Are you concerned, trying to figure out if you're seeing evidence of Eczema or Ringworm? Obviously, your doctor will be able to correctly identify the issue, but we're here to help you better understand Eczema vs Ringworm so you can be prepared for what comes next.
Discoid eczema, also known as nummular eczema, is a skin condition where there is brown or red coin-shaped or oval areas on a person’s skin. These patches and spots usually appear on the hands, arms, torso, or legs. They can look like large patches or clusters. They can also range in size from 1 inch to 4 inches. It can tend to look like ringworm.
Some symptoms include burning and itching that is worse at night, dryness of the skin, and open spots may develop scabs and crust over. If the spots become open then they are left vulnerable to infection from bacteria which can cause fever, redness, swelling, and foul-smelling discharge.
Some things that may affect and cause this type of eczema include:
- Prior use of topical creams such as interferon or isotretinoin.
- History of atopic eczema or other allergies.
- Dry skin from cold weather.
- Poor blood flow to the legs.
- Injuries to skin including bug bites, burns, and scrapes.
Treatment for Discoid Eczema
Keeping your skin clean and well hydrated is the best way to fight discoid eczema. You can prevent and relieve flare ups and symptoms by doing the following:
- Use gentle soaps that are less likely to dry out your skin.
- Apply fragrance free moisturizers to protect your skin from damage.
- Keep rooms cool and moist, use a humidifier, to prevent skin from drying out.
- Wear natural, soft fabrics to reduce any skin irritation such as cotton.
- Avoid wool fabrics as these can irritate eczema.
Your doctor may also end up prescribing you an oral or topical corticosteroid to treat discoid eczema. Some more treatment options are phototherapy (exposing the skin to UV light), topical calcineurin inhibitors, or coal tar cream. If your eczema becomes infected then your doctor will have to prescribe antibiotics to fight the infection.
Ringworm is also known as tinea corporis. It is a skin condition that can sometimes look similar to discoid eczema. It is a type of fungus, not a worm, as the name implies. This condition causes ring shaped patches on the skin that can appear anywhere on a person’s body such as:
- The scalp, tinea capitis.
- The groin, jock itch.
- The soles of the feet, tinea pedis or athlete’s foot.
Symptoms of ringworm include patches of skin that are lighter or even clear in the middle making the area look ring shaped, itching, patches that grow or spread to other parts of the body, and round patches of pink, brown, red, or gray skin.
Ringworm is typically less severe than eczema however, ringworm is contagious. You can get ringworm from playing contact sports, sharing towels, razors, or clothes, improperly washing or drying feet after being barefoot in areas such as pools or locker rooms. Check out this article from the CDC regarding preventing the spread of ringworm when you do have it.
Ringworm can be treated over the counter with a variety of methods including:
- Anti-Fungal Creams
It will typically take 2 to 4 weeks for the fungus to disappear completely and if it does not clear up within that time frame then you will need to see a doctor. A doctor or even a dermatologist can prescribe stronger medications that are anti-fungal to treat the ringworm.