ZocdocAnswersCan a rash be eczema if it doesn't itch?

Question

Can a rash be eczema if it doesn't itch?

For months, I've had a rash that I thoguht was eczema because it runs in my family. But it doesn't itch at all, and I've read that's common for eczema. Can this rash be eczema if it isn't itchy?

Answer

Eczema is an inflammatory skin process characterized by a predisposition for dry, flaking skin, particularly on the forearms and knees. The dry skin cracks, allowing for entrance of "antigens" or tiny particles such as dust from the environment. The body then develops an allergic reaction against these antigens, causing symptoms of profuse redness and itchiness, as well as redness and swelling. This provokes further scratching, which breaks the skin and allows for further entrance of antigens, which keeps the cycle going. The fact that you have a family history of eczema does suggest the diagnosis, as eczema does tend to run in families. It is also commonly seen in individuals with other allergies or with asthma. The common initial treatment for eczema is hydrating creams and lotions such as vaseline, aquaphor or eucerin cream. Further treatment should be guided by a physician and can include steroid creams to calm inflammation. Not all eczema itches; it can be red and painful or simply red, but the main complaint is most often itchiness. The fact that you have had this rash for months means you should have it evaluated by a physician. It could be eczema, but it also could be an infectious rash such as tinea which would require another form of treatment. I would suggest that you seek an in-person consultation with a doctor who can examine the rash and establish a diagnosis and treatment plan.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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