- Diseases, Disorders & Conditions»
- Skin Diseases & Conditions
Ringworm Rash or Eczema?
Due to the possible similarities between the two types of rashes, people may have difficulty identifying whether a rash is ringworm or eczema. Eczema and ringworm rashes are very different conditions that require different types of rash treatment. Therefore, it's important to distinguish between the two and seek medical advice if necessary.
These skin rashes have several similarities. Ringworm rashes can have dry, flaky skin like eczema. Raised patches, itchiness, and redness are symptoms that ringworm and eczema can have in common. Both ringworm rash and eczema occur most often in children.
There are also some differences that can help people tell these rashes apart. Eczema often develops when the person has dry skin. The eczema rashes may appear in several places on the body at the same time. Ringworm usually develops in only one area of the body though it may spread.
Ringworm rashes have a distinct edge. It is very easy to see the border of the ringworm rash. With eczema, the edges of the rash are not as well-defined. A person with an eczema rash often has dry skin which makes it difficult to determine the boundaries of the eczema rash.
Most eczema rashes are flaky, red patches of dry skin. A ringworm rash looks like a reddish border with normal skin color in the center of the rash. Eczema does not usually affect a person's nails unless they have repeated, severe contact dermatitis on the hands. Ringworm can infect fingernails and toenails. Ringworm can cause them to become brittle, thick, and discolored.
If ringworm develops on the scalp, bald spots likely will form in the areas of the ringworm. Here is a ringworm picture that shows ringworm on the scalp. The ringworm caused round, bald patches on this person's head. Sometimes, ringworm pictures of ringworm on the scalp do not show patches that are as distinctly round and well-defined as this example. Scalp ringworm can cause bald patches that are various shapes and may be more difficult to identify.
Eczema is not contagious. Ringworm can be contagious. People can catch ringworm from pets or showers that have been contaminated with the fungus that causes ringworm.
Treating Ringworm and Eczema
Ringworm and eczema have very different treatments. Eczema is often a genetic, recurring condition. Flare ups of eczema can be reduced in frequency and severity by keeping the skin moisturized. Thick moisturizing creams can work well to keep the skin hydrated. I also have a Hubpages article about a home remedy for treating eczema that a dermatologist told me and has worked well for me.
Unlike eczema, ringworm is caused by a fungal infection. Therefore, it requires an anti-fungal treatment. Over-the-counter anti-fungal powders and lotions often are effective to get rid of ringworm. People with ringworm should also wash their bed sheets everyday while they have ringworm.
A doctor should be consulted if the ringworm is on the scalp or if the ringworm won't go away with over-the-counter treatments. A ringworm rash that doesn't go away with over-the-counter treatment for four weeks or more should be examined by a doctor. Scratching the ringworm rash or eczema can cause infection. Anyone experiencing signs of infection such as increased redness of the rash area and fever should seek immediate medical attention.