Is It Eczema or Psoriasis?
Last updated: August 2023
I have had psoriasis since the age of 5. I am now 65. This condition has consumed so much of my life. I'm aware of symptoms, triggers, treatments. I have to be. Being the advocate I am, I am also aware that this condition can constantly be misdiagnosed or overlooked.
I have 6 beautiful grandkids. 3 of them have been diagnosed with eczema (and not psoriasis). You may be familiar but psoriasis can be considered a genetic condition. Of course, I am questioning their diagnosis, but I am their grandmother, not the doctor.
Psoriasis and eczema can often be misdiagnosed.
It almost feels like dermatologists have to run through a checklist before landing on the right diagnosis. Ringworm? No? Then Eczema? Still no? All right, maybe psoriasis. How do we know? Skin symptoms need to be treated differently for each unique condition.
Wrong treatment for the wrong disease simply won't be successful. I empathize with doctors through. It's tough! Skin symptoms can often resemble each other in early stages but we know how different they truly are. These professionals should know.
Its misdiagnosis that leads to misconception that leads to painful stigma (and even more painful skin).
What are the key difference between these 2 skin conditions?
Yes, eczema and psoriasis are both skin conditions but depending on your skin type, can appear differently. Psoriasis has raised plaques while eczema has a rash-like appearance. The rash-like appearance can also be confused with inverse psoriasis and this is where it gets tricky.
Both conditions can occur on the hands, scalp, and other parts of the body. Neither condition is contagious and it is possible to have both. Infection are also a risk due to exposed and raw skin.
I was misdiagnosed decades ago. I have had 6 biopsies in my life to prove I have psoriasis. My psoriasis skin and symptoms never seem to look the same, another tricky complication. Let's take a look at some other comparisons.
A look at the itch
Both eczema and psoriasis produce a painful itch. An itch so intense and chaotic that many of those with severe eczema will scratch until they bleed. Psoriasis is an autoimmune condition where the body produces skin cells too quickly - skin can often feel it's burning and stinging. To me, it feels like fire ants are biting all over.
Psoriasis symptoms compared to eczema symptoms
Skin impacted by eczema appears irritated and red. It may be crusty, leaking or scaly. Spots could be irregular and leathery, even occasionally dark. Swelling may also be a symptom. Psoriasis is raised skin plaque with layered dead skin on top of the other. It's elevated, scaly and sometimes silvery.
Where on the body do these conditions occur?
Eczema frequently develops in curved body regions, such as the inside of the elbow or the area behind the knees. It is possible to have it on your wrists, ankles, and neck. Psoriasis frequently appears on the elbows, knees, lower back, scalp and face, palms of your hands, and soles of your feet, among other places, depending on the type.
What age do these conditions appear?
Most often, newborns or young toddlers are diagnosed with eczema. Frequently, symptoms subside as a child grows older. When adults are diagnosed with eczema, it's typically a sign of something else. Psoriasis manifests between the ages of 15 and 35. But those of different ages can also get it.
Let's talk treatment
Treatment for eczema is based on severity. They include emollients and topical corticosteroid. Treatment for psoriasis also depends on severity. Treatments can also be topical or systemic meaning an oral pill or biologic injection.
Are you recently diagnosed with psoriasis?