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Psoriasis vs Eczema: which do I have?

Both psoriasis and eczema are extremely common skin conditions that affect a surprisingly large number of people, however, it is not always easy to spot the difference between them. If you suffer from or begin to notice any areas of red, dry or itchy skin it is likely that you may be experiencing symptoms of one of these conditions. It is important you identify which one so that your condition can be treated correctly.

The difference in appearance

Eczema appears as patches of red skin that are often risen and inflamed. These areas may be rough in texture or ‘leathery’ and at times can turn crusty or scaly and even begin to ooze liquid.

Psoriasis is a skin disease that can appear in a very similar way but the skin is likely to be thicker and more inflamed than with eczema. Psoriasis is an autoimmune condition that triggers the overproduction of skin cells which can build up into silvery-white scales. You can view some example images of psoriasis and eczema on the NHS Direct website.

How they feel

Eczema can cause a very intense and persistent itch. Some sufferers report it itching so badly that it causes them to scratch their own skin until it bleeds!

Psoriasis can evoke a similar feeling but many sufferers also experience a burning/stinging sensation.

Causes/triggers

Eczema can be triggered by a number of different variables but common causes of flare-ups can be certain laundry detergents and soaps, dust, pet allergies, certain food and sudden changes in temperature.

Psoriasis is commonly triggered by stress and can flare up in times where the patient is under a lot of emotional or mental strain. Similarly to eczema, certain food and drinks can also cause a reaction and many people report that alcohol, dairy, red meat and anything with a high sugar content can cause irritation.

Where it appears

Eczema is likely to appear on areas of the skin behind our joints, for example, the backs of knees and elbows, but it is also commonly found on necks, wrists and ankles.

Psoriasis is more commonly found on and around fingernails and hands, areas of the face, particularly the eyelids and around the mouth and on the ears. If you are still unsure as to which you have, the photographs and information on the Healthline website may help to clarify things.

Treatment

Living with a skin disease such as eczema or psoriasis can have a huge effect on your wellbeing and mental health, so if you suspect you may be suffering from either it is important that you seek treatment.

There are a number of creams and ointments that can be prescribed to help keep symptoms of both at bay. Often they can help to combat the dryness and irritation and with continued use, you should see long-term improvements. Many products are now available over the counter and online. We have a huge range of products to help with both eczema and psoriasis on HelloSkin, but if problems persist please consult your doctor.

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