What Else Should I Ask My Healthcare Provider
If you have psoriasis, ask your healthcare provider:
- How can I prevent outbreaks and control symptoms?
- What medication will work best for me?
- What else should I do to improve symptoms?
- What are my options if creams dont work?
- Will psoriasis ever go away?
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Psoriasis, an itchy skin condition, can come and go throughout your life. Its related to an overactive immune response and is not contagious. If you have skin changes that arent going away, talk to your healthcare provider. There is no cure for psoriasis, but psoriasis treatments can improve symptoms. Your provider may prescribe a special cream or moisturizer or medications. Other therapies are available if creams or medicines dont work. Maintaining your overall health will also help improve symptoms.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 10/17/2020.
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What Causes Psoriasis And Eczema
Causes of psoriasis
We dont know the exact cause of psoriasis, but we do know that its a type of autoimmune disease, meaning that an overactive immune system is involved. The main symptom of psoriasis is thick skin plaques, caused by skin growing too quickly.
Your genes and family history can play a role in whether or not you develop psoriasis. About 40% of people with psoriasis have a family member with psoriasis. And if one parent has psoriasis, a child has about a 30% chance of having it.
Then, there are triggers that can worsen psoriasis symptoms. While each person is different, common triggers for psoriasis include stress and certain infections, like strep throat. Some medications can also act like triggers. Examples include lithium, propranolol , and hydroxychloroquine .
Causes of eczema
The word eczema actually refers to a group of skin conditions that can cause your skin to become red and itchy. Common types of eczema include atopic dermatitis, seborrheic dermatitis, and contact dermatitis.
Often, when people talk about eczema, theyre referring to atopic dermatitis, the most common type of eczema. In fact, over 18 million Americans have atopic dermatitis, 13% of which are children. For this article, well stick to talking about atopic dermatitis.
Like psoriasis, eczema can worsen with triggers. These can include dry skin, stress, and different irritants, like wool and perfumes. Everyday allergens like pollen and dust mites can also be triggers.
How Is Each Treated
Eczema treatment depends on how severe it is. For mild to moderate cases, youâll use a topical corticosteroid to control inflammation, and youâll use an emollient on your skin. This type of moisturizer has an oil or cream base, not a water base, like lotion, which could dry your skin out more.
If you have moderate to severe eczema, you may need to try a medicine that affects your immune system like , methotrexate, azathioprine, or cyclosporine. If nothing else works, your doctor may prescribe a biologic drug called dupilumab . You might also try light therapy using ultraviolet light.
Psoriasis treatment is either systemic, which means it affects your entire body, or topical, which goes on your skin. If your disease is limited, or mild, you may be able to control it with topical corticosteroids and emollients.
Light therapy paired with methotrexate, cyclosporine, acretin, or a biologic is also an option for more severe cases. Or you could use just a biologic drug, which includes:
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What Are The Symptoms Of Psoriasis
Psoriasis comes in several forms. Symptoms can occur a bit differently in each person. They can include:
Plaque psoriasis. This type of psoriasis is the most common. Symptoms may include patches of red, raised skin on the torso, arms, legs, knees, elbows, genitals, and scalp. Nails may also thicken, become pitted, and separate from the nail beds. Plaques on the joints can limit movement.
Pustular psoriasis. Symptoms include small blisters filled with pus. They dont have bacteria in them. The pustules may be all over the body or just on the palms, soles, and other small areas.
Guttate psoriasis. This type of psoriasis affects mostly children. Symptoms may include many small spots of red, raised skin. A sore throat usually comes just before of this type of psoriasis.
The symptoms of psoriasis can be like other health conditions. Make sure to see your healthcare provider for a diagnosis.
Psoriasis Or Eczema On Elbows
Conventional treatments for eczema include steroidal.
which affects 90% of people with psoriasis, pink or red plaques develop in symmetrical patterns on the elbows, knees, and near the hairline.
Itchy Rash? How to Tell If Its Eczema or Psoriasis. Eczema and psoriasis share similar traits, so its often difficult to tell them apart. Either way, there are several treatment options that.
