Family Life

Baby Eczema Vs Ringworm: How To Know The Difference

So, how do you differentiate baby eczema vs ringworm? What is the difference between how both looks? How to prevent and treat these types of skin conditions? These questions, and more are the ones we hope to give you an answer as you read on.


Hands up if you are one of those mommies (or daddies) with a child who is diagnosed with or you are suspected to have baby eczema, particularly nummular eczema, or ringworm! This one is for you.


But before we move on to the real deal, allow us to say this –


Mommies and daddies, we understand how excruciating and painful it can be seeing or knowing that your baby has any of these skin conditions. We understand how life becomes a little more challenging for you. But please know that you are not alone.


In fact, there are a lot of people (fellow parents like us) who are willing to help you out and willing to journey with you. That is why today, we thought of sharing with you some of the information we gathered about these two skin conditions. We hope that after reading this, you feel better and you’d say, you can do this!


Well, after all, while this may be very challenging, looking at the brighter side, there is a chance of getting over it. There is a chance of healing. There are ways to prevent and treat either condition.


Anyway, as we were saying —


You know, it’s really hard to tell the difference between baby eczema, particularly nummular eczema and ringworm – especially since they almost look alike. The two have so much in common symptoms-wise. But then again, they are totally different from one another.


So, let us begin?




A Recap on Eczema


Just before anything else, allow us to refresh your memory first about what eczema or baby eczema is all about.


As you probably know by now, eczema of baby eczema is one of the common skin conditions among babies and adults too. In fact, in the United States alone, there are over 30 million people who were diagnosed with different cases of eczema.


Eczema, unfortunately, is not a curable disease. However, experts say that children or babies who have eczema may outgrow the said skin condition. Yes, there is a better chance of eczema to completely disappear when a person had it earlier in life. So, does that make you feel good? Well, it should! As long as there is hope for something to be gone forever, it should make us feel good, right?


Moving on, what causes eczema is yet to be known – precisely the reason why no cure has been found yet because the very reason why it exists is still unknown. However, researchers found out that there are situations that cause eczema flare-ups. Some of these are allergic reactions and other types of environmental factors, as well as, the genetic composition of the person.


Experts believe that eczema can be inherited. So, when either of the child’s parents has a family medical history with eczema, the more likely it can develop on the baby. As with environmental factors, allergens (like proteins found in cow’s milk, peanuts, etc.; dust, molds, and a lot more) and irritants are two of the main culprits that cause an eczema flare-up.


Now, there are several types of eczema. Some of the most common forms of eczema are the following:


  • Atopic Dermatitis
  • Contact Dermatitis
  • Dyshidrotic Eczema
  • Seborrheic Dermatitis
  • Varicose Eczema
  • Asteatotic Eczema
  • Discoid Eczema or Nummular Eczema


Today, we are specially talking about the last one – nummular eczema, which resembles ringworm.


With that said, let’s proceed with going to know more about this type of eczema.


What is Nummular Eczema?


You are probably quite confused as we said we are going to differentiate baby eczema vs ringworm. Well, when we say baby eczema or simply eczema, we are talking about the disease in general. However, as we said, eczema comes in different forms. In particular, the kind of eczema that looks very similar to ringworm is nummular eczema.


So, do you get us to know? Let’s proceed? Alright!


So, nummular eczema or also known as nummular dermatitis or discoid eczema is a form of eczema that is considered as chronic. Unlike typical eczema symptoms, nummular eczema causes coin-shaped spots to appear or develop on the skin. To make it even worse, these spots are usually distinct and itchy, and in some cases, it may even ooze clear fluid or may turn the skin into dry and crusty.


The symptoms of nummular eczema usually appear on the legs of a child. But generally speaking, it usually develops when the skin suffers from sunburn, injury, or as simple as an insect bite. While in some cases it comes in just a patch of red, coin-shaped lesions, in other cases, it comes in multiple patches. These patches, sad to say, can last for up to several months.


Nummular eczema on babies and children is actually rare. However, it is very common among men than women who are between 55 and 65 years of age. Nevertheless, women usually develop such type of eczema during their adolescence age or young adulthood.


Like other types of eczema, nummular eczema is not contagious. Meaning, it can’t be passed on to anyone who becomes in contact with people diagnosed with such skin condition.


