Is it eczema or psoriasis? How to tell the difference between the two skin conditions

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Sharing similar symptoms, eczema and psoriasis can be difficult to differentiate. However, help is at hand so that you can seek the best treatment.

WedMD explained that both skin conditions can be itchy, although they differ in their intensity.

Eczema can feel extremely itchy, so much so that you may scratch your skin and make it bleed.

Psoriasis, on the other hand, may sting or burn – without an intense itchy feeling.

Both skin sensitivities can cause red, inflamed patches to appear over your body.

In fact, inflamed areas can look scaly, but there is a difference if you look closely.

Eczema may ooze, or crust, and there could be dark, swollen leathery patches.

Meanwhile, psoriasis may look silvery, and the skin is thicker and more inflamed than it would be in eczema.

Eczema sufferers tend to see the skin condition appear on parts of the body that beam, such as the inner elbow or behind the knees.

It’s also possible to have eczema appear on your neck, wrists, or ankles.

Psoriasis can show up in the same places, but it can also show up on the palms of your hands and the soles of your feet.

Moreover, it can appear on skin folds, ears, eyelids, the lower back and the face.

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Eczema flare-ups can be triggered from skin irritants, such as: soap, detergents, disinfectants, and juices from meat.

Allergens can also set off eczema, like: dust, pets, pollen, mould and dandruff.

Stress can also play an important factor, as can sweating, humidity and hormonal changes.

Psoriasis is also triggered by stress, but it can also flare-up following sunburn, vaccination and scratches.

The on-set of the conditions

Eczema typically begins in childhood; if it does develop as an adult, it’s usually linked to either thyroid disease, hormone changes, or stress.

Psoriasis tends to appear for the first time in somebody’s teenage years, although it can take up to 35 years for the skin condition to develop.


Eczema – depending on its severity – can be treated by the use of topical corticosteroid, which helps to control inflammation.

Emollients (oil-based moisturisers) are also recommended to lock in moisture.

Medication may also be prescribed, such as methotrexate, azathioprine, or cyclosporine.

Only if psoriasis mild would you be able to control its with corticosteroids and emollients.

Otherwise, light therapy in combination with acretin or apremilast medication may be needed.

A person with severe psoriasis may also be prescribed a “biologic drug”, such as brodalumab.

If you’re struggling to decipher which skin condition you have, do book an appointment with your GP.

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