When it comes to psoriasis vs eczema, both are common skin conditions. Many people may have trouble distinguishing from each other. There is a difference in causes, symptoms and treatments.
Eczema is actually a term used for a variety of conditions that cause the skin to be irritated or inflamed. The condition is not limited to adults only. Up to 20 percent of infants have it. Most of them will outgrow it during childhood but a small percentage will still have it when they reach adulthood. It can usually be controlled with proper treatment.
Eczema is usually accompanied by a rash and itching. Sometimes the itching can start before the rash appears. The most common places for eczema are the face, knees, wrists, hands and feet. The skin can appear dry or scaly. It may affect fair skinned people differently than those with darker skin. On fair skinned people, the area may turn red or brown. Darker skinned individuals may find that the condition affects their pigment, with the affected areas getting darker for some people and lighter for others.
It is not known exactly what causes eczema but it is generally thought to be a response to an irritant, during which the immune system overreacts.
Sometimes eczema can be treated with over-the-counter medications like hydrocortisone creams. At other times prescriptions are written for corticosteroids to treat inflammation. If the condition leads to an infection, antibiotics may be necessary.
Psoriasis develops when skin cells begin to multiply faster than normal. The extra volume of skin cells that are present as a result causes red plaques that are covered with white scales. The knees, elbows and scalp are among the most common places for it to appear.
Plaques of red skin that sometimes itch are among the symptoms. Sometimes the symptoms show up in the fingernails as they can become discolored. They can also become detached from the nailbed. Psoriasis can also be accompanied by psoriatic arthritis.
While psoriasis cannot be cured, it can be controlled with the use of topical treatments. In some cases, however, it is necessary to prescribe systemic medications as well. Sometimes salicylic acid is given to aid in the shedding of the scales. However, caution must be exercised when using it because of the potential side effects.
If you have a skin condition that is causing you some irritation and are not sure what to do about it, you should visit Pinnacle Dermatology at our office in Birmingham to learn more about psoriasis vs eczema. That way, you will not find yourself guessing about the identity of the condition. You can get a correct diagnosis and the best available treatment. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.