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Skin rash or eczema: How to find out?

Skin rash can pop up when the temperature soars. But some take it lightly and think it's just skin rash that will disappear after some time. It might actually be eczema, so be careful.
A woman scratching due to atopic dermatitis or contact dermatitis
Rashes, itching or redness can be some symptoms of shingles! Image courtesy: Adobe Stock
Natalia Ningthoujam Updated: 17 Oct 2023, 18:29 pm IST
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When it comes to skin conditions, the list can be exhaustive. Sometimes seasons such as summer or monsoon worsen the skin problem Skin rash happens to be a common feature of hot days. There may be itching and redness on skin. But people often get confused between skin rash and eczema. Read on to clear your doubts and to know how to differentiate between skin rash and eczema.

Health Shots consulted Dr Monica Bambroo, Head Dermatology and Cosmetology, Artemis Hospital, Gurugram, and Dr B.L Jangid, Dermatologist and Hair Transplant Surgeon, SkinQure Clinic, Saket, New Delhi to help you tell the difference between skin rash and eczema.

Skin rash or eczema
It is difficult to differentiate between skin rash and eczema. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock

Skin rash in summer

Rash is a common summer skin problem, but people with sensitive skin are more prone to get rashes. During summer due to extreme heat, people can get sweat dermatitis, miliaria or prickly heat, says Dr Jangid. Skin rash basically refers to the redness or itching of the skin. Our skin is exposed to various extreme weather conditions for different reasons, and this can lead to rashes. Excessive sweating and sudden perspiration are common triggers for rashes. The good news is that these rashes are temporary and do not last for an extended period.

Is it a skin rash or eczema?

Any rash can be confused as eczema, but the point to remember is that all rashes are not eczema, points out Dr Bambroo. She explains that eczema is usually a recurrent condition that occurs usually at specific places such as hands, in front of elbow, behind the knee, face, eyelids and around the mouth. Usually, there is a history of skin sensitivity, hay fever, or asthma in the close family or in self. Rash, on the other hand, may not be recurrent, and occurring due to excessive heat or with contact to some irritant or allergic contact dermatitis. Sometimes, you may get a rash after using hair dye. That is an example of allergic contact dermatitis.

Signs of skin rash and eczema you should watch out for

When it comes to rashes, you will notice redness, itching or get a burning sensation on skin that may last for some time. If these symptoms persist, it might indicate eczema, says Dr Jangid.

As for eczema, there can be skin cracking and fluid oozing, distinguishing it as eczema. Rashes can trouble anyone, but eczema often has a genetic influence. Dr Bambroo notes that eczema usually starts with itching, which subsequently develops into a rash. But a rash, if not due to eczema, may precede itching or happen together.

skin rash
Skin rash normally occurs during hot weather. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Treating skin rash and eczema

Treating skin rashes can be relatively simple. Dr Jangid says protect yourself from extreme weather conditions by using powders and moisturizers to reduce excessive sweating. Prolonged care is usually unnecessary for rashes, as they tend to resolve on their own. But eczema requires continuous care. Those with dry skin need to moisturize more frequently, as opposed to rashes that are primarily caused by environmental factors. Eczema necessitates regular moisturization and, in some cases, medication, whereas rashes tend to resolve without an extensive treatment.

It might be difficult to tell a skin rash apart from eczema by just looking at it, but if a rash stays for long, you should reach out to a doctor. It might be a skin condition that you have to deal with for long.

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About the Author

Natalia Ningthoujam has written on various subjects - from music to films and fashion to lifestyle - as a journalist in her career that started in 2010. After getting stories from the crime scene, police headquarters, and conducting interviews with celebrities, she is now writing on health and wellness which has become her focus area. ...Read More

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