Do I Have Psoriasis or Eczema? How to Compare

Do I Have Psoriasis or Eczema? How to Compare

A red, itchy, burning rash is a common symptom of many skin conditions, including eczema and psoriasis. Though eczema and psoriasis are two distinct skin conditions, you’re not alone if you’re not sure if your rash is one or the other.

That’s where our board-certified dermatologists at Associated Skin Care Specialists come into play. We can tell the difference between eczema and psoriasis after taking a look at your skin and confirm a diagnosis by sending a tissue sample to our dermatopathology department.

Determining whether you have psoriasis or eczema is best left to our skin care experts. Here, we want to tell you how you can compare the two skin conditions.

About psoriasis

Psoriasis is a chronic skin condition that develops because of problems involving the immune system. With psoriasis, the immune system speeds up skin cell production, leading to dry, scaly, raised, itchy, and inflamed patches of skin. 

Though most people with psoriasis have the scaly patches of skin — called plaque psoriasis —  there are different types of psor,asis that cause different symptoms. For example, inverse psoriasis causes a flat, painful red rash on areas where the skin rubs together, like under the armpits or the groin.

About eczema

According to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), the term eczema has two meanings. Eczema is:

  1. A general term that includes any skin condition that causes inflamed, usually itchy skin
  2. The umbrella term for skin conditions like atopic dermatitis, contact dermatitis, and stasis dermatitis  

Like psoriasis, eczema’s main symptoms are inflamed, itchy skin. Researchers are still investigating the cause of eczema, but theorize it occurs from a combination of genetic and environmental factors. 

Psoriasis vs. eczema

Psoriasis and eczema have some of the same symptoms, and it’s possible to confuse one with  the other. However, there are some differences. For example, psoriasis is less itchy than eczema. 

Though both skin conditions seem to cause problems on the knees and elbows, eczema most often affects the inside folds of these body parts, while psoriasis affects the outer skin at the bend of the joint. 

When we’re trying to differentiate between psoriasis and eczema for our patients, we ask detailed questions about symptoms and location of the rashes to determine what skin condition they have. We also review medical and family history.

And, we may take a sample of your rash and send it to our dermatopathologists for analysis.

Getting the right diagnosis is important for getting the right care. If you have concerns about a skin condition and don’t know whether it’s eczema, psoriasis, or something else, schedule an appointment by calling the dermatology office most convenient to you. 

We provide comprehensive dermatology care at our offices in Blaine, Maple Grove, Coon Rapids, Eden Prairie, New Brighton, and Minneapolis, Minnesota. We do our lab testing at our office in Fridley, Minnesota.

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