Psoriasis vs. Eczema: Understanding the Variations

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

However dermatologists say the easiest way to make your signs higher is to determine what may very well be behind your pores and skin points. Are you coping with psoriasis, eczema, or one thing else completely? Dermatologists break down the way to know the distinction between psoriasis vs. eczema—and the way 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. Luckily, 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 Faculty
  • Gary Goldenberg, MD, board-certified dermatologist working towards 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 normally 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 evaluate?

“Psoriasis and eczema are each persistent pores and skin circumstances, 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 primary signs of psoriasis, in response to the Nationwide Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Pores and skin Illnesses (NIAMS):

  • Patches of thick, pink pores and skin with silvery-white scales that itch or burn, and normally present up on the elbows, knees, scalp, trunk, palms, and soles of the toes
  • 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:

  • Purple, 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 circumstances trigger pores and skin rashes, they present up otherwise, says Cindy Wassef, MD, an assistant professor on the Rutgers Robert Wooden Johnson Medical Faculty. 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 inclined to have a silvery scale.  “It may be related to nail findings, like pitting,” she says.

“Eczema is extra of sunshine pink to brown colour, with a fantastic 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 may have pores and skin—whether or not that’s eczema in your scalp or psoriasis in your face—every tends to point out up in several spots. “Psoriasis lesions are most typical on the scalp, elbows, and knees,” says Gary Goldenberg, MD, a board-certified dermatologist working towards in New York Metropolis. “Eczema is most typical on the backs of knees and fronts of elbows.”

What causes these circumstances?

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

“Eczema is usually linked to a mix 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 circumstances may be brought on by environmental components, stress, sickness, vitamin, and different components that we maybe don’t perceive,” Dr. Goldenberg says.

How is therapy totally different?

Remedy can fluctuate for psoriasis vs. eczema, relying on how extreme the signs are. “For gentle eczema and psoriasis, the preliminary therapy with topical steroids may 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 might be vital to know which rash you may have.”

Basically, psoriasis therapies can embrace topical corticosteroids, vitamin D ointments or lotions, immunosuppressive medicines, and lightweight remedy, Dr. Rodney says. (In the meantime, you’ll wish to keep away from exfoliants.) Alternatively, most forms of eczema are normally “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 on account of their genetic parts, Dr. Rodney says. However she says that flares and signs can normally be managed by way of life-style adjustments.

“For psoriasis, managing stress, avoiding damage to the pores and skin, and adhering to prescribed therapies might 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 working towards good skincare routines can forestall flare-ups and scale back the severity of signs.” Seasonal eczema care can be key.

In case you’re coping with a pores and skin rash and also you’re undecided what’s behind it, discuss to your dermatologist. They’re well-versed in each pores and skin circumstances and may normally provide you with a analysis after inspecting your pores and skin, Dr. Wassef says. From there, you possibly can provide you with a care plan collectively to assist discover the soothing aid you are after.

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

  1. Solmaz, Dilek et al. “Influence 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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