7 Types of Eczema
Eczema is a generic term used to refer to several conditions that cause the skin to become red and inflamed. It is thought to be a skin defect that causes the skin to function incorrectly as a barrier. Furthermore, it is believed to be associated with an abnormal function of the immune system. Below are the various different types of eczema.
The most common form of eczema is called “atopic dermatitis,” and produces itchy, inflamed skin. Conditions usually appear in the crook of the elbows, back of the knees, and on various spots on the face. Symptoms tend to come and go, with the period between flare-ups dependent upon avoiding eczema triggers. The phrase “atopic dermatitis” is sometimes used interchangeably with the word eczema.
Contact eczema occurs when the skin comes into contact with an allergen or irritant. It is often seen on and around the hands, but can happen to any part of the body that comes into contact with the allergen or irritant. Irritants can include solvents, chemicals, detergents, fabrics, and even smoke.
The localized reaction involves redness, itching, and burning where the skin made contact. A reaction is formed either from an allergic contact or an irritant contact. A rash brought about by poison ivy would be an example of an allergic contact.
Also known as “cradle cap” and dandruff, this type of eczema produces yellowish-whitish flaky or scaly patches. Attributed to the overproduction of oil and irritation from yeast, it happens mostly to the scalp but can also affect the sides of the nose, eyebrows, eyelids, behind the ears, and even the middle of the chest. Seborrheic eczema does not necessarily itch, and is brought on by such things as stress, oil, weather changes, and infrequent shampooing.
Neurodermatitis (Lichensimplex Chronicus)
This form of eczema is more common in women aged 20-50 years old and begins with a localized itch (like a bite or sting), which becomes intensely irritated when scratched. It is part of the “itch-scratch cycle” in which the skin is scratched to relieve the itch and in turn is damaged from the scratching, causing the release of chemicals that cause more severe itching. General characteristics of neurodermatitis are scaly patches on the head, lower legs, wrists, and forearms. The condition worsens from stress and the skin can get thick and leathery.
Stasis Dermatitis (Varicose Eczema)
Related to the circulatory problem known as venous insufficiency, this type of eczema happens to six to seven percent of the population over 50 years old. Stasis dermatitis results in itching and reddish-brown discoloration occuring on one or both of the lower legs.
Nummular Dermatitis (Discoid)
Discoid is the least common type of eczema, and affects elderly men more than others. Symptoms include itchless, coin-shaped patches of dry, irritated skin. It is a chronic disease that can affect any part of the body, especially the lower legs. Interestingly enough, nummular dermatitis is not hereditary and also not associated with asthma.
Dyshidrotic Dermatitis (Pompholyx)
Twice as common in women, this condition happens to the palms of hands and soles of feet. Clear, deep blisters form, and tend to itch and burn. Dyshidrotic dermatitis is more common in the spring and summer months and warmer climates.