You’ve got an itchy spot on your skin, and it’s more than simply a dry patch. You haven’t been around irritants, so contact dermatitis isn’t likely. Chances are good it will come down to either eczema or psoriasis, but how do you know which is which?
If the itchy spot is extreme with visible changes or damage to your skin, then contacting Riviera Allergy Medical Center is the safest course of action to ward off a more serious issue. If the rash is at the nuisance level, you may be able to determine its origins at home.
Red, scaly rashes
Eczema and psoriasis are both incurable chronic skin conditions and, to the untrained eye, the conditions can look similar, producing itchiness and irritated skin. However, they’re quite distinct, though both include several different forms.
Eczema is, by far, the most common condition, affecting over 30 million Americans. Plaque psoriasis is the prevalent form of that condition, caused by an overproduction of skin cells. Let’s look at each condition in greater depth.
The most common form of eczema is called atopic dermatitis, and it usually results in red, itchy rashes. Children are frequently affected by it, but they can outgrow it, and atopic dermatitis can affect people of any age. Typically, this condition flares up from time to time, perhaps accompanied by asthma attacks or hay fever symptoms.
Between the two skin conditions, atopic dermatitis tends to cause more severe itchiness than psoriasis. Affected skin may appear dry, and itchiness is often more severe at night.
The color of affected skin ranges from red to brown-gray, and raised bumps that can develop on your skin may leak fluid when you scratch. Skin can become cracked and thick.
There are places on the body where eczema tends to form. These include:
- Hands and wrists
- Feet and ankles
- Upper chest and neck
- In the bend of knees and elbows
In addition, infants suffering from the condition may be affected on the face and scalp. Typically, medical treatment is needed when the itching from eczema turns severe enough that it affects your daily activities, or when damaged skin gets infected.
Thought to be related to the immune system, psoriasis has many distinct types, and symptoms may be unique between people. Typically, psoriasis is cyclical, flaring and subsiding, and complete remission is also possible in rare cases. The growth of skin cells becomes accelerated, faster than the rate of loss, and these extra cells cause the scales and red patches typical of the condition.
Psoriasis can be red, like some instances of eczema, and its scales may have a silvery appearance. Skin may become cracked and dry and may spontaneously bleed. Sensations can include itchiness as well as soreness or burning, and you may have stiff or swollen joints during an outbreak.
Make an appointment at Riviera Allergy Medical Center when your psoriasis causes excessive discomfort and pain while interfering with day-to-day living, causes joint problems, or affects your appearance.
Symptoms of both eczema and psoriasis can be managed with medical care. Contact Dr. Ziegner and the team at Riviera Allergy Medical Center if your skin condition becomes a burden.