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The 7 Different Types of Eczema

The 7 Different Types of Eczema

Eczema (alternatively: Dermatitis) is a general term used to refer to a group of skin conditions that characteristically cause itchiness, inflammation, and red, purple, brown, or gray discoloration of the skin. This condition is non-infectious but relatively common. Around 230 million people (as of 2019) are living with a particular type — atopic dermatitis.

The next section will describe in detail what are the 7 different types of eczema.

The 7 Different Types of Eczema: An Overview

These are the known variations of eczema presently known:

  1. Atopic dermatitis
  2. Neurodermatitis
  3. Contact dermatitis
  4. Stasis dermatitis
  5. Seborrheic dermatitis
  6. Nummular eczema
  7. Dyshidrotic eczema

Types of Eczema: Atopic Dermatitis

Atopic dermatitis is the most common form of eczema. It is a chronic skin disorder that has the potential to significantly affect the quality of life for individuals with this condition.

Cause of Atopic Dermatitis

It occurs due to a complex interplay of 3 factors:

  1. The skin’s ability to serve as a barrier to the external environment
  2. Environmental factors and agents
  3. Dysregulation or dysfunction of the person’s immune system

Symptoms and Diagnosis of Atopic Dermatitis

Patients with atopic dermatitis develop itchy skin that may be red or inflamed. The diagnosis of atopic dermatitis is based on a clinical evaluation by a dermatologist. The condition is also associated with a history of asthma or allergic rhinitis.

Types of Eczema: Neurodermatitis

This type of eczema is also called lichen simplex chronicus. As a result of this condition, an itchy patch initially forms on the skin. This will eventually turn into a red rash that may have scaling. Over time, the skin becomes thick and leathery. The rash also typically develops on the upper and lower extremities, behind the neck, on the scalp, and around the groin.

Cause of Neurodermatitis

Neurodermatitis’ causes are relatively unknown. The itchiness associated with this condition usually arises from simple things. Examples of these are light scratching on the skin, clothes that make you uncomfortable, or body responses to bites from bugs.

Similar to other forms of eczema or dermatitis, consistent rubbing or scratching of the irritated areas can also aggravate the condition.

Symptoms and Diagnosis of Neurodermatitis

Symptoms of neurodermatitis may include itchy skin patches, with affected areas of the skin having a leather-like texture, and the presence of darkened patches of the skin that can either be brown or red in color.

Neurodermatitis is associated with areas of the skin that are prone to being scratched, such as the neck, wrist, head, arms, forearms, legs, genital areas, and even the anus. The intensity and frequency of the itching sensation varies between each patient and the severity of the condition itself.

Types of Eczema: Contact Dermatitis

Contact dermatitis occurs on a person’s body parts that have direct contact to the substance causing dermatitis. The period of development can range from minutes or hours of exposure, the condition itself can last anywhere from two up to four weeks.

Causes of Contact Dermatitis

Contact dermatitis occurs when your body comes into contact with a substance that is an irritant. These include a range of allergens and other substances which could lead to either allergic or irritant contact dermatitis.

Symptoms and Diagnosis of Contact Dermatitis

Known contact dermatitis symptoms include:

  • Red rashes on exposed or affected areas
  • Varying severity of itchiness
  • Scaly, dry and cracked skin areas
  • Several occurrences of blisters
  • Tenderness of affected areas which may cause a burning or swelling sensation

Types of Eczema: Stasis Dermatitis

Stasis dermatitis occurs when the body experiences poor blood circulation in its lower legs. This is also known as venous eczema.

Cause of Stasis Dermatitis

This occurs in patients that have weakened leg vein valves. These are responsible for the circulation of blood between the legs and the heart. This type of eczema may be caused by aging or another serious health condition such as kidney issues.

Symptoms and Diagnosis of Stasis Dermatitis

Stasis dermatitis affects the lower legs or feet of patients on either side. It may appear on other parts of the patient’s body, but these are rare cases. Early signs of the condition include the appearance of discoloration in the form of speckles on the legs and are a sign of pressure and swelling.

Symptoms of stasis dermatitis may include but are not limited to:

  • Redness or discolored skin areas
  • Varying levels of itching
  • Skin dryness
  • Scaling of the skin
  • Feelings of fatigue and aching after prolonged standing

Types of Eczema: Seborrheic Dermatitis

Seborrheic dermatitis is a somewhat common skin condition that usually appears on the patient’s scalp and other oily parts of the body. It mostly subsides on its own without the need for treatment.

Cause of Seborrheic Dermatitis

Though not conclusively proven, some causes for Seborrheic Dermatitis include malassezia yeast overgrowth and immune system complications.

Symptoms and Diagnosis of Seborrheic Dermatitis

Seborrheic dermatitis may have signs and symptoms such as:

  • Dandruff on affected areas of the skin (commonly on the scalp and eyebrows)
  • Greasy skin patches
  • Redness of the skin
  • Varying levels of itching

Types of Eczema: Nummular Eczema

Nummular eczema, or discoid eczema, affects all people of all age groups but occurs more often in males.

Causes of Nummular Eczema

Though causes are not conclusive, triggers may include sensitive and dry skin or skin that has been affected by physical trauma.

Nummular eczema can also result from other eczema types and what triggers these other types, a prime example of which includes contact dermatitis.

Symptoms and Diagnosis of Nummular Eczema

Symptoms of nummular eczema may include:

  • Well-defined lesions (often coin-shaped) on the limbs and torso
  • Itching and burning sensation on affected areas
  • Lesions may begin to ooze with fluid then become crusty
  • Discolored and scaly skin on affected areas

Types of Eczema: Dyshidrotic Eczema

Dyshidrotic Eczema is usually observed with blisters around the palms and fingers of one’s hands. Other times, the patient’s feet soles may be affected as well.

Cause of Dyshidrotic Eczema

There are no exact causes for this condition, but there may be a connection with allergic conditions like hay fever or nasal allergies.

Risk factors associated with Dyshidrotic Eczema include stress, metal exposure, having sensitive skin, and being previously affected by atopic dermatitis.

Symptoms and Diagnosis of Dyshidrotic Eczema

Symptoms such as varied blisters, itchiness and pain around the affected areas of the skin may usually stick around for months, and sometimes for years.

Key Takeaways

Though it may be difficult at times to distinguish the different types of eczema, it is clear that the common solution is to take proper care of one’s skin. It is also important to to avoid exposure to substances or environments that may harm your skin. Always consult your dermatologist for any symptoms that may need treatment.

Learn more about skin health here.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Sources
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Written by Amable Aguiluz Updated 2 weeks ago
Medically reviewed by Regina Victoria Boyles, MD