Itchy Skin? It Could Be Psoriasis or Eczema

Experiencing a skin condition can be a little unnerving, especially if you’re not sure what it is. Psoriasis and eczema are two common skin conditions that can even be seen in children. While these diseases may present in similar ways, they’re actually quite different and have different triggers and causes.

 

Eczema

This inflammatory skin condition affects more than 31 million Americans. The most common symptom is itchy skin, but it can also cause dry skin, rashes, blisters, skin infections, and scaly patches. There are seven different types of eczema that can affect anyone, from newborn babies to adults. The most common type, atopic dermatitis,  is the result of an overactive immune system that irritates the skin barrier. Common treatments include moisturizers, antihistamines, corticosteroids, and topical steroid creams. 

 

Psoriasis

This skin disease is a chronic disease with no cure, much like eczema. It tends to go through cycles during which it flares up then subsides or goes into remission. Psoriasis is thought to be caused by an overactive immune system speeding up skin cell regeneration. 

 

While skin cells typically grow and shed every 10 to 30 days, psoriasis causes skin cells to regenerate every three to four days. This causes a pile-up of cells on the surface of the skin, causing itching, burning, or stinging. It can also lead to the appearance of plaques and scales, commonly found on the elbows, knees, and scalp.

 

Diagnosis

There are many ways dermatologists can tell the difference between the two conditions. Typically, eczema is accompanied by intense itching, while itching as a symptom of psoriasis is milder. Eczema usually appears in the crooks of the knees and elbows, while psoriasis patches are more well-defined, thick, and scaly, and can appear on the knees and elbows as well as other parts of the body. 

 

If you are experiencing any itchy or irritated skin, your first step should be finding an experienced dermatologist. Call Lakeside Dermatology to schedule a consultation.