6 Different Types Of Eczema And How To Treat Them Effectively

May 8, 2020
“Eczema” is the name given to a group of skin conditions that cause itchy, red, and inflamed skin – in fact, the term itself comes from the Greek word “ekzein”, which means “to boil.” Although these skin conditions may all appear to be relatively similar, there are actually six different kinds of eczema defined by dermatologists – each with different causes and slightly different treatments.
Atopic Dermatitis
This is the most common form of eczema, but it can also be a chronic condition that’s difficult to treat. Occurring usually as a result of an overactive immune system combined in a difference in skin cells, it normally begins in childhood, but it’s not unheard of for adults to develop it. It takes the form of noticeable and irritating patches of red, inflamed, and swollen skin – common areas to be affected include the hands, feet, elbows, and knees. In more severe cases, scratching can cause open wounds and crusting of the skin. 
The most common treatment prescribed by dermatologists is a topical, oral, or injectable steroid; alternatively, UVB light therapy a few times a week can also be effective.
Contact Dermatitis
There are two different forms of this type of eczema: allergic and irritant. With the former, a rash forms as a result of an immune response; with the latter, redness occurs after being irritated by something (for example, a bandage). For either type, a steroid can be applied to the affected area or taken orally in more severe cases.
Nummular Eczema
This form of eczema manifests as red, inflamed, circular patches on the skin – “nummular” means “coin-shaped” in Latin, after all. It can affect anyone and everyone, although it more commonly occurs in the elderly during cold, dry weather. Again, dermatologists will prescribe either a topical or oral steroid, depending on the severity of the individual case.
Seborrheic dermatitis
This is, effectively, dandruff – even though most people don’t regard this as a type of eczema. Although most commonly occurring on the head, it can also appear on the eyebrows, nose, back, and chest, caused by an overproduction of naturally produced yeast in the skin, which in turn causes the immune system to flare up. To treat it, dermatologists usually recommend anti-yeast shampoo or cream (either an over-the-counter or prescription option, depending on the severity of the case).
Stasis Dermatitis
This is essentially a rash that flares up on swollen areas of the skin – typically occurring on the lower legs of older people. This is because as we age, our circulation slows down, leading to a fluid build-up. This triggers the immune system, but an over-response can sometimes cause a rash (which can turn crusty) on the inflamed areas. Although dermatologists will provide a steroid cream, it’s also important to treat the underlying problem by wearing compression socks that help with poor circulation and/or walking and elevating the legs more frequently.
Dyshidrotic Eczema
This is one of the less common types of eczema, showcasing itself as red patches and blister-like bumps. It usually occurs in cold, dry weather on the hands and feet. Luckily, it’s usually pretty easy to treat with a topical steroid cream and regular moisturizing.
Now you know the different types of eczema, it will hopefully be easier for you to identify which type is affecting you and, therefore, get the appropriate treatment to relieve your symptoms quickly and effectively. However, no matter which type you’re dealing with, everyone with eczema should practice gentle skincare on a daily basis, according to top dermatologists. This includes moisturizing regularly using a gentle product designed for sensitive skin – avoid products that contain fragrances, as they tend to be irritants. Also, you should make sure your showers aren’t too hot – or too long. This can be one of the main causes of skin irritations, as it dries your skin out. 
If your symptoms are severe and continue to persist despite trying the remedies outlined in this article, it’s important to seek further medical attention to investigate further into the underlying cause and, therefore, find alternative, stronger treatments. Hopefully, with this advice, you’ll be able to banish your eczema for good and get back to your usual radiant self in no time!
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