While it commonly shows up on specific areas like the elbows, knees.
psoriasis is caused by a haywire immune system. Both psoriasis and eczema are skin conditions that can be itchy and.
An example of psoriasis vulgaris on the elbow.
Scalp psoriasis may resemble seborrheic dermatitis, but in that condition.
What are the similarities and differences between psoriasis and eczema regarding appearance, location, itching, and age of occurrence?
Plaque can show up anywhere, although it most often appears on the elbows, knees.
Ringworm can also produce red skin with a flaky scale. Eczema, which can be difficult to distinguish from psoriasis.
OTC hydrocortisone is often the first thing doctors recommend to treat mild eczema. Psoriasis.
They most usually appear on the elbows, knees, scalp and lower back. While medical professionals.
Eczema and psoriasis are both chronic skin conditions, but have many.
knees, and elbows, but it can show up anywhere, including your face.
Plaque can show up anywhere, although it most often appears on the elbows, knees.
People with allergies and asthma are more.
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Diagnosis Of Eczema Vs Psoriasis
Eczema is typically diagnosed by observing the skin and asking questions about patient and family history. A patch test may be performed to confirm whether eczema is due to a specific allergen. Read more details about eczema diagnosis.
Psoriasis is usually diagnosed by a dermatologist by performing a visual exam and taking the patient and family history. In some cases, the doctor may do a biopsy to confirm the diagnosis.
Psoriasis Vs Eczema: Causes
Psoriasis is an autoimmune disease an overproduction of skin cells, Dr. Khetarpal says.
She explains that in normal skin, it takes around 28 days for a cell to mature, travel to the surface of the epidermis, and be shed along with other dead cells.
In people with psoriasis, however, that process speeds up to just a few days. As a result, live cells can accumulate along with dead ones, which can lead to the formation of scaly lesions.
In eczema, the skin isnt able to retain water as it needs to, which can make the skin dry and itchy, as well as more sensitive to irritants, says Khetarpal.
Eczema flares are typically set off by a hypersensitivity, where essentially your skin is reacting to things in the environment, such as fragrances, certain materials, or allergens, she says.
There may also be an immune component to eczema, says the National Eczema Association . People with eczema tend to have an overly reactive immune system that, when triggered by a substance outside or inside the body, responds by producing inflammation. This inflammation causes the discolored, itchy, and painful skin symptoms common to eczema.
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Connect With Others Who Understand
MyPsoriasisTeam is the social network for people living with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis. Here, 87,000 members regularly discuss their experiences with managing their symptoms, finding the right treatments, and living with psoriasis or PsA.
Do you experience PsA symptoms in your elbows? How do you relieve your pain? Join MyPsoriasisTeam today and share your stories with others by leaving a comment below or starting a conversation on your Activities page.
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There Can Be Overlap Between Eczema And Psoriasis
Still in some children, its hard to tell the difference. In this case, a dermatologist might diagnose the child with psoriasiform dermatitis.
Sometimes, a child has both eczema and psoriasis, so there can be some overlap.
A dermatologist, however, will generally be able to differentiate between these two relatively common skin disorders.
All content solely developed by the American Academy of Dermatology
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What Are The Key Differences
Cause. Psoriasis is an immune-mediated condition, meaning your immune system becomes overactive. In this case, certain inflammatory cells cause the body to make new skin cells too fast. These cells pile up on the surface of the skin, leading to thick, scaly patches that are often itchy and painful.
While experts do not know the exact cause of eczema, they think its a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Similar to psoriasis, there is also inflammation in the skin, and this may be related to an irritant or an allergen that triggers the immune system, or may cause an eczema flare-up.
Age. Eczema is most common in babies and children. Psoriasis often starts between the ages of 15 and 35. However, people of all ages can experience these conditions.
Itch. Another key difference between these conditions is the intensity of itching, particularly at night and in children. With psoriasis, the itching may be absent or mild to moderate. But for eczema, it is common, can be intense and can affect sleep.
