What is the Difference Between Psoriasis and Atopic Eczema?
Psoriasis and atopic eczema (also known as atopic dermatitis) are both conditions that affect the skin, and they both tend to run in families. However, there are differences between the two conditions, and proper diagnosis is important to receive the right treatment and manage symptoms. If you or your child has symptoms that might be atopic eczema or psoriasis, you should consult with a dermatologist, a specialist with expertise and training who can properly diagnose and treat skin conditions.
Differences in symptoms
Psoriasis causes thick, scaly patches that have well-defined borders, while atopic eczema causes a rash that is dry and scaly (but not raised). Plaques are the most common symptom of psoriasis, and they can cause itchiness and burning. They can occasionally crack and bleed, particularly if they are very dry or located on an area of the body that bends or moves frequently (like a knee or elbow).
Atopic eczema may also have blisters that ooze (weepy sores), papules (small bumps that look like pimples without pus), and with chronic atopic eczema, patches of lichenification (leathery patches).1 One of the key characteristics of atopic eczema is an intense itch. Psoriasis may cause itching, but the severity of itch is associated with atopic eczema.1
Differences in location
Psoriasis plaques can develop anywhere on a person’s body, but may often form on the scalp, elbows, knees, lower back, hands, feet, nails, genitals, and skin folds. A person with psoriasis may have plaques just in one area of the body, or they may develop in multiple locations. The parts of the body that are affected by atopic eczema changes based on the age of the person:
- In infants and young children, the atopic eczema rash commonly shows up on the scalp or face, especially the cheeks or chin, or the arms and legs
- In older children, atopic eczema frequently appears as a rash on the inside creases of the elbows or knees, the neck, wrists, ankles, and/or the crease between the buttocks and the thighs
- In adults, the atopic eczema rash can appear anywhere, such as on the inner creases of the elbows or knees, and/or the nape of the neck, or it may be localized to just the hands, feet, or nipples2
How often do you experience brain fog?