimes dark. It can also cause swelling.
Psoriasis can also cause red patches. They may be silvery and scaly — and raised. But if you look closely, the skin is thicker and more inflamed than with eczema.
Causes Of Psoriasis And Eczema
Both eczema and psoriasis are thought to have the same cause: an immune system that kicks into overdrive and mistakenly attacks your own body. But the precise process is different for each condition.
“It’s different wings of the immune system,” said Emily Newsom, MD, assistant clinical professor of dermatology at UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine.
In psoriasis, overproduction of certain immune-system chemicals causes the outer layer of skin cells to go through the life cycleforming then sloughing offin just days rather than a month. The result is a layer of super-fast-forming cells building up on your skin. That’s what causes the thick coating of red, silvery scales on your skin that are characteristic of plaque psoriasisthe most common type of psoriasis.
Eczema affects the ability of the skin to protect against outside irritants and allergens.
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What Are The Symptoms Of Eczema
Eczema isn’t actually one condition all its own the diagnosis refers to a group of skin conditions that cause itchiness, inflammation and rashes, according to the National Eczema Association . Your bout of eczema may include one of seven common conditions that affect more than 30 million Americans, including atopic dermatitis, contact dermatitis and others.
Atopic dermatitis is the most common form of eczema, Dr. Wang says. It usually starts in early childhood and features itchy rashes, most routinely on the face and in the soft spot behind the knees, that come and go.
Itchiness is the most common symptom of all types of eczema. Though, it affects people in different ways. Some only have mild itchiness, while others are so itchy that they scratch until their skin bleeds.
Other symptoms, according to the NEA, include:
- Dry, sensitive skin
What Are Psoriasis And Eczema Exactly
Psoriasis is an autoimmune condition that affects about 7.5 million Americans, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. It happens when your skin cells go through their life cycle more quickly than normal. Typically it takes about a month for skin cells to regenerate, but people with psoriasis, this cell-turnover process happens every three to four days, according to the Cleveland Clinic. The buildup of new skin cells results in flaky scales on the skins surface.
Eczema is much more common than psoriasis, affecting between 2 and 10% of all adults.1 Eczema causes patches of dry, itchy skin that tend to turn into a rash when you scratch or rub it. These patches are prone to bacterial, viral, and fungal infections. Thats because, at its core, eczema is tied to a gene variation that affects the skin barrier and its ability to protect your skin from everything from bacteria to irritants and allergens. Eczema flares are triggered by environmental and lifestyle factors, such as irritating skin care products, dry skin, and stress. The main symptom of eczema is itchy, flaky skin, but people who have eczema as children are more likely to develop asthma and environmental allergies.
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