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Types of Eczema

Approximately 20% of the world's population suffers from eczema which is an allergic reaction that affects the skin. It is sometimes also described as an inflammation of the skin. This article helps us to understand the types and causes of this skin condition.
Loveleena Rajeev
Last Updated: May 31, 2018
Eczema, also known as dermatitis is an inflammation of the skin, and is characterized by very dry, red, and itchy patches on the skin in ears, on hands, or any other part of the body. Severe cases exhibit bleeding fissures, that are sometimes known to spread the infection. In most instances, eczema is chronic in nature, and tends to relapse at the slightest provocation. Given below is a list of various types of eczema.
Atopic Eczema: The most common of all types, atopic eczema is also known as infantile eczema. This form generally affects people who are extremely sensitive to allergens in their environment such as pollens, dust, animals skin or hair, and certain foods. Many experts believe, that children suffering from this condition may be genetically predisposed to get eczema from parents or family members who have a history of hay fever, asthma, or other allergies. Atopic eczema is characterized by an extremely itchy red patch on the skin, that may sometimes swell, and develop into fissures that may crack and ooze out clear fluid or even blood. The infected skin seems to be crusty and scaled.
Hand Eczema: This is a chronic form of eczema that only infects the hand. Hand eczema, also known as hyperlinear palms is caused due to constant hand washing with harsh soaps, detergents, or contact with strong chemicals like bleach, etc. Eczema on hands develops shiny red blisters and lesions that are quite painful. People who have this form of eczema find it difficult to perform their daily activities, as there are many chances of aggravating the eczema blisters.
Varicose Eczema: Varicose eczema affects the skin on lower legs, and is caused by poor blood circulation. It commonly affects older people mostly on the shins and ankles. This condition predominantly affects people suffering with varicose veins. Varicose eczema should not be left untreated for a long time, as they develop into stubborn ulcers that don't heal easily. Large varicose eczema tends to turn sore, and develop deep in the skin, which upon cracking leaves the skin vulnerable to other types of skin infections.
Contact Eczema: Contact dermatitis occurs when the skin is exposed to irritants, resulting in an allergic reaction. It either occurs or aggravates only when the skin comes in contact with a specific substance, else it largely remains dormant. Chemicals or even natural oils present in cosmetics, deodorants, skin cream and lotions, shampoos, body soaps, fragrances or deodorants, cleaning products may cause allergic reactions. This allergy commonly affects people who spend many hours working in the soil. Certain medications can also cause contact eczema. People can develop this form of eczema while consuming foods that contain certain herbs, or chocolate or caffeine.
Nummular eczema: Adults are more prone to develop nummular eczema. Its name has been derived from the Latin word nummus, which means coin. This type produces coin shaped patches of infected skin (hence the name), mainly on the legs, arms or chest. It usually occurs in adults.
Seborrheic Eczema: Seborrheic Eczema first develops on the face or neck around the nose and at the scalp line. In infants, it is termed as cradle cap, while in adults it is known as dandruff. This eczema causes extremely greasy pink or yellow patches, which are often covered by scales.
Dyshidrotic Eczema: Commonly known as pompholyx or vesicular eczema, dyshidrotic eczema mostly affects the hands and the feet. It is characterized by small itchy blistering bumps, that cause an extreme burning or itching sensation.
Vaginal Eczema: As the name suggests, this type of eczema affects women, and is also known as vulvar dermatitis. It develops on the external part of the female genital anatomy as red scaly lesions that are extremely itchy and dry. Vaginal eczema needs to be treated immediately, as the infection can cause many other vaginal infections.
Discoid eczema: Discoid eczema occurs as round red scaly patches of blisters, usually affecting the arms and legs.They become itchy and can ooze fluid, causing the infection to spread.
One can control the occurrence as well as aggravation of eczema simply by avoiding some of the foods listed below:
  • Sugar
  • Cow's milk,
  • Processed dairy products
  • Eggs
  • Shellfish
  • Wheat
  • Peanuts
  • Soy products
Now that you have understood what is eczema, it is imperative to treat all types, to avoid the condition from flaring up and becoming painful. Keeping the infected skin well lubricated with medicated emollient also helps to reduce the irritation and redness associated with this skin condition.