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Is it Psoriasis or Eczema?

By HERWriter
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Many skin rashes are difficult to tell apart. At first glance, psoriasis and eczema share many similarities but they really are very different conditions even though confusingly, they sometimes appear together. Both psoriasis and eczema are chronic skin diseases but one of the main differences is that eczema can be the result of a condition such as asthma while psoriasis may lead to other conditions such as psoriatic arthritis. Additionally, people with psoriasis are at greater risk of developing heart disease, diabetes and depression.

Psoriasis is a chronic genetic skin disease where skin cells mature much faster than normal (in 3 to 4 days instead of 28 to 30) and instead of falling off, the cells layer on top of each other. In plague psoriasis, the most common form of the five types of psoriasis, the skin develops thickened red raised lesions covered with silvery white scales that flake and may even bleed.

Eczema is a term used to describe a generalized skin rash, usually in response to an allergic reaction. The most frequent type is called atopic dermatitis and is frequently triggered by an irritant such as detergent or an allergic response to a food. The rash is red, can be very itchy and may develop blisters and become “weepy”. Eczema can become thickened and look more like psoriasis if the rash becomes chronic.

Both eczema and psoriasis can occur on the scalp, hands, feet, face or neck. However, one clue that separates eczema and psoriasis is that eczema favors the insides of body parts (flexor surfaces) and is more common inside of the arm and backside of the knee while psoriasis favors outside surfaces (extensor surfaces) such as the backs of the elbows or front of the knees. It can be difficult for even a dermatologist to tell the difference between psoriasis and eczema on the hands but with psoriasis, the nails will show pitting even if the cuticle is not involved.

Early treatment for both eczema and psoriasis can be similar. Both use topical lotions, creams, coal tar and steroids. Oral steroids may be used for more severe cases but only for short periods due to potential serious side effects.

Add a Comment2 Comments


I'm glad that probiotics helped your son but according to Web md, studies have not proven probiotics conclusively help eczema and may be actually dangerous for children to take due to bowel complications.
This is the article:
Adults are more able to tolerate bowel problems so for your mother in law's friend may not have a problem but for kids it is best to check with a pediatrician first.

March 19, 2010 - 3:53pm
EmpowHER Guest

Our son suffered from such terrible Eczema and has been dramatically helped by taking the chidlren's chewable probiotic called Belly Boost. It has been so amazing for him that we have many people asking us what we did to help him! Just yesterday, my mother-in-law spoke with me about whether a friend of hers should try Vidazorb (the probiotics company) for his Psoriasis! YES!! I really believe it can help more people if it could do what it has done for us :)

March 19, 2010 - 2:23pm
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.


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