Eczema VS psoriasis in most cases can be difficult to separate and differentiate. They share some similar symptoms since both are physical skin problems. Never take any medications or use creams to get rid of eczema, psoriasis or any other conditions without consulting a dermatologist especially when you can’t tell the difference.
Below is the difference between eczema and psoriasis, symptoms, pictures, home remedies. Care and treatment.
What is Eczema
Eczema is the name given to a group of diseases that are responsible for the irritation or inflammation of the skin. This disease affects 3 percent of adults in the United States and between 10 to 20 percent of children. Most children outgrow the disease at their 10th birthday while others may have on and off symptoms all through their lives.
What is Psoriasis
Psoriasis is an irritating skin condition that sees skin cells multiply up to 10 times faster than the normal rate. This fast multiplication and death of the cells creates a layer of dead cells on the skin at the elbows, knees, and scalp although it can also occur on the soles of feet, palms and the torso. The causes of psoriasis include stress, streptococcal infections, trauma and many others.
Eczema VS Psoriasis | Similarities and differences
Eczema and psoriasis share many similarities which confuse those who suffer from them. These similarities and their differences are illustrated below with below.
Symptoms of eczema
Below are symptoms that have been observed in most eczema patients. There are several types of eczema but most of them relate in one way or the other.
- Intense itching is the most obvious symptom of eczema.
- A rash will often follow the itching. The rash will have red bumps of varying sizes.
- The rush can be so intense that it burns the skin in certain areas.
- The itchy areas become crusty and ooze when scratched.
- Intense rubbing may produce thick plaques of skin.
- Nummular eczema may cause round patches that are itchy and easily confused with fungal infections such as ringworms.
- Cracks on the skin that are very painful may develop in the advanced stages of the disease.
- Dyshidrotic eczema will cause bubbly red bumps that release a fluid when scratched. This fluid will spread the itch on the body.
- The disease rarely affects the scalp but will affect flexures of the legs, neck, and flexures of the arms. The flexures are the parts of the arms and legs opposite the elbows and knees respectively. It thus affects areas with skin that folds. In small children, it affects other areas of the body as well but not the diaper area.
- In some people, the skin behind the ears is also affected. However, the ear itself is not affected by all forms of eczema.
- The itching may be so intense that it affects sleep.
- Eczema can also affect the eyelids making them red, itchy and puffy.
- With asteatotic eczema, the skin will have thin and dry cracks that are quite painful.
- In severe cases, most parts of the skin will turn red and become itchy.
- While the palms and soles of the feet are rarely affected by eczema, it may occur at the same time one has eczema. This can be due to allergic contact dermatitis, scabies infestation or fungal infections.
These symptoms relate to eczema, however the will vary depending on the type of eczema you are suffering from. Some people with sensitive may react to some animals including cat shedding
Symptoms of psoriasis
The major symptoms of psoriasis include the following;
- Raised and inflamed patches of red skin.
- Plaques or scales of a silver-white color may form on the red patches of skin.
- The disease dries the skin leading to cracking and even bleeding.
- The area around the affected patches of skin is often sore and sensitive.
- The skin around the red patches becomes sensitive, itchy and has a burning sensation.
- The joints become swollen and painful.
- The nails become thick and pitted in some patients.
The symptoms of psoriasis differ in each patient according to the specific type of psoriasis they are suffering from, and the stage of the disease. At times, one may not have the symptoms simply because they are in the remission phase of their disease. It doesn’t mean that the disease would have gone away. Rather, it means that the symptoms are not visible but the disease is still present.
Below are types of eczema:
This is eczema caused by contact with an allergen such as poison oak, poison ivy, jewelry, fragrances, cosmetics, and soaps.
Inflammation of the skin caused by defects in the level of permeability of the skin, exposure to toxic substances, dysfunctional immune systems and your genetics.
Skin irritation or inflammation due to stress or seasonally occurring allergens.
Irritation of the skin caused by many reasons such as bug bites, tight clothing, general itching, and dry skin.
This in most cases affects the scalp, corners of the nose and behind the ears. It is also known as dandruff since it is also a major cause of skin scaling and chaffing.
Stasis dermatitis occurs when the veins of the legs fail to send blood back to the heart leading to enlarged veins in the legs. It is caused by venous insufficiency.
