Knowing the Difference Between Eczema and Psoriasis

Dr. Marc-André Doré

Saturday, August 20, 2022

Eczema and psoriasis are two skin conditions that may sound similar but are in fact very different. They both cause itching, redness, and irritated skin, and they both occur in adults and children. While only a doctor can diagnose eczema or psoriasis, it can be helpful to have an idea of what you're seeing.

Here are some ways you can determine which is which.


Psoriasis is a chronic autoimmune condition characterized by the overproduction of skin cells. Over time, the dead cells build up into silver-colored scaly patches, and the rest of the skin becomes inflamed and red. It can appear anywhere on the body. While there is no cure, psoriasis has been shown to respond to UV light treatment and certain medications.

Psoriasis on arms


Eczema, characterized by red, itchy patches that may be inflamed or cracking, is a reaction to specific triggers. These can be anything depending on the skin's specific hypersensitivity. Dyes, fabrics, soaps, and even pet hair can all cause eczema to flare up. Itching can be intense, and scratching may cause the skin to bleed. It is most commonly found on the elbows and knees, though it can appear anywhere, such as fingers or eyelids. Eczema often disappears in infancy, but it can linger through adulthood as a chronic condition. It can be treated with topical steroids or soothed with home remedies such as oatmeal baths.

If you are suffering from symptoms like the ones described above, make an appointment with your doctor right away. While there is no cure for either condition, the symptoms can be manageable with the right treatment.  

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