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How To Tell The Difference Between Eczema And Ringworm

Get A Diagnosis Before Trying Topical Corticosteroids At Home

Is it Eczema or Ringworm?

While topical corticosteroids are effective at treating eczema, they can actually make ringworm worse. Steroids may improve the itching and swelling, but they cannot kill the fungal infection. This may lead to the infection spreading and weakening your skins defenses. Using steroid cream can also cause ringworm to change its appearance. This makes it harder for your primary care doctor to diagnose it and provide the right treatment.

How Can I Tell That The Bumps On My Lips Are A Rash Or Hsv Or Something Serious

Thank you for the question. HSV or herpes simplex virus usually presents as painful blisters and ulcers on the lips. The blisters are usually grouped together in the same area. HSV can be recurrent and some people get repeated blisters frequently over the same area. Other viral infections like hand foot and mouth disease can also present with small blisters and ulcers on the lips, and this can be scattered throughout the lips and buccal mucosa. In HFMD, the blisters are also seen on the hands and feet and you may have other systemic signs like fever.

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How Can I Prevent Nummular Eczema Episodes

To reduce your risk of discoid eczema flare-ups, try these skincare strategies:

  • Avoid skin products and laundry detergents that contain fragrances or dyes.
  • Avoid tight clothing and irritating fabrics.
  • Manage stress, which may contribute to flare-ups.
  • Moisturize with thick products, such as petroleum jelly or hydrating cream, especially when the skin is still damp after bathing or showering.
  • Prevent skin injury. If an injury occurs, clean the area and cover it with a bandage.
  • Take short , lukewarm showers.
  • Avoid hot long baths.
  • Use gentle cleansers that contain moisturizers.
  • Avoid rubbing exfoliating skin.
  • Avoid using a washcloth, buff puff or loofah.

Read Also: What To Do For Eczema On Feet

How Do You Know If You Have Ringworm

Ringworm often creates a ring-shaped rash with a raised, scaly border that snakes its way around the edge like a worm. Some experts believe that the appearance may be where it got its name.

The rash is typically itchy and can cause discomfort. A person should talk with their doctor about getting a diagnosis if they suspect ringworm.

Figure 10 Sharply Demarcated Scaly Patch Of Seborrheic Dermatitis Affecting The Presternal Area

Difference Between Nummular Eczema and Ringworm

Seborrheic dermatitis may closely resemble tinea or psoriasis, especially in the groin. Distribution is helpful in distinguishing seborrheic dermatitis from tinea. When seborrheic dermatitis is present on the face, lesions are remarkably symmetric, mostly affecting the forehead, eyebrows, and retroauricular areas.36 When present in large folds, seborrheic dermatitis tends to be centered along the crease, whereas tinea is less often as symmetric.36 In addition, patches and plaques of seborrheic dermatitis typically are more numerous and appear greasier than lesions of tinea. Plaques of psoriasis are associated with a heavier scale that, unlike seborrheic dermatitis, bleeds when removed.32

Treatment consists of imidazoles, mainly ketoconazole, as a shampoo when present on the scalp or cream when present on the face and body.36 Topical steroids work quickly and are effective but should be limited because of the risk of steroid rosacea.32 Once cleared, daily maintenance therapy is important to prevent relapse.

Erythema Multiforme

Recommended Reading: What Is Eczema And How Do You Get It

Oral Or Injectable Medications

For moderate to severe cases of psoriasis where other treatments dont work, your doctor may prescribe an oral or injected medication. These medications reduce inflammation and slow or stop skin cell growth by altering your immune system.

Options include oral medications like methotrexate, cyclosporine, acitretin, and Otezla or injectable biologics like Humira, among others.

Some non-biologics that your doctor may prescribe are:

  • methotrexate
  • etanercept
  • infliximab

As with any treatment, there are possible side effects you should be aware of. Its important to talk to a doctor to determine the best course of treatment for you. Theyll also keep an eye on your overall health for any signs of potentially dangerous side effects.

