Differences between Psoriasis and Eczema
Are there differences between psoriasis and eczema?
Yes, but I want to say 'not by a whole lot.'
When I first started this website, I received great advice from one of the forum members. She said she was a sufferer of psoriasis and that if I were to make a website on eczema, she hoped it would be geared more towards the emotional aspect of the condition rather than any ol' information anyone can find on the Internet, like webmd.com.
From her statement, I felt there was a connection between eczema and psoriasis. The two conditions might have different appearances, causes, and treatments, but as far as the impact on the afflicted individuals, it seemed pretty similar.
That can probably be said about most skin conditions that are outwardly visible, such as acne. But it seems that in many people's minds, psoriasis and eczema might seem pretty darn similar; even some dermatologists misdiagnose one condition for the other.
I almost want to say that the two conditions are evil cousins because of their similarities. Some of the major similarities and differences between psoriasis and eczema are:
Both eczema and psoriasis are characterized by red, scaly, itchy rashes. Eczema rash tends to be more moist and oozy, while psoriasis rash has silvery scale over the lesion. Where the lesions and rashes appear are also different.
2. Cause & Effect
Both conditions can be genetic or triggered by stress, although eczema has a more allergic component. Psoriasis is considered an "autoimmune disease" because one's own body sends faulty signals that speed up the growth of skin cells.
One of the major differences between psoriasis and eczema: patients with psoriasis have the potential to develop psoriatic arthritis.
Topical steroids, immunosuppressants, and light therapy are the treatments often recommended for both conditions.
Before someone launches a debate about which condition is worse to have, I can assure you that having either of these conditions sucks... for someone who has it. I recently came across an awesome website exhibiting the photos of psoriasis patients all over the world (check it out at: http://www.psoriasisthenakedtruth.com.au). On each person's page, there was a video and a short bio that described what it feels like to live with psoriasis on a daily basis.
I couldn't help but marvel at how exactly the same some of the "feelings" those people experienced were, compared to mine. I'm certain other people with eczema would agree with the following emotions:
- You feel like you are the only one who has it.
- It's not contagious - you want to let people know it's okay to touch you.
- Support and acceptance from family means a world to me.
- Meeting a good dermatologist is the ticket to winning this battle. Of course, the hard part is finding that one dermatologist.
- You often miss business opportunities (or school or work) due to the lack of confidence. In fact, I can't even fathom going into any kind of sales or a job that requires face-to-face interaction.
The bottom line is that although there are several key differences between psoriasis and eczema, the emotional consequences are remarkably similar. They may not be in the league of some of the worst skin conditions possible, such as very severe burns or epidermolysis bullosa (EB). But the lives of eczema and psoriasis sufferers are still impacted in varying degrees, from a minor inconvenience to not being able to function on bad days. I hope the future research also involves how to cope with these conditions not just physically, but mentally and emotionally as well.
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