Types of psoriasis
While they share many symptoms, the different types of psoriasis have major differences between them. The most common types of psoriasis are;
1. Inverse psoriasis
This is a type of psoriasis that is characterized by red and shiny spots which appear in the armpits, groin area, under the breasts and other places with folding skin.
2. Guttate psoriasis
Guttate psoriasis begins either in childhood or early adulthood and persists afterwards. Signs of guttate psoriasis include small dots that are red in color and on the legs and the torso. There are many causes to this form of psoriasis including medicines such as beta-blockers, drugs against malaria, skin Injuries, stress, tonsillitis, strep throat, and respiratory infections.
3. Erythrodermic psoriasis
With erythrodermic psoriasis, one will experience periodic shedding of scales from the skin with the skin being generally red in color. The causes for this disease include infections, medications, extreme sunburn, and withdrawal from a medical regime of psoriasis.
Causes of eczema
Eczema is caused by a myriad of causes all of which differ in each individual. Due to its resemblance to an allergic reaction, most people may assume
that it is an allergy. The actual cause of eczema is not yet known. However, the most likely causes of this disease have been found to be;
- The abnormal functions of the immune system.
- The environment.
- Skin defects such as those that allow germs in and moisture out.
- Any activity that may render the skin sensitive.
Other aspects of eczema;
- Eczema often runs in families especially those with a history of asthma, eczema, and seasonal allergies like hay fever. Children with childhood eczema may later on develop allergies or asthma.
- Eczema is not contagious as there is no case of the disease being passed on to a person who doesn’t have it.
- The environment plays an important role in the presence or absence of eczema. Children born in colder climates, urban areas and in higher social classes are likely to have eczema than their compatriots in warmer climates, rural areas and lower social classes.
- While there is no scientific evidence as to why it occurs, it has been established that children born to older women are at a higher chance of having eczema than those born to younger mothers.
Eczema triggers are not actual causes but substances that awaken the symptoms of the disease. They include man-made fibers, certain foods and some air particles.
Causes of psoriasis
The cause of psoriasis is the erroneous response of the immune system to the cells of the body. The T cells in the blood have the role of killing bacteria, viruses and germs in general.
With psoriasis, the T cells mistakenly attack healthy skin cells and kill them. The dead cells then move to the surface as it often is during the normal process of shedding skin cells.
This skin then replaces the dead cells with new ones which are also killed by the T cells. The cycle continues with the number of dead cells increasing significantly leading to a dry cake of dead cells on the skin.
This much is known about psoriasis. However, the actual reason as to why the immune system would attack its own healthy cells is unknown.
Triggers of psoriasis
Among the factors that can trigger psoriasis include;
- Some injuries such as intense sunburn, bug bites, scrapes and cuts.
- Infections to the body such as to the skin or a strep throat.
- Lack of Vitamin D
- Heavy consumption of alcohol
- Medicines such as iodides, anti-malarial drugs, beta blockers (for high blood pressure), and lithium (for the bipolar disorder).
Complications from psoriasis
Those with psoriasis are at a higher chance of getting some health complications compared to those who do not have the disease. For example, according to MayoClinic, you are a higher chance of getting the following conditions;
1. Eye conditions
this with psoriasis have a higher chance of having certain eye conditions such as uveitis, blepharitis, and conjunctivitis.
2. Psoriatic arthritis
psoriasis can attack the joints and cause symptoms similar to those of arthritis. This occurs in extreme attacks of the disease.
obesity and psoriasis often occur together although the scientific evidence behind this relationship is yet to be established. Two of the most viable explanations are that, due to the inactivity one has as a result of the symptoms of psoriasis, they will lead a poor lifestyle that will see them gain weight and become obese. The other explanation is that the inflammation you suffer from obesity may lead to the development of psoriasis.
4. High blood pressure
high blood pressure is likely to occur in people with psoriasis.
5. Type 2 diabetes
if you have a severe variant of psoriasis, you are likely to get type 2 diabetes.
6. Cardiovascular disease
having psoriasis doubles your chances of having cardiovascular disease and other related conditions like atherosclerosis, stroke, irregular heartbeat, and high cholesterol.
7. Autoimmune diseases
psoriasis itself is an autoimmune disease which affects the skin. Its presence in the body can trigger other similar conditions such as the inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn’s disease), sclerosis and Celiac disease.
8. Metabolic syndrome
given the number of conditions caused by psoriasis such as obesity, high blood pressure and others, you are likely to suffer from heart disease and other diseases of a similar kind.
