The difference between Eczema and Psoriasis
Skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis can be challenging to differentiate, as both can manifest with red, itchy, and inflamed patches. Understanding the nuances between these two conditions is crucial for proper diagnosis and treatment. In this article, we will delve into the key differences in symptoms, causes, diagnosis, and treatment methods for eczema and psoriasis, helping you gain a clearer picture of these often misunderstood skin disorders.
Eczema is part of a group of medical conditions that causes the skin to inflame or become irritated. The most common type of eczema is called atopic dermatitis. Atopic refers to diseases with an inherited tendency to develop allergic conditions. Children with atopic allergies may outgrow it, or the disease can come and go throughout their lives.
Symptoms of Eczema
- Rash (common on the face, back of knees, hands, and feet)
- Areas of dry, thickened or scaly skin
Causes of Eczema
Although the exact cause is unknown, it can be linked to the body’s immune system becoming overactive in response to an irritant. Eczema is common in families with a history of other allergic conditions.
In some cases, eczema can be caused due to exposure to certain substances. For example, a person may develop eczema after they wear clothes made of coarse material. Changes in temperature, bath, or household products or animal contacts can also trigger eczema.
There is no test to diagnose eczema. The diagnosis, therefore, is made from the physical symptoms and the history of the patient.
The main aim of the treatment of eczema is to relieve the itch, which can lead to infection.
- The disease makes the skin dry and itchy; therefore, lotions and creams are recommended to keep the skin moisturized. These products are applied when the skin is damp (after bathing) to retain moisture.
- Cold compresses can be used to relieve itching.
- Over-the-counter products like hydrocortisone, 1% cream, may be prescribed to lessen the inflammation, although long term usage is also problematic.
- Antibiotics may be prescribed if the affected area becomes infected, although long term usage is also not possible.
- Antihistamines can alleviate the itchiness.
- Phototherapy, where ultraviolet rays are used for the skin.
- Tar treatments are also beneficial.
- Natural Alternatives to harmful prescriptions are more readily available.
Psoriasis is an immune-mediated disease causing red, scaly patches to appear on the skin
Symptoms of Psoriasis
- Red, raised inflamed patches of skin.
- Whitish-silver scales or plaques seen on the red patches.
- Dry skin.
- Soreness around patches.
- Itching and burning sensations.
- Thick pitted nails.
- Painful, swollen joints.
Causes of Psoriasis
Like eczema, the origins of psoriasis are also unknown. However, the role of the immune system and genetics is well-known. There is often a trigger causing the appearance of psoriatic plaques.
Though psoriasis can develop at any age, the typical age group is 15-35 years. Psoriasis is not infectious and doesn’t spread from one person to another.
The diagnosis of psoriasis is also from the history and symptoms of the patient. There is no specific test to diagnose psoriasis.
- Topical corticosteroids are often prescribed to treat mild to moderate psoriasis. They reduce inflammation and relieve itching, but in turn cause other side effects.
- Vitamin D analogs are synthetic vitamin D. These help slow the growth of skin cells. They are used in the treatment of mild to moderate psoriasis.
- Anthralin is a drug that helps slow the growth of skin cells, as well. It also removes scales, thereby making the skin smoother. The side effect is anthralin stains. So it can only be applied for a short time and then needs to be washed off.
- Topical retinoids are made from vitamin A. It decreases inflammation but is known to cause skin irritation. It may also increase the sensitivity to sunlight. Pregnant women should not use it.
- Calcineurin inhibitors, such as tacrolimus, reduce inflammation and plaque formation. They are recommended for short-term therapy only.
- Salicylic acid is available over the counter and also by prescription. It promotes fall off of dead skin and reduces scaling.
- Coal tar is made from coal and helps reduce scaling, itchiness, and inflammation. But it can irritate the skin and stain the clothes/bedding.
- Moisturizers do not heal psoriasis but can reduce itching, scaling, and dryness. Moisturizers It should be applied immediately after a bath or shower to lock in moisture.