How To Tell Whether That Itchy Rash Is Eczema Or Psoriasis
Do you have a dry, itchy, red rash that doesnt seem to go away? You may have eczema or psoriasis. Both conditions have similar symptoms and both can run in families, which can make it difficult to distinguish one from the other. These similar skin conditions are often managed with similar treatments, but there are differences you should know.
Here at Riviera Allergy Medical Center, allergy specialist Dr. Ulrike Ziegner helps patients manage a wide variety of allergies and immune-related conditions, including psoriasis and eczema.
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What Does Psoriasis Look Like
Psoriasis usually appears as red or pink plaques of raised, thick, scaly skin. However, it can also appear as small, flat bumps or large, thick plaques. It most commonly affects the skin on the elbows, knees, and scalp, though it can appear anywhere on the body. The following slides will review some of the different types of psoriasis.
The Differences In Appearances
Eczema makes your skin red and inflamed. It may be scaly, oozing, or crusty. You may see rough, leathery patches that are sometimes dark. It can also cause swelling.
Psoriasis can also cause red patches. They may be silvery and scaly — and raised. But if you look closely, the skin is thicker and more inflamed than with eczema.
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Could It Be Eczema
Eczema is a skin rash from a reaction or allergy. The condition is mainly present in young children. However, older persons can develop the condition. With eczema, the reaction is the bodys immune system attacking the skin. This causes inflammation in areas like the wrists, elbows, knees, and face. More severe cases show up on the hands and feet. Environmental occurrences like pollen, metals, and even stress cause these flareups.
What Symptoms Should You Watch For
Visually, it can sometimes be difficult to tell one condition from the other.
You have to look at all the clinical aspects of a rash to distinguish between eczema and psoriasis, including the history and the patients other medical problems, Dr. Fernandez says.
The common signs dry and/or cracked scaly skin, itching and red patches or plaques may show up for either.
With psoriasis, the plaques on your skin are likely thicker and have dry scaling. But sometimes thats not enough to tell between the two with the naked eye, Dr. Fernandez says.
A more obvious clue fluid leaking through the skin points to eczema.
When we see that, we definitely think about eczema instead of psoriasis, he says. But there are definitely times when we cannot tell the difference. And, in those cases, we will perform biopsies.
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Psoriasis Vs Eczema: Complications
Any condition that impacts the skin barrier increases the chance of infection. This can happen with either psoriasis or eczema but tends to be more common in eczema. In eczema, people are scratching more, so it’s common to see the skin superficially infected, says Khetarpal.
Psoriasis can also lead to more serious complications. About 30 percent of people with psoriasis will develop psoriatic arthritis, a chronic, inflammatory disease of the joints, according to the National Psoriasis Foundation .
People with psoriasis are also 1.5 to 2 times more likely to develop heart disease than people without the skin condition, says the NPF. Psoriasis is not just inflammation of the skin it causes systemic inflammation and can put you at higher risk for cardiovascular conditions, such as heart attack and stroke, explains Khetarpal.
Psoriasis Symptoms Vs Eczema Symptoms
Psoriasis and eczema have similarities. So many, in fact, that its not unusual for children with one to be misdiagnosed with the other.
But the differences between the two can help make a proper diagnosis, and lead to more successful treatment.
One difference between psoriasis and eczema is how it feels.
With psoriasis, the itching is typically mild or may feel more like a burning sensation. However, with eczema, the itching is very intense.
In fact, people with eczema may scratch so much it leads to bleeding.
Where your rash is concentrated may also help diagnose it.
Eczema is most common on the back of the knees or the inside of the elbows, where psoriasis can show up on the scalp, knees, elbows, buttocks and face.
Neither disease is limited solely to these areas, though.
One more tell-tale difference between the two conditions is in how they react to sunlight.
People with eczema will likely find the sun to be a curse, as it can be sensitive to heat, and sweating may worsen the flare-ups.
