Eczema vs Psoriasis? How to Tell Them Apart

When you have a chronic skin condition like eczema or psoriasis, it is important to get a proper diagnosis so you or your child can get the right treatment. Otherwise you are wasting time and money plus putting yourself and your child through all the unnecessary discomfort. It is a difficult proposition to know which condition you have. Eczema vs psoriasis? How to tell them apart.

Similarities Between Eczema and Psoriasis

This is a confusing problem because there are multiple similarities between these two skin conditions. Just looking at the skin does not give you a clear diagnosis, and only the trained eye of a board-certified dermatologist like Dr. Dean Goodless can determine the difference during a visit at our office in Orlando, FL. Call our dermatology office today at (407) 566-1616.

They both exhibit inflamed red skin which is very dry. This will continue to occur in cycles called flares. Some distinguishing features are where the flare occurs, the amount of itching, and how the area looks.

Location Is Usually Different

With eczema you will have flares that show up in flexural areas like the inside of the elbow or the back of your knees.

person with psoriasis.

Whereas psoriasis will flare primarily on the outside of elbows or forearms, and the front of knees and shins. The rash can be on your scalp, face, lips and many other areas of your body including the lower back.

What Eczema and Psoriasis Look Like

The appearance of these two skin conditions continues the confusion.

Both will have red dry patches of thickened skin, but there are some noticeable differences like the following:

  • Eczema will cause a rash and swelling, fluid filled pockets, bumps, darkened leathery skin, and with severe eczema there will be oozing and crusty skin.
  • Psoriasis causes scaling with patches of red skin that are well defined areas with white silvery scales called plaques. These plaques will bleed easily and leave spots.

Itching Is a Key Difference

Eczema causes the most severe and intense itching, whereas psoriasis doesn’t always itch and is rarely severe.

Triggers for Eczema and Psoriasis

Strangely both skin conditions can be triggered by hot humid weather and cold dry conditions. In addition, stress seems to play a part.

Environmental and genetic triggers cause both these conditions. Researchers know less about the genetic part, but understand the environmental ones better and how they make symptoms worse.

Eczema is related to certain antibodies and allergens. The common allergens consist of the following:

  • Dust
  • Pollen
  • Eggs
  • Dairy products
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Wheat
  • Soy
  • Pet dander
  • Mold

Psoriasis is triggered by alcohol, infections, smoking, trauma to the skin, and medications like beta blockers, lithium, and antimalarials.

Unless you have a correct diagnosis for your skin inflammations, bumps or lesions you may not get the right treatment.

Contact our board-certified dermatologist, Dr. Dean Goodless at (407) 566-1616 if you or your child have symptoms of either eczema or psoriasis.