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Eczema vs Scabies: How to Tell Them Apart

Although eczema and scabies can look similar, it’s important to be able to tell them apart as they are two different conditions. Perhaps the most important difference between them is that scabies is highly contagious while eczema is not. Read on to learn more about eczema vs scabies.

What is Eczema?

Eczema is a chronic condition that typically begins in childhood. It is characterized by patches of red, dry, and extremely itchy rashes. This is caused by a damaged skin barrier that has trouble retaining moisture. Although eczema can develop anywhere on the body, prime spots include the arms, back, hands, creases of elbows, and behind-the-knees. Eczema affects approximately 10% of the population and is a life-long condition. Symptoms usually go through periods of varying degrees of intensity.

What is Scabies?

Scabies is a contagious skin condition that affects millions of people every year of all backgrounds, ages, and socioeconomic status. It appears as a red rash with pimple-like bumps or blisters. While the rash can develop anywhere on the body, it’s commonly found on arms and hands. Skin may also appear scaly and intense scratching can lead to soreness. Scabies symptoms usually take 4-6 weeks to present. Because scabies can be spread through skin to skin contact, it’s important to identify the condition as early as possible to prevent it from spreading. Unlike eczema, scabies can be treated and cured.

What Causes Eczema?

The exact cause of eczema is unknown but research suggests it is linked to genetic and environmental factors. Common irritants that can trigger eczema include airborne allergies (dust, dampness, housemites, molds), fabric and chemical irritants (wool, polyester, soaps, laundry detergent), extreme weather conditions, stress, sweat, and even the food you eat.

What Causes Scabies?

Scabies is caused by an infestation of a mite that lays eggs and lives within the first layer of skin. You may notice what appears to be a tiny path in your skin. This is where the female mites are burrowing. Because scabies is contagious, it spreads through close physical contact or by sharing clothing, towels, bedding, and any furniture that is infested with mites.

Dyshidrotic Eczema vs Scabies

Dyshidrotic eczema and scabies both cause a person to develop small blisters on their skin. Dyshidrotic eczema blisters usually appear on the hands and feet, earning it the name 'hand and foot eczema.' The blisters tend to clear in two-three weeks, leaving the skin cracked, dry, and red. Although the affected area may be itchy, and tender to the touch, it’s important to prevent scratching in order to reduce the risk of infection.

Natural Treatment Options for Eczema and Scabies

To treat scabies, a doctor will prescribe a meditation to prevent re-infestation. However, here are some natural remedies to manage itchy symptoms and flare ups:

Organic Manuka Skin Soothing Cream–made with just six ingredients - all natural! - this soothing oil-based balm is perfect for adults and babies alike. It works wonders moisturizing even the driest of skin. With absolutely no burning or stinging, you can use this cream anywhere on the body, even the delicate areas like eyelids and lips.

Remedywear™ Socks–available for adults and kids, these hypoallergenic socks are embedded with TENCEL and anti-inflammatory zinc. They are great at soothing itchy feet rashes, as well as healing foot blisters, peeling skin, and dryness. The socks feature latex-free elastane and a reinforced heel and toe design.

Remedywear™ Gloves–protective gloves for adults and kids that help prevent irritation by protecting the skin from relentless scratching. Featuring moisture-wicking sweat control, they are comfortable to wear all day or night. Enjoy their soft, breathable fabric that truly fits like a second skin.






Bio: Laura is a contributor and content developer for The Eczema Company. She is in no way a medical professional. Her comments, suggestions, and reflections are not intended to replace any medical advice. Always seek the help of a medical professional before undertaking any diet or lifestyle changes.