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What Does Eczema Look Like?

Updated on February 7, 2011

Identifying Eczema

What does eczema look like? This lens will bring you a step further in answering that question. Eczema appears slightly different from individual to individual. It is characterized first and foremost by itch. In fact, eczema is known as the itch that rashes. What does this mean? The itch experienced by the eczema suffer is the first symptom, and the rash that follows is the result of scratching. Continue on to find out more about the other symptoms of eczema.

Symptoms of Eczema

The rash associated with eczema may come and go, but there are always signs of eczema even when you are not experiencing a flare.

Inflammation - The redness associated with eczema is inflammation. Inflamed areas are usually swollen and are warm to the touch.

Scale - Eczema often takes on a scaly appearance. Scale may appear powdery, or be cracked having the appearance of dried mud. Scale may appear crumbly around the eyes. Sometimes scale is thick and yellow and will come off in flakes. Other times, it may of the appearance of peeling skin much like one has when they are experiencing a severe sunburn.

Altered Skin Color - Skin that is consistently scratched will begin to alter in color. The cells responsible for the creation of melanin will either begin to over produce pigment or suppress the production, creating either darker or lighter patches of skin.

Lichenification - Lichenification is the thickening of skin. When the skin is repeatedly scratched it begins to thicken in an effort to protect the epidermis. These thickened area of skin may also appear and feel rough.

Crust - Crust occurs when significant scratching leads to a leaking serum. Serum is released to heal areas of damaged skin. When the serum dries it becomes a crust or scab. Crust can be a sign of infection.

Blisters - Blisters are mainly associated with Dyshidrotic eczema but can be present in nearly all types of eczema. The presence of blisters may be a sign of infection.

Eczema Photo Slideshow

Types of Eczema

Identify the Most Common Forms of Eczema

Atopic dermatitis: This is the most common type of eczema. Atopic dermatitis is a chronic skin condition characterized by itchy, inflamed skin.

Contact eczema: A localized skin reaction that occurs when the skin has come into contact with an allergen (an allergy-causing substance) or with an irritant such as an acid, a cleaning agent, or other chemical. Contact eczema commonly occurs when the skin comes into contact with poison ivy, poison oak or virginia creeper. The symptoms include red, itchy and burning skin.

Seborrheic eczema: Is a form of skin inflammation of unknown cause that presents as yellowish, oily, scaly patches of skin on the scalp, face, and occasionally other parts of the body.

Nummular eczema: A condition which produces coin-shaped patches of irritated skin- most often found on the arms, back, buttocks, and lower legs. The irritated area of skin may be crusted, scaling, and extremely itchy.

Neurodermatitis: A condition which produces scaly patches of skin on the head, lower legs, wrists, or forearms caused by a localized itch (such as an insect bite) that becomes intensely irritated when scratched

Stasis dermatitis: Is a skin irritation on the lower legs, generally related to circulatory problems.

Dyshidrotic eczema: An irritation of the skin on the palms of hands and soles of the feet characterized by clear, deep blisters that itch and burn.

Relief for Facial Eczema

If you find yourself in the predicament of having an embarrassing eczema rash on your face, try these calming lotions.

What Causes Eczema?

A List of Common Eczema Triggers

There is no known cause for eczema but is is believed to be genetic. Children have a 60% chance of inheriting the condition if one parent has a history of atopic dermatitis and an 80% chance if both parents have a history of the condition.

Eczema often flares do to a variety of triggers. Once those triggers are determined the individual has a greater chance of preventing future outbreaks.

Possible Triggers

Allergic reactions to:




Facial cleansers with harsh ingredients

Household cleaners

as well as...



Sythetic fabrics


Extended exposure to hot water(baths, showers, steam rooms)

Extreme hot or cold environments

Eczema on Your Body - The Best Body Wash for Eczema

Eczema can be found nearly anywhere on your body. If you are suffering from eczema on your arms, legs, chest or back, it's important that you use a body wash that won't aggravate your condition. And make sure to follow-up with a gentle moisturizer!

What Can You Do to Prevent an Eczema Flare-Up?

10 Things You Can do to Avoid Flare-Up

  1. Avoid triggers

  2. Use a mild facial cleanser

  3. Do NOT use toners or astringents

  4. Avoid detergents with dyes and perfumes

  5. Drink 8-10 glasses of water each day

  6. Maintain a balanced diet

  7. Combat stress exercise and meditation

  8. Use a humidifier during cold months

  9. Wear loose breathable fabrics such as cotton

  10. Always moisturize*

*Moisturizing is very important when trying to avoid flare-ups, BUT pay attention to labels. Some moisturizers have harsh ingredients such as alcohol which will irritate your skin and worsen your condition.

