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Dermatitis Vs. Ringworm

By Serena Brown ; Updated July 27, 2017

Dermatitis is a skin disorder also known as eczema. It causes scaly, itchy rashes. Ringworm is a skin infection which shows up in patches, or ring-shaped, itchy rashes. Dermatitis and ringworm have some similarities but involve different treatments.


Dermatitis is caused by skin hypersensitivity and can run in families. Ringworm is caused by a fungus which thrives in warm, moist areas such as feet.


Symptoms of both conditions include skin rashes that itch, blister and ooze. Dermatitis symptoms also include ear discharge or bleeding and dry, leathery skin. Other ringworm symptoms may include nails which are thick and discolored.

Dermatitis treatment

Dermatitis treatment includes soothing moisturizers, mild soaps, anti-itch lotions, anti-inflammatory medicines and ointments or creams containing tar compounds. Your doctor may recommend prescription oral corticosteroids and topical immunomodulators such as Protopic.

Ringworm treatment

Treatment of ringworm includes over-the-counter antifungal or drying powders, creams and lotions, particularly those containing miconazole and clotrimazole. Your doctor may recommend prescription antifungal medicines and antibiotics.


Dermatitis is a chronic condition but it can be controlled. When treated, ringworm typically clears up in 4 weeks.


Complications of dermatitis can include bacterial skin infections and permanent scars. Ringworm complications also include bacterial skin infections as well as the ringworm spreading and the possible development of dermatitis.

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