Eczema or Psoriasis, which is it?

How do I know if I have eczema or psoriasis?

The answer is simple – you have to ask your doctor. Only a doctor can give you a definite diagnosis.  However there are some typical characteristics that may help to give you a clue.

Both eczema and psoriasis are chronic inflammatory skin conditions with a tendency to run in families.  Neither condition is curable however both can be controlled with medication.

Eczema, the itch that won’t go away

Eczema is most common in children but can affect any age group, both male and female. The most distinguishing feature of eczema is the unbearable itch.  Typically eczema skin is very dry and the lesion is red and scaly.  It usually appears on the face, neck and arm and leg folds.

Eczema tends to run in families with the likelihood of a child developing eczema increasing significantly if one or both of the parents has ever suffered from eczema, asthma or hayfever.  Eczema is allergy based and it is these allergies that will trigger an eczema flare up.

The silvery scales of psoriasis

Psoriasis on the other hand is the result of an over production of skin cells.  The predisposition to develop psoriasis is passed on along the family line however it is environmental triggers that will result in an outbreak of the condition.

The psoriatic lesion is usually a discrete, bright red patch covered with silvery scales.  The lesions may be itchy but unlike eczema this is not a distinguishing feature.  Psoriasis usually affects the scalp, knees, trunk and elbows.

It is rare for a child to develop psoriasis.  The condition usually first appears in the late teen or early adult years.  Both males and females can be effected equally.

Whilst it is the itch in eczema and the silvery scales in psoriasis that are the distinguishing characteristics the only way to know for sure is to visit your doctor and have a proper medical diagnosis.