shingles on a person's body

Shingles vs Eczema Rash: Can you Tell Them Apart?

Eczema and shingles are both conditions that cause the skin to become inflamed. They share other similarities too, such as being itchy and even painful. Because of their similar rash-like appearance, many people struggle to tell them apart. It’s important to be able to tell the difference between eczema and shingles because they have different underlying causes and require different treatments. Read on to learn more about eczema vs shingles.

Please keep in mind that although what we discuss in this post can relieve eczema, we are in no way medical professionals. If you’re experiencing severe eczema symptoms like an infection, it is best to seek medical advice immediately.

Understanding Eczema

Eczema is a common skin condition, affecting as many as 31.6 million people in the United States alone. It’s caused by a damaged skin barrier that has trouble retaining moisture. This leads to dryness and the subsequent itchiness. Although there isn’t one clear cause of eczema, it’s believed to be linked to a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Common triggers include pet fur, pollen, certain foods, stress, sweat, certain fabrics, and harsh ingredients found in skincare or household products. Prime symptoms of eczema include a red rash, extremely dry skin, swelling, peeling skin, and in some cases, fluid-filled bumps.

Understanding Shingles

Shingles is a disease that comes from the same virus that causes chickenpox. Although anyone can get shingles, it tends to affect people who are under extreme stress, dealing with an illness, or who have a weakened immune system. Factors that can compromise the immune system and trigger shingles include extremely cold weather, too much sun, age, emotional stress, having a cold, cancer, and the use of certain medications.

Early symptoms of shingles include having a headache, upset stomach, chills, and a fever. A shingles rash is usually limited to one side of the body, starting out as itchy and pink. Small blisters may form on top of the rash. Although the rash can develop anywhere on the body, it often affects the head, trunk, and face.

The Difference between Eczema and Shingles

One of the key differences between the two skin conditions is that shingles is associated with tingling nerve pain. A shingles rash also typically affects only one side of the body while eczema can affect both sides.

Shingles is also associated with fever, headache, sensitivity to light, and fatigue while eczema is not. Finally, as shingles is caused by a virus, it is contagious to those who are not immune to it while eczema is not contagious.

Treating Itchy Skin Naturally

If you have shingles, your doctor can prescribe antiviral medication or pain medication. But to help ease itchy symptoms of both shingles and eczema, here are some recommendations:


Keep your itchy, red rash well hydrated by applying this Hot Skin Soother. It’s perfect for relieving irritation in skin folds, armpits, groin area, and elbow and knee creases. Made with certified safe herbs, it’s a gentle choice for soothing red or angry looking skin.

Try Wet Wrap Therapy

Wet wrap therapy is an easy at-home treatment that involves applying a natural cream and covering up with a damp and dry layer of clothing. The damp layer allows the moisture to better permeate the skin which boosts the effectiveness. We recommend using this Organic Manuka Skin Soothing Cream because it’s great for applying anywhere on the body from head to toe. These Remedywear™ bandages work great as part of your wet wrap therapy treatment.

Take a Gentle Bath

Soak your irritated skin with this soothing Conqueror Oatmeal Bath for Eczema. Free of parabens, phthalates, artificial fragrances, dyes, petrochemicals, and mineral oils, it helps fight skin sensitivity and diminishes visible redness. Your skin will love its immediate calming effect!


Kasandra photo

Bio: Kazandra is a contributor and content developer for The Eczema Company with a flair for creative storytelling rooted in strategy. 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.