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Is Eczema the Same as Athlete’s Foot?

Is eczema the same as tinea pedis or athlete's foot?

Eczema is not the same as Athlete’s Foot, though both skin conditions have similar symptoms. These similarities can pose problems if you start to develop dry skin, red cracks, or itching and burning on your feet. Do you reach for the eczema cream or apply an antifungal product?

What Is Athlete’s Foot?

Athlete’s Foot is a fungal infection that generally appears on the feet as a red, itchy, and scaly rash. This skin condition is contagious and is generally transmitted in wet, warm, communal places like gym showers or locker rooms – giving it its colloquial name.

Unfortunately, the symptoms are worsened when the feet are placed into warm or enclosed spaces like socks or shoes.

What Is Eczema?

Eczema is an inflammatory skin condition that appears as itching, dryness, swelling, and redness on the skin. When it has been there for a while it also can appear thickened and darker then the surrounding skin. Depending on age it can appear on eyelids, cheeks, neck, elbows, wrists, and knees, it can also manifest on the feet.

Luckily, eczema is not dangerous or contagious. While its exact cause is still unknown, doctors do know that eczema flare-ups are almost always caused by the skin coming into contact with a trigger like a harsh skincare product, an irritating material or fabric, changes in climate, or even food allergies.

How to Spot the Difference

Both Athlete’s Foot and eczema on the feet have very similar symptoms.

Athlete’s Foot symptoms include:

  • Scaly and red rash
  • Dry skin
  • Itching
  • Burning or stinging

Eczema symptoms include:

  • Dry skin
  • Flaky skin that may crack or bleed
  • Itching, burning, or stinging

So, how can you tell the difference? Unlike Athlete’s Foot which is found on the bottoms of the feet and in between the toes, Eczema is typically found on the tops of feet or ankles.

However as both conditions have overlapping features you likely need to visit your doctor. Your doctor will be able to properly diagnose your foot condition and instruct you on the proper treatment.

How to Treat Athlete’s Foot

Mild cases are best treated with an over-the-counter antifungal cream. Spray or apply the cream after taking a shower and towel-drying your feet, then slip on socks to keep the medicine on your skin. Be sure to clean your shower or tub after every use, so you don’t reinfect yourself.

Your doctor can prescribe a stronger antifungal if you have a more severe case.

How to Sooth Eczema

The best ways to soothe eczema on the feet are to avoid triggers and perform proper skincare.

Common triggers include rough or itchy fabrics, extreme heat or cold, restrictive clothing, allergies, and harsh, irritating skincare products. Do your best to identify and avoid your triggers in order to prevent flare-ups.

Proper skincare for eczema helps soothe the rash, repair the skin’s natural barrier to fight off irritants, and prevent future flare-ups. Gently cleanse the irritated area every day with an eczema daily shampoo and body wash like Happy Cappy Daily Shampoo and Body Wash. Hypoallergenic and fragrance-free, Happy Cappy Daily Shampoo and Body Wash is dermatologist-recommended for eczema-prone, sensitive skin. After cleansing, apply a natural eczema cream like Happy Cappy Moisturizing Cream to help lock in moisture and protect the skin from irritants.

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Dr. Eddie Valenzuela is an award winning pediatrician and the founder and CEO of Pediatric Solutions, LLC.

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