Comparing Psoriasis and Eczema

skin check

Story at-a-glance -

  • Just like eczema, psoriasis patients may have the condition due to genetics
  • Despite their differences both eczema and psoriasis are conditions that won’t just irritate the skin, but cause other repercussions to your health in the long run

While psoriasis and eczema 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 dermatitis3), refers to skin condition characterized by the presence of tiny red and swollen blisters.4 Most types of eczema are indicated by dry, itchy skin, as well as rashes on your face, hands, feet, neck, inside your elbows and behind your knees. If you scratch the affected skin, it may become more itchy and inflamed.5

Psoriasis, on the other hand, is a condition that triggers fast build-up of cells on your skin, usually within a few days.6 Because of the presence of extra skin cells, dry, red and painful patches with thick silver scales develop.7 These patches are usually visible on your elbows, knees and scalp8 but they can also appear on the:9

Lower back

Legs

Palms

Face

Toenails

Fingernails

Inside of your mouth

Genitals

What Causes Psoriasis or Eczema Is Virtually Unknown

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. Eczema risk, however, rises significantly if both parents have an atopic disease. These environmental factors can also trigger eczema:10

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

Similar to eczema, psoriasis patients may also have the condition due to genetics. In fact, scientists led by a group from 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 findings, once rare mutations of the gene have been stimulated by an environmental trigger, this may lead to the development of plaque psoriasis, as well as pustular psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis.11

Aside from genetics, a weakened immune system and certain risk factors can contribute to the onset of psoriasis, including:12

  • Having a viral or bacterial infection
  • Obesity13
  • Smoking
  • Stress
  • Use of certain medications, such as those used to treat bipolar disorder, malaria and high blood pressure levels

Eczema and Psoriasis Have Varying Symptoms

A big reason why many 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 symptoms that you can spot that may help you or someone you know determine which disorder you are being affected:14,15

Eczema Symptoms Symptoms of Both Eczema and Psoriasis Psoriasis Symptoms

Dark-colored skin patches

Dry and sensitive skin that may crack and/or bleed

Small scaly spots (typically seen in children)

Oozing or crusting

Severe itchiness, burning sensation or soreness

Nails that are either thickened, pitted or ridged

Swollen skin

Reddened, inflamed skin

Swollen and stiff joints

Rough leathery skin patches covered with silver 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: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 dermatitis

Despite these differences, 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.

MORE ABOUT PSORIASIS

Psoriasis: Introduction

What Is Psoriasis?

Psoriasis In Children

Psoriasis Versus Eczema

Psoriatic Arthritis

Is Psoriasis Contagious?

Psoriasis Causes

Psoriasis Types

Psoriasis Symptoms

Psoriasis Treatment

Psoriasis Prevention

Psoriasis Diet

Celebrities With Psoriasis

Psoriasis FAQ

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