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A Closeup Of A Person’s Knees, Both Affected By Patches Of Psoriasis

Your Guide to Eczema, Psoriasis, and Dry Skin: Key Differences

At some point in our lives, we all suffer from a bout of dry skin, especially in Ohio’s cold winter months. But if you start to notice a larger problem—especially red patches, flaking, or scales—it might be more than just a little seasonal dryness. If your skin is inflamed or irritated in ways that interfere with your daily life, you may start to wonder if you have a chronic skin condition like eczema or psoriasis.

Both of these conditions share some symptoms with very dry skin, but there are several key characteristics that can help you distinguish between them. The only way to know for sure what skin condition you have is to visit a trusted dermatologist. But taking note of these signs and symptoms can help you better prepare for your first visit!

Dry Skin

What is dry skin?

Dry skin is extremely common, affecting most people at least once in their lifetimes. Dryness can be uncomfortable, typically taking the form of rough, itching, or even cracking and scaling skin. For most people, dry skin is triggered by external, environmental factors like:

  • Extremes in temperature (too hot or too cold)
  • Low humidity
  • Spending too much time in hot showers/baths
  • Harsh ingredients in soaps and laundry detergents

Dry skin can happen anywhere, though it most commonly afflicts the hands, arms, and legs.

What is the best treatment for dry skin?

For most people, a good over-the-counter lotion or moisturizer is plenty enough to do the trick. That said, they may not be enough for everyone, especially if you have cracked skin. If the products you pick up at the drugstore aren’t enough to soften and soothe your skin, visit a board-certified dermatologist for professional advice and product recommendations.


What is eczema?

Eczema is a chronic skin condition that causes dry, intensely itchy patches to develop on the skin. In more severe cases, the rough and flaky patches cover large areas of the body, causing debilitating irritation and discomfort. The intense itching can interrupt sleep, cause difficulties concentrating at work, and even result in oozing sores.

The cause of eczema is likely a combination of genetics and your environment. Flare-ups can be triggered by a number of internal and external factors, including stress, changes in temperature, certain chemicals and fragrances, cigarette smoke, certain fabrics, and even sweating. Finding your individual triggers will be a significant aspect of your treatment plan.

What is the best treatment for eczema?

While eczema doesn’t have a cure, there are plenty of ways to manage the disease with help from the dermatologists at Advanced Dermatology of North Central Ohio. Your provider will create a personalized plan for you based on your symptoms, the condition’s severity, and your medical history. After conducting a thorough consultation and exam, we may recommend:

  • Topical or oral medications
  • Light therapy
  • Lifestyle adjustments

Having a skincare partner on your side can make life with eczema much easier. We can provide recommendations for safe products and changes to your daily routine that are realistic and manageable.


What is psoriasis?

One of the key differences between psoriasis and conditions like eczema or dry skin is that it is an autoimmune disease. That means your body’s immune system mistakenly attacks healthy cells—and in the case of psoriasis, it means that leaving the condition untreated could have further implications for other aspects of your health. Without intervention, people with psoriasis are at risk of developing psoriatic arthritis, cardiovascular disease, and even type 2 diabetes.

People with psoriasis experience a rapid buildup of skin cells into raised red patches topped with thick, silvery scales of skin. Together, these patches are referred to as plaques. Additional symptoms can also be present, including:

  • Smaller, scaly spots
  • Dry and cracked skin that bleeds
  • Itching
  • Burning, stinging, or aching pain
  • Nails that are thick, pitted, or ridged
  • Joint swelling or stiffness

If you only have some of these symptoms but not others, you could still have psoriasis. The best—and only—way to know for sure is to visit a dermatologist.

What is the best treatment for psoriasis?

The best treatment for psoriasis is a personalized one. At Advanced Dermatology of North Central Ohio, we’ll build a unique treatment plan that will target your most troublesome symptoms and reduce the chances of a flare-up. Like eczema, psoriasis responds well to combinations of topical solutions, oral prescriptions, and lifestyle changes.

Not all of psoriasis’s triggers are external. Often, people experience flare-ups after an illness like strep throat, an injury to the skin, or even a sunburn—all experiences that put a strain on the immune system. But you can start by avoiding alcohol, cigarettes, sun exposure, and prolonged time in extremely cold, dry air. For further recommendations, set up your appointment with our team today!

Get an Accurate Diagnosis from an Expert Dermatologist

Trying to figure out what’s causing your itching, burning, dry, or scaly skin can be a never-ending cycle of drugstore visits, wasted money, and further irritation. If you’re ready to get answers, it’s time to make a visit to Advanced Dermatology of North Central Ohio. Our team is highly trained to accurately diagnose and treat a variety of skin conditions and get you on the path to healthy, calm skin.

Eczema & Psoriasis Treatment in Mansfield, OH

Advanced Dermatology of North Central Ohio provides comprehensive solutions for skin concerns in every realm, from general dermatology to cosmetic dermatology to skin cancer. Serving patients in the Mansfield metropolitan area, we’re your partners in all things skin care, health, and wellness. To schedule your appointment, give us a call today at (419) 780-3157!

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