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What's the difference between psoriasis and eczema?

What's the difference between psoriasis and eczema?

Eczema vs Psoriasis

  • Eczema is the most common inflammatory skin problem in children. Psoriasis is another skin disorder which occurs in both adults and children. In fact, almost 1% of children develop psoriasis, and it occurs for the first time in about the third of the affected patients in childhood.
  • Eczema is triggered by a hypersensitivity reaction, whereas psoriasis is an autoimmune skin disorder that causes overproduction of skin cells.
  • It’s not always easy to distinguish between eczema and psoriasis. And indeed a study conducted in Australia recently showed that the majority of children with psoriasis were initially diagnosed wrongly by their primary care physicians often thinking that they had eczema. However, a trained dermatologist can easily distinguish between psoriasis and eczema.

What are differences between their appearances, locations on the body and symptoms?

  • The psoriasis isn’t contagious and it is characterized by thick, red, silvery-white scaly patches, commonly affects elbows and knees. However, it may occur anywhere including the scalp, face, hands, buttock, and neck. Psoriasis on the face is often embarrassing and a source of social anxiety for the patients. If it appears on the scalp, it can be difficult to treat because of hairs.
  • Eczema tends to appear on the body parts that bend such as inner part of the elbow or under the knees. In addition, it can appear on neck, wrists, and ankles. Infants sometimes have it on their face, scalp, chest, back, hands, and legs. Eczema causes skin to appear red, inflamed, or pus-filled.
  • Both eczema and psoriasis can be itchy; however, generally eczema is much itchier than psoriasis.
  • Similar to the psoriasis, eczema on the face can cause embarrassment and social anxiety. Because it is associated with intense itching, it deteriorates the skin and allows infection or bleeding.

Danish Raza
Pharmacist, PhD
Emory University Hospital
Atlanta, GA, USA

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  • Dr. Danish Raza
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