9. Parkinson’s disease
being a neurological disease, one is likely to have Parkinson’s disease when they already have psoriasis.
10. Emotional issues
due to the symptoms associated with psoriasis, the quality of life in most patients is very much reduced as they withdraw socially. Depression and a low self-esteem are some notable results of psoriasis.
11. Kidney disease
Due to the effect psoriasis has on the body, you are likely to develop the kidney disease.
Can eczema turn into psoriasis?
Even when eczema and psoriasis have several similarities in the way they affect an individual, they are caused by different causes and have many different risk factors. To this end, therefore, neither eczema can turn into psoriasis, nor psoriasis turn into eczema.
However, one should be careful since both diseases are autoimmune and genetic in nature. That means that both can be inherited and are a result of an overreacting immune system. If you have an immune system that is prone to overreacting, then you are likely to have both diseases.
Natural eczema home remedies and treatment
Eczema medication can get very complex especially when from a health institution. Often, antibiotics are used for open skin patches, drugs which alter the immune system, UV light therapy, antihistamines to stop the blistering, and steroids (oral and creams).
In the worst of cases, the doctor may be forced to administer either tacrolimus (immunosuppressant) or pimecrolimus (immunodepressant). Both are topical creams with very strong side effects. The side effects include;
- Nose bleeding
- Breathing difficulty
- Face swelling
The good news is that, with the proper use of home remedies, you can keep off the drugs as the home remedies used to get rid of eczema do not come with such serious side effects.
1. Sea salt
Seems quite a risk bringing salt to the itchy skin patches. However, sea salt can do away with the itch from eczema. Simply take a spoonful of sea salt, mix in a glass of water, add to a spray can and spray on the itchy area. The alternative is to take a swim in the sea (not lake).
You can use chamomile compounds to sooth the itches by, for example, adding them to your bath.
a poultice is a mixture of beneficial substances such as herbs, salts, clays and others including the, sage, juniper berries, carrot paste, cucumber, calendula, plantain, chamomile, and horsetail.
Probiotics are substances that introduce healthy bacteria into the body. These healthy bacteria will build a barrier that will prevent inflammation of the skin and other parts of the body.
5. Tea tree oil
Tea tree oil is both an anti-inflammatory and antibacterial oil that will keep the itch and bacterial infections away
6. Eliminate allergens
While eczema is not an allergic reaction, you should eliminate any triggers such as soya, food colorings, eggs, fish, wheat and many others to determine which one triggers your specific type of eczema.
7. Salts and essential oils
Essential oils and salts such as baking soda, Epsom salt, Himalayan salt, apple cider vinegar and others can be mixed in bath water for a few days to reduce the itching.
Horsetail is a herb with silicon and anti-inflammatory properties that will keep the itch and pain away.
9. Healing salve
You can make your own salve containing rosemary leaf, calendula flowers, dried plantain leaf, dried comfrey leaf, beeswax pastilles, and either almond oil or extra-virgin oil. This type of salve has astringent, antifungal, antibacterial, antibiotic and anti-inflammatory properties. It does not contain any foreign chemicals as it is with the salve found in chemists.
10. Vitamin E oil
Natural vitamin E oil is great in doing away with the symptoms of eczema and other diseases of the skin.
One notable aspect in all these remedies is the fact that they are all natural. Synthetic substances only tend to increase the severity of the eczema symptoms.
Eczema VS psoriasis
While they have many similarities, psoriasis and eczema have distinct differences that can be used to pinpoint exactly what you are ailing from. The main differences between these two diseases are as follows;
The first difference between the two diseases is that psoriasis is not treatable while eczema is. Psoriasis can only be put into remission but not eliminated fully. The methods and medicines for treating each skin condition are also different from one another.
2. The face
Psoriasis often spares the face. However, it may still affect the face together with the scalp, ears and the neck. On the other hand, eczema is common on the face in both babies and young adults.
Psoriasis affects both the palms and the skin on the outside of the palms. It may look like a fungal infection but it is very intense.
Given that eczema is a response to skin irritations, the hands are often the first victims as they come into contact with the irritations easily. It is mild when compared to psoriasis but can be very painful and difficult to treat since hands are some of the primary organs on the body. Avoiding contact with irritating substances is thus difficult. It can also occur in front of the elbow where the skin folds.
