Eczema and rashes often present similar symptoms, so much so that it may be difficult to tell which skin problem you are experiencing. When you have rashes, some parts of your skin may appear swollen, red, itchy, or painful. You may also have blisters. Similarly, eczema often presents as red, dry, and itchy patches in the creases of your skin. Below, we tell you how to differentiate between eczema & rashes Santa Barbara and where to get treatment for both.
What Are Rashes and Eczema?
Rashes are areas of inflamed, irritated, and red skin often caused by skin irritation, certain medications, or an allergic reaction. Rashes are also a common side effect of conditions like shingles and lupus. If a rash persists and causes severe itching, it might be eczema.
Eczema is a chronic or acute inflammation of the skin characterized by itching, oozing, redness, and scaly or encrusted lesions. The most common type of eczema is called atopic dermatitis. Unlike a rash, eczema cannot be treated. Treatment interventions are geared toward managing symptoms.
Rashes Vs. Eczema
At a glance, eczema and rashes look very similar. Diagnosis often involves a review of the patient’s medical history, risks, current medications, and lifestyle. Sometimes, a biopsy may be necessary to determine whether you have a rash or eczema. At home, you can differentiate the two by:
Rashes often appear immediately or shortly after exposure to an irritant. They also disappear more quickly than eczema outbreaks. If you develop skin irritation immediately after coming into contact with the following, you may have a rash:
- Some fabrics, such as wool
- Foods to which you are allergic
- Beauty and hygiene products
- Tobacco smoke
- Workplace irritants like cement mixed, pesticides, and paints
- Insect bites, common allergens, and some plants like poison ivy
Eczema outbreaks can also be triggered by certain factors, such as dampness, cold and dry weather, pollen, fur, mold, soap, proteins, stress, excessive heat, and hormonal changes. However, the onset is often more gradual, and the symptoms will usually persist for longer.
Both eczema and rashes leave your skin feeling dry and itchy. However, the former is more likely to cause pain, thickened skin, bleeding, oozing, and fluid-filled lesions. Eczema is also the more probable diagnosis if you have had itchy and dry skin for the past 12 months.
Rashes can appear anywhere on the skin, but they are more commonly present on the hands, between the toes (athlete’s foot), back, upper chest, abdomen, or face. In contrast, eczema often appears in the creases between the skin, such as at the back of the knees or in the insides of the elbows. Eczema can also occur on the face or scalp, especially in children.
While eczema and rashes have similar clinical symptoms, you can differentiate them through their durations, affected areas, and triggers. But whether you have a rash or eczema, the only way to get rid of the discomfort and sometimes pain is to see a dermatologist. The team of experts at LUX Dermatology offers multiple treatment solutions for these skin problems. Contact them today to schedule a consultation to discuss your symptoms.
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