How to Tell Whether that Itchy Rash is Eczema or Psoriasis

When your skin is frequently dry, itchy, or inflamed, you may be diagnosed with a chronic skin condition such as eczema or psoriasis. However, many people with a persistent skin rash fail to seek an accurate medical diagnosis of their symptoms, preferring to treat their symptoms at home instead.

Unfortunately, without proper care, you can actually cause a worsening of your condition. The skin experts at Seacoast Dermatology, at three locations in New Hampshire, understand how frustrating chronic skin itchiness and irritation can be. They recommend a prompt diagnosis of your condition, especially since many people confuse two of the most common skin conditions — eczema and psoriasis — resulting in additional health complications.

Understanding eczema

Eczema is a chronic skin condition, also known as atopic dermatitis, that results because of a hypersensitive reaction to environmental triggers. Most commonly, people develop symptoms of eczema after coming into contact with:

Eczema can result in the peeling of skin anywhere on the body, especially on your neck, feet, hands, and upper chest. Blisters that ooze clear fluids or pus are also a common side effect of eczema.

How psoriasis differs from eczema

Psoriasis is also a chronic skin condition. However, it’s caused by an autoimmune dysfunction that triggers your body to form extra skin cells. These cells build up and form scales on the surface of the skin, which often appear white or silver. 

In addition to scales, your skin becomes red and inflamed. Psoriasis often produces intense itching that can increase your risk for skin infections if you scratch.

The differences in treating eczema and psoriasis

By not getting a medical diagnosis for your red, inflamed skin, you may not be treating the root cause of your condition properly.

Because psoriasis is an autoimmune disorder and there isn’t currently a cure for the condition, the goal of psoriasis treatment is to address the painful, irritating symptoms of the disease and put psoriasis into remission.

Treating psoriasis is often done through topical medications, skin moisturizers, and special solutions that lift scales from the skin. If you have moderate to severe psoriasis, you may benefit from oral or injectable medications that reduce the production of extra skin cells by suppressing your immune system.

If you have eczema, the condition and its symptoms are often treated successfully by using topical cortisone medications and high-quality skin moisturizers. When eczema irritation is severe, and you develop signs of an infection, you may also need a course of antibiotics. In addition, wet dressings can be useful for hydrating chronically dry skin.

Advanced technologies for eczema and psoriasis

The team at Seacoast Dermatology also offers light therapies on-site to treat both eczema and psoriasis when symptoms are severe and widespread on your body. This therapy involves the use of special technology that delivers ultraviolet B (UVB) rays of light to your skin.

Narrowband UVB light helps suppress your immune system to treat and prevent the inflammation associated with both eczema and psoriasis. This light is the same type of energy generated by the sun but is safe and effective for these chronic skin conditions because of its controlled delivery under the medical supervision of the experienced dermatology team.

If you have persistent skin dryness, irritation, or pain, schedule a diagnostic evaluation with the dermatology experts at Seacoast Dermatology online or by calling the office nearest you today.

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