Psoriasis Vs. Eczema: What’s the difference?

Eczema and psoriasis cause dry, red, itchy and scaly areas on the skin. They look so similar. So it’s best to have a healthcare provider to help you identify your skin problems. It’s important to know the difference since they have different causes, and they can have different treatments.

Around 7 million Americans have psoriasis. In comparison, more than 30 million Americans have some form of eczema. They are both skin disorders with identical symptoms, but there are ways to tell them apart. A doctor needs to make the final call, but psoriasis or eczema might be the problem.

Here in this article, we will discuss the difference between psoriasis and eczema in some key points. Stay with me to learn them.

Differences between Psoriasis and Eczema

1. Definition


Psoriasis is a skin disorder. It causes red, flaky, crusty skin patches covered with silvery scales. It’s thought to be related to an immune system problem. People with psoriasis have increased skin cell development.


Eczema is a chronic skin illness that causes the skin to dry, itchy, and red. It is a reaction pattern formed by the skin in a variety of diseases. It starts as red, raised tiny blisters containing a clear liquid on top of the red, elevated plaques. When the blisters burst, the infected skin will weep and smell. Eczema is almost always itchy.

2. Cause

PSORIASIS: It happens when a person’s immune system causes skin cells to develop faster than they normally should. They build upon the skin instead of dead skin cells coming out of the skin.

Skin cells are made and replaced every 3 to 4 weeks, but this process only takes about 3 to 7 days for psoriasis. The resulting build-up of skin cells is what causes patches related to psoriasis.

ECZEMA: A variety of factors can cause eczema. These include environmental factors, exposure to bacteria, allergens, and family history. Eczema occurs in families (genetic factors). Potential causes of eczema are factors that make the skin dry and more vulnerable to irritants or infections, immune system dysfunction that induces an unnecessary inflammatory response in the skin, and irritants such as soaps and detergents, wool, skin infections, dry skin, low moisture, sun, sweating or emotional stress—allergens such as dust mites, pollen, molds, or food.

3. Who Can Be Affected?

PSORIASIS: Psoriasis can occur at any age. But it mostly occurs between the ages of 15 and 25. Researchers conclude that there is a genetic link to psoriasis. One in three psoriasis affected people have a parent who has psoriasis. Also, if both parents have psoriasis, their child has a 50% risk of developing the condition.

ECZEMA: While you can have eczema at any age, it affects children more than psoriasis does. Eczema also occurs in people who have a family history of other allergies or asthma. Some people have itchy rash flare-ups in response to the rough stuff, feeling too hot or too cold.

4. Symptoms

PSORIASIS: Psoriasis signs and symptoms can differ from person to person. Symptoms of Psoriasis include the following:

  • Red patches of skin coated in thick, silvery scales.
  • Small scaling spots (usually seen in children)
  • Dry, scratched skin that can bleed or itch.
  • Itching, burning, or sorrow.
  • Thick, pierced, or ridged nails.
  • Swollen, rigid joints.

ECZEMA: Symptoms can range from a slight rash that disappears quickly to a more serious infection that has been present for a long time.

  • Eczema is almost always itchy, no matter which part of your skin is affected. Often scratching begins in front of the rash. Symptoms of eczema:
  • Dry, responsive skin.
  • Inflammed, discolored skin.
  • Rough, leathery, or scaly skin patches.
  • It is oozing or crusting.
  • Area of swelling.
Eczema and Psoriasis Diagnosis

5. Diagnosis

PSORIASIS: It’s possible that you might have psoriasis. This is a common disorder. People of all races have psoriasis.

Psoriasis diagnosis is based on the appearance of the skin. The skin characteristics typical of psoriasis are the scalp, blemishes, or skin patches that may be painful and itchy. In general, no specific blood tests or medical procedures are needed to make a diagnosis.

If the clinical diagnosis is unclear, a skin biopsy or scraping can be done to rule out the disease.

ECZEMA: The easiest way to detect eczema is for a doctor to take care of your whole medical and family history. The doctor  might inquire about:

  • If you have asthma or allergic reactions, such as pollen, pets, or food,
  • Substances that appear to irritate the face, such as soaps or cosmetics
  • Any recent additional stress
  • Where and when the symptoms began
  • Some treatment you have had for other skin conditions

6. Treatment

PSORIASIS: There is a wide variety of medications available for psoriasis. But it can be hard to find the most appropriate treatment. Speak to your doctor if you believe your medicine is not effective or have uncomfortable side effects. Your doctor may need to review your psoriasis treatment regularly.

Treatments fall into three categories:

  • Subject: Creams and ointments applied to your skin
  • Phototherapy: Your skin is exposed to some forms of ultraviolet light.
  • Systemic: Oral and injected drugs that operate in the body.

It is necessary to use the medication as prescribed, even though the psoriasis is improved. Continuous treatment can help avoid flare-ups. Speak to your GP or health care team if you have any questions or doubts about your treatment or any side effects.

ECZEMA: Treatment with eczema may help to alleviate symptoms and may improve over time in many cases. However, there is currently no cure. And extreme eczema also has a serious effect on everyday life.

Depending on age and eczema severity, medications include over-the-counter  (OTC) remedies, topical prescription products, phototherapy, and biologic medicines. Many people with eczema also have success with unique natural and alternative therapies. They are:

  • Moisturize the skin at least twice a day
  • Apply anti-itching cream to the infected region
  • Take an oral allergy or anti-inflammatory drug.
  • Don’t scratch it
  • Apply the bandages
  • Put a warm bath
  • Choose soft soaps without coloring or perfumes.
  • Using a moisturizer

Atopic eczema will cause your skin to crack and tear. So, there is a chance that your skin will become contaminated with bacteria. The risk is higher if you itch your eczema or do not use the medications properly.

Final Thoughts

Both psoriasis and eczema have pretty similar symptoms. If you have the symptoms mentioned above, then consult a doctor. Only a proper diagnosis can determine if you have psoriasis or eczema.

Your usual eczema symptoms may worsen, and your eczema might not always respond to your daily treatments. People with atopic eczema can often experience additional physical and psychological problems.

Since psoriasis is typically a long-term illness, you should be in frequent touch with your health care team. Discuss your symptoms or questions about them. The more the team learns, the more they can help you.

Psoriasis is a mild annoyance for some people. But it can have a major effect on the quality of life of those most seriously affected.

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