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  • Just like in eczema, psoriasis patients may also have the condition because of genetics
  • Despite all these differences, it suffices to say that both eczema and psoriasis are conditions that won’t just irritate the skin, but cause other repercussions to your health in the long run
 

Comparing Psoriasis and Eczema

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At first glance, it may seem like psoriasis and eczema are one and the same. However, while they are both chronic conditions that affect your skin,1,2 they have very distinct characteristics that set them apart from each other.

Determining the Nature of These 2 Conditions

Eczema, also known as dermatitis, is actually a term for various types of skin swelling. Most types of eczema lead to dry, itchy skin, as well as rashes on your face, hands, feet, inside your elbows and behind your knees. If you scratch the affected skin, it reddens and leads to more swelling and itching.3

On the other hand, psoriasis is a condition that triggers fast build-up of cells on your skin, usually happening quickly, within a few days instead of weeks.4 Because of the presence of extra skin cells, dry, red and painful patches with thick silvery scales develop.5

These patches are usually visible on your elbows, knees and scalp6 but they can also appear on the:7

Knees

Areas of the legs

Lower back

Face

Palms

Fingernails

Toenails

Genitals

Inside of your mouth


What Causes Psoriasis or Eczema Is Virtually Unknown

A known similarity between eczema and psoriasis is that the definite cause of both these conditions remains unidentified.8,9 But there are actually several risk factors that can predispose you to either eczema or psoriasis.

Hereditary factors are known to play a role in increasing someone’s risk for eczema. A child’s risk for the ailment increases if a parent was affected with the condition or another atopic disease. This risk for eczema then rises significantly if both parents have an atopic disease.10

Aside from genetics, these environmental factors can also trigger eczema:11

Irritants

Allergens

Microbes

Hot and cold temperatures

Food such as dairy products, eggs, nuts and seeds, soy products and wheat

Stress: although this is not a cause of the disease, it can exacerbate the symptoms

Hormones: severe eczema symptoms may be experienced by women if their hormone levels are changing, such as during pregnancy and at certain points of their menstrual cycle


Just like in eczema, psoriasis patients may also have the condition because of genetics. In fact, scientists led by the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Missouri have discovered the first gene that is connected to psoriasis: the CARD14 gene.

According to the results, rare mutations of the said gene, when stimulated by an environmental trigger, can result in the development of plaque psoriasis, as well as pustular psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis.12

Aside from genetics, a weakened immune system and certain risk factors can contribute to the onset of psoriasis, including:13

Having a viral or bacterial infection

Obesity

Smoking

Uncontrolled stress

Use of certain medications, such as those used to treat bipolar disorder and high blood pressure

Eczema and Psoriasis Have Similar and Different Symptoms

A big reason why a lot of people tend to confuse eczema and psoriasis with each other is because there are symptoms that are common between the two conditions. Nevertheless, there are other hallmarks that you can spot that may help you determine if you are being affected by either eczema or psoriasis:14,15

Eczema Symptoms Symptoms of Both Eczema and Psoriasis Psoriasis Symptoms
Dark-colored patches of skin Dry and sensitive skin that may crack and/or bleed Small scaling spots (typically seen in children)
Oozing or crusting Very bad itching, burning or soreness Reddened and inflamed skin
Areas of swelling Thickened, pitted or ridged nails Swollen and stiff joints

Rough leathery patches of skin that are covered with silvery scales

There Are More Types of Eczema Compared to Psoriasis

Both psoriasis and eczema are “umbrella” diseases that can be classified into further types, all depending on the causes and symptoms of a particular ailment. There are five known types of psoriasis, and these are:16

Plaque

Guttate

Inverse

Pustular

Erythrodermic

These five psoriasis types pale in comparison to eczema, which has 11 various types that can lead to the swelling that this disease is known for:17

Atopic dermatitis

Irritant dermatitis

Allergic contact dermatitis

Stasis dermatitis

Fungal infections

Scabies

Pompholyx (dyshidrotic eczema)

Lichen simplex chronicus

Nummular eczema

Xerotic (dry skin) eczema

Seborrheic eczema


Despite all these differences, it suffices to say that both eczema and psoriasis are conditions that won’t just irritate the skin, but cause other repercussions to your health in the long run. Immediate diagnosis and treatment is very important to make sure that you not only combat either of these conditions effectively, but prevent future cases from happening, too.

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