What Causes Nummular Eczema?


We mentioned earlier that the cause of eczema is not known – and since nummular eczema is a form of eczema, it is not surprising that there is also no known cause for this type of skin condition.


But like eczema in general, there are many cases of nummular eczema that is related to either personal or family history asthma, allergies, as well as atopic dermatitis (one of the most common types or forms of dermatitis or eczema).


People who are affected by nummular eczema have sensitive skin. Their skin easily gets irritated by either allergens or irritants or other things and situations that cause eczema flare-ups.


To give you more idea, below are some of the factors that may lead to the development of nummular eczema:


– Dry Skin (the most popular culprit of eczema flare-ups)

– Changes in temperature (too cold or too hot)

– Stress (apparently, stress is one major factor of flare-ups)

– Environmental Irritants (this includes body soaps, detergents, molds, specks of dust, pollens, food allergens, metals, formaldehyde, and more)

– Surgery (when the skin reacts to the procedure or does not heal properly from the procedure)


What are the Symptoms of Nummular Eczema?


The most common and most noticeable symptom of nummular eczema is a coin-shaped patch of lesions in the body, which may sometimes be itchy or burned. Typically, these lesions appear on the arms or legs of a nummular eczema patient. But, in some cases, the lesions may eventually spread to the hands, as well as the torso.


When it comes to the color of the lesions, it comes in different shades. Some are pink, others are brown, but the most common of all is red. In severe cases, the lesions ooze fluid, and may eventually crust over. Meanwhile, the skin around the lesions may turn red, inflamed, or scaly.


Once you notice these symptoms on your baby or your child, immediate call and set an appointment with your doctor. Untreated nummular eczema may lead to a secondary skin infection, which is something that you do not want to happen. When the lesions are infected, the more it could be painful for the child, and worrisome for parents.


Who is Most Likely to Develop Nummular Eczema?


There are factors that may increase a person’s risk in developing nummular eczema, and these factors include:


  • If you live in a cold, dry climate.
  • If you have dry skin.
  • If you have poor blood flow or have developed a swelling in the legs.
  • If you have an existing, another form of eczema.
  • If you developed a skin injury like an abrasion or may be caused by an insect bite.
  • If you have a bacterial infection that affects the skin.
  • If you have gone through a surgery.
  • If you are taking some types of medications.


How to Diagnose Nummular Eczema?


To be able to diagnose if a baby has nummular eczema, initially, the doctor will ask about the parents’ medical history. Then, he or she will visually inspect the skin of the baby. Depending on the condition and the severity of the symptoms, the doctor may ask for further tests, which include performing a skin biopsy.


A skin biopsy is done by removing a small piece of skin tissue from the affected area. Then. The doctor will then analyze the sample. He or she will check for the presence of bacteria that may be causing such condition.


In cases when the doctor suspects that the patches or lesions are caused by an allergic reaction, he or she may also ask for an allergy test to be performed as well. Depending on the doctor’s request, it may either be through skin tests or through blood tests, which particularly helpful in determining what specific substances are your baby allergic to.


How to Treat Nummular Eczema?


Of course, while it is not curable, again, the symptoms are treatable and/or manageable. To help your baby avoid nummular eczema flares, here are some things that should be avoided:


– Wearing clothes that are fit and are made of harsh fabrics like wool or polyester. Instead, go for comfortable, loose clothing made of cotton fabric.

– Too much bathing and the use of too hot or too cold water. When bathing your baby, always use lukewarm water. Bathing must be done for only at most 10 minutes, and at most, two to three times weekly.

– In relation to the above factor, the use of harsh body soaps, as well as detergents, is also harmful to people with eczema. Instead, opt for mild, hypoallergenic, and fragrance-free body and laundry soaps.

– Exposure to stressful situations. Babies can get stressed too! So, please avoid putting him or her in stressful situations.

– Being exposed to environmental irritants like certain chemicals, metals, household cleaners, etc.

– The use of fabric softener, as well as dryer sheets.

– Getting cuts, abrasions, or scrapes on the skin.


When it comes to relieving nummular eczema flares on babies, here are some tips for you:


– Do use most bandages to help shield and protect the affected areas on the skin.

– Taking antihistamines to help relieve itching and discomfort (but only if prescribed by the doctor).

