What is the Difference Between Eczema and Psoriasis?

A woman on a blue background scratching her arm - wondering whats the difference between psoriasis vs eczema


When dealing with skin irritations, it may be helpful to differentiate between eczema and psoriasis, as each requires distinct approaches to managing flare-ups. Both conditions manifest as red, itchy, and inflamed skin, yet they stem from different causes and have a few unique characteristics. This guide will explore the key differences between eczema vs. psoriasis so you can understand what to look out for.

Eczema: Understanding the Basics

Eczema-prone skin, also known as atopic dermatitis, primarily affects children but can continue into adulthood. It’s often associated with a family history of allergies or asthma and is characterized by a dysfunctional skin barrier. This weakened barrier allows allergens and irritants easier access to deeper layers of the skin, triggering inflammation and eczema flare-ups.

Recognizing Eczema:

  • Symptoms: Dry, intensely itchy skin, with red or brownish-gray patches, often appearing on the face, back of the knees, wrists, hands, or feet. 
  • Causes: Eczema is considered a hypersensitive reaction by the immune system rather than an autoimmune disease.

Psoriasis: Some Facts

Psoriasis is a chronic autoimmune condition that speeds up the growth cycle of skin cells, leading to thick, silvery scales and itchy, dry, red patches. Unlike eczema, psoriasis is directly linked to the immune system’s overactivity and can be influenced by genetic and environmental factors.

Recognizing Psoriasis:

  • Symptoms: Red patches of skin covered with thick, silvery scales, occasionally accompanied by itching or soreness, typically found on the scalp, elbows, knees, and lower back.
  • Causes: An accelerated skin cell production process that does not allow for the usual shedding of cells, causing a buildup on the skin’s surface.

Key Differences Between Eczema and Psoriasis

While both skin issues share common symptoms like redness and itchiness, they are fundamentally distinct in their origins and how they affect individuals. Here’s a deeper look into what sets eczema and psoriasis apart:

  • Age of Onset: 

Eczema typically begins in early childhood, presenting symptoms in babies and young children, though it can persist or start in adulthood. For young ones with eczema, try the Flexitol Happy Little Bodies Eczema Relief Cream. In contrast, psoriasis can develop at any age but most commonly appears between the ages of 15 and 25.

  • Appearance and Texture: 

Psoriasis usually features clearly defined, raised patches of red skin covered with a silvery-white scale that can sometimes be painful or itchy. Eczema, on the other hand, features more irregular patches of very dry skin, flaky skin that can be intensely itchy and inflamed. The skin may also appear very red and, in chronic cases, quite damaged due to over-scratching.

  • Location: 

Each condition favors different areas of the body, which can be a key identifier.  Eczema commonly affects the flexural areas of the skin such as the inner elbows, behind the knees, and the front of the neck, which are areas that typically experience more moisture and less exposure. Psoriasis, however, tends to develop on the scalp, elbows, knees, and lower back—areas that are often exposed and subject to injury.

  • Intensity of Itchiness:

Eczema is predominantly known for severe itching, which can be so intense that it interferes with daily activities and sleep, often leading to skin damage from scratching. Psoriasis can also itch but is more commonly associated with a burning sensation that speaks more to irritation than the intense need to scratch found with eczema.

  • Underlying Causes: 

Psoriasis is an autoimmune disorder, meaning it results from the body’s immune system mistakenly attacking healthy cells, leading to the rapid turnover of skin cells. Eczema, while not an autoimmune disease, is often associated with a malfunctioning skin barrier that leads to hypersensitivity to environmental triggers, such as allergens, irritants, and stress.

Why Choose Flexitol for Eczema Management?

Supported by key ingredients, clinical research and dermatologist recommendations, Flexitol’s creams are not just treatments but a part of a holistic approach to skincare. Whether you are battling the discomfort of sensitive skin or managing eczema, Flexitol provides the care and expertise to help you maintain healthy skin.

Tips for managing eczema-flare ups: 

Tips for managing psoriasis

  • Healthy Lifestyle: Eat a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains. Exercising regularly can also help to reduce inflammation and manage stress levels.
  • Skincare Routine: Use gentle, fragrance-free skincare products that are specifically formulated for sensitive skin. Flexitol offers the following products which may be helpful: Sensitive Skin Wash / Very Dry Skin Cream / Scalp Relief Shampoo & Conditioner and Scalp Relief Serum.
  • Monitor flare-ups: Manage your flare-ups promptly with prescribed medications or psoriasis treatments to help prevent them from worsening. Then regularly follow up with your healthcare provider to monitor your condition and make any necessary adjustments.

Navigate Skin Health with Confidence

Understanding the differences between eczema and psoriasis is helpful for effective management and treatment. With Flexitol, you can navigate the challenges of these conditions with confidence, knowing you have access to knowledge and products that soothe and protect your skin. 


National Eczema Org – Eczema or Psoriasis
AAD Childhood Eczema & Psoriasis

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