How Do Symptoms Of Eczema And Ringworm Compare

Both eczema and ringworm tend to inflame and redden the skin and can make it dry, swollen, crusty, and itchy. In addition, both can happen almost anywhere on the body, head to toe.

One symptom that sometimes helps tell the difference is that ringworm often produces a scaly, ring-shaped rash, typically on the trunk, arms, or legs. But nummular, or âdiscoid,â eczema also produces a round, scaly rash that can look like ringworm.

If you think you have ringworm, but over-the-counter remedies fail to work, it may be time to see your doctor. You may have eczema, psoriasis, or some other skin condition. Only your doctor can tell for sure the source of your symptoms.

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Specific Symptoms Of Psoriasis

While psoriasis doesnt have symptoms that are as clear cut as those of ringworm, there are a few other ways you might be able to tell that its psoriasis and not something else.

First, if the symptoms are recurring and lack that ring-like feature, it may be psoriasis. Since psoriasis is a chronic condition, it doesnt really go away over a few days with treatment like ringworm will.

Second, about 30% of people with psoriasis develop psoriatic arthritis, a type of arthritis closely associated with psoriasis.

Ringworm Treatment And Management

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In many cases, ringworm can be treated with creams, lotions, or powders containing antifungals such as clotrimazole or miconazole, and many of those treatments are available over the counter. If the infection does not respond well to that treatment, your healthcare provider may prescribe a cream containing a higher concentration of antifungal medication. Sometimes, oral antifungals, such as griseofulvin, fluconazole, terbinafine, or itraconazole, are necessary to clear up the infection. Thats the case when the lesion is recurrent, chronic, or doesnt get better after using prescription-strength topical antifungal products .

In addition to antifungals, your healthcare provider might recommend hygiene measures that make the growing conditions for the fungus unfavorable. These include wearing well-ventilated clothing, avoiding bandaging the area, and changing damp or wet clothes frequently.

Since ringworm is contagious, it is essential to prevent reinfecting yourself as well as passing the fungus on to others . According to the American Academy of Dermatology , a person with ringworm should avoid touching the rash and wash their hands frequently. Bedding, as well as clothing, should be washed frequently in detergent and hot water. You should wear shower shoes at the gym or pool locker rooms, and a shower should be taken after a workout, followed by changing into clean clothes .

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Diagnosing Nummular Eczema And Ringworm

Youll need to see your doctor for a diagnosis of either condition.

Its best to have nummular eczema diagnosed by a dermatologist. A doctor specializing in skin conditions or even your primary care doctor can help determine a treatment plan and rule out other conditions.

Nummular eczema is diagnosed with a physical exam. A doctor can usually make a diagnosis by looking at the skin. Nummular eczema is most prominent in these areas of the body:

  • legs
  • arms
  • torso

If you have open sores within any of the rashes, your doctor may take a sample to see if you have an infection. This is especially important if your symptoms look like ringworm.

A sample can help them determine if you have a staph infection from eczema, or if its a fungal infection related to ringworm.

Red, circular rashes on the skin are a telltale sign of ringworm, but your doctor may also test a sample to confirm. Theyll look for signs of a fungal infection. If the fungal test is negative, then you dont have ringworm.

Once you have an accurate diagnosis, your doctor can explain treatment options.

Is It Ringworm Or Eczema

While there are some similarities between the two conditions, there are many differences, too.

Ringworm Despite the name, ringworm isnt caused by a worm. Its a type of fungus, the same type that causes athletes foot and jock itch, in fact. The name comes from the appearance of the condition, a red ring around a white center of scaly skin. Ringworm usually isnt painful but it can be extremely itchy and uncomfortable.