– Do apply medicated skin ointments or lotions like corticosteroids.

– Always hydrate the skin by using fragrance-free moisturizer right after bathing.


Now we are done talking about baby eczema particularly nummular eczema. Let us move on to knowing more about ringworm.


What is Ringworm?


Like baby eczema, ringworm is also a common skin infection among babies.


When people hear the word ringworm, normally, it is associated with worms of parasites. However, it has totally nothing to do with worms and parasites. Does that give you relief? Well, it did give as a relief.


Ringworm is sometimes called tinea capitis or tinea pedis, and even plain and simple, tinea. For your information, the word tinea is actually a Latin word, which means “worm”. Does that make sense? It sure does, right? Meanwhile, the second word (like capitis or pedis) refers to the location of the “worm”. For instance, capitis means head, while pedis is a Latin word for feet.


Some common forms of ringworm infection are jock itch, as well as the famous, Athlete’s foot.


Unlike eczema or baby eczema, ringworm is contagious. Yes, it can be passed from one person to another. That is why when someone has ringworm, it is highly recommended to never share your personal hygiene products as well as bathing tools to anyone. Using public amenities like swimming pools is also restricted.


What Causes Ringworm?


According to what we gathered, ringworm is commonly caused by various kinds of fungus, which include Trichophyton rubrum and Epidermophyton floccosum.


According to, ringwork is also caused by “mold-like parasites that live on the cells in the outer layer of your skin”. As mentioned above, it is contagious. In fact, there are two ways it can be spread – either human to human (because of skin-to-skin contact) or by getting exposed to things that are infected like public gyms and pools.


What are the Symptoms of Ringworm?


The symptoms of ringworm among babies include classic, round rash (which is like nummular eczema symptoms). Generally, it looks reddish, rough, with a scaly border, and a clear center. Typically, the rash is about half an inch to an inch wide, and in some cases, it may even grow more. The rash can also be itchy.


Compared to nummular eczema, ringworm does not have too many other symptoms apart from the ones mentioned. Also, normally, ringworm only appears in just one spot, unlike nummular eczema that may develop multiple patches.


Who is Most Likely to Develop Ringworm?


Ringworm develops in almost all ages, however, children become more prone to developing this type of skin condition because of accidental poor hygiene choices. People who are fond of spending time in public places like public swimming pools and gyms may have a higher risk of developing ringworm.


A person becomes all the more becomes prone to developing ringworm if you get in contact with infected animals, particularly cats. In some cases, a person may also get it from gardening soil that is infected with fungus.


Unfortunately, there is no way to identify is the fungus is present in such materials or tools until the person is exposed to it, and starts developing ringworm symptoms.


How to Diagnose Ringworm?


Usually, a doctor will diagnose ringworm by simply checking how the rash looks. However, the doctor is uncertain about his or her diagnosis, he or she would normally do a skin test by scraping a few cells from the rash, which will be sent to the laboratory. At the laboratory, the experts will look for signs of a fungal inspection.


How to Treat Ringworm?


Yes, if your child got ringworm, do not freak out. It’s treatable! Ringworm is normally treated by using different types of antifungal specifically it it’s affecting the scalp. There is a lot of oral antifungals out there, but one of the most commonly used is griseofulvin (Grifulvin V, Gris-Peg). In some cases, your attending doctor may also prescribe topical antifungal creams or ointments.


With regards to antifungal ointments, there are several over-the-counter ointments out there that contain active ingredients like ketoconazole and clotrimazole, which are considered as effective in treating ringworm.


While there are OTC, it is still highly recommended to consult your doctor first especially since we are talking about babies here. You know, babies’ skin is already delicate to begin with. So better be sure in anything that you are applying to it.


As they say, prevention is better than cure. Fortunately, there are preventive measures that you can follow to help avoid ringworm. These are:


– Always wear shoes or sandals in public places.

– Avoid swimming in public pools.

– Regular bathing, and application of shampoo, too.

– Avoid sharing hygiene tools, and even clothing and shoes, too!

– Always change clothing regularly.




So, there you have it. We hope that through the information we shared with you today, we are able to give you further knowledge and information about these two common skin conditions. We hope by now, you are able to differentiate baby eczema vs ringworm.