6 Different Types of Eczema
What is Eczema?
Eczema is the term used to describe a group of skin conditions that cause the skin to become red, itchy and inflamed. It is very common in Singapore and also worldwide.
Most of you probably have friends and relatives having it as well. But do not worry, eczema is not a contagious disease and cannot be spread. For eczema sufferers, a mixture of genetics and environmental issues trigger the immune system into overdrive and causes inflammation.
As you guys probably already know, I have the most common form of eczema, also known as atopic dermatitis. It is possible to have a mixture of 2 types or more. In total, there are 6 different types of eczema namely:
Most websites give too much details which makes it confusing and hard to identify the type of eczema you have. Apart from the typical dry, itchy, red, weepy skin symptoms, I will summarise and state the important key characteristics to show the difference between the 6 eczema types. Hopefully, this guide will help you identify the type of eczema you have.
1. Atopic Dermatitis
Atopic dermatitis is a chronic and inflammatory form of eczema that usually begins at childhood. It is usually accompanied by asthma and allergic rhinitis (such as morning sinus, sneezing, blocked nose etc). The legendary trio. I remembered when I was young, I had to use topical steroid creams for eczema, inhaler for asthma, and nasal spray for sinus. And all of them contains steroids to bring down the inflammation in the body.
Common symptoms of Atopic Dermatitis include:
Dry, scaly skin
Open, raw, weepy (which may leak colourless fluid), and crusted sores from scratching during a flare up
Persistent red patches can be found anywhere on the body but most common areas include joint areas like the neck, in between the elbows, wrist, hands, behind the knees
2. Contact Dermatitis
Following it’s name, contact dermatitis is a red itchy rash that results from an allergic reaction when the skin comes into contact with irritating substances or allergens. It may not be life-threatening but can be very uncomfortable.
It usually appears on the hands or any parts of the body that touched the irritant / allergen such as jewelry, fragrances, cosmetics, soaps, plants, industrial chemicals, tobacco smoke, paints and bleach. The rash may last for a few hours or in more serious cases, up to a few weeks. One example is poison ivy.
For this condition, prevention is better than cure therefore, one should take note of and avoid the offending substance. Symptoms include a burning or swelling sensation which results in blisters that may weep or crust over.
3. Dyshidrotic Eczema
This is a condition that produces small itchy fluid-filled blisters at the edge of fingers, toes, palms, and soles of the feet.
Stress, allergies (such as hay fever), moist hands and feet, or exposure to nickel (metal-plated jewelry), cobalt (metal-plated objects or pigments used in paints and enamels), or chromium salts (manufacturing of cement, mortar, leather, paints, and anticorrosives) may be “triggers” of dyshidrotic eczema. This type of eczema is twice as common in women than men.
4. Nummular Eczema
Nummular eczema is also known as discoid eczema or nummular dermatitis. This eczema is easier to identify as it looks very different from the usual eczema. It is identified by its coin-shaped spots on the skin which can be extremely itchy.
Dry skin, insect bites or reactions to skin inflammation can trigger it which may result in wet, open sores.
5. Seborrheic dermatitis
This is a type of eczema that I, like many others, have but is unsure. A milder