Pop quiz: Can you tell the difference between psoriasis and eczema? As if these chronic skin issues weren’t frustrating enough, they can also be incredibly confusing. “Both eczema and psoriasis cause red, scaly areas on the skin, and to the untrained eye, they can look similar,” board-certified dermatologist Alan J. Parks, M.D., tells SELF. Here’s how to figure out which is which, along with the best ways to actually treat these annoying skin conditions.
Psoriasis is an autoimmune condition that affects about 7.5 million Americans, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. It happens when the skin cells go through their life cycles more quickly than normal. Typically, it takes about a month for skin cells to regenerate, but in people with psoriasis, this process happens every three to four days, according to the Cleveland Clinic.