07 May Is This Psoriasis or Eczema?
Psoriasis and eczema are both very common skin conditions, and they can be difficult for non-professionals to tell apart. Both are a type of rash and both can be treated at Spectrum Dermatology. Like all rashes, psoriasis and eczema can both present as redness and itching. The symptoms may look very similar to the layperson, and even though Spectrum Dermatology is physically closed to abide with social distancing recommendations, we are available for TeleHealth appointments to help keep our patients safe and healthy.
Eczema is notorious for being intensely itchy. In fact, the itching can get so extreme that patients can scratch until they bleed. Psoriasis can also itch, but there’s usually more happening. The skin might feel like it’s burning or stinging when the patient has psoriasis. Some patients even describe psoriasis as feeling like ants are biting them. These two rashes also look slightly different. Eczema causes skin to be red and inflamed, but it might also look scaly, crusty, or ooze. Rough patches that are dark and sometimes similar to leather might appear. Psoriasis more often presents as red patches. They are sometimes topped with a silvery “scale,” and the skin is usually thicker when inflamed compared to eczema.
Location and Rashes
The location of the rash can also give you a clue as to what kind of disease you are dealing with. Eczema is most often found at joints, particularly on the wrists, neck, and ankles. It’s a common rash for babies, and in younger patients you might notice eczema on the scalp, chest, arms, legs, chin, and back. Psoriasis is most often found on the elbows and knees, lower back, scalp/face, and the palms or soles of the feet. However, psoriasis can also be found on very sensitive parts of the face including the eyelids, mouth, and lips.
Knowing Your Eczema, Rash, Psoriasis Triggers
Both of these rashes can be triggered or exacerbated, and it’s very important to know your personal triggers. Working with a dermatologist can help you determine your triggers so you can avoid them. However, there are some common triggers for both eczema and psoriasis that you should consider. Many people notice an eczema flareup after using certain disinfectants, soaps, detergents, and after becoming exposed to juice from meat or produce. If you have allergies, these reactions can also trigger eczema. Getting a full panel screening from an allergist is a good way to figure out if you have any allergies you might be able to avoid. An infection can also cause an eczema flareup, as can hot weather or humidity, hormonal shifts, stress, or sweating.
Psoriasis triggers may overlap with eczema triggers, particularly when it comes to infections and stress. However, you might also see a psoriasis flareup after a skin injury from a vaccination, scratch, or sunburn. Certain medications are also known to trigger psoriasis, such as malaria drugs and bipolar disorder medications.
The Age for Rashes
If you or your child are struggling with rashes, pinpointing when they started can also serve as a clue. Eczema most often begins in very young children or babies. The good news is that eczema often resolves or drastically reduces with age (though not always). It’s possible to start getting eczema as an adult, but that’s quite rare. When this happens, it’s usually due to an underlying condition.
Psoriasis most often begins when someone is 15 – 35 years old. However, it can technically occur at any age. Psoriasis has known links to a wealth of other health conditions including heart disease, diabetes, and depression. Eczema is not very commonly linked to other conditions, but there does seem to be a link to genetics, hay fever, and asthma.
The exact treatment for eczema or psoriasis depends on many factors, and treatment plans should be customized to you. Eczema may be treated with a topical ointment, corticosteroids, or light therapy. Psoriasis may be treated in the same manner, but it all depends on the severity of the rash and the location(s). If you’re experiencing a flareup or rash, you shouldn’t wait to see a dermatologist. It’s important to avoid “trying” topical creams that aren’t recommended by a professional because this can make the rash worse.
Spectrum Dermatology is available for TeleHealth services for all of your urgent dermatological needs. Contact us today at (480)-948-8400 to schedule a virtual appointment.