Finding a mysterious red patch on your skin is bad enough… But not knowing what it is? No way! Eczema and psoriasis are the two biggest culprits of scaly rashes, and they can be tough to tell apart. That’s why we want to clear up the eczema vs. psoriasis confusion once and for all… so you can say goodbye to uncertainty around treatment and the frustration of confusion. Let’s investigate!
What Is the Difference Between Eczema vs. Psoriasis?
While these two itchy skin conditions may look the same, they do have different causes, symptoms, and appearances that can help you differentiate between the two.
There is no clear cut cause of eczema (unfortunately). Most people with eczema do have higher levels of inflammation in the body from an overactive immune system, making that a likely culprit. Studies also show that some people with eczema have a mutation of the gene that causes filaggrin, the protein that forms the top protective layer of skin.
Last but not least, there’s staph A. (or scientifically, Staphylococcus aureus). Medical professionals and researchers used to see Staphylococcus aureus overgrowth in the skin microbiome as a symptom of eczema — from excess scratching and broken skin. Now, that’s all changing, and staph A. is thought to be the real trigger of eczema, rather than a byproduct.
Psoriasis, on the other hand, is caused by rapid skin cell growth. This increased speed causes skin cells to build up and cause red, flaky patches. The exact cause of psoriasis is unknown, but genetics and triggers to the immune system like illness, stress, medications, allergies, or environmental factors are thought to play a role in the development and flare-up of psoriasis.
Let’s start with the basics: both eczema and psoriasis appear as itching red rashes. Sometimes, though, you can differentiate between the two by the type of itch. Psoriasis tends to be less itchy but can have a slight burn. Eczema, on the other hand, can have more severe itching. Some people with eczema will scratch so much it leads to broken skin.
Both skin conditions can show up wherever, whenever they want, but psoriasis tends to be extra fond of the scalp, front of the elbows and knees, face, and buttock. Eczema is typically spotted on the back of the knees or in the crease of the elbows.
Psoriasis and eczema may both show up as red rashes on the skin, but they do have notable differences in appearance. For example, psoriasis tends to have a silvery appearance, with a film of scaly skin overtop. It’s also thicker and more raised than eczema. Eczema will have a less defined, unraised patch of skin that can appear cracked, rough, and leathery.
When it comes to treating psoriasis and eczema, you have options for both… some the same, others different. Neither have cures at this time.
Heavy moisturizing creams — Dryness makes eczema and itching worse. That’s why it’s important to use a daily moisturizer. You can easily find heavy moisturizing creams without doctor assistance at many retailers.
These heavy creams can be uncomfortable to use, leaving your skin feeling sticky... The layer of unabsorbed cream can then wreck sheets and clothing… And they’re laden with preservatives, which are actually anti-bacterial and kill both the good and bad bacteria on the skin. At the end of the day, these creams are not truly therapeutic.
Hydrocortisone cream — The first treatment method most doctors will recommend for eczema is an over-the-counter hydrocortisone cream. It’s a steroid that helps calm down your body's immune system, which helps to reduce itching and inflammation. For severe eczema, prescription hydrocortisone creams are available.
Hydrocortisone creams can cause side effects like stinging, redness, headache, and more. When stopping use, there’s also the risk of topical steroid withdrawal, which produces more unwanted symptoms.
Phototherapy — Ultraviolet, or UV, lights can also help keep the immune system from overreacting and causing chronic inflammation.
It could take one to two months to start seeing results.
Lifestyle changes — Avoiding hot water, long showers, excess handwashing, as well as harsh soaps, laundry detergents, and cosmetics may improve eczema symptoms… as can applying a moisturizer daily.
While these adjustments may help minimize itching and flare-ups, they don’t address the underlying causee of eczema.
Stress reduction — Increased cortisol in response to stress can cause symptom flare-ups, which to be honest, just cause more stress. Finding time to relax and practice self-care is not only healthy for your overall wellbeing, but it may even help you find breakthrough for your eczema!
Stress reduction typically needs to be done on top of another type of treatment for optimal results.
Drugs that suppress the immune system — Your doctor may prescribe medications in the form of pills, liquids, or injections that help keep your immune system from overreacting. This treatment is typically reserved for moderate to severe eczema.
Possible side effects include increased risk of infections, vomiting, upset stomach, increased risk of certain cancers, and more. Immunosuppressants aren’t long-term options, and even in the short-term, pose serious risks.
The list of potential eczema treatments is endless because there are so many types of eczema and potential causes. What most eczema treatments fail to address, though, is the imbalance of the skin microbiome and presence of staph A.
Gladskin Eczema Cream uses endolysin Micreobalance™ (our patented smart protein) that works with your skin — instead of against it — to restore balance to the skin microbiome gently and effectively while moisturizing at the same time.
You don’t have to worry about resistance or harsh ingredients. Gladskin Eczema Cream is free of steroids, fragrances, drying alcohols, preservatives, parabens, and sulfates. It’s clinically tested and safely formulated for anyone three months and up.
That means you can treat your eczema without any “buts.” Just results.
In fact, four out of five users experience reduced itch and redness associated with eczema. You can too… Learn more.
Salicylic acid — Ointments containing salicylic acid can help to remove layers of “scales” that come along with psoriasis.
Coal tar — Coal tar is a popular ingredient used to help treat psoriasis. It’s been used for years to help alleviate itching, swelling, redness, scaling/flaking, and slows the process of skin cell growth.
Phototherapy — Like with eczema, UV lights can also help keep the immune system from overreacting and causing chronic inflammation. Even just natural sunlight may improve psoriasis symptoms.
Hydrocortisone cream — This steroid cream may also help to reduce the itching and inflammation associated with psoriasis. Over-the-counter or prescription creams can be used depending on the severity of the condition.
You may then be wondering… Do bacteria play a role in psoriasis? Research is inconclusive; however, Staphylococcus aureus has been found in psoriasis patients. In one study, 46% of participants had pathogens on the skin, the most common of all being staph A.
Because Gladskin works with your skin instead of against it to regain balance in your skin microbiome, you can use it whether you have eczema, psoriasis, or both.
Balancing your skin microbiome and locking in moisture in the skin are both crucial when considering skin health, no matter your skin condition.
If you don't have a microbiome imbalance, the product still works as a safe, effective moisturizer because it is hypoallergenic, and fragrance-, alcohol-, and preservative-free.
Can Eczema Become Psoriasis?
Nope! While many people wonder if eczema can become psoriasis and you may be too, there’s no need to worry. Eczema and psoriasis are two different skin conditions! One catch: it’s possible you could have both conditions at the same time. It’s just super rare!
Determining the difference between eczema vs. psoriasis isn’t a straightforward process. With a little detective work and the help of a healthcare professional, you’ll be able to decipher the difference and find appropriate treatment. When in doubt, you can take measures to boost your skin health overall by using moisturizers, avoiding harsh cosmetic ingredients, de-stressing through lifestyle changes, and balancing your skin microbiome with Gladskin.