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Did you know that like eczema, psoriasis is a common skin condition? In fact, psoriasis affects close to 125 million people worldwide. Also, like eczema, psoriasis is a chronic autoimmune condition that causes itching, scaling, and pain. This week, we discuss what is the difference between eczema and psoriasis. If you’re suffering from either skin condition, then we know how difficult it can be to find a treatment plan that works well.
Please keep in mind that although these recommendations might relieve psoriasis, we are in no way medical professionals. If you’re experiencing severe psoriasis symptoms like fever or an infection, it is best to seek medical advice immediately. It’s also important to seek medical attention immediately if you begin to suffer from psoriatic arthritis.
Eczema or Psoriasis?
Onset of Symptoms
Although eczema and psoriasis might have similar symptoms, there are ways to differentiate between the two. Below we’ll examine what is the difference between eczema and psoriasis.
Eczema can be caused by a variety of triggers and conditions; however, the exact cause of it is unknown. While there are many types (or subsets) of eczema, including those that result in itchy red patches, this skin condition tends to affect more children. Many children who suffer from eczema end up outgrowing it, but there are many who will continue to suffer throughout their life. On the other hand, psoriasis tends to develop somewhere between 15 and 35 years old.
Of course, it is not uncommon to see eczema symptoms developing in adult life and psoriasis developing during childhood, but it is less common. In fact, The American Academy of Dermatology estimates that 1% of children have psoriasis, while 10% of children have eczema, according to the Nemours Foundation.
ILW recommends: What Causes Psoriasis to Flare Up? Avoid the Top 10 Triggers
Eczema often appears on creases like the inner elbows and behind knees, yet it can appear on the face, hands, groin, and body too. Although there are many different types of eczema (which have different causes and different appearances), the symptoms are usually similar across the board.
ILW recommends: How to Identity The Type of Dermatitis You Have
The most common symptoms/appearance of eczema are as follows:
- Dry, sensitive skin
- Red, inflamed skin (looks like a rash and can blister too)
- Intense itching
- Dark colored patches of skin
- Rough, leathery or scaly patches of skin
- Oozing or crusting (including weeping skin)
- Areas of swelling
One of the biggest identifiers for eczema is intense itching, as many sufferers experience something known as the “itch-scratch cycle.” This is a cycle in which the itch gets so bad that is a scratched until it bleeds. Not only can this cause skin to swell, but eczema sufferers usually become more susceptible to staph infection due to consistent broken and damaged skin.
Psoriasis is often characterized by red elevated patches and flaky silvery scales. Unlike eczema, psoriasis is triggered by white blood cells in the immune system that cause skin cells to surface and shed at 10 times the normal rate.
Other psoriasis symptoms include:
- Rashes on the scalp, genitals, or in skin folds
- Itching and skin pain
- Joint pain, swelling or stiffness
- Nail abnormalities
- White lesions on elbows, knees, scalp, chest and lower back.
Similarly to eczema, there are many forms of psoriasis such as plaque, inverse, guttate and more. However, unlike eczema, psoriasis can affect the joints as well. Psoriatic arthritis is a form of arthritis that can affect those with psoriasis. This is characterized by joint pain, stiffness and swelling that can appear in the fingers, toes and feet. Some people can also develop a condition known as spondylitis, which causes inflammation of the joints between the vertebrae of the spine and pelvis.
Although there is no cure for psoriasis (similarly to eczema), there are a variety of treatments and procedures that can be carried out to heal skin and find relief.
Like eczema, you want to make sure that any skin affected by psoriasis is kept well hydrated. By properly moisturizing you can keep skin calm and reduce both the itch and possible inflammation. This Organic Manuka Skin Soothing Cream is the perfect “crointment” (cream/ointment blend) for moisturizing skin while offering wound healing abilities. Due to its natural ingredients like Manuka oil, Manuka honey and beeswax, this crointment is both anti-bacterial and keeps both plaque and scaling under control. Learn more about why Manuka Honey Heals Skin Naturally.
Another excellent option is Chinese medicine and herbs found in Emily Skin Soothers Soap. Not only is this soap rich and fatty, but it will help keep moisture in and help ease the pain and itching.
Here are some more ideas for Natural Remedies for Psoriasis you may want to try.
Wet and Dry Wrap Therapy
If you haven’t heard about wet or dry wrapping, then we definitely suggest you check it out. Many psoriasis sufferers have found relief from these two therapies.
For more information on wet wrap therapy, make sure to check out our post: Our Eczema Trials: Wet Wrap Therapy. Alternatively, for dry wrap therapy, which is a good first step, take a look at our blog post: Our Eczema Trials: Dry Wrap Therapy.
To get started with either wet or dry wrapping, you will need both an emollient cream or balm, as well as a wrap or clothing to help the product penetrate the skin. You can use any of the creams or balms mentioned above, as well as these Remedywear Eczema Sleeves for all ages. These bands are perfect in treating psoriasis on the elbows, knees, arms and legs. They are made from eco-friendly TENCEL embedded with zinc oxide (known for its anti-inflammatory properties) and can be worn all day long or at night. Check out the full line of Remedywear – clothing for eczema and psoriasis here.
Similar to eczema, psoriasis is also triggered by stress. There are a variety of activities and programs you can take on to help reduce and manage your stress levels. For example, research different yoga, meditation and exercise classes in your area. There are also TONS of resources online! In fact, we love using the phone app Headspace to help us with both meditation and mindfulness. Feel free to also pamper yourself with a professional massage to reduce your stress. Just be careful – make sure you are not allergic to the products they use beforehand! We have some great tips here on eczema and stress you should check out!
For a variety of other natural treatments and procedures, please read: 9 Natural Remedies for Psoriasis You Should Try.
Psoriasis can be a tricky skin condition, but there are many natural treatments and resources out there that can help relieve your pain or discomfort. For more resources and research on psoriasis versus eczema, make sure to check out the National Psoriasis Foundation.
For other information on psoriasis, make sure to check out:
Not sure if you’re suffering from eczema or psoriasis? We want to hear from you in the comments below!
Laura is a contributor and content developer for It’s An Itchy Little World. She is in no way a medical professional. Her comments, suggestions, and reflections are not intended to replace any medical advice. Always seek the help of a medical professional before undertaking any diet or lifestyle changes. Please see It’s An Itchy Little World’s disclaimer for information about affiliate links and more.