Nummular Eczema- The Unknown Eczema
There are different types of eczema. The one that we hear about the most is atopic eczema or infant eczema. This is a bothersome skin condition, but it is not life threatening. There are other types of eczema, some not as well known. One type of eczema that is still a mystery to many is Nummular Eczema. Nummular eczema affects men more than the woman, specifically after the age of 55. In rare cases, this condition has been seen in women age 15 to 25 years old.
Itchy patches or spots in the shape of coins appear on the skin. Nummular eczema has other names such as nummular eczematous dermatitis and discoid eczema. Nummular eczema is the most common name, while nummular eczematous dermatitis is the medical name and discoid eczema is the name given because of the coin-shaped lesions on the body. The most common places for nummular eczema to occur are the legs, hands, arms, and torso.
The exact cause of this particular disorder is unknown, although there is usually a family history of allergies, hay fever or asthma. Dry skin in environments with low humidity can be an onset of nummular eczema. Nummular Eczema can be made worse by dry skin, stress, environmental irritants, frequent bathing, wool clothing, detergents and soaps and sudden temperature changes.
What Does it Look Like?
When nummular eczema first appears, it looks like small red dots and blister-like lesions. These dots and lesions soon enlarge and spread into a round, itchy, reddened coin-shaped lesion from two to 10 centimeters in diameter. It may start red and then become apparent in the center like a ring. It may resemble ringworm. New acute lesions may ooze out fluid or puss that will become crusty, whereas persistent chronic lesions are more scaly in appearance. They may begin as just one or two lesions or many lesions. In some cases, they disappear within a year, but in other cases, they persist or keep coming back repeatedly for years. When you get recurrences, they go back in the same location as the first lesions.
Because doctors and dermatologists are still so uncertain as to the direct cause of nummular eczema, treatment is mostly for the relief of the burning and itching. Treatment usually will not be administered until a skin care doctor determines that you do have nummular eczema. Anti-inflammatory steroid medications and antibiotics are prescribed to ease the symptoms. In some cases, the patient is given antihistamines or ultraviolet phototherapy for severe cases. It’s important to realize that treatment may often take many months.