Eczema While doctors arent sure exactly what causes eczema, they do know its not caused by any kind of fungus. Its thought to be a combination of dry, irritable skin and some sort of disorder or malfunction of the immune system. Eczema causes scaly patches of skin, but unlike ringworm, these arent round or ring-like in appearance. Patches of eczema are red or brownish in color and may ooze or bleed, especially if you scratch the area a lot. Eczema is not just itchy, it can be pretty painful, as well.

Ringworm has a pretty distinctive appearance. Youre not likely to mistake it for something else.

When trying to determine if youve got ringworm or eczema, one other factor to consider is the fact that ringworm is contagious. Eczema is not. If other members of your household are suffering from the same skin problem, its probably not eczema.

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How Do I Take Care Of Myself With Nummular Eczema

To ease the symptoms of nummular dermatitis at home, use the prevention tips above. Also:

  • Avoid scratching the spots, as that can cause infections and scars.
  • Cover lesions with a moist bandage .
  • Follow your healthcare providers instructions carefully.
  • Take an antihistamine, such as hydroxyzine or diphenhydramine, to reduce itchiness and help you sleep at night.

Main Differences Between Eczema And Ringworm

Difference Between Nummular Eczema and Ringworm
  • Eczema is not contagious while ringworm is contagious.
  • Eczema can spread all over the body while ringworm affects certain parts of the body.
  • Some eczema patches may have a burning sensation while ringworm patches do not have any burning sensation.
  • Eczema only occurs in humans while ringworm occurs in both humans and animals.
  • Eczema forms multiple patches on the skin while ringworm forms one or two patches on the skin.
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    Whats The Difference Between Psoriasis And Ringworm

    The biggest difference between psoriasis and ringworm, says Dr. McGregor, is the origins of each. Psoriasis is an autoimmune condition, while ringworm is a fungal infection. While a persons autoimmune issues trigger psoriasis, you can acquire the ringworm fungus in a number of different ways, he adds, from soil, other humans or even pets.

    Additionally, psoriasis is a chronic condition, meaning it never goes away. Ringworm, conversely, will go away with treatment since its simply an infection.

    When To Seek Medical Advice

    See a pharmacist or GP if you think you may have discoid eczema. They can recommend a suitable treatment.

    You should also seek medical advice if you think your skin may be infected. You may need to use an antibiotic cream or, in severe cases, take antibiotics as a tablet or capsule.

    A GP should be able to make a diagnosis just by examining the affected areas of skin. In some cases they may also ask questions or arrange some tests to rule out other conditions.

    A GP may refer you to a doctor who specialises in skin conditions if they’re unsure of the diagnosis or if you need a patch test.

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    Causes And Risk Factors For Fungal Skin Infections

    Unlike nummular eczema and other types of eczema, the cause of fungal skin infections is well known, i.e., fungi like tinea or candida. These infections spread through skin-to-skin contact and public showers and locker rooms.

    Risk factors for ringworm include poor hygiene, prolonged exposure to sweaty or damp clothes, sharing towels or razors with others, and living in warm, humid climates. Athletes who have frequent contact with others in locker rooms and public showers at are risk of ringworm.

    Other risk factors for candida yeast infections include recent antibiotic use, pregnant women, people with diabetes, and people with weakened immune systems.

    Nummular Eczema Versus Ringworm: Whats The Difference

    Ringworm,eczema,psoriasis,dematitis.Treatment without any side effects

    Nummular eczema can be mistaken for a common infection that appears as a circular, itchy rash: tinea corporis, which is known as ringworm. It tends to present, as the name suggests, like a ring, Dr. Makhzoumi says. The two skin conditions are almost indistinguishable except for one subtle clue. Ringworm bumps are typically flat and have scaling on the border whereas an entire nummular eczema patch can be raised and scaly, Dr. Silverberg says. Further, the center of a ringworm patch may look like your typical skin color rather than red or brown, Dr. Silverberg says.

