Maybe you are getting ready to go to a party you have been eagerly been waiting to attend for weeks, or you are just going out to the garden to chill.
Only there is one problem. This itch that just won’t leave you alone. You can’t concentrate and enjoy anything, not before the party, not during the party, not after the party. (If alcohol is involved, you will even come out worst).
These red blotches of red skin, what is the problem? Eczema and Psoriasis are two of the most common skin problems. Millions of people around the world have both. They have somewhat similar symptoms.
So how do you tell them apart? What is the difference between the two?
Table of Contents
Eczema vs Psoriasis – What Is The Underlying Problem?
Both problems are caused by dysfunction in your immune systems.
In Eczema the underlying problem is that your immune system overreacts and triggers inflammation of the skin which is a protective mechanism, but in Eczema is triggered for the wrong reason. The redness is actually your blood vessels there dilating and allowing more blood, which contains stuff like white blood cells and chemicals required to form clotting. Basically, it thinks your skin is under attack.
In Psoriasis the immune system fails by producing too many skin cells. This causes the dead cells to move quickly to the outer layer of your skin and build up.
Eczema vs Psoriasis – How it Feels
Eczema causes a really really intense itch. It feels like the nerves under your skin have to be ripped out and back. Eczema is inflamed skin, and it feels warm and has this consistent irritated feeling on your skin.
This is why people with Eczema scratch so badly that they end up getting their skin bleeding or even infected.
Psoriasis on the other hand, it is often itchy, but you feel something extra going on. Your skin may feel stinging or burning like you are getting bitten by little fire ants. When you touch it, it isn’t just a red rash it feels crusty and scaly (though severe Eczema can also end up like that).
It is often described as an itchy feeling that at the same time feels like burning, biting and painful. Most people with Psoriasis suffer itching, but not all of. The itch is bad, but differs from the intensity of Eczema., this is because the irritation of the skin is a secondary reaction to the build up of skin cells.
Eczema vs Psoriasis – What It Looks Like
Eczema looks red and inflamed, often these patches of red appear right after you scratch and not before. Depending on the stage of the Eczema, it can be scaly, flaky, oozing and crusting. The skin is also usually far drier than normal.
After extensive Eczema over a long period, the skin is guaranteed to be discolored due to an effect called hyperpigmentation. On top of this Eczema over a long time causes leathery like reptilian looking skin.
This was the butt of many jokes when I was young, that I was a lizard or reptile. I’m still surprised I came out okay after all that bullying…life is strange.
Psoriasis’s key difference is that if you look CLOSELY. It’s silvery, scaly. the scales are far denser and raised up high and thicker and more inflamed. On the other hand the red patches and bleeding tend to be a lot less obvious than Eczema. Eczema looks way more like a rash than psoriasis does. White scale is the most prominent characteristic of Psoriasis. When it thickens like this it is called Plaque Psoriasis.
Where Does It Appear?
Eczema often appears on parts of your body that bends. For example your inner elbow, or behind your knees. Oddly enough it doesn’t seem to show up in armpits. The neck and wrists are popular places. The most unlucky area to get it is your face. Basically wherever joins folds constantly.
Psoriasis often shows up in the opposite places of where Eczema is common, such as mouth and lips, lower back, outer elbows, outer knees, forehead (an uncommon Eczema location) and ears. Palms and soles of feet are very common too.
In general, both Eczema and Psoriasis can show up anywhere on the body, with skin folds being more susceptible due to the increased moisture of those areas by sweat.
What Triggers It?
Both Eczema and Psoriasis are triggered by similar things, allergens that are unique to every individual who suffers it. It can literally be anything.
Soaps, Disinfectants, Dust, Pet Fur, Pollen, Food, anything that triggers inflammation basically.
Infections and changes in hormones can also trigger one or the other.
Psoriasis tends to flare up when your skin is injured, whilst Eczema tends to flare up when the skin is dry, poorly maintained and exposed to dust and basically anything that floats in the air.
Hope this helps!
Images downloaded off healthline.com .