Are you scratching your head to find out if that rash on your arm is eczema or ringworm? Before exploring the differences, let’s address the similarities:
Many people mix up the two conditions, however, the underlying causes and treatment of both conditions are different. One type of eczema, in particular, is very similar in appearance to ringworm. Dermatologists refer to this type of eczema as nummular eczema. Other common names include:
A dermatologist has the knowledge and tools to determine what you’re experiencing on the spot. If an initial eczema treatment is provided with no response, the dermatologist will most likely complete a culture test to check for fungi – the main reason for ringworm infections.
Eczema is also known as dermatitis and it affects individuals of all age groups, including infants and seniors. Medical professionals now know that eczema is caused by an immunodeficiency. The body responds to certain stimuli, triggers, or toxins with a substance release in the bloodstream – which results in eczema rashes.
There is still a lot that isn’t understood about eczema, though. As a result, there is no magic cure, just treatments for the relief of symptoms.
Ringworm is a type of skin infection which is caused by a fungi – not worms or parasites, despite the name.
The fungi responsible for ringworm infections are multiple and vast. The common thread, however, is that all types of ringworm fungi are categorized as “dermatophytes”. These type of fungi thrive in all types of environments, but they are most prevalent in hot and humid settings, such as in locker rooms, indoor pools, or tropical climates.
Like eczema, ringworm infections are marked by scaly and raised rashes, which may itch. Similarly, there are multiple types of ringworm, as is the case with eczema. Some of the most common forms of ringworm are:
Ringworm infections should never be left as-is. Over-the-counter or prescription strength treatments can be used to stop a rash in its track, before it grows and spreads to other areas of the body.
Ringworm can be contracted by coming into touching with an infected person, pet, or thing. Skin contact should therefore be avoided with persons whom you know are infected until treatment is complete.
You should also change or disinfect affected items, like towels, toothbrushes, and other personal items after treatment to prevent reinfections.
Eczema, like ringworm, appears scaly, red, and circular. Patients often describe mild to severe itchiness that is unrelenting without treatment. Some eczema rashes are dry and flaky while others are wet and open.
In addition to large patches that appear ring-shaped, some of the other symptoms that are associated with ringworm on the skin include:
In nail ringworm infections, the affected nail tissue may thicken and become discolored. Some nails become yellowish while others are darker. Some patients even report crumbling or recessed nails.
Because no two eczema patients are alike, this skin condition is sometimes hard to treat. For the most part, dermatologists know that eczema flare-ups occur as a result of common triggers such as:
Many of these products exacerbate the skin condition. Therefore, patients who notice an eczema flareup after using certain products should avoid future use.
Your dermatologist or doctor may also recommend the following tips for treating eczema:
Proven treatments for ringworm are good at:
If your doctor suspects a ringworm infection, a culture test is generally taken to confirm the observation.
An assortment of antifungal medicines are available by prescription to stop the infection in its tracks. Most of these antifungal treatments for ringworm are topical medicines, which are dispensed as creams, gels, or sprays. In some cases, however, such as ringworm on the scalp, oral RX medicines like griseofulvin are prescribed.