Is That Rash Psoriasis Or Eczema?

Are you experiencing dry, scaly, or itchy skin? And have you been hoping that it will eventually go away on its own? Well, if it’s not going away on its own, but is persistent, you might have a skin condition like psoriasis or eczema. These two similar conditions, which both cause rashes, are very common: more than 7 million Americans have psoriasis, while over 30 million have some type of eczema. Knowing the difference can help you identify your condition, learn what is causing it, and determine how best to treat it. And because August is Psoriasis Action Month, there is no better time to learn how to take care of your rash.

What Is Psoriasis?round patches of red rashes on the skin

Psoriasis is a chronic autoimmune condition that is not contagious, and which causes skin cells to  overproduce; as the excess skin cells die, they build up into scales, making the skin red, inflamed, and itchy. There are multiple types of psoriasis, but plaque psoriasis is the most common one, accounting for 80-90% of cases of the condition. There is no cure for it, but there are some topical pharmaceutical treatments that can help control the condition.

It is unclear what causes the immune system to become overactive and trigger psoriasis, but genes and family history can play a role in who develops it: approximately 40% of people with psoriasis have a family member with the condition, and if one parent has psoriasis, their child has a roughly 30% chance of also having it. Stress, smoking, and certain infections, such as strep throat, can trigger psoriasis, but it usually appears when you are young (between the age of 16 and 22).

What Is Eczema?

bar of soap wrapped up in brown paper.
Allergies to soap, and other products can cause eczema.

Eczema is a long-term condition that is marked by inflammation of the skin, often as a reaction to dyes, fabrics, soaps, and other irritating substances. It is actually a group of skin conditions, including the common types: atopic dermatitis, seborrheic dermatitis, and contact dermatitis. Atopic dermatitis is the most common type of eczema, with over 18 million Americans suffering from it.

Eczema typically occurs in people with a family history of asthma, hay fever, or other allergies, and if a parent has eczema, their child is 2-3 times more likely than other children to develop it, as well. In fact, although adults can develop the condition, eczema is most common in babies and children, and usually appears as early as 6 months; while many children will outgrow the condition, many will have it for their whole lives.

What Do Psoriasis & Eczema Look Like?

In looking at the two conditions, it can be hard to tell the difference visually between the two. “You have to look at all the clinical aspects of a rash to distinguish between eczema and psoriasis, including the history and the patient’s other medical problems,” according to dermatologist Anthony Fernandez, MD, PhD.

Symptoms of psoriasis include:

  • Patches of red, thick, raised skin
  • Scaling of the plaques
  • Different sizes of plaques
  • Itchy plaquescaucasian skin with a rash on the hand and elbow

Symptoms of eczema include:

  • Dry skin
  • Inflamed, peeling, or cracked skin
  • Blistered or pus-filled skin
  • Itchy skin
  • Rashes on the elbows, behind the knees, or on the face, hands, and feet

One of the most obvious clues that can help differentiate the two is fluid leaking from the skin, which points to eczema. “When we see that, we definitely think about eczema instead of psoriasis,” he says. “But there are definitely times when we cannot tell the difference. And, in those cases, we will perform biopsies.”

Easing Symptoms

You can ease symptoms of these skin conditions by using over-the-counter treatments, such as salicylic acid, lactic acid, calamine, and coal tar. Other things you can try include:

moisturizer being pumped out on a hand

  • Practicing good skin care by keeping your skin moisturized, especially after you shower and in dry environments
  • Avoiding hot water, harsh soaps, washcloths, or other things that can irritate your skin
  • Avoiding long, hot baths or showers
  • Avoiding triggers that can worsen symptoms
  • Eating a healthy diet
  • Drinking more water
  • Exercising regularly

If none of the above helps, and the symptoms of your psoriasis or eczema are staying the same or getting worse, speak to a dermatologist. They can prescribe topical medicated treatments that reduce inflammation, redness, and itching. Your doctor can also prescribe:

  • Immunosuppressive drugs, or oral medications to reduce your body’s immune activity
  • Phototherapy, or ultraviolet light treatment
  • Topical cortisol
  • Biologics, which are shots that target a specific molecule in each disease

If you have eczema or psoriasis, you are not alone. You can live an active life with either condition, but they can be very uncomfortable, so if you are experiencing any of the above-mentioned symptoms, see your doctor to determine which condition you have, as well as to learn how to treat it and avoid triggers. 

If you have a condition like psoriasis or eczema that needs to be treated by a specialist and requires medications to control, you could end up with big medical bills, especially if you do not have insurance, or if your current plan is insufficient. If you are looking for health insurance to cover dermatologist visits or treatments for skin conditions, EZ can help. We can compare plans from the top-rated insurance companies in the country in minutes, and find an affordable one that provides the coverage you need, so you can pay less out-of-pocket. Our services are free, so you can focus on finding a great plan with no hidden costs. No obligation. To get free quotes, simply enter your zip code in the bar above, or to speak to a licensed agent, call 888-350-1890.

