How to Tell Whether That Itchy Rash is Eczema or Psoriasis

Eczema and psoriasis. They're two of the most common skin conditions, but do you know the difference between them? While they may look and feel similar, they have very distinct causes and treatment for both can vary.

If you have itchy, red skin, don't assume it's eczema or psoriasis. Know your facts, first.

Causes of Eczema

Eczema is a common and frustrating skin condition that affects 15 million Americans.

Most cases of eczema start in childhood. Up to 13% of children experience some form of eczema on their arms, legs, cheeks, chest, or back. Most cases resolve before adulthood. But, eczema can return. Some adults can even develop eczema later on in life.

What does eczema look like? Red, itchy patches that appear on the back of the neck, knees, elbows, hands, or feet. In some cases, a skin irritant causes eczema (also known as atopic dermatitis). Pollen, pet hair, and even certain foods can trigger eczema and make symptoms worse.

A visit to a medical clinic can help find out if you have eczema and what’s causing your symptoms.

Treatment for Eczema

The treatment for eczema varies depending on the location and the symptoms. At HK Dermatology, we take a whole body approach. We find your specific triggers and create a plan that helps you stop itching.

Causes of Psoriasis

Psoriasis is an autoimmune disorder. It forces your body to make skin cells quicker than usual. This causes a buildup of excess skin cells which are then seen as a threat to the body. Which triggers an immune system response. Around 8 million Americans have some form of psoriasis.

The most common type of psoriasis shows red, raised patches on the skin. These patches are plaques, and they cause the skin to itch and burn. The skin may also crack and bleed, which is rare with eczema unless caused by severe scratching.

There are many types of psoriasis. One type may cause your fingernails and toenails to discolor or become ridged. Other forms of psoriasis show up in folds of the skin causing raw, red marks. Psoriasis arthritis involves the joints, and can be incredibly painful if left untreated.

While eczema is usually located in specific areas of the body, psoriasis can show up in many more places.

Treatment for Psoriasis

The treatment for psoriasis depends on the person. While the condition is chronic, many triggers for flare ups are external. Certain medications, vitamin deficiencies, alcohol, tobacco, and stress can all cause psoriasis flare ups.

At HK Dermatology, we identify the type of psoriasis, then create a treatment plan. Options can include a non-inflammatory diet, topical and oral medications, moisturizers, and corticosteroids. Light therapy, and/or systemic medications works if your psoriasis becomes infected.

If you have a red, itchy rash that has become chronic, seek help right away. Call HK Dermatology at 949-248-1632 or contact us to book an appointment. We can help resolve your symptoms so you can lead a normal life.

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