What’s The Difference Between Eczema and Psoriasis?

What’s The Difference Between Eczema and Psoriasis?

Everyone's skin is different, so it makes sense that we all do different things to take care of it. However, there are times when caring for your skin can get you into trouble. This is especially true if you confuse one common type of skin issue for another, and choose the wrong treatment plan. Two of the most common skin issues are eczema and psoriasis, and it's easy to get them confused.

In this blog post, we'll take a look at eczema and psoriasis and learn to tell the differences between them. Let's get started!

An introduction to eczema and psoriasis

Both eczema and psoriasis are chronic inflammatory skin disorders that affect the epidermis, the outermost layer of the skin, and the dermis, the layers underneath the epidermis. With similar symptoms, these skin conditions can be extremely painful for sufferers of severe cases; they cause red, itchy skin that bleeds often.

Woman checking out her skin.

Eczema can be dry or oily depending on whether the scalp is affected or not, and typically affects infants or young children. Psoriasis is a chronic autoimmune disorder that causes red, itchy patches that are similar to eczema. It is typically seen in adults, although people of all ages are affected. 

What is eczema?

Eczema Infographic

Eczema is the term used to describe the inflammation of skin tissue, caused when the immune system attacks the skin. The most common causes of eczema are hereditary factors and environmental triggers. There are two types of eczema, also known as atopic dermatitis, and contact dermatitis.


Closeup of eczema

Atopic dermatitis is genetic, and a flare-up is often triggered by a food allergy or exposure to allergens such as pollen. Atopic dermatitis is unique in that it affects the not just the skin; but the nose, and respiratory system.

Contact dermatitis is caused when the skin comes in direct contact with an allergen or irritant. This includes chemicals, perfumes, soaps, or other allergens. Contact dermatitis can show up anywhere on the body, but typically affects areas that are exposed to irritants, such as hands, feet, and face.

Eczema being scratched

What is psoriasis?

Psoriasis infographic

Psoriasis is a chronic, inflammatory, and non-infectious skin disease. It is characterized by red, thickened, scaly skin developing on the elbows, knees, and scalp. Some people may also experience joint and muscle pain, as well as fatigue. People with psoriasis may also experience a buildup of plaque on fingernails and toenails. The plaque psoriasis buildup can cause the nails to become brittle, and can lead to nail infections.

Psoriasis on an elbow

Psoriasis is most common in people between the ages of 30 and 50. It affects more than 12 million Americans, and up to 4 million people have the disease. 

The cause of psoriasis is unknown, although researchers believe it to have genetic and environmental factors. 

Three types of psoriasis are recognized: 

1. Inverse psoriasis. This type of psoriasis results in the skin peeling and flaking. 

2. Inverse-to-reticular psoriasis. This type of psoriasis causes the skin to peel and flake in addition to forming red patches. 

3. Inverse-to-reticular-to-plaque psoriasis. This type of psoriasis is characterized by red, flaky patches that can become itchy and inflamed.


Closeup of psoriasis flakes

What are the differences between eczema and psoriasis?

While eczema and psoriasis are different types of skin conditions, they are very similar. Knowing the differences between the two can help you make the right choice when it comes to treating your skin problem. 

Psoriasis causes skin cells to build up rapidly on the surface of the skin. The buildup of skin cells causes plaques, patches, or lesions to occur on the affected areas. Psoriasis can occur anywhere on the body but is most common on the elbows, knees, scalp, and lower back. 

Psoriasis causes dead skin cells to build up rapidly on the surface of the skin.

Eczema, on the other hand, is an inflammation of the skin that is characterized by red, itchy lesions. The cause of eczema is unknown. For people with eczema, the rash often occurs in patches, often on the knees, elbows, or the scalp, and can cause skin to become dry, itchy, and cracked. 

Eczema on a young child's arm

Though eczema and psoriasis are different conditions, they can lead from one to the other. Eczema can sometimes develop into a form of psoriasis that is extremely severe. Psoriasis can also develop into a form of eczema known as psoriatic eczema.

