Yes, eczema can sometimes mimic the symptoms of other skin diseases. Eczema is characterized by patches of skin along the body that are red, scaly, and inflamed—but so are many other skin diseases. Educating yourself on the various possibilities and receiving proper testing, examination, and diagnosis from your dermatologist could save you the frustration of ineffective and potentially harmful treatments. It could also protect you from ignoring a potentially more serious condition.
Do I have eczema or another skin condition?
Your skin is red, inflamed, flaky, and itching like crazy. You may be desperate to find something to ease or eliminate the symptoms, but before you reach for any creams, medications, or at-home remedies, make sure you understand exactly what you’re dealing with first.
Many skin conditions share similar symptoms but can range in seriousness and usually require different treatment methods. The best way to determine a skin condition is to make an appointment with your dermatologist.
Skin conditions that can get mistaken for eczema
Some common skin problems that can be confused with eczema are:
Psoriasis and eczema have a lot in common. Both cause patches of dry, scaly, red, and itchy skin and can be frustrating to deal with. However, psoriasis tends to show up on more exposed layers of skin, like the knees, elbows, or face, while eczema usually “hides” in folds of skin like the back of your knees and arm creases. Both can appear on the scalp. Your dermatologist can help identify these and other subtle differences to make sure you receive a proper diagnosis and treatment.
Patients with mild cases of eczema might mistake the rashes as severely dry skin. While dry skin and eczema can both cause redness, flaking, and discomfort, eczema tends to be itchier and will usually worsen with the use of traditional moisturizers. Eczema often requires eczema shampoo or other treatments to soothe symptoms and prevent flare-ups.
Similar to eczema, Lichen Planus is a non-contagious inflammatory condition of the skin that causes itchiness and dryness. However, unlike the more rash-like appearance of eczema, Lichen Planus usually shows up on the skin as purplish, flat-topped bumps. It can also occur in the mouth, vagina, or other mucosal tissues. Many skin specialists believe that Lichen Planus may be an autoimmune disease.
Treating your skin condition
The most important step in easing symptoms of eczema or any other skin condition is to have it properly diagnosed first. If you or your child are suffering from a confirmed case of eczema or “cradle cap,” it’s important to use medicated shampoos, washes, and creams that don’t contain irritants, like synthetic fragrances or parabens.
Dr. Eddie’s eczema shampoo and eczema cream for babies are formulated avoiding common irritants like fragrance, dye, sulfates, parabens. Both of these products also feature Glycerin which draws moisture into the skin and Licorice Root Extract which soothes redness.
A large study with over 6,000 patients found that more people that used a cream containing glycerin felt their skin to be improved compared to those that used a similar cream without glycerin or a placebo.
Additionally, the same study found that a cream that contained Licorice Root Extract was four times as effective at soothing eczema than an identical cream without Licorice Root Extract.