Eczema is a group of conditions that tend to cause a specific set of symptoms: the skin becomes red, itchy and inflamed.
In more extreme cases eczema can cause the skin to peel, or blister and ‘weep’. This happens when blisters filled with clear fluid start to drain.
More than 30 million Americans have some form of eczema. It is possible to have more than one type of eczema at a time, but that is relatively rare. Eczema is not a contagious disease, as it is generally understood to be a combination of genetics and environmental factors that can cause the disease to flare up. Irritants or allergens tend to cause the flare-ups.
Treatment of Eczema
If you have any of the 8 types of eczema, schedule an appointment with a board certified dermatologist today. While eczema is not curable, a dermatologist can help you structure a plan to best manage your eczema. Psoriasis is another common skin condition that can cause rashes.
A daily skin care regimen is important to keep your skin as healthy as possible, and minimize the effects of outbreaks. Avoiding stressful situations and events is also helpful in managing most types of eczema. Eczema tends to be activated by stress and environmental irritants. Make sure to choose your clothing carefully, as some types of clothing may be more irritating to the skin and potentially cause outbreaks of eczema.
The 8 Forms of Dermatitis or Eczema
Atopic dermatitis is the most common form of eczema. It is a chronic inflammatory disease that tends to be aggravated by certain triggers. Atopic dermatitis usually starts in the first six months of life and is a chronic condition indefinitely. It is generally visible when the immune system goes into overdrive.
Common symptoms of Atopic dermatitis include:
- Redness of skin
- Dry, scaly skin
- A rash on the cheeks, arms and/or legs
- Open sores or blisters that can sometimes be ‘weepy’ (emit a clear substance)
There are two types of contact dermatitis; irritant and allergic. It is most common for contact dermatitis to appear on the hands, as it occurs wherever the body touches an irritant or allergen.
Common symptoms of contact dermatitis:
- Redness and a rash or rashes
- Burning sensation or swelling
- Blisters filled with clear fluid that ‘weep’ or crust over
There are numerous triggers that can be irritants causing contact dermatitis, including
- Various chemicals, solvents and detergents
- Tobacco smoke and other fumes
- Acidic foods
- Skin care products with alcohol
- Certain soaps and fragrances
- Animal dander or pollens (and sometimes other allergens)
Hand Eczema (Hand Dermatitis)
Up to 10% of the population has hand eczema. It is generally a result of genetics and environmental factors.
Common symptoms of hand dermatitis:
- Redness and itching
- Dryness of the skin (it can peel, flake or crack)
Stasis dermatitis is usually caused by a problem of blood flow in the veins. Pressure in the veins builds, causing fluid to leak from the veins into the skin.
Common symptoms of stasis dermatitis:
- Swelling around the ankles
- Scaly, itchy skin
- Pain in the lower legs
More severe cases can cause: oozing, ulcers, or infection.
Dyshidrotic eczema is two times more common in women than in men. Stress and allergies are the most common triggers for it.
Common symptoms of dyshidrotic eczema:
- Small, itchy blisters on edges of fingers, palms, toes and/or soles of the feet
- Redness and flaking
- Scaly, cracked skin
- Pain in area of outbreak
There are a number of triggers that are commonly associated with dyshidrotic eczema:
- Nickel; generally from metal plated jewelry
- Chromium salts; found in manufacturing of cement, leather, mortar, paints, and anti-corrosives
- Cobalt; from metal plated objects and in pigments used in paint and enamels
Seborrheic dermatitis generally occurs on the upper back, nose, and scalp where there are a lot of oil producing or sebaceous glands. Hormones usually play a role with seborrheic dermatitis and sometimes yeast on the skin can help to activate it. Seborrheic dermatitis is one of the few forms of eczema that does not occur due to allergens.
Common symptoms of seborrheic dermatitis:
- White or yellowish flakes
- Greasy or crusty scales
- Reddened skin
- Swollen skin
Also called nummular dermatitis or discoid eczema, this type of eczema has a somewhat different appearance than most types of eczema and can be more difficult to treat.
Common symptoms of nummular or discoid eczema:
- Round, coin shaped spots that tend to itch
- Dry, scaly skin
- Wet, open sores
Neurodermatitis or Lichen Simplex Chronicus
Neurodermatitis is similar to atopic dermatitis and tends to cause thick, scaly, itchy patches on the skin.
Common symptoms of neurodermatitis:
- Thick, scaly, dry patches of skin that are usually quite itchy
- Discoloration of skin
If you think you have one of the 8 types of eczema, please schedule an appointment with a board certified dermatologist from Shelby Dermatology. Our doctors will help you to determine how to best manage and treat your eczema.