The Difference Between Seborrheic Dermatitis and Psoriasis

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If you have noticed red, itchy patches of skin on your scalp, you likely turned to the internet to help diagnose the problem and possibly identify the best skin care treatment to cure or reduce the condition. However, you probably noticed that there is a significant overlap between two relatively common disorders: seborrheic dermatitis and psoriasis of the scalp. These skin problems have many similar symptoms, but while both can be extremely uncomfortable and embarrassing, they require different products and other treatments to reduce the problem. But how can you tell the difference between the two? Do you have seborrheic dermatitis or psoriasis?

The Overlapping Symptoms
You may have seborrheic dermatitis or psoriasis of the scalp if you have:

  • Red patches of skin covered with silvery or white scales
  • Silvery or white scales that attach to your hair shaft
  • Itching, which can be quite severe.

Despite these similar symptoms, however, scalp psoriasis can often be more severe than seborrheic dermatitis. But how do you separate the two conditions?
Signs of Psoriasis of the Scalp
Unlike seborrheic dermatitis, scalp psoriasis is characterized by:

  • Patchy scales or a thick crust on your scalp that bleeds when you try to remove it. In contrast, seborrheic dermatitis patches can be easily removed.
  • Patches that extend beyond your hairline. Seborrheic dermatitis in the scalp is usually confined to the area covered by your hair.
  • Similar patches on other parts of your body. If a person has psoriasis, they are also likely to develop it on their elbows, knees, hands and feet, and may also notice some differences in their nails.
  • Soreness. While seborrheic dermatitis is itchy and uncomfortable, it should not cause actual pain.

Patients with seborrheic dermatitis are also more likely to have red, oily or greasy skin, as well as scales that are yellow instead of white.
Proper Diagnoses and Treatment

The best way to truly determine whether you have seborrheic dermatitis or psoriasis of the scalp is to visit a dermatologist clinic and speak to a specialist. While there is no test which can definitively confirm which condition you might have, a dermatologist will be able to conduct a visual exam to diagnose the type and severity of the problem. From there, the doctor will be able to prescribe a treatment to reduce your discomfort, as well as the physical appearance of the scales, which may include topical ointments, oral medication, or even phototherapy. Read this website for more information.

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