Eczema and psoriasis are conditions that affect the skin. They both produce red areas or bumps on the skin, so they can be difficult to tell apart. Eczema starts earlier in life and usually causes more itching, while psoriasis develops later and is characterized by thick patches of skin. Learn how to tell the difference between eczema and psoriasis so you can get the proper treatment.
Method One of Three:
1Monitor for red-brown patches. Eczema and psoriasis both cause red patches on the skin; however, eczema has red patches that may also have a brownish or gray tint to them. The skin may also be covered in smaller bumps that are filled with fluid or that are crusty.
- The red patches of skin may be covered in raised bumps that look like goosebumps.
- The affected skin may thicken or develop knots.
- The color may be darker or lighter depending on the type of eczema, how long it has been affecting you, or how serious the flare up is.
2Check for dry skin. Eczema often makes your skin dry. Your skin may be flaky or peel off when scratched. In extreme cases, the skin may be cracked because it is so dry.
- The skin may crack and ooze a clear substance. The cracked skin may lead to skin infections.
3Identify where eczema occurs. Eczema often occurs on the hands, wrists, feet, ankles, upper chest, eyelids, and cheeks. You may also see it on areas of the body that bend, like the inside of the elbows or knees.
- In babies, eczema may be on the face or scalp. Babies may also get it along the leg where a diaper sits or between the buttocks.
Method Two of Three:
1Look for red patches of skin. The most common symptom of psoriasis is thick, scaly, raised red patches of skin. The patches of red skin are covered with silver-colored or white scales. A different type of psoriasis may have small red spots all over the skin. Psoriasis may also cause swollen red areas of the skin or bumps with pus.
- The raised scaly patches of skin are extremely dry. The patches may crack and bleed.
- Pus-filled bumps will dry out and may turn brown or become scaly.
2Notice the areas where afflicted. Where the red areas appear on your skin depends on the type of psoriasis you have. Psoriasis can happen pretty much any place on your body. If you have the large, thick silvery-red scales, this can be anywhere, including your mouth or genitals. Mostly it forms on the knees, elbows, lower back, and scalp.
- Guttate psoriasis causes small red bumps mostly occur on the torso, back, arms, legs, and scalp.
- Inverse psoriasis gives you patches of red skin along the folds of your skin, such as on your armpits, groin, under the breasts, along your buttocks, and around your genitals.
- You may also get psoriasis of the nails or hands. Pustular psoriasis may only affect the palms or the soles of the feet.
3Check for pain. Psoriasis sometimes causes pain. The red patches on your skin may have a burning sensation or become sore and tender. Some bumps may cause blisters that are painful to touch or throb. You may also experience swollen or painful joints.
- Some psoriasis may leave the skin feeling raw and achy.
4Determine if there was a related cause. Some psoriasis may occur after or alongside other conditions. Some types of psoriasis, such as the small red bumps, may show up after certain illnesses like strep throat.
- Some forms of psoriasis may be accompanied by fever, fatigue, chills, muscle weakness, or an overall feeling of sickness.
- Some types of psoriasis are accompanied by rapid heart rates or a rapid pulse.
Method Three of Three:
Telling Eczema and Psoriasis ApartEdit
1Notice when it occurs. Eczema and psoriasis affect people at different times in their life. This can help you determine which condition the person has. Eczema is common in babies and young children. Psoriasis is common in young adults or the elderly. If the condition starts in childhood, it’s probably eczema, but if it starts as a teenager or adult, it’s more than likely psoriasis.
- Eczema may occur in adults, but it mostly occurs in small children. Generally, the eczema gets better as the child grows up.
- Psoriasis is most common between the ages of 15 and 30. It may also begin between the ages of 50 and 60.
2Determine the cause. Eczema and psoriasis are triggered by different things. Psoriasis is caused by an unknown underlying reason, but some factors like stress, cold weather, damage to the skin, or medication side effects may cause it. Eczema occurs as a reaction to environmental factors.
- For example, eczema may occur if a person is exposed to allergens like pet dander or hair, jewelry metal, fragrances, detergents, or stress.
- Psoriasis is thought to be caused by a combination of genetic factors and experiencing a trigger, such as a stressful event; strep throat; cold, dry weather; or a cut, scratch or sunburn.
3Notice the intensity of the itching. Both psoriasis and eczema can cause skin discomfort. The difference in the intensity of the discomfort or itching can provide some insight on which condition the person has. If you have psoriasis, itching the skin may cause the skin or inflamed area to thicken.Advertisement