    Ringworm, which can be spread from person to person , is caused by more than 40 species of fungi, including Trichophyton, Microsporum, and Epidermophyton, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention . You can get ringworm by touching surfaces, objects, people, or animals that have ringworm. If you regularly shower at the gym and people you have been in contact with suddenly develop itchy, flat circles with scaly borders, that could be a sign that your skin rash is possibly pointing to ringworm.

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    What Are The Causes And Risk Factors For Ringworm And Eczema

    About 40 different fungal species can cause ringworm. Signs and symptoms appear about 4-14 days after exposure to the fungus. Ringworm is contagious. Risk factors include direct contact with an individual infected with the fungus or indirect contact by sharing clothing or towels with someone infected. Other risk factors include contact sports like

    • wrestling,
    • walking barefoot in a locker room,
    • close contact with animals, and
    • wearing tight clothing.

    In contrast to ringworm, the cause of eczema is unknown, although researchers suggest risk factors such as family history, genetics, skin colonization with S. aureus, reduced exposure to childhood diseases, and a hot climate are risk factors to trigger the disease or a flare-up. Eczema is not contagious.

    • Eczema usually has no ring formation on the skin in contrast to ringworm.
    • The groin and axillary regions are spared in eczema but are not spared in certain ringworm infections .
    • Ringworm is contagious, but eczema is not.
    • Eczema has incessant pruritis that can trigger uncontrolled scratching. This is the major sign of the disease. Eczema patches on the skin are usually not in a ring formation and are leathery.

    Frequently Asked Questions :

    How can I tell the difference between ringworm and eczema? Ringworm is often round in shape, itchy, and has black dots at its center. Eczema symptoms include redness, dry skin, swelling of the affected area, oozing, and crusting if scratched.

    If I had a fungus that causes ringworm on my skin, can it spread to other parts of my body? Yes, ringworm can spread to other parts of the body and is contagious to others, especially with skin-to-skin contact.

    What are some ways I can prevent spreading fungus or my eczema? Its important that you keep your nails trimmed short because scratching an itchy rash will only make it worse and may cause infection if your nails are long. Also, keep your hands away from your face and wash them thoroughly with soap and water after using the restroom or changing a diaper.

    Apply moisturizer to dry areas of skin immediately following a bath or shower to help lock in moisture . You can also try taking an oatmeal bath to relieve your itching and dry skin.

    Avoid washing bedding frequently as doing so can also irritate the rash-causing a reaction that is worse than before. If you need to wash sheets or clothing because of body fluids like urine or feces, use bleach instead of detergent for extra protection against bacteria and fungus spores.

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    How Is Nummular Eczema Diagnosed

    For diagnosis, consider visiting a dermatologist, who specializes in skin conditions. They can tell the difference between ringworm, nummular dermatitis, psoriasis, additional types of eczema and other skin conditions.

    Your healthcare provider can usually diagnose nummular eczema by examining your skin. Tests are generally not necessary, but sometimes, a healthcare provider will scrape your skin and look at it under a microscope.

    Is My Rash Ringworm Or Something Else

    Psoriasis Vs Eczema The Difference

    There are many reasons that you might be dealing with a skin rash however, if you suspect that it might be ringworm you may be surprised to discover that there are other conditions that can often masquerade as ringworm but arent. This is why its important to have any rashes or skin problems thoroughly evaluated by a qualified dermatologist. After all, you want to make sure that you are getting the proper treatment you need depending on the type of condition youre dealing with.What does ringworm look like?If you have ringworm, common symptoms include:

    • A circular or ring-like rash that may be raised along the edges
    • A rash that may be scaly, itchy, red, or burning
    • Hair loss in the area where the rash has appeared
    • Contact dermatitis
    • Tinea versicolor
    • Vitiligo
    • Erythema migrans
    • Lupus

    Sometimes a skin biopsy of the lesion or rash is required for a dermatologist to be able to diagnose whether it is ringworm or not. If you are experiencing symptoms of ringworm or are concerned about a new or worsening rash, then call your dermatologist today to schedule an appointment.

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