Eczema or Ringworm

Ringworm Lession are often Confused for Eczema

Contrary to its name, ringworm is not a worm. Ringworm, often referred to as Tinea, is a fungal skin disease. Often times, ringworm begins as a red bump. Usually it is itchy and it can be uncomfortable. Over time it grows into a ring or sometimes a series of rings composed of bumpy scaly skin. Ringworm can be confused for a more common condition called Nummular Eczema.

Ringworm can effect nearly all areas of the body, but it is most common on the feet (athletes foot) or on the groin (jock itch).

How Do You Get Ringworm?

Ringworm is communicable, meaning it can be transferred from another infected person. You can also get ringworm from shared objects such as towels and sporting equipment. Another way for a person to be infected by ringworm is by their pets. Pets can carry the fungus and can easy spread it to their owners.

How to Treat Ringworm

Ringworm is easily treated by applying an anti fungal medication to the affected area. Over the counter medication may not be strong enough to kill the fungus. In which case, it is best to see your doctor and have him/her provide you with a prescription.

Is Your Laundry Detergent an Eczema Trigger?

Detergents and fragrances are often the cause of flare-ups. We learned this the hard way at my house. My daughter's reaction to various detergents is at times severe. Once the cycle began it seemed impossible to end. Changing detergents over and over again was not producing results. Fragrance free and dye free was not making a difference. I started to wonder if it wasn't the detergent at all. Perhaps it was a food allergy. As a last ditch effort I decided to make my own.

For approximately 3 months now I have been using this simple mixture.

1 cup washing soda

1 cup borax

1 cup ivory soap shavings

I place all three ingredients in a mason jar and shake until I feel they are thoroughly mixed. When doing laundry I add 1/2 cup of my mixture to the wash. Rather than using softener, I use a 50/50 water and vinegar mixture in my fabric softener dispenser. You will smell the vinegar when the laundry was wet. But after it has been dried the smell completely disappears.

Just one more thing to try. Hopefully, it will bring some relief to your house as well.

Smelly Scalp

If you suffer from eczema, psoriasis, or seborrheic dermatitis, chances are you probably suffer from dandruff and smelly scalp as well. Smelly scalp can be a very embarrassing condition, and can not be resolved by mere shampooing alone. If you are concerned that you may have this condition check out my Smelly Scalp lens.

Please feel free to tell me what you think...

Itchin' to Leave a Comment?

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    • profile image


      6 years ago

      sometimes there are no triggers it just breaks down please tell people this . you can spend days thinking what have i done wrong instead of caring for your skin.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      I have these break outs on my feet my arms basically wherever I sweat. I take hydroxyzine 5mg tabs and it works i haven't been to a dermatoligist but it does work. if i drink sweet tea i break out so i really don't know what it is. does this sound familiar to any of you all?

    • ChrisShaefer profile image


      7 years ago

      Great Lens,

      Thank you so much for sharing your expertise. I really appreciate a publication like this that gives such thorough information. Two big thumbs up and a couple like votes for you!!! Please stop by and say hello on my lenses some time.



    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Recommend you have a look at

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Nice information on Eczema and its cure.You have described good points to avoid Eczema.Thanks for sharing.


    • profile image


      7 years ago

      why does eczema only comes in certain spots on me. my leg burns and itches so bad it hurts. what can i do to help relive this pain? some1 please help with some advice...ty

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Thanks for compiling this Eczema resource lens. My daughter has atopic dermatitis and she often has blisters in her hands. These often cause her a great deal of discomfort and embarrassment. I'm sure many of the tips and information on this lens will be useful to help us to manage her condition.


      Ringworm Treatment Center

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      My niece has very bad eczema so i tried my lotion on her because of the great ingredients it has...and it worked! I applied it 3x's a day and it was completely gone by the fourth day. You should try it; it's called Hemp moisturizer by malibu tan. Walmart sells it. It also helped my mother and my daughter. Believe me it's the best!!! Cost is less than $5 and it's a 25oz. bottle. Good luck!

    • HealthyBodee LM profile image

      HealthyBodee LM 

      8 years ago

      Your listing of the different types of eczema is very helpful. Thank you!

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      I love Aveeno Products for eczema!

    • SandyMertens profile image

      Sandy Mertens 

      8 years ago from Frozen Tundra

      Good information on eczema and treatment.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Cory Thiarello writing for FaceDoctor. Our highly beneficial eczema treatment and eczema products have found wide acceptance over the past years.


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