Do you have dry, red, itchy skin? Are you struggling to stop scratching? Google might tell you it’s eczema, but there is another skin condition with extremely similar symptoms: psoriasis.
Psoriasis is a chronic skin condition that causes skin cells to grow so fast that they accumulate on the surface of the skin, while eczema is patches of inflamed, itchy skin.
Eczema and psoriasis may look similar on the outside, but on the inside they are profoundly different.
Both conditions cause red, itchy patches of skin and they can emerge in the same places of the body, such as knees and elbows. While neither is contagious, eczema can increase one’s risk of getting skin infections.
A qualified dermatologist can easily spot the difference, but to the untrained eye it can be challenging. Here are a few clues that can help you tell them apart.
1. Autoimmune, Genetics and Environment
One of the biggest differences between these two conditions is their underlying causes. Psoriasis is an autoimmune disease, meaning that your immune system is malfunctioning and causing your skin cells to grow too quickly.
Eczema, however, is typically caused by genetic and environmental factors. Some people with eczema have a mutated gene that creates a defect in the protective layer on the top of the skin. Others have dry skin from living in a dry climate.
2. Differences in Itchiness
Psoriasis often causes a mild itch, while eczema creates a very intense itch. Both diseases can show up anywhere on your body, especially your knees, elbows, face and scalp.
Most people with eczema are sensitive to heat. When the weather is hot, the body perspires and that sweat can cause a skin flare-up.
However, for many people with psoriasis, ultraviolet B light from the sun can help their condition. UVB light can slow the abnormal growth of cells, but beware; a sunburn can trigger psoriasis.
Both skin conditions are very similar but can appear differently in each person. You won’t always find the right answer by comparing your symptoms to someone else. Talk to a dermatologist today to find the right diagnosis and treatment plan for you.