What Are The Treatments For Psoriasis Vs Eczema
Though psoriasis and eczema are different conditions, first-line treatments for the two are often similar, according to Penn Medicine. If youre diagnosed with psoriasis or eczema, your doctor may recommend:
- Over-the-counter moisturizers to soothe irritated skin
- Topical medications to reduce inflammation, like corticosteroids, and calcineurin inhibitors
- Oral steroids, like prednisone, which can be used for a short period of time to help calm a severe case
- Wet dressings, which involve wrapping the area with a wet bandage to soothe the itchiness
If your psoriasis or eczema doesn’t respond to the above treatment methods, or if it is already considered moderate to severe, your doctor may recommend that you start with a class of treatment called biologics, which are injectable medications that target a specific part of your immune system to interrupt the immune response and quell inflammation. There are a number of biologics available to treat psoriasis and far fewer for eczema, but it may take some trial and error to figure out which one is best for you. Interesting new research published in the Archives of Dermatological Research suggests that your ethnicity may even play a role in which biologic medication will work best for your psoriasis treatment.8
Psoriasis Vs Eczema On The Face
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 scaly, dry patches without the silver scale. In both cases, there can be extreme itching and discomfort.
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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Severe And Pervasive Psoriasis
Like most skin conditions, psoriasis can become widespread and very irritating. For instance, plaque psoriasis may cover almost the entire surface of the body.
In extreme cases, inflammation can become so severe that it appears and feels like burns.
Extensive, highly painful, burn-like psoriasis can be life-threatening. This requires immediate attention from a health professional.
Other widespread psoriasis may simply require standard treatment to partially heal or resolve.
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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What Causes Palmoplantar Psoriasis
The tendency to psoriasis is inherited, but what causes it to localise on the palms and soles is unknown. It may be triggered by an injury to the skin, an infection, or another skin condition such as hand dermatitis. It may first occur during a period of psychosocial stress. Certain medications, particularly lithium, may be associated with the onset of flares of psoriasis.
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Does Either Eczema Or Psoriasis Go Away On Its Own
There are currently no cures for eczema or psoriasis, which are considered chronic skin conditions.
But, as mentioned, the vast majority of children with eczema no longer have symptoms by the time they reach adulthood. So there is a chance eczema can go away on its own. If it doesnt, its possible to stave off major flare-ups and control the condition by avoiding triggers and keeping skin moisturized.
On the other hand, psoriasis is usually a lifelong condition and rarely goes away on its own. But, in many cases, its symptoms can be controlled with treatment and good skin care, as well. Avoiding psoriasis triggers can help keep skin clear and flare-up free for long periods of time.
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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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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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Is There A Time Of Year When Skin Conditions Are More Prevalent
There are no absolute patterns for what makes eczema worse, as it varies from patient to patient. Many patients with atopic dermatitis experience worse symptoms in the winter when the air is drier. Other patients are also affected by hotter temperatures. Scratching which can be unavoidable due to the intense itching will make the rash worse.
Eczema is associated with asthma and food allergies, but treating these conditions does not always cure or remedy the skin condition. Stress also affects eczema.
Psoriasis can get worse from:
- Alcohol or tobacco use
How Is Each Treated
Eczema treatment depends on how severe it is. For mild to moderate cases, youâll use a topical corticosteroid to control inflammation, and youâll use an emollient on your skin. This type of moisturizer has an oil or cream base, not a water base, like lotion, which could dry your skin out more.
If you have moderate to severe eczema, you may need to try a medicine that affects your immune system like , methotrexate, azathioprine, or cyclosporine. If nothing else works, your doctor may prescribe a biologic drug called dupilumab . You might also try light therapy using ultraviolet light.
Psoriasis treatment is either systemic, which means it affects your entire body, or topical, which goes on your skin. If your disease is limited, or mild, you may be able to control it with topical corticosteroids and emollients.
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How Do Psoriasis And Eczema Affect Different Areas Of The Body
Psoriasis and eczema may look different depending on what part of your body is affected. Heres a rundown of what you might see:
- The hands: Hand eczema is extremely common and is often caused by exposure to irritants like hand soaps, harsh detergents, and touching other chemicals. The skin might itch, feel swollen, and look inflamed and flaky. Hand eczema often appears on the tops of your hands, though it can happen anywhere. Psoriasis that appears only on your hands is palmoplantar psoriasis. You may notice nail ridges or pitting, in addition to inflammation and scaling. The scaling may appear on the palms first.
- The face: Its estimated that 50% of people with psoriasis will have symptoms on their faces, according to the National Psoriasis Foundation. Plaques can show up around your eyes, in and around your mouth, around and behind your ears, and in the ear canal. These scaly plaques can be quite painful and irritating and cause inflamed skin, burning, itching, and bleeding. Facial eczema can sometimes be found on your cheeks, on and around your scalp, and on your mouth and chin.
