​Conditions that Look Like Eczema and How to Tell the Difference

​Conditions that Look Like Eczema and How to Tell the Difference

Jennie Lyon

Conditions that Look Like Eczema and How to Tell the Difference

You wake up one morning, you get to the bathroom, you’re about to step in the shower and then you notice it. A small patch of red skin. For most confirmed eczema sufferers, they know exactly what this means: a flare-up. But if you haven’t suffered from eczema your entire life and you aren’t quite sure, don’t jump to conclusions. There is a good chance that it could be any one of these conditions that initially look similar to eczema, but have very different causes.

Dry Skin

Well, this one is fairly obvious. Dry skin is a classic symptom of eczema. But dry skin can have any number of causes, from clothes rubbing against it to simply the humidity in your home being too low. When you have dry skin, it can be difficult to narrow down the reasons why and how to treat it. First, try a really good quality moisturizer or ointment (An eczema-safe one, just in case). If that doesn’t fix it, start to play with the level of humidity in your bedroom by using a humidifier. If that doesn’t do the trick, there might be an underlying cause and it should be checked out by your doctor.


This is probably the condition that is most commonly confused with eczema. Psoriasis can cause painful, red, itchy, dry skin anywhere on the body. Sound familiar? Psoriasis, however, has a completely different cause and completely different treatments. The two conditions also look slightly different as psoriasis causes whitish scales to develop which leads to pus-filled blisters. Although types of eczema can cause blistering (especially on the feet and hands), these are generally just filled with clear fluid. If you believe you have psoriasis, go to your doctor as there are new and remarkably effective treatments available!


This is another “mimic” when it comes to dry, itchy, red skin, but this has some easily identified differences with eczema. Ringworm is a fungal infection of the skin, and the red, itchy patches are generally raised with a well-defined edge. The word “ring” is a clue, as they are usually circular patches. Upon confirming that you have ringworm, it’s best to have your doctor prescribe a strong antifungal as ringworm, unlike eczema, is a contagious condition.


This is an extremely common condition that causes redness of the skin with tiny pus-filled pumps and visible blood vessels. The condition can also cause the skin to be very sensitive, and also thicken. It is generally found on the face. It shouldn’t be too difficult to tell the difference between rosacea and eczema as rosacea doesn’t usually cause the skin to dry and flake. Again, check with your doctor before trying any DIY cures, as steroidal creams can actually exacerbate a case of rosacea.

There are many more conditions out there that share symptoms with eczema, all of which have very different causes. Not to sound like a broken record, but seeing your doctor to confirm a diagnosis is the best way to move forward as treatments vary. Wet wrap therapy and a rescue suit isn’t likely to help a case of ringworm, for example, even though it can be incredibly effective at treating eczema!

This information is not meant to replace a visit to a physician or a physician’s advice. Always consult your doctor about your medical conditions. AD RescueWear does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment of any condition.