What are the similarities between eczema and psoriasis?

The skin, the largest organ in the body, is the body’s largest immune organ. It protects the body from bacteria, viruses, allergens, and harmful substances. It is also porous, which means it can lose moisture easily and result in dry skin. When the skin becomes dry, the skin’s barrier becomes compromised, opening the skin to infection.

Both eczema and psoriasis are chronic skin disorders. This means that they are long-term conditions that are persistent, and affect quality of life. This includes both physical and emotional health, including sleep, mood, and energy levels. 

Both eczema and psoriasis are autoimmune disorders, meaning the body attacks itself. In the case of psoriasis, the immune system attacks the skin, causing skin cells to build up rapidly on the surface of the skin. In the case of eczema, the immune system attacks the skin, causing inflammation and irritation.

Both eczema and psoriasis are hereditary. This means that a person inherits the tendency to develop eczema or psoriasis from their parents. Both conditions also affect males and females equally.

What you can do to prevent eczema and psoriasis.

There are a few things you can do to help prevent eczema and psoriasis: 

Avoid scratching.

Scratching can cause your skin to break open and inflame, leading to potential infections and even scarring. This is easier said than done, as the major symptom for both eczema and psoriasis is itching. However, if you scratch, you risk damaging your skin.
Itchy red bumps on skin

A product like Dermeleve® is a great tool in the fight against both eczema and psoriasis. By instantly stopping the urge to itch with a single treatment, Dermeleve® helps to prevent the scratching that worsens eczema and psoriasis. Not only is it fast acting, but it is also long lasting. A single application starts working within five minutes, and lasts up to five HOURS.

Dermeleve products

Moisturize your skin.

 Applying a moisturizer to your skin can help soothe itchy skin and prevent the skin from drying out. Here’s another area where Dermeleve shines. Dermeleve contains natural moisturizers that help keep your skin soft and supple, which helps to prevent and treat both eczema and psoriasis.

Stay out of the sun.

Exposure to UV light can make your skin dry and scaly, which can worsen your skin condition. Avoid the sun, tanning booths, and sunlamps, and use a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30.

Wear protective clothing.

Clothing made from natural fabrics, such as cotton, wool, or silk, can help keep your skin cool and moist. Conversly, avoid clothing made from synthetic fabrics, such as nylon, which can irritate the skin.

Treatments for eczema and psoriasis

Psoriasis and eczema can both be treated with prescription as well as over-the-counter medications. 

Medications for psoriasis.

There are prescription and over-the-counter medications available to treat psoriasis. Some over-the-counter medications, such as coal tar, can suppress the immune system. Prescription medications may include topical treatments, such as psoralen and ultraviolet A (PUVA), or systemic treatments, such as methotrexate, cyclosporine, and ciclosporin. 

Medications for eczema.

Over-the-counter medications, such as corticosteroid creams and pills, can reduce inflammation. However, these medications can cause side effects, such as thinning of the skin and stretch marks, and should be used with caution. Prescription medications include topical treatments, such as hydrocortisone, and systemic treatments, such as methotrexate, cyclosporine, and ciclosporin.


At the end of the day, eczema and psoriasis are both common types of skin conditions that might seem similar, but they are quite different. Eczema is a chronic condition that causes the skin to become dry, itchy, and inflamed. Psoriasis is an autoimmune condition that causes the skin to produce too much skin cells.  In this article, we’ve discussed some general tips that can help you take care of your skin, no matter what type it is.  While there are treatments available for both conditions, it's important to get a diagnosis from a doctor so you can get the right treatment. 

Remember, when it comes to skin, everyone's is different. What works for your best friend might not work for you, and that's okay. The best way to find out what works for you is to experiment and find what makes you feel comfortable and provides the best relief.

If relief from the discomfort of eczema or psoriasis is something you’re looking for, we think you’ll find the answer in a tube of Dermeleve®.

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