- The legs: Psoriasis on your legs will generally be similar to psoriasis on other parts of your body. It may appear in small patches of inflammation that are then covered by white or gray scales, or it may take the form of scaly patches with small, pus-filled bumps. Eczema on your legs will sometimes appear in the folds of your skin behind your knees.
Causes Of Psoriasis Vs Eczema
Eczema and psoriasis are caused by overactivation of different inflammatory pathways within the immune system. The cause of psoriasis, while not completely understood, is an autoimmune reaction wherein the immune system responds to a trigger and recruits many inflammatory cells into the skin.
The cause of eczema is not clear, but it is thought to be an extreme sensitivity â sometimes caused by an allergy â to certain triggering substances. It may also be due to a defect in the proteins that form the barrier of the skin. Common triggers for eczema flare-ups 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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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
Both Diseases Start With The Immune System
Both psoriasis and eczema are related to your immune system. In psoriasis, you have an over-reactive immune system that affects a type of white blood cells that protect you from infections and diseases.
You develop eczema because of a hypersensitivity reaction that causes the skin to overreact to certain triggers or external conditions. It is also caused by a problem with your immune system, but in a different way than psoriasis.
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Symptoms Of Psoriasis Vs Symptoms Of Eczema: What Do Psoriasis And Eczema Look Like
Eczema causes reddish skin and inflammation. The skin may become scaly with oozing blisters, or crusty skin. You can note rough patches like that of leather on the skin. These patches may become swollen.
Psoriasis may also have certain similar symptoms. Psoriasis may also cause red patches. They may also be scaly, sometimes silvery too. But, these patches caused due to psoriasis are slightly raised higher on the skin. The skin with psoriasis is thicker and more inflamed than that of eczema.
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Causes Of The Diseases
Eczema and psoriasis, while two distinct conditions, have something key in common. Both diseases, says Dr. Amy Paller, Professor of Dermatology and Pediatrics at the Northwestern Feinberg School of Medicine, involve the human immune system, just in different ways.
With psoriasis, the immune system is overactive in a manner that leads to the growth of too many new skin cells, too fast. These cells pile up on the surface of the skin, causing thick scales or plaques that can be dry, flaky and painful. Psoriasis can be triggered or worsened by stress, skin injury, cold/dry weather, medications or infections. Genetics also seem to play a role with psoriasis risks running in families.
While experts dont completely know what causes eczema, a combination of genes, immune system tendencies and triggers are believed to be involved. People with eczema tend to have overly-reactive immune systems that, when triggered by a substance outside or inside the body, respond by causing inflammation. Researchers have also found that some people with eczema have a mutation in a gene that plays an important role in the skin barrier leaving the skin more vulnerable to dryness, irritants and allergens . Similar to psoriasis, stress can also trigger eczema and family history can increase eczema risks.
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Psoriasis Vs Eczema: How To Tell The Difference
Maybe you’re settling into your easy chair for a little Sunday siesta. Or you’re heading out the door for a day of fun in the sun. Either way, you stop and pause, because you’ve got an itch that just won’t leave you alone — along with blotches of red on your skin. What gives?
Your doctor needs to make the final call, but psoriasis or eczema could be the problem. Both are skin conditions with similar symptoms, but there are ways to tell them apart.
Conditions Theyre 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 its psoriasis or eczema, your doctor can recommend ways to get relief for it.
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Why Does Eczema Appear On The Hands
There can be a variety of reasons why eczema appears on the hands. For example, the hands can be affected by irritant or allergic contact dermatitis or both at the same time.
Coming into contact with irritants such as dust, detergents, cleaning agents, airborne sprays or even just frequent hand-washing can cause irritant hand eczema . The skin on the palms of the hands is much thicker than elsewhere on the body and is normally able to withstand a great deal of wear and tear. But in people who regularly immerse their hands in detergents or solvents, the protective barrier of the skin breaks down, and eczema may develop. People who have this form of hand eczema often have a history of eczema in childhood.
Allergic hand eczema arises as a result of an allergic reaction to a particular substance in the environment. It is possible to be allergic to a number of different substances, but common causes of contact sensitivity include nickel, fragrances, preservative chemicals, rubber and various plants, amongst other things. Once a persons immune system has identified a substance as harmful, they will react to the substance every time their skin is exposed to it, and this reaction becomes more severe on every exposure to the allergen.
When an allergic reaction of this kind is suspected, your GP should refer you to a dermatologist, who will normally perform patch tests to try to identify the allergic cause.
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.
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