Psoriasis vs Eczema- What Are The Differences Between Them?

Psoriasis vs Eczema

Psoriasis and eczema are among the most common skin diseases, and very similar in their effects to the body. According to several doctors, psoriasis is more serious as it is linked to internal disorders like heart problems and depression. In both the conditions, you will encounter itchy and uncomfortable skin. However, there are some significant differences between the two.

Physical Symptoms of Psoriasis and Eczema

Eczema is an inflammation of the skin, while psoriasis is caused by extreme multiplication of skin cells. In the former, skin becomes red, itchy, dry, cracked, and flaky.

In the latter, light bumps are observed in patches of skin which become red and leathery, along with white scales similar to eczema. In severe cases, it becomes hard and red covered with silver scales. Nails may become weak, crumbly, discoloured, and fall from the nail bed. Plaque may hinder hair growth.

Locations of Psoriasis vs Eczema

Eczema especially occurs as a chronic problem in children,which vanishes before adulthood. It can show up in any part of the body. It mostly occurs in joints and the face and neck. The symptoms are mostly observed as allergic reactions to external conditions, but eczema is not allergic. It is not an infectious disease.

Psoriasis too can occur in any part of the body, but mostly the scalp, elbows, knees, and the lower back. It is usually noticed in young adults and is prone to spread throughout the family. In severe cases of psoriasis, large parts of the body are infected, and may relapse frequently after healing. Plaque psoriasis can affect the nails and scalp. It can spread out in large areas.

Causes of Psoriasis and Eczema

Eczema occurs due to various reasons, including hereditary traits or external factors. The disease may run in the family. Sensitive skin or a hyperactive immune system can also trigger eczema. Mostly, it is caused by defective skin which cannot lock moisture in the pores. Contact with wool, synthetic materials, and soap may also trigger eczema. In summer, heat and sweat can contribute to it; during winter, dry skin is also prone to it.

Genes, immune system, and hormones may also be responsible for psoriasis. Conditions like puberty, menopause, or childbirth can trigger it. Alcohol and smoking, aside from being a contributing factor, may also render treatments ineffective. Pustular psoriasis affects the palms and soles. Stress and drugs that cause hormonal imbalance may also cause it

Treatment of Psoriasis vs Eczema

Good skincare can ward off mild eczema, but medication and professional help is required for severe cases. Some basic measures to take care of your skin infected with eczema:

  1. Soaps can be harsh on the skin. Try to go for a soap substitute instead or even a mild soap. It is extremely important to moisturize your skin on a daily basis throughout the day. For severe eczema, lukewarm baths with small amounts of bleach help relieve itching. Prescription-strength moisturizers help maintain the skin barrier.
  2. Drugs may cause side-effects. Natural methods of stress management such as exercise, hobbies, meditation, and socializing are good methods to relieve stress, which helps maintain a hormonal balance.
  3. Following prescriptions is critical. In the beginning, corticosteroid creams are prescribed which work well for mild conditions. Ultraviolet light therapy is prescribed for severe conditions, and for adults, strong drugs like azathioprine, cyclosporine, and methotrexate may help, as well asinjectables like dupixent. These are strictly for treating adults.

Psoriasis can be harder to treat than eczema. In mild cases, the remedies are similar to eczema. Following are some measures for treatment of psoriasis.

  1. Doctors recommend corticosteroid or over-the-counter creams in the earlier stages. Salicylic acid treatment smoothens the skin by removing the hard flaky scales. However, it can cause skin irritation and weaken hair shafts. Steroid-based creams and topical ointments containing calcitriol can also be very effective in limited amounts.Retinoids containing Vitamin A may help, but overuse causes dryness.
  2. Coal tar ointments and shampoos are also effective. These products may decrease the rate of skin production in the affected area. Some people may be prone to side-effects like folliculitis. Therefore, it should only be used as advised by the doctor.
  3. Phototherapy is an effective treatment,and regular doses of sunlight can relieve symptoms. Narrow-band UV-B therapy is also effective.
  4. Natural treatment methods include the usage of Dead Sea salts and Epsom salts while bathing. Other methods include aloe vera, fish-oils and cayenne peppers. Before going for these unconventional therapies, one should be sure of their skin-types so that a back reaction doesn’t occur. However, these may adversely effect certain types of skin.

Life with Eczema

Eczema is a recurring condition. It is not contagious, but the symptoms are often triggered by external allergies. Mild symptoms often go unnoticed, but serious eczema becomes a major problem. The most common form of the disease is atomic dermatitis which appears as red rashes on the faces and joints of very small children. Contact dermatitis specially inflicts the hands which can come in contact with various harmful substances. Contact with some chemicals, poison ivy, nickel, and cosmetics may cause it. Dyshidrotic dermatitis, which affects hands and feet, can last a very long time. UV therapy and steroids may be used for treatment. Seborrheic dermatitis or dandruff is developed on the scalp, eyebrows, sides of nose and ears, and other closed areas.  Numular dermatitis, neurodermatitis, and stasis dermatitis are other types which affect different locations of the body.

Life with Psoriasis

Psoriasis is not contagious. Diet, weather, and allergies are the main triggers of the condition. Plaque psoriasis is one of the most common and intense types, and may infect many parts of the body. Guttate psoriasis usually infects children or young adults causing pink and red spots on the upper arm, thighs, and scalp. Inverse psoriasis infects the underarms, groin, and other closed areas of the body. It appears as patches of smooth red skin and is mainly caused by friction and sweat. Pustular psoriasis affects adults, causing pustules surrounded by red skin. It is a serious disease and needs extreme medical attention. Symptoms include nausea, chills, faster heart rate and fever. It causes the body to weaken immensely. Triggers include pregnancy, infection, stress, overdose of medicines, and extra exposure to chemicals and UV rays.


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Sagar Papneja

For me, health is about sustainable living and consuming environmentally conscious food; I am a vegan.

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