Psoriasis, Eczema, Dermatitis: What's the Difference?

By

Jane Soung

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PHYSICIAN CONTRIBUTOR psoriasis-on-elbow

Expert Answers to Psoriasis Treatment FAQs

Dr. David Harvey, a dermatologist and surgeon, answers some common psoriasis questions.
doctor examining patients neck

Trying to get rid of a skin rash can be almost as troublesome as coping with one. Three common causes—psoriasis, eczema, and dermatitis—are tricky to diagnose. No single test can identify them. Plus, they’re easily confused because they look so similar.

To make an accurate diagnosis, your doctor may talk with you about your medical history and symptoms. He or she may want to conduct skin examinations or multiple tests. If you’re currently bothered by red, itchy, or inflamed skin, it’s all worth your time and effort. Once the cause is found, treatment can start and bring welcome relief.

There are many treatment options for psoriasis, and they all come with risks and benefits. Ultimately, whether you treat with topical creams, light therapy, or medications, you and your doctor will decide the best treatment path together.

Medical Reviewer: William C. Lloyd, MD, FACS Last Review Date: Apr 13, 2016

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