Normal Skin Conditions

During your teenage years, you might have had your fair share of acne. And unfortunately for some people, acne is an issue well into their adult years. But acne is not the only skin condition that some adults struggle with; there are others that can be frustrating and painful. Many people are unaware of how normal some skin conditions are. 

Acne young caucasian woman's side of the face with acne all over it.

Acne: it’s one of those things you either have or you don’t. And unfortunately, you can develop it in your adult years, especially if you’ve had a baby and your body is going through hormonal changes. Acne is the most common skin disorder in the U.S., affecting 40-50 million people, with more women than men having it. It is caused by hair follicles and oil glands getting blocked, or by hormonal changes. It includes whiteheads, cysts, blackheads, pimples and nodules, and does not only affect the face, but can also appear on your chest, back, backside, and arms. 

Over-the-counter products with benzoyl peroxide can help, but you might need to seek help from a dermatologist, who can prescribe antibiotics and stronger topical creams.  


According to current studies, more than 8 million Americans have the psoriasis. It is an autoimmune disorder that creates abnormalities of the skin, including scaly skin, white flaky skin, dryness, or red and itchy skin. Some people with psoriasis suffer from joint pain and heart disease. People will normally see psoriasis on their knees, elbows, arms, and back. 

person's mole with a magnifying glass over the mole
Skin cancer is more normal than people think, with over 20 million people in the US diagnosed with it.

Unfortunately there are no known causes of psoriasis, but a doctor can help you manage symptoms and reduce flare-ups. They might prescribe topical medications such as steroids, antibody injections, or light therapy with UVB light. 

Skin Cancer

Nearly 20 million Americans die from melanoma, a life-threatening type of skin cancer, every day. This is a scary statistic, but it is the reality. Abnormal moles can lead to melanoma. If you have a mole that changes over time, or have cuts, sunburns, or ingrown hairs that take a long time to heal, it is important to get them checked out.  

When you visit a dermatologist, they will take a sample or remove the mole if it is worrisome. If it turns out to be melanoma, you will most likely need to have surgery to remove it before it spreads. The sooner you catch this type of cancer, the less likely it will be to spread to other areas of your body.


If you have redness on your face or chronic swelling of the face, then you might have rosacea. Rosacea is common in women over 30, and is related to problems with the immune system or veins. Depending on the symptoms, a dermatologist might prescribe topical solutions, including antibiotics. 


Also known as dermatitis, eczema is commonly found in infants and young children. It can continue into adulthood as well, with symptoms including rashes on the face, scalp, elbows, back of the knees, hands, and feet. It is characterized by dry, very itchy, red skin, and while there is no known cause for eczema, researchers believe it may be due to genetics or an allergic reaction. 

dry skin on the back of a caucasian hand's knuckles

A doctor will prescribe topical steroids to treat flare-ups.


Warts are raised bumps on the skin that are caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV). They are contagious and can appear anywhere on your body, including your genitals. Sometimes they will go away on their own, but if they don’t, a visit to your doctor will be necessary for treatment. Treatments can include freezing, cutting or lasering the warts. 

If the warts are in your genital area, it is very important that you see your doctor. If left untreated, HPV can cause cervical cancer in women. 


red inflamed bottom of a caucasian foot.
Athlete’s foot is common and can occur in damp, warm conditions.

Many people are unaware that shingles does not only occur in older people. Skin conditions like shingles can develop in anyone who has had chickenpox. This painful condition lies dormant in the nervous system and can appear when your immune system is compromised. It can be treated with antivirals. It is recommended that people aged 50 and over get vaccinated against it. 

Athlete’s Foot

Athlete’s foot, which is caused by a fungus that multiplies in warm, damp conditions, gets its name because these conditions are often present in athletes’ shoes. This fungal infection causes itching, redness, and cracked skin. It can take a while to clear up, and a doctor might have to prescribe topical cream. If it is under your nails, a visit to a podiatrist will more than likely be needed to treat it.

Seeing a dermatologist is important for managing and treating some of these skin conditions, which is why having the right insurance plan is important. If you do not have health insurance, it could end up costing you a lot of money to seek treatment, or you could need to treat yourself, which could end up making your condition worse. If you are interested in finding an affordable plan that will cover getting checked and treated for any of these skin conditions, EZ.Insure can help! We will compare all available plans in your area in minutes and guide you towards one that will cover your medical needs and fit in your budget. To get free instant quotes, simply enter your zip code in the bar above, or to speak directly with an agent, call 888-350-1890.