- Sunlight exposure can slow skin cell death and reduce scaling. It is recommended that you expose yourself briefly to the sun every day.
Similar Natural Alternatives may be better for long term management
Difference in Feeling
- Eczema: causes intense itchiness, and sometimes it can get so bad that the sufferer may scratch until they bleed, causing further skin complications.
- Psoriasis: itchy, but the skin may also sting or burn.
Difference in appearances
- Eczema: The skin is red and inflamed. It may ooze and become crusty. It is scaly with rough, leathery patches which can sometimes darken. It can also cause swelling.
- Psoriasis: The red patches are silvery, scaly and raised. The skin is thicker and more inflamed than eczema.
What part of the body do they affect?
- Eczema: Parts of the body that bend like elbows, behind the knees, wrists, or ankles. Babies can get it on the chin, cheeks, scalp, chest, or the back.
- Psoriasis: May show up on places like elbows, knees, scalp, face, lower back, and the palms of the hand and soles of the feet. It can also affect the nails, eyelids, ears, and skin folds.
Difference in Triggering factor
- Eczema: Soaps, detergents, disinfectants, juices from produce or meats, dust, pets, pollen, mold, dandruff and certain foods. Infections can also trigger eczema, along with changes in temperature and hormones.
- Psoriasis: Stress, infection, vaccinations (especially the smallpox vaccination), sunburn, scratches.
Difference in age of onset
- Eczema: Usually in babies or young children. Symptoms typically improve as the child grows up but can persist into adulthood as well.
- Psoriasis: Usually occurs between the ages of 15 and 35 years. It's rare for it to occur in a baby.
Difference in conditions they relate to
- Eczema: Comes along with dry, sensitive skin. Someone else in the family might have asthma or hay fever.
- Psoriasis: Occurs along with serious health conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, or depression.
Natural Alternatives to Cortisone Cream
Kigelia Africana for Eczema and Psoriasis
Kigelia Africana is a tree that grows throughout tropical Africa. It is also popular in India due to its medicinal uses. Also known as the African Sausage Tree, and the fruit grows up to 2 feet long.
When the fruit is fresh, it is poisonous and a strong laxative. To make it consumable, the fruit is dried, roasted, or fermented.
Not only is the Kigelia plant grown mostly as an ornamental plant because of its beautiful flowers and unusual fruit, but it is also used in numerous beauty and skincare products. The dried fruit can be used to make an alcoholic beverage as well.
The Kigelia Africana tree is a popularly used herbal treatment in Africa, treating a wide range of ailments. In addition to treating various skin conditions, it is used to treat digestive problems, anemia, epilepsy, respiratory illnesses, liver and heart diseases, wasting, and weakness.
The plant contains chemicals called naphthoquinones and iridoids. These compounds are found in extracts of the bark, wood, root, and fruits and give an antibacterial as well as antifungal properties.
The antimicrobial activity of naphthoquinones has good antimicrobial activity.
Iridoids and dihydroisocoumarins enhance the antimicrobial activity of naphthoquinones.
The plant is also known for its anti-cancer properties. In addition to its antimicrobial activity, it also has anti-inflammatory actions in the body.
The plant also contains cinnamic acid derivatives that have anticonvulsant properties, therefore, making it useful in preventing epileptic fits.
The flavonoids in the leaves and fruits are anti-diarrheal.
Powders and infusions made from the bark, leaves, stems, twigs, or fruits are used to clean and dress flesh wounds and open sores. These powders and infusions provide analgesic and anti-inflammatory actions.
Infectious diseases such as leprosy, impetigo, and worm infestations in the blood can be treated with Kigelia. Also, whitlows, cysts, acne, and boils are treated with fruits of the plant. All of these properties of the plants are useful in the treatment of psoriasis and eczema.
One such product containing Kigelia Africana is Basix Skin Defence Cream, available here https://lombardismith.com/
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