In psoriasis, on the other hand, sunlight can slow down the abnormal skin lesions and UV light is even used as a treatment for this skin condition.
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Eczema In Inconvenient Places
Eczema can occur in many inconvenient places especially for infants. Diapers and baby creams may irritate sensitive skin, causing extreme diaper rashes. In some cases, the eczema covers the entire area that comes into contact with a diaper.
Hypersensitivity to the material of a diaper or the creams used in washing the area can aggravate skin. Switching to soft cotton diapers or using a different cleanser may help ease eczema in the genital area for infants.
Adults with eczema in sensitive areas may need to change laundry detergents, cleansers, and fabrics.
What Causes Psoriasis Vs Eczema
These two skin problems have different causes and can appear in different stages of your life. Psoriasis is an autoimmune condition that affects about 7.5 million Americans, according to the AAD. It happens when the skin cells go through their life cycle more quickly than normal. Typically, it takes about a month for skin cells to regenerate, but in people with psoriasis, this process happens every three to four days, according to the Cleveland Clinic.
Psoriasis typically strikes when someone is between the ages of 15 and 35, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, but it can affect anyone at any age. What we do know is that psoriasis is immune-mediated, meaning there is some imbalance in the immune system, which leads to inflamed skin, dermatologist and National Psoriasis Foundation medical board member Jashin Wu, M.D., tells SELF. It tends to run in families, but there may not be straightforward patterns of inheritance. One well-known trigger is strep throat infections, but not all new cases of psoriasis result from strep throat.
Eczema is much more common than psoriasis. According to the most recent estimate available, more than 30 million Americans have some form of eczema.
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What Is The Treatment For Psoriasis On Elbows & Knees
People living with plaque psoriasis have a wide range of treatment options. Healthcare providers will often advise people with mild psoriasis on the elbows and knees to try using topical medicines to relieve their symptoms.3
Topical medicines are usually creams or ointments that are applied directly to the skin that is affected by psoriasis. Some topical medicines are available over the counter, but some stronger ones will require a prescription.
Coal tar and salicylic acid are over-the-counter topical medicines commonly used to treat plaque psoriasis. Because the plaques on the knees and elbows can be especially dry and prone to painful cracking, some people find that special, thick moisturizers can help.
While moisturizers will not treat the cause of the psoriasis plaques, many people find that they offer some relief and help to reduce dryness and cracking.
Some people may find that they need a more powerful prescription topical medicine to control their symptoms. There are topical creams that contain special forms of Vitamin A and others that contain Vitamin D. Topical corticosteroids are also helpful for some people.
People who have more severe forms of plaque psoriasis may need a different type of treatment, called systemic medicines4.
Eczema Symptoms On The Other Hand Are Similar But Different
Eczema is really the collective name for a group of conditions that cause the skin to become red, itchy, and inflamed. The most common form of eczema is atopic dermatitis, which is why when most people say eczema, they usually mean atopic dermatitis, Todd Minars, M.D., an assistant clinical professor of dermatology at University of Miami School of Medicine, tells SELF.
The American Academy of Dermatology calls atopic dermatitis the itch that rashes to emphasize how uncomfortable this conditions characteristic dry, red, scaly patches can be.
Symptoms of atopic dermatitis can include:
- Dry, itchy patches of skin
- Small red-to-brownish-gray raised bumps
- Cracked or scaly skin
Contact dermatitis is another kind of eczema, which can be caused by coming into contact with an allergen or an irritating substance, such as solvents, poison ivy, and detergents, the AAD says. The reaction typically affects the part of the body that touched the irritant, according to the Mayo Clinic. Its symptoms are redness or rash, burning or swelling, and blisters that may weep or crust over.
Dyshidrotic eczema is yet another form of this condition. It appears as small, itchy blisters on the edges of the fingers, toes, palms, and soles of the feet, and may be triggered by stress, allergies, or exposure to metals like nickel and cobalt, according to the Mayo Clinic. Symptoms include pain, itching, redness, flaking, and scaly, cracked skin.
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