Are eczema and psoriasis the same?
Although psoriasis and eczema—also called atopic dermatitis—can have similar symptoms, they are completely different skin conditions. Ultimately, a dermatologist is the final authority on what your skin condition is. If you’re confused about exactly what is going on with your skin, and as a result, feeling troubled about how to approach your skin care, consult a doctor for a thorough analysis. But, before you make the call, here is an overview of the basic distinguishers between eczema and psoriasis.
Psoriasis. The body naturally sheds old dead skin cells and replaces them with new ones. There is normally a balance in new and old skin cells, but with psoriasis, this process is irregular. The immune system attacks the skin as if it is unhealthy and needs repair. This triggers skin cells to grow at a rapid pace and stack up, resulting in raised, red patches. The buildup of dead skin causes plaques. Psoriatic symptom severity can change over time. You can have a mild case for a long time, then suddenly notice the symptoms worsening (or vice versa).
Eczema. When the body is irritated, the immune system is triggered and an inflammatory response happens. This is a good and important process that protects the body from harm. However, this inflammation is also the same source of the symptoms that cause eczema. There are 7 types of eczema:
- Atopic dermatitis
- Contact dermatitis
- Dyshidrotic eczema
- Nummular eczema
- Seborrheic dermatitis
- Stasis dermatitis
Atopic dermatitis and contact dermatitis are the most common types, but it’s possible to have more than one type of eczema on your body at a given time. Just like psoraisis, eczema can change over time.
Time of Onset
Psoriasis usually doesn’t appear in children, but eczema can appear on the skin as early as infancy. Baby eczema can be prominent on the cheeks, forehead, and scalp of a baby in its earliest months. The first onset of eczema can also appear during the teenage years, in the crooks of elbows, hands, wrists, and legs.
Eczema causes an intense itch. At its most extreme, to the desperation of sufferers, the itching leads to unpreventable scratching, enough to make the skin bleed. In contrast, psoriasis doesn’t always itch, but when it does, it’s burning, biting, and painful.
Eczema and psoriasis can look similar. Described in words, both skin conditions cause redness, inflammation, scaly skin, and appear in patches on the body. Compare photographs of psoriasis and eczema to better self-identify what’s going on. Psoriasis patches appear thicker, more raised, like a dry outcrop of skin. The medical term for these raised patches are plaques.
Eczema’s bumps can seem to blend into the skin more than psoriasis patches and often appear rash-like. For some, the rough eczema patches are darker than the surrounding skin. At the touch of fingers, both these conditions may react to physical contact, and can have an irregular, crusty, and rough texture.
Reaction to Sunshine
If you suffer from eczema, summer might not be your favourite season, as heat can exacerbate irritation by triggering perspiration. However, most psoriasis symptoms react positively to natural UVB light from the sun, and phototherapy using UVB is one of the multiple medical treatment options for psoriasis.
Whether you have psoriasis or eczema, there are two simple care pillars that you can immediately implement:
- Avoid taking showers or baths that are too hot. Hot water strips oils from the skin, breaking down the skin’s natural oil barrier. Our natural barrier, called sebum, helps to lubricate the skin, protecting it against friction and preventing moisture loss, necessary for healthy skin function.
- Stay moisturized. Inflamed, irritated, scaly, crusty skin is suffering. Damaged skin is even more sensitive to fluctuations in external conditions. Keeping the skin moisturized promotes healing and protects the skin from further cracking, helping prevent a deteriorating spiral.
Everyone’s skin condition is unique. The process of caring for your skin is a challenging process. Ongoing skin conditions have a way of affecting not only the body but on one’s life, choices, activities and self-image.
As part of helping you find relief, we create products that are formulated with only natural, vegan ingredients. We research botanicals which have a heritage, have demonstrated healing properties throughout human history, and feel good upon application. Our philosophy toward body care is that it should be comfortable and easy to use. Our products complement your life, without creating irritation interruptions or later-stage irritation. Replacing typical drugstore products with our all-natural formulations can help ease symptoms. Our formulas can also be applied in unison with over the counter prescriptions.
Overview of the Seven Types of Eczema. (n.d.). National Eczema Association. Retrieved August 3, 2022, from https://nationaleczema.org/eczema/types-of-eczema/
Psoriasis Awareness. (2021, August 25). PIH Health. Retrieved August 3, 2022, from https://www.pihhealth.org/wellness/articles/psoriasis-awareness/