23rd July 2018

Psoriasis, Eczema & Dermatitis

So many skin concerns have very similar symptoms that can sometimes make it hard for patients, and even doctors, to differentiate between them. Luckily for you, I’m a dermatologist. I’m sure that all you want is a definitive diagnosis so that you can start to take control of your skin health and find a treatment that really works for you. As a professional London dermatologist, I come into contact with these conditions almost every single day, and can confidently offer a firm diagnosis and a bespoke treatment plan to follow. Below you’ll find the answers you’ve been looking for as I settle the long-term debate between psoriasis, eczema and dermatitis – three of the most commonly confused skin conditions.


Psoriasis is the most individual of the three conditions, where a patient has an increased production of skin cells that lead to patches of skin that are often red and covered in flaky or crusty, silvery scales. While this can occur anywhere on the body for both men and women, it most commonly affects the areas around the elbows, knees, scalp and lower back. This causes minor irritation for most, while others experience more severe bouts of psoriasis that considerably affect their quality of life.

The patches can be itchy and sore, affecting around 2% of the UK population, most commonly in adults under 35. Psoriasis is a chronic skin condition, meaning that it is long-term, and can consist of periods where patients experience little to no symptoms, with flare-ups at other times where symptoms are significantly more severe. While it isn’t fully understood why sufferers have an increased growth of skin cells, it is thought to be associated with the immune system and genetics. Your symptoms can also start or become worse due to certain triggers, such as trauma to the skin and certain medications, but psoriasis is not contagious.


With eczema, symptoms are very similar, although upon looking closely it is likely that you’ll notice that the skin isn’t as inflamed or as thick as it is when suffering with psoriasis. In general, eczema is an overarching term for a group of skin conditions that cause redness, itchiness and inflammation. Again, it is very common, especially amongst babies and children around their cheeks and chin, but it can affect anyone at any age and anywhere on the body – most often the neck, inner elbows and behind the knees.

The exact cause of eczema is still unknown, but is thought to be associated with genetics and environmental triggers, like irritants and allergens that can cause flare-ups. Your symptoms are likely to be vastly different from the next sufferer, ranging from a mild to severe itch, dryness and sensitivity, oozing and crusting, as well as patches of skin that are darker, rough or leathery.


Eczema and Dermatitis are terms that are often loosely interchanged, as dermatitis is a type of eczema and a general term that means inflammation of the skin. This is why it can get very confusing for many. Each type of dermatitis possesses different triggers and presents varying symptoms, which is why it is important to be able to differentiate between them and diagnose them properly so that they can be effectively treated and managed.

Some common types include atopic dermatitis, which is often inherited through genetics, seborrheic dermatitis, which is caused by yeast within oil secretion on the skin, and contact dermatitis, which is caused by contact with a number of triggers. As with psoriasis and other types of eczema, dermatitis often leaves your skin looking red and swollen with an itchy rash, with periods of remission and flare-ups. In some cases, blistering, crusting and oozing can occur, which can be very uncomfortable and difficult to live with, although it isn’t at all contagious.

Dr Firas Al-Niaimi

Hopefully, this information has helped to add to your knowledge, but should you have any further questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to book your skin health check with myself at my Harley Street practice. I possess a wealth of knowledge and expertise around an abundance of skin conditions following years of extensive training and experience, and so together we will surely get your skin health under control so that you can finally regain your confidence. I am a professional London dermatologist and offer an attentive approach to care and a bespoke treatment plan to perfectly meet your individual needs and offer the best possible results, from consultation through to aftercare.

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