Understanding the Different Types of Eczema

About 31 million people in the United States struggle with eczema according to estimates by the National Eczema Association. The itch, rash, inflammation, and skin sensitivity associated with this frustrating skin condition can affect children, teens, and adults.

Skin care specialist, Dr. Alexander D. Stein of Stein Dermatology and Skin Surgery, describes the different types of eczema and the treatments available to reduce its effects on your skin.

Eczema basics

There are seven types of eczema:

1. Atopic dermatitis

Atopic dermatitis (AD) is the most common type of eczema and often begins in childhood. 

Symptoms include:

AD may be linked to your genes, overly dry skin, or a faulty immune system. Many individuals with AD also struggle with asthma and hay fever.

2. Contact dermatitis

Linked to irritants or allergens that touch your skin, contact dermatitis may cause:

Common triggers for contact dermatitis include:

Identifying and avoiding your triggers is a vital step in treating contact dermatitis.

3. Dyshidrotic eczema

This form of eczema appears as itchy fluid-filled blisters that typically occur on your fingers, toes, palms, and soles of your feet.

More common in women than men, dyshidrotic eczema can cause painful scaling and cracking of the affected skin sites and is often linked to allergies, stress, or exposure to certain substances, like nickel or cobalt.

4. Hand eczema

Hand eczema only occurs on your hands and is often related to jobs and hobbies that require regular contact with irritating chemicals. Hairstylists and health care workers, for example, often develop hand eczema.

5. Neurodermatitis

Neurodermatitis causes thick, scaly, intensely itchy patches of skin on the:

Individuals with other types of eczema or psoriasis are the most likely to develop neurodermatitis, which may be triggered by stress.

6. Nummular eczema

Nummular eczema looks very different from other types, occurring as coin-shaped spots on your skin that are often intensely itchy. It’s more common in individuals with other forms of eczema and may be linked to allergies or contact with certain metals or chemicals.

7. Stasis dermatitis

Related to poor circulation and subsequent fluid buildup, stasis dermatitis occurs in the lower legs and is often linked to diabetes, varicose veins, and other conditions that affect healthy blood flow in your legs. Along with dry, itchy skin, this form of eczema can cause open sores and extreme skin sensitivity.

Treating eczema

There is no cure for eczema but many effective treatments exist that relieve your current symptoms and help prevent future eczematous flare-ups. 

Depending on the type of eczema you’re experiencing, Dr. Stein may recommend:

Effective eczema treatment also relies on self-care measures such as daily moisturizing, avoiding synthetic clothing or wool blends, and lukewarm rather than hot showers.

Schedule an evaluation with Dr. Stein for an accurate diagnosis and customized eczema treatment plan. Call our office in Chula Vista, California, or book your appointment online.

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