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What Is the Difference Between Eczema and Psoriasis




What Is the Difference Between Eczema and Psoriasis

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Difference Between Eczema and Psoriasis

The main differences between eczema and psoriasis are:

  • Cause – Eczema is often caused by allergies or irritants, while the exact cause of psoriasis is unknown but believed to be an autoimmune disorder.
  • Location – Eczema can occur anywhere on the body but is most common on the face, inside the elbows, backs of knees, and hands. Psoriasis most often appears on the scalp, elbows, knees, trunk, and nails.
  • Appearance – Eczema leads to dry, itchy, red skin that can ooze and crust. Psoriasis causes thick, red, scaly patches with a silvery-white buildup of dead skin cells.
  • Symptoms – Eczema is extremely itchy, especially when flaring up. Psoriasis can be itchy for some people but is often painless.
  • Duration – Eczema is considered acute or intermittent. Psoriasis is chronic, lasting a lifetime in most cases.
  • Prevalence – Eczema is more common in children, while psoriasis affects about 2-3% of people worldwide.
  • Treatment – Eczema is usually treated with moisturizers, steroid creams, and avoiding triggers. Psoriasis often requires specialized treatments like phototherapy, oral medications, or injectable biologics.


  • Eczema: characterized by poorly demarcated red, dry areas with fine scale. It can also cause swelling and rough, leathery patches that are sometimes dark. It tends to develop in the folds of the skin.
  • Psoriasis: appears as red, well-circumscribed lesions (called plaques) with heaped-up, white scaling. The skin is thicker and more inflamed than with eczema. It can also cause silvery and scaly patches that are raised. It tends to develop on outer surfaces, such as the elbows or scalp.


  • Eczema: the itching can be intense and affect sleep.
  • Psoriasis: the itching may be mild to moderate.

Age of onset:

  • Eczema: often develops in childhood and may resolve on its own by adulthood.
  • Psoriasis: usually shows up between ages 15 and 35, but can occur at any age.


  • Eczema: the exact cause is unknown, but it is often linked to dry, sensitive skin and can be triggered by irritants.
  • Psoriasis: an immune-mediated condition, meaning the immune system becomes overactive and certain inflammatory cells cause the body to make new skin cells too fast. These cells pile up on the outer layer of the skin, leading to thick, scaly patches that can be itchy and painful[6].

It is important to note that both eczema and psoriasis involve the human immune system, just in different ways. If you have a chronic rash-like condition, it is best to see a dermatologist for an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan.

Eczema and psoriasis are two distinct skin conditions that can cause inflammation, irritation, and skin discoloration. Although they share some similarities, there are key differences between the two.

What are the common treatments for eczema and psoriasis?

Here are some of the most common treatments for eczema and psoriasis:

Eczema treatments:

  • Moisturizers – Hydrating the skin with thick, creamy moisturizers can help reduce dryness and itching.
  • Steroid creams/ointments – Topical corticosteroids reduce inflammation and relieve itching. They come in different strengths depending on severity.
  • Antihistamines – Oral antihistamines like diphenhydramine or hydroxyzine can help control itching.
  • Immunomodulators – Topical immunomodulators like tacrolimus or pimecrolimus modulate the immune system to reduce flare-ups.
  • Wet wraps – Wet dressings soaked in water provide a cooling compress effect to itchy skin.
  • Phototherapy – For severe cases, exposing skin to UVA or UVB light under medical supervision can help.

Psoriasis treatments:

  • Topical steroids – Just as with eczema, topical corticosteroids in ointment or cream form can alleviate plaques.
  • Vitamin D analogues – Creams containing vitamin D slow skin cell turnover to reduce scaling.
  • Retinoids – Retinoid creams can help normalize skin cell production.
  • Moisturizers – Thick moisturizers are used following other topical treatments.
  • Light therapy – UVB phototherapy or laser treatments can slow down skin cell growth.
  • Oral medications – Medications taken by mouth, like methotrexate or oral retinoids, are used for more severe cases.
  • Biologics – Injected or IV biologic medications like etanercept or adalimumab target specific parts of the immune system.

To summarize:

  • Eczema and psoriasis are different skin conditions – eczema is characterized by intermittent, allergy-related rashes and flare-ups, while psoriasis causes chronic, continuous buildup of skin cells.
  • Eczema often first appears in childhood and affects the face, elbow creases, knees, and hands. Psoriasis commonly starts later in life and appears on the scalp, nails, trunk, and elbows/knees.
  • Treatments for eczema focus on hydration, topical steroids, and avoiding triggers. Psoriasis requires more specialized treatments like phototherapy, systemic medications, and biologics to slow skin cell growth.
  • Both conditions can benefit from moisturizers and topical steroids to reduce inflammation and itching. However, the underlying causes are different, so the treatment approach needs to be tailored for each disease.
  • Knowing how to distinguish eczema from psoriasis is key for getting the right diagnosis and most effective treatment plan.

Are there any similarities in the diagnostic methods used for autism and eczema/psoriasis?

The autism diagnosis explained and diagnostic methods for eczema/psoriasis share some similarities. Both conditions rely on observing symptoms and patient history, as well as using standardized assessments. However, autism diagnosis typically involves monitoring social interactions, communication patterns, and repetitive behaviors, while eczema/psoriasis diagnosis focuses on skin appearance, itchiness, and medical history. Despite some overlaps, the diagnostic approaches for these conditions are distinct due to their different nature and symptoms.

Q and As

Here is a short list of common Q&As about eczema and psoriasis:

What is the main difference between eczema and psoriasis?

Eczema is often triggered by allergies or irritants and causes intermittent rashes. Psoriasis is an autoimmune disease that leads to continuous buildup of skin cells.

Where on the body do they usually appear?

Eczema often occurs on the face, inside elbows, behind knees, and hands. Psoriasis commonly appears on the scalp, nails, elbows, knees, and trunk.

What ages are they most common?

Eczema often first appears in childhood, while psoriasis more typically begins in adulthood.

What do they look like?

Eczema causes dry, itchy, red patches that can ooze and crust. Psoriasis results in scaly, thick, red patches with silvery-white buildup.

How are they treated?

Eczema is treated with hydration, topical steroids, and avoiding triggers. Psoriasis requires specialized treatments like phototherapy, systemic medications, and biologics.

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