Do you have eczema or scabies? Understand the differences

Do you have eczema or scabies? Understand the differences

Do you have eczema or scabies? Understand the differences

They may look similar, but they couldn’t be more different

Because scabies causes itching and can resemble certain aspects of eczema (redness and vesicles, lesions from scratching), it is sometimes mistaken for eczema. Confusing the two could have consequences, however, given that scabies, although benign, is contagious.

What is scabies?

Scabies is a contagious disease caused by a mite. The parasite burrows into the skin, causing itching and lesions. Don’t bother trying to see it, because it is invisible to the naked eye; only a doctor can confirm its presence with the help of a dermatoscope.

The scabies mite is called Sarcoptes scabiei hominis.

“This disease is far more common than you think, and it has nothing to do with poor hygiene”.

How can you tell whether you have eczema or scabies?

Below are a few signs that may suggest scabies over eczema:

  • Other family members are scratching.
  • The areas affected are not typical of eczema (buttocks, underarms, between the fingers, genital region, etc.).
  • There are tracks or “burrows” in the skin linked to the parasite’s movement in the epidermis (but they are tiny and difficult to see for the untrained eye).
  • Topical corticosteroids have apparently no effect.
  • In infants, vesicles and small, raised red lesions appear on the soles of the feet (“scabies nodules”).

It can sometimes be very difficult to differentiate between eczema and scabies...

Interdigital scabie
Scabies: scabious nodules of the infant
Profuse scabies of the elderly subject

How to care for your skin

Absolutely consult your doctor to confirm the diagnosis. Of course, eczema and scabies require different treatments.


Treatment for eczema

Topical corticosteroids are applied to soothe itching, in combination with suitable complementary care, which varies between allergic eczema and atopic eczema.

Treatment for scabies

Scabies is easily treated.

Treatment most often involves the application of anti-parasitic creams or lotions over the entire body as well as oral anti-parasitic medicines. All family members need to be treated. The parasite will also need to be carefully removed from the environment of the infected person: washing of clothes and sheets, etc.