Imagine waking up to see red patches on your skin which is dry and itchy and won’t clear off even after use of your local ointment. This is a common complaint with most people and such skin problem could be due to psoriasis or eczema.
Eczema and psoriasis are very prevalent in the United States, this makes self-diagnosis harder because the chances of getting both is high.
However, it is important to state at this point, that there are still a wide range of other possible causes for any skin condition.
In this article, we will be taking you step by step through what eczema and psoriasis is, the difference between them and how to identify them easily.
Psoriasis and Eczema: An Overview
Eczema and psoriasis are skin conditions with similar symptoms. They are not contagious but can lead to infections.
They can cause a rash, patches of red, raised and itchy skin and can also be found in the same location too.
The two of them can also occur concurrently in an individual and the difference lies in their cellular and molecular make up.
What is Eczema?
Eczema is an inflammation of the skin that makes the body more sensitive and prone to infection. It causes skin rashes that is usually dry, red and scaly or bumpy/raised.
There are different kinds of eczema but atopic dermatitis is the most common of them all and is the one being referred to in this article.
Eczema has been linked to mental health symptoms and disorder such as; mental disorder, depression, anxiety, sleep deregulation, attention-deficit disorder etc.
Also, the presence of asthma, hay fever in an individual or family traits has also been indicated as a risk factor for eczema.
What is Psoriasis?
Psoriasis is also a chronic inflammatory condition like eczema however it is an immune mediated condition which implies that the immune system becomes hyperactive and begins to wage war against itself which in this case, is the skin cells.
The cells multiply greatly and form a mass on the surface of the skin. It causes raised, scaly red patches on the skin.
There are many types of psoriasis but the most common is the plaque psoriasis which accounts for nearly 80-90% of psoriasis cases.
What Are The Similarities Between Psoriasis and Eczema?
Although they are different skin disease conditions but they have some things in common which includes:
- They are not infectious
- They have similar look
- They may be genetic
- They can impact anyone (either black or white, your race does not matter)
What Are The Differences Between Psoriasis and Eczema?
- Psoriasis tend to cause milder itching and in some uncommon types, it could lead to a severe burns.
While eczema can lead to intense itching which when it becomes too severe some people scratch their skin so hard that it bleeds.
- Psoriasis often starts between age 15-35years while eczema occurs mostly in babes and children and can occur at any age.
- Psoriasis usually does not bring out any fluid but eczema does and that’s why it is called the weeping eczema
- Most times people with psoriasis enjoy the warm sunshine on their skin however, sunlight causes great discomfort for people who have eczema.
- The locations were they show up could also be a differential factor as both of them have favorite spots where they pop up.
For psoriasis, this includes:
While eczema can occur in these places, but it most likely affect the back of the knees and inside the elbow.
Pictures of Psoriasis and Eczema
What Are The Triggers For Psoriasis and Eczema?
If you have eczema, it is necessary to know your triggers and also avoid it. Such triggers include:
- Allergens like pollen, pet danders and food
- Exposure to tobacco smoke and other air pollutants
- Harsh soap and other skin products
- Some fabric like wool
Triggers for Psoriasis may include:
- Skin injuries
- Infections such as strep throat
- Weather especially cold dry air
- Some prescription medication including lithium and beta blockers.
What’s Best Treatment For Psoriasis and Eczema?
According to a dermatologist, Dr. Fernandez, though the underlying cause of these skin conditions are different, yet they could be treated similarly.
1.Keep your skin hydrated
It is important to take good care of your skin as this will minimize flare-ups. This is because there is no cure for eczema and psoriasis.
2. Know the Dos and Don’ts of treating eczema
3. Take care of yourself
To ensure proper care of yourself, the following tips are important:
- Drink alcohol in moderation
- Drink more water
- Get plenty exercise
4.Eat healthy foods
The Mediterranean diet which has been said to be the heart-healthiest diet is sometimes recommended for eczema and psoriasis because they have anti-inflammatory properties.
These includes typical kind of medications often prescribed to patients if your rash becomes persistent.
- Topical cortisone: used if have a mild case
- Immunosuppressive drugs: these drugs would lower the hyper activeness of the immune system. Examples are methotrexate, cyclosporine etc.
It is used for moderate to severe cases
- Phototherapy and ultraviolet light treatment for severe cases
When to see a Doctor
If you feel over the counter topical medications are not working for you, please consult your physician before using any other medication. Try not to do self-medication, it could worsen your skin condition.