Difference Between Eczema and Psoriasis

Both eczema and psoriasis involve skin inflammation which can be fairly noticeable. Because of this, many people tend to confuse the two skin conditions, but in reality they are completely different. Here are some of the major differences between psoriasis and eczema.

Difference Between Eczema and Psoriasis




Eczema is also known as atopic dermatitis and is a chronic condition of the skin that usually develops during childhood. People with this condition will have skin that is itchy, cracked, dry and red. Sometimes it will also involve pimple-like eruptions, thick skin and crusty sores. It is also possible that people with eczema will experience their skin becoming dry and cracked to the extent that it bleeds or crusting over and oozing.



Psoriasis is a skin condition that involves the development of scaly, dry, itchy and red patches of skin. Plaque psoriasis is the most common but there are many different forms of the condition. Plaque psoriasis gets its name from plaques, the name given to the red patches that are slightly elevated and characteristic of the condition. They frequently begin as small bumps but become worse and may eventually be covered with white scales. When the scales begin to come off, scaling is common.

On the Face



Eczema on the fact may lead to social discomfort. The patches themselves are frequently itchy and the scratching will worsen the condition of the skin, leading to breaks that can allow for infection or bleeding. The dryness of eczema can also lead to skin cracking. In some cases, scratching will lead to the skin oozing puss or creating scabbed and crusty patches. It can usually be treated topically but sometimes other options will be necessary.



Psoriasis is more common in other areas, but it can also occur on the face, causing a great deal of social problems. Treatment is usually effective at clearing it. Around 50 percent of those with psoriasis will experience scalp psoriasis that can extend to the neck, ears or forehead.

On the Hands



Eczema is very common on the hands because many people with eczema have extremely sensitive skin that reacts to allergens or irritants such as those on animals, fabrics, lotions or soaps. Washing the hands frequently can dry the skin out even more and this type of eczema is hard to treat because of constant contact with irritants such as water.



Psoriasis on the hands can occur on the backs, knuckles or palms. It usually leads to incredibly dry skin and intense peeling which make normal everyday actions uncomfortable and painful. Psoriasis of the hands can also include nail psoriasis which discolors nails and can lead to them falling off.

On the Legs



Eczema on the legs usually occurs in “creases” like the front of a person’s ankles or the back of their knees. This is because these areas trap irritants (from the air and clothing) as well as sweat. The combination of close contact with these irritants and the skin rubbing together leads to the eczema developing. When eczema in this location isn’t treated right away, it can become painful and irritated. It can even lead to infection, oozing and bleeding if it stays in contact with clothes.



Psoriasis is fairly frequent on the legs and sometimes will cover entire areas of the legs while other types of the condition will lead to isolated patches. The various types of psoriasis will appear differently with guttate psoriasis having separate drop-like patches and plaque psoriasis having large, shapeless patches.

In Inconvenient Area



It is not uncommon for eczema to occur in inconvenient places, specifically with infants. That is because baby creams and diapers can irritate the skin leading to diaper rash. Some babies experience skin aggravation due to the diaper materials or cream used. In most cases switching cleansers or using soft cotton diapers will help. Adults who experience inconvenient eczema should also try switching detergents and fabrics.



It is possible for psoriasis to occur in incredibly inconvenient locations. Some types of the condition such as inverse psoriasis may develop in skin creases, on the bottom of the feet or on the armpits or genitals. When psoriasis develops in certain locations, it can make it awkward or unpleasant to have intimate relationships. When this condition occurs on the genitals or in skinfolds, it sometimes resembles eczema but in the form of large solid patches.

Difference of the Dry Skin



Very often eczema includes extremely dry skin patches that are incredibly fragile and make the skin prone to breaking. When these areas of eczema peel, it can frequently resemble a callus, blister or sunburn peeling. Sometimes the skin will peel but not lead to open wounds or raw skin but other times the skin will break or blisters will open. When this occurs, it is important to treat them carefully so they do not develop a viral or bacterial infection.



Some psoriasis patches are not dry or scaly; sometimes large red patches will occur without any scales. This picture shows psoriasis patches that were formed from the buildup of dead skin cells and are now peeling and scaling. You should never force the removal of large scales; instead use gentle removal methods as these will prevent bleeding and breaking the skin. Some patches of psoriasis will have a very thick buildup of white dead cells before they begin to shed scales.

Difference in Severe Condition



Eczema can occur in severe cases and this depends on the sensitivity of a person’s skin as well as what irritants they are exposed to and how effective the treatment is. Bleeding, oozing and severe cracking can be dangerous as they can lead to infection without the proper care.



Psoriasis can be very irritating and widespread; it can even lead to extreme cases where it feels and looks like burns. Some extreme cases will require emergency care while others will be fine with standard treatments.

Difference Between Treatments



Eczema is usually treated using topical corticosteroid creams, either over the counter or prescription. Sometimes the eczema will require prescription oral medications or antibiotic creams. Some doctors will also recommend barrier creams that protect against irritants.



Most of the time dermatologists will first treat psoriasis with topical corticosteroid creams then move onto light therapy if it is not successful. In some cases oral medications may be necessary and it is always important to continue a given treatment until your doctor tells you to stop.

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