Psoriasis is a common occurrence on the legs from the thighs to the foot. Depending on the type of psoriasis, the symptoms may occur as large patches of red and inflamed skin or small blisters filled with fluid.
For eczema, the most likely places on the body for its symptoms to manifest include the creases behind the knees and in front of your ankles. These areas have folds of skin and thus easily trap irritants and sweat. If the infected areas come into contact with clothes and sweat and are not treated early enough, they can become very painful and irritating due to infections and oozing.
5. Dry skin
Psoriasis is often characterized by dry scaly skin with the scales forming atop dry and red spots. However, not all red spots end up causing scales. When removing the scales, care should be taken to avoid forcing them off as they will cause bleeding and further spread of the condition. Leaving the scales on the skin is also not advised as they block the pores and lead to irritation.
The dry skin in eczema is very common and quite intense. The skin may become so dry that it peels off on its own to reveal the softer parts of the skin. If you see such a case, make sure you are careful to avoid bacterial or viral infections due to the exposure.
6. Inconvenient places
One of the most annoying symptoms of psoriasis is that it may develop in very inconvenient places on the body.
It is not uncommon to see the large red patches of skin below the breasts, the genitals, below the feet, skin folds, and armpits. These areas are vulnerable due to the increased moisture levels they have. This occurrence may make relationships quite awkward.
In kids, eczema may be rife in the diaper area given the high amount of moisture in them. In adults, it can also occur in areas that come into contact with clothes. The best way to deal with either case is to use mild skin products which would not trigger the disease. Small kids can also benefit from the use of lighter cotton diapers.
7. Severe cases
The plaque variant of psoriasis is one of the most severe skin diseases. In some cases, it can cover the whole body with red patches of skin that are very painful. The patches may feel and appear like actual burns. If such a case occurs, seek immediate medical help since the effects are more than skin-deep.
In its most lethal variant, eczema can also cover the whole body. However, the spread of eczema will depend on three major factors namely;
- The amount of exposure the skin has to irritants.
- The level of sensitivity of the skin.
- The methods and effectiveness of the treatment one is undergoing.
When the bleeding, oozing and cracking of the skin becomes severe, immediate medical attention will be required.
8. Life with the disease
While there is no medicine to cure psoriasis, people with this disease lead very normal lives especially when using the right medicine. Also, psoriasis is not contagious as most people mistakenly think.
While it can be treated fully, those who have suffered from eczema may experience symptoms many times in their lives. Proper management of the disease can help you live a normal life as much as possible.
Natural Psoriasis home remedies and treatment
The fact that psoriasis is not curable presents a problem many people are not able to solve. It you have this disease, the best option is to know how to live with it. While medicines prescribed by the doctor are required, you can also use the following remedies to sooth the pain the keep the disease under control.
- Keep your skin moist
you can install a humidifier in your home to keep the air moist enough to prevent dry skin.
- Eat right
while you can install humidifiers and other such tools to help keep your skin moist, the solution to that is to eat the right foods. First, avoid fatty foods and red meat while doubling up on fish, nuts and Omega 3 fatty acids. Olive oil is great for external use.
- Light therapy
light therapy helps deal with psoriasis and its symptoms. Do not mistake sunning yourself as a form of light therapy as too much sunlight tends to worsen psoriasis.
- Avoid alcohol
alcohol increases the chances of having psoriasis and is also a trigger for the disease as it leads to dry skin.
- Avoid smoking
just like alcohol, smoking also increases the chances of having psoriasis and makes the symptoms more severe.
you can easily get supplements to help you deal with the symptoms of psoriasis. These include evening primrose oil, Oregon grape, aloe vera, milk thistle, vitamin D and fish oil. Ask your doctor before using them.
- Keep away from fragrances
while they make you smell nice, most soaps and fragrances have substances which may trigger your psoriasis. Even some of those labeled with the sensitive skin tag may still irritate your skin.
- Avoid cold baths
cold baths tend to trigger most cases of psoriasis. Use warm water mixed with some olive oil, milk, Epsom salt and mineral oil to do away with the pain.
- Stay stress-free
while a lifestyle disease such as psoriasis can cause stress, you should lead a healthy life since the stress will fuel the psoriasis further to create a vicious cycle of the disease and stress. Before using any of these remedies, seek the opinion of your doctor to avoid irritating your skin further.
Mayo Clinic. Psoriasis.
WebMD. Eczema and Your Skin.
National Eczema. Eczema Treatment.