Eczema and psoriasis are two very common — and very frustrating! — skin conditions. While both cause redness, patchy dry skin, and irritation, they’re actually completely different conditions, and so are their treatment options.
Let’s take a look at the major differences between these two skin issues to better understand them — and their solutions.
Also referred to as atopic dermatitis, eczema is caused by inflammation in the skin that produces red, itchy, dry patches which may crack and bleed. This inflamed skin often develops on the face or scalp, but is also common on larger areas of the body. There’s no official cause of eczema and it can develop at any age, but it’s thought to be genetic and may be triggered by diet, stress, or environmental factors such as a cold, dry climate.
The visible dry patches, irritation, and discomfort that eczema causes can be frustrating and painful, especially because the condition has no known cure. There are, however, a number of ways to soothe eczema-prone skin. Warm baths followed by gentle colloidal oatmeal moisturizers can be incredibly helpful, as well as avoiding known triggers.
This condition also causes dry, thick, itchy red patches of skin, but psoriasis patches are caused by skin cells that multiply at up to 10 times the normal rate. These extra cells get pushed to the surface, layering on top of one another in thick patches called plaques. Appearing on the body with a silver, scaly feel, plaques can cause some serious pain and discomfort. Like eczema, the exact cause of psoriasis is unknown, but recent research suggests it could be caused by immune system abnormalities, streptococcal infection, or stress.
Unfortunately, there is no known cure for psoriasis either, but symptoms can be managed with topical medications and treatments containing salicylic acid, which is proven to break down plaques. It’s best to consult a dermatologist when treating psoriasis.
Think you may be suffering from one of these conditions? Contact your dermatologist — they’re there to help when the symptoms of these conditions become unmanageable.