How to Tell Apart Psoriasis and Scabies

Skin diseases may look similar to an untrained eye, but every skin condition is unique from each other. It is the same with psoriasis and scabies. People may easily confuse the two skin disorders, but there are apparent differences if you take a closer look.

Here’s how to tell the differences between the signs of psoriasis and scabies:

The nature of the skin conditions

Psoriasis is an autoimmune disease and not caused by external factors. The immune system of psoriasis patients attacks itself, resulting skin cells to develop rapidly. You can’t contract psoriasis as it isn’t contagious.

Meanwhile, scabies happens when Sarcoptes scabiei, a microscopic mite burrows into a victim’s skin and lays eggs. Then, the eggs hatch into larvae, move to the surface of the skin and repeat the cycle. Prolonged direct skin contact with people with scabies is usually how the mites spread to other hosts.

psoriasis novartis


As psoriasis and scabies are obviously two different diseases, there are distinct signs of the two skin disorders.

Due to the rapid skin cell growth occurring in psoriasis patients, they suffer from red, flaky patches on their skin. These lesions may appear on anywhere on the body but are often found on the palms, elbows and the scalp.

On the other hand, infestations of scabies appear in the form of a pimple-like rash. A person that has scabies may also develop sores by scratching due to the intense itching experienced. Another distinct trait of the scabies is the track-like burrows created by the mites tunnelling under the skin.


There is no known cure to psoriasis, but there are treatment and medication to manage with the symptoms. Most common methods include topical steroids, ultraviolet light therapy or a combination of different treatments.

You can get rid of scabies by applying a prescription lotion or cream on your whole body and leave it for 8 to 14 hours. Doctors may also provide antihistamine pills to ease the itching. Close family members are also recommended to go under the same treatment regardless if they show signs of scabies or not.


Psoriasis and scabies can be easy to tell apart if you know what symptoms to look for. If you believe you have psoriasis or scabies, stay calm and consult a doctor immediately.

Learn more about psoriasis and other skin disorders by clicking