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Itchy Dry Skin Psoriasis or Eczema? How to Differentiate?

Do you have itchy skin with red eruption dry hard skin, that won’t go away? If yes, you may have eczema or psoriasis. While psoriasis and eczema can look similar, it’s important to know the difference. They have different causes and can have different treatments. It’s usually best to have a healthcare provider help you with your skin problems, but there are some ways to tell the difference between psoriasis and eczema on your own.

What are basic difference?
Psoriasis is a chronic immune-mediated disease. That means your immune system becomes dysfunctional and chronically activated, resulting in skin changes. It causes raised, red, scaly patches on your skin or scalp There are multiple subtypes of psoriasis. Plaque psoriasis is the most common and accounts for nearly 80-90 percent of psoriasis cases. People with plaque psoriasis typically have sharply demarcated, raised, itchy, painful red plaques covered with silvery scales. The plaques are most often found on elbows and knees, but they can occur anywhere.
Eczema is an inflammation of the skin that can have numerous triggers. Atopic dermatitis is the most common type of eczema. It typically occurs in people with a personal or family history of asthma, hay fever or other allergies, and it is often seen In children It makes skin more sensitive and more prone to infection. At any time in your life, you can develop eczema from dry skin or chemicals that contact the skin and trigger irritation or allergic reaction

 

When do psoriasis and eczema usually appear? 
Psoriasis usually appears between the ages of 16 and 22, but it can happen at any age. Eczema usually begins younger, appearing as early as 6 months of age. Although some people grow out of eczema, many people continue to have it throughout their life. Even if you have eczema for a long time, there may be periods when it gets better or worse.

What do psoriasis and eczema look like?

Signs and symptoms of psoriasis
The most common type of psoriasis is plaque psoriasis. Plaque psoriasis appears as
thick, raised, red patches on the skin that are covered with white scales made of
old, dead skin cells. These plaques can be itchy and painful. They can also crack
and bleed.
Psoriasis can affect any part of the skin, but it usually shows up on the knees,
elbows, scalp, and lower back. Other forms of psoriasis can occur on the genitals
or in your skin folds, like in your armpits (known as inverse psoriasis). Psoriasis
can also just involve the hands and feet (known as palmoplantar psoriasis).

Up to 35% of people with psoriasis also have nail changes related to psoriasis. This
includes:

  • Small pits or holes in the nail
  • Yellow or brown nail color
  • Thickening of the nail
  • Changes to the nail shape

Signs and symptoms of eczema
Eczema appears as red, dry patches of skin that are very itchy. Some people with
eczema scratch these areas a lot, which can lead to bleeding and thick or leathery
skin. Unlike psoriasis, eczema can become infected with bacteria or viruses. Although eczema can affect any part of the skin, some areas are more common. In infants, eczema usually happens on the cheeks, elbows, and knees. In older children and adults, eczema usually affects the insides of the elbows, behind the knees, and the hands and wrists. Eczema is often associated with 2 other conditions: asthma and allergic rhinitis (also called hay fever). In a large study, researchers found that 1-year-old children with eczema were 7 times more likely to develop asthma and 12 times more likely to develop hay fever by the age of 3. Many also developed allergies to certain foods. Common ones include peanuts, milk, and eggs.

 

Are eczema and psoriasis contagious? And can they turn into each other?

These are 2 very common questions — and the answer to both is no. 

Eczema and psoriasis are definitely not contagious — you can’t “catch” either by touching it. And eczema and psoriasis are completely different skin diseases. Psoriasis cannot turn into eczema, and eczema cannot turn into psoriasis.

 

What happens if psoriasis is left untreated?
There are several other serious health problems that can be more likely if you have
psoriasis. Some of the more common issues include:

  • Psoriatic arthritis. It’s estimated that as many as 40% of people with
    psoriasis also have a joint disease called psoriatic arthritis. Psoriatic arthritis
    is a chronic condition that can cause permanent joint damage if not treated.
    Psoriatic arthritis usually starts 10 to 20 years after the start of psoriasis.

Metabolic syndrome, obesity, and diabetes. Up to half of all people with
psoriasis have metabolic syndrome, which includes conditions like heart disease
and high blood pressure. People with psoriasis are also more likely to have type 2
diabetes and be obese
Is Psoriasis caused by stress? Can emotional stress cause psoriasis?
Certainly not, they do can act as a triggers factor which can aggravated the skin
eruption.


Final Conclusion
Not all skin rashes are psoriasis or eczema. Even between psoriasis and eczema, it can be hard to tell the difference. Always consult your doctor with questions about your diagnosis and treatment.

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