Both psoriasis and eczema (or atopic dermatitis) cause red, scaly skin rashes and can occur on the same parts of the body which is why sometimes people confuse one for the other. They do have somewhat different symptoms so a dermatologist is the best person to diagnose which skin condition it is and how to treat it. Here are some of the characteristics of psoriasis and eczema and how to tell the difference between the two:
Symptoms Of Psoriasis And Eczema
• Psoriasis is typically thick, red and scaly. Eczema, when chronic, can have similar features but eczema might also appear moist and oozing in some areas. A major difference between the two is that psoriasis is never moist; instead, it produces scaly, dry patches of dead skin that continually shed.
• Psoriasis is caused by a combination of the genes that cause psoriasis and exposure to specific external factors such as stress, certain medications and infection. Whereas eczema is understood to be caused by triggers such as allergens, stress, hormones and food, among others.
• Both tend to affect the hands, feet, and nape of the neck. When the problem is in these areas, it can be difficult for even a doctor to distinguish one condition from another.
• Psoriasis is often found on the back of the elbows and front of the knees, while eczema favors the inside of the arms and the back of the knees.
• Both rashes appear frequently on the scalp, while chronic eczema is found on the ankles more often than psoriasis.
• Eczema generally begins in childhood whereas psoriasis generally originates in adulthood.
Some treatments work for both psoriasis and eczema, though others are quite specific to one or the other. It’s important to see a dermatologist so that your rash can be assessed and you can get the most effective treatment.
Psoriasis Treatment Options
Board Certified Dermatologist, Nancy J. Anderson, M.D., encourages anyone suffering from psoriasis to contact Vita Dermatology about treatment options.