Ringworm can develop on the scalp or on any affected area on the body. It is a common fungal infection on the skin, but is not due to an actual worm. Tinea is the medical term for ringworm. Additional names are added to this depending on which area of the body is affected. The most well-known ringworm infections are tinea cruris (jock itch), tinea corporis, tinea capitis and tinea pedis (athlete’s foot). This skin disease is called ringworm because when it appears on your skin, it has a ring-like appearance.
Eczema does not occur because of a specific problem with a person’s health. Rather, it has an identifiable pattern shown in various other skin diseases. Atopic dermatitis is the medical term for eczema. Typically, it occurs in conjunction with hay fever, asthma or allergic rhinitis. Here we take a look at ringworm vs eczema.
Ringworm vs Eczema
Ringworm is a contagious disease and can happen to any person regardless of age. However, it is more commonly seen affecting children. The skin disease occurs mostly in moist, warm climates. It is transferred from person to person by skin to skin contact, sharing brushes and combs, other personal items or clothing. Ringworm can also be contracted by making physical contact with locker room areas or the surfaces near a pool. Your pet dog or cat can contract ringworm and it can be passed to you from contact with the animal.
Eczema is a broad term for many types of skin irritation. Eczema affects people of any age group, but is more commonly seen in children. Eczema is not contagious and the cause for it is unknown. As children grow older, their eczema may improve or get worse depending on how their body responds to it.
Symptoms of Ringworm
Ringworm affects many areas of the body. Common areas are: the scalp, nails and the top layer of the skin. Ringworm is caused by a keratin eating fungus. Keratin is a protein in your skin, nails and hair.
Symptoms of ringworm include:
- Scalp ringworm (tinea capitis)
- Tinea pedis
- Body ringworm (tinea corporis)
- Tinea unguium
- Ringworm in beard
Symptoms of Eczema
More than 30 million Americans are currently dealing with some form of eczema.
There are many different types of eczema for you to pay attention to:
- Atopic dermatitis
- Contact dermatitis
- Dyshidrotic eczema
- Nummular eczema
- Seborrheic dermatitis
- Stasis dermatitis
What isn’t well-known, is that it is possible to have more than one kind of eczema at a time. Skin peels from all the different kinds of eczema.
These are the symptoms associated with the contraction of eczema:
- Dry, scaly skin
- Redness (erythema)
- Itching on the affected area
- Cracking behind the ears
- Rash developing on the cheeks, arms and legs
- Open, crusted or “weepy” sores (usually during flare-ups)
Skin irritants to avoid are:
- Industrial chemicals
- Tobacco smoke
- Foods that are acidic (grains, fish, sugar, fresh meat, processed meat, sodas, hot chocolate and beer)
- Skin care products with alcohol contained in them
What causes Ringworm?
While the world we live in is full of fungi, mold and yeast, only a small percentage of them cause skin disease. Dermatophytes are the kind of fungi that cause ringworm. When diagnosed with an infection from these fungi, it is called dermatophytosis. Commonly, this infection resides on the top of your skin where the dead layers of keratin proteins are. It is very rare for these fungi to exist inside of your body. These fungi also cannot reside on mucous membranes found in the mouth and vagina.
What causes Eczema?
The exact cause of eczema is still unknown. Doctors do know that eczema is not caused by a fungus of any kind. Researchers surmise that genes and some sort of biological trigger have something to do with its appearance. Those dealing with eczema tend to have an immune system that is over-reactive to triggers from substances either inside or outside of the body. Those with this kind of immune system respond with inflammation. Because of this inflammation, the itchy, red, raised skin appears.
Prevention of Ringworm and Eczema
To prevent ringworm, you must do the following:
- keep your skin dry and clean
- wear clothing that allows for circulation around your feet
- keep your fingernails and toenails short to prevent the spread of germs from underneath your nails
- change your underwear and socks once per day
- stop sharing clothing, blankets, sports equipment or towels
- do not walk barefoot in places such as the locker room, beach or gym
- wash your skin with soap that has tea tree oil in it
- wash your skin with soap that has antibacterial or antifungal properties
- avoid infected animals
- if your pet has ringworm, touch them wearing gloves and long sleeves
- thoroughly vacuum the spaces in your home that your pet lays on or touches the most
Prevention of the onset of eczema is not preventable as the cause is not known. However, preventing eczema from recurring is achieved by doing the following:
- Moisturize your skin twice daily
- Take bleach baths
- Limit the amount of time you’re in the bath or the shower (10-15 minutes)
- Pat your skin with a soft towel instead of rubbing it with the towel
- Use soap with a gentle effect
- Trial and error (learn what does and does not cause eczema to show up on your skin)
Treatment of Ringworm and Eczema
There are several treatments for ringworm. The treatments include:
- Soap and water: use an antibacterial soap - coal-tar or pine soap are good options
- Tea tree oil
- Coconut oil
- Apple cider vinegar
- Aloe Vera
- Lemongrass oil extract
- Lemongrass tea
- Oregano oil
- Powdered licorice
- Anti-fungal creams such as: Miconazole, Terbinafine (Lamisil), Clotrimazole (Lotrimin, Mycelex) or Ketoconazole (Xolegel)
The treatments for eczema include:
- Over-the-counter treatments
- Bathing (add bleach to the water or add: oatmeal, baking soda, salt and vinegar)
- Topical ointments prescribed by your doctor
- Systemic medications