Psoriasis and Eczema: What is the Difference?

Psoriasis and Eczema

Differentiating Psoriasis from Eczema

Psoriasis and eczema are often used interchangeably by most people who don’t know the typical differences between these two skin conditions.

What is psoriasis?

A typical sign of psoriasis is a thick patch of white scales. Psoriasis is a chronic autoimmune condition that causes skin cells overproduction. The dead cells eventually accumulate into silvery-white scales which becomes inflamed and red, causing severe itching. Psoriasis has no cure. However, you can put the skin condition into remission by using some topical treatments.

READ ALSO: Psoriasis: Types, Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, and Treatment

What is Eczema?

Eczema, also called atopic dermatitis, is a long-term medical condition affecting the skin. It is caused by hypersensitivity reaction that causes the skin to overreact to certain triggers. Certain items that may trigger eczema includes soaps, dyes, fabrics, animals, and other irritants.

Eczema is common in infants, however, most people outgrow the hypersensitivity by early adulthood. Unlike psoriasis, eczema isn’t covered by scaly dead skin. Eczema causes the skin to appear red, inflamed, peeling, cracked, blistered, or filled with pus. Eczema can occur anywhere on the body and cause extreme itching.

Differences Between Psoriasis and Eczema

Psoriasis and Eczema on the face

Psoriasis on face Eczema on face
Psoriasis on the face can resolve with treatment, but may recur Facial eczema can be successfully treated with topical medications. It may also need systemic medications.
Face psoriasis can extend to the scalp, making treatment difficult.  Itching can cause breaks in the skin that leads to bleeding or infection.

Psoriasis versus eczema on hands

Psoriasis on hands Eczema on hands
Patches of psoriasis on back of hands and knuckles may have other outbreaks on palms. Eczema is common on hands since it frequently comes in contact with irritants.
Psoriasis on hands causes overactive skin cells to overproduce.

This leads to new cells under nails which is prone to fungal infection.

Washing of the hands frequently can further dry out the skin of people with eczema.
Nail psoriasis can look like a fungal infection that causes the nail to change colors and fall off. Eczema on the hands can be hard to treat due to constant contact with irritants


Psoriasis vs. eczema on legs

Psoriasis on legs Eczema on legs
Psoriasis often occurs on the legs and knees either covering large parts of legs or isolated patches.


Eczema on the legs often occur in body “creases,” like the back of the knee or the front of the ankle.


The different types of psoriasis have different appearances.


Eczema mostly appear in areas that may trap sweat or irritants from clothing and air.


Guttate psoriasis on the legs appear like separate, drop-like, small red psoriasis patches.

Plaque psoriasis on the legs appears in large, shapeless patches with thick red skin or white scales.

Close contact of irritants with skin and parts of skin rubbing together leads to atopic dermatitis.



Treating psoriasis and eczema

Treating psoriasis

Dermatologists begin treatment by prescribing topical corticosteroid creams. If condition does not improve, doctors may recommend a light therapy treatment.

Dermatologists may prescribe an oral, injectable, or intravenous medication if condition deteriorates. These medications are the final steps in most treatment plans for psoriasis.

READ ALSO: 10 Home Remedies to Get Rid Of Eczema Naturally

Treating eczema

Eczema is treated with a topical corticosteroid cream and doctors may suggest over-the-counter creams. In some cases, doctors may prescribe antibiotic creams or prescription oral medicines. Some barrier creams may help protect skin from irritants and infections, allowing it to heal.


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