Itching and red spots: how to distinguish urticaria from psoriasis?

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Hives and psoriasis are skin conditions that cause redness, blemishes, and itching, so they can be easily confused. However, these are fundamentally different conditions, for which different methods are used, so it is in your best interest to find out the exact diagnosis as soon as possible.

What is urticaria?

Urticaria, or urticaria or urticaria, is a skin disease, most often of allergic origin. This is a fairly common occurrence with which one in three people collides at least once in a lifetime, and only a quarter of all cases of urticaria become chronic. Sometimes hives symptoms appear for no apparent reason, and usually several triggers contribute to it:

  • allergenic foods, including peanuts, eggs, nuts;

  • taking antibiotics, aspirin and ibuprofen:

  • insect bites;

  • pet hair;

  • physical irritants: tight clothing, especially synthetic fabrics and latex;

  • cold, heat, prolonged exposure to the sun;

  • bacterial and viral infections, including ARVI, mononucleosis, hepatitis;

  • pollen from plants or certain plants such as oleander and wild ivy;

Thanks to the name, it is quite easy to imagine what urticaria looks like, since it causes a skin reaction that is easy to get when falling into a nettle thicket: a sharp redness of the skin, bulging blisters or blisters, itching, and sometimes burning pain. As a rule, all these symptoms disappear within a day, but with a chronic form, they can persist for several weeks or even months.

How is psoriasis similar to urticaria?

Psoriasis is a chronic, non-communicable disease, presumably of autoimmune origin. This means that the body mistakenly begins to fight its own healthy cells, which is why skin cells accumulate at an increased rate, forming plaques that often cause itching and redness – a person far from medicine can easily confuse such symptoms with allergic rashes. Psoriasis is much less common than urticaria, they suffer 2-4% of the population.

Note that this is a more serious condition than urticaria. It is a chronic disease, it is much more difficult to treat, and, as a rule, it is possible to achieve an improvement in the patient’s condition and a stable remission at best.

The causes of psoriasis are unknown, but there are some factors that can cause or worsen the condition:

  • psycho-emotional shock, chronic stress;

  • alcohol and smoking (especially in women);

  • Certain medicines, including lithium and medicines to lower blood pressure

  • infectious diseases, including tonsillitis;

  • dairy products and red meat;

  • environmental factors, such as extreme cold or sunlight.

Psoriasis vs urticaria – how to tell them apart?


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However, knowing about the differences in the manifestations of urticaria and psoriasis is very useful, if only in order to help the doctor draw up a complete clinical picture.

Rash form:

  • With psoriasis, the plaques rise slightly, have clear boundaries and characteristic scales of a silvery hue. With the deterioration, foci of inflammation begin to grow and merge into spots, and can also bleed. The surface of the rash is drier than on other areas of the skin.

  • Rashes with urticaria, especially if it is an allergic reaction, do not have clear contours and can appear in the form of small and large spots. In severe cases, continuous edema may appear. The rashes do not have the dryness of psoriasis.

Localization of rashes:

  • Psoriatic rashes appear on limited areas of the body, most often in the scalp, back and sacrum, bends of the knees and elbows. Less often – in the genital area, groin, axillary region and chest.

  • Hives rashes can appear anywhere on the body.


  • With psoriasis, most often itching in the area of ​​the rash is quite moderate.

  • Hives cause severe itching. Just like after the nettles, remember?

Specific symptoms of psoriasis include joint swelling and thickening of the nail plate.

How to be treated?

If you have hives, which appear sporadically as an allergic reaction, you may forget about it forever as soon as you find out with the help of your doctor what allergen is causing it. In this case, you will have to give up some products and minimize contact with pets. Your doctor may also prescribe antihistamines, anti-inflammatory steroids, antidepressants, or sedatives if the hives are a reaction to stress.

In order to get rid of the psoriasis symptoms and achieve remission, you will have to undergo serious treatment. Such patients are prescribed corticosteroids, retinoids, phototherapy using ultraviolet radiation. And of course, you will have to make major adjustments to your lifestyle: minimize alcohol consumption, eat a balanced diet, and learn to manage your stress.



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