What is the difference between eczema, dermatitis and psoriasis?

Skin diseases are very common among people, and most of the times, doctors make the diagnosis through simple viewing. Some of these diseases have sintomatologias very similar, as is the case of psoriasis, dermatitis and eczema.



Eczema is a process of cronico or acute inflammation of the skin, which presents itself in the form of reddish spots with small bubbles. Although prevail in some parts of the body, such as the hands and face, the disease can also manifest in the whole body.
You can distinguish the disease in two types: the contact eczema and atopic eczema.
In the first case, this type of eczema is caused by irritants, such as soaps, jewelry (especially the nickel), synthetic clothing, cosmetics, etc..
Already in the second case, eczema is developed in early childhood, often being considered a hereditary disease (existence of a history of the disease in the family).
The causes of this disease are not fully known, but it is known that the genetic factor influences the type of atopic eczema, either, or contact. The medical aid is fundamental to discover which is the cause of the eczema and, thus, can contribute to your treatment. To relieve the symptoms, the doctor may indicate ointments moisturizers, antihistamines and topical corticosteroids. 
          Image of atopic eczema       image of contact eczema

Check here our solution for the Eczema



As well as eczema, dermatitis is an allergic skin reaction that causes redness, itching, blisters and can reach any part of the body. The dermatitis can occur at any age, for various reasons, genetic, emotional, such as stress, or triggered by external agents* (ex: cold weather, cotton fibers).

See our post on causes and triggers of eczema and atopic dermatitis

There are different types of dermatitis, being that these can be confused if not correctly diagnosed.

Treatments for this disease vary according to the type and intensity, but regardless of the type of dermatitis that may suffer, it is very important not to medicate and seek help from your dermatologist.


Affecting between 2 to 4 percent of the world population, psoriasis is a complex inflammatory disease without cure that affects mainly the skin. It is estimated that in Portugal, this disease affects around 300,000 people. (If it is associated with the PSO Portugal, take advantage of our discounts, see how here).

What is Psoriasis?

Psoriasis is a chronic inflammatory disease complex, eminently skin, characterized by well-defined areas of thickened skin, pink or reddish, usually covered with silvery scales or crusts. Joint inflammation can occur in approximately one third of patients.

                   Image of psoriasis


Who suffers from psoriasis?                             

Psoriasis affects 2 to 4% of the world population, estimated at 300 000 the number of patients in Portugal. Men and women are equally affected, even though there may be differences between racial groups. You can start at any age - even in childhood - but it has peaks of occurrence between 15-25 years and 50-60 years. Tends to persist throughout life, with periods of worsening and improvement. It is a disease of genetic basis is not possible to identify families affected in approximately one third of patients.

What causes psoriasis?

Psoriasis is a multifactorial disease in which genetic immunological factors, the environment also contributes to its appearance.

Immune System – The skin has different layers. The more superficial is the epidermis is formed by cells that are in constant division and that eventually die, covering the entire body surface with a film of dead cells called the stratum corneum. Every day, to the extent that the epidermal cells die and become part of the stratum corneum stratum, some cells that are also released, preventing the horny layer becomes too thick. The middle layer of the skin is the dermis where are the collagen and blood vessels. The most profound is the subcutaneous tissue (hypodermis) which is basically a layer of fat.

The skin affected by psoriasis, penetrate the skin immune cells from the bloodstream, accelerating the cell division of the epidermis and altering the normal release mechanism of dead cells of the corneal layer. This causes a thickening of the skin and the appearance of scales and crusts characteristics of the disease. Also occurs dilation and elongation of the blood vessels of the dermis that support the rapid growth of the epidermis and that give the appearance of erythematous skin. 

Genetics – The genetic factors are very important in the development of psoriasis: the genetic profile of the individual influences the type of psoriasis and response to treatment. There is however no genetic test that can diagnose or determine if an individual will develop the disease.

Environmental factors –Some stimuli may increase the risk of developing or worsening psoriasis as the physical stress, psychological stress, infections by bacteria or viruses, drugs (anti-hypertensives, anti-inflammatory, anti-malarial, among others) and smoking.

Psoriasis is not contagious, so it is not a disease that you can "catch" of other people, or "having" to other people. The lesions of psoriasis are not infectious.

How is psoriasis manifested?

Psoriasis is manifested clinically as plates (thickened skin) board as well defined, symmetrical, erythematous (pink or reddish) and scaly. The scales that emit are usually silvery, which gives the injured skin a characteristic brightness. When the FLAKING is very intense, may form crusts. All the cutaneous surface can be affected but is most common on the elbows, knees and scalp. The nails may also be involved, with discoloration, whitish or reddish, thickening and deformation.

Often the lesions are pruritic, itching may be very intense in some patients. In the area of skin more drought, can arise cracks and crevices painful.

The plates are very persistent without treatment. When resolved, may leave brownish spots or even whitish that can last for months until disappears.

How to diagnose psoriasis?

There is no analysis of blood or specific test to diagnose the disease. The dermatologist usually needs only to observe the skin surface to determine if it is psoriasis. When there is doubt, it may be necessary to remove a small piece of skin (skin biopsy) to be observed under microscope. Family history can contribute to the diagnosis.

Learn more about psoríasis here

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