Psoriasis vs Eczema: What are the Differences?

Both psoriasis and eczema are chronic skin conditions that cause rashes. Both are also believed to be caused by malfunctions within the immune system. Researchers don’t fully understand what causes the problem that leads to eczema, but they do know that psoriasis is caused by the white blood cells attacking the patient’s own skin. That triggers a chain reaction causing too many skin cells to be produced and then causing them to move too quickly to the epidermis. Too many skin cells therefore pile up on the skin’s surface.

What is psoriasis?

In psoriasis, the skin cells can multiply ten times faster than normal, causing a build-up of scaly cells. It most commonly develops on the scalp, knees and elbows, but it can also occur on the torso, palms and soles of the feet. About 10 to 30 percent of psoriasis patients also develop arthritis.

There are five types of psoriasis, and the most common is plaque psoriasis. In this condition, the patient develops plaques of red skin covered with silver scales. The plaques sometimes crack and bleed, and they can also be painful and itchy. Plaque psoriasis can also affect the fingernail and toenails, which can become pitted and discolored. The nails also sometimes crumble or pull away from the nail bed.

Pustular psoriasis causes the patient to develop red and scaly skin with pustules on their hands and feet. Guttate psoriasis mainly attacks the limbs and torso, and the patients typically develop it in childhood or early adulthood. Inverse psoriasis is characterized by shiny red patches that develop in skin folds like the groin area or under the breasts.

In erythrodermic psoriasis, the patient develops fiery red skin and sheds their scales in sheets. It is the most potentially dangerous form of psoriasis and requires a doctor’s immediate attention.

What is eczema?

Eczema or dermatitis is a skin condition that can occur on any part of the body. Although adults can develop it, eczema is more common in children. Most eczema patients are infants, and most outgrow it before reaching adulthood. The condition runs in families.

There are many types of eczema, but they all cause similar symptoms. People with eczema tend to develop red scaly skin that itches. They can also develop blisters that ooze and form crusts. In severe cases, the patient’s skin can develop deep cracks called fissures.

The most common type of eczema is called atopic eczema, and it affects the hands, feet, face, inner elbows, and the back of the knees. While it can occur at any age, it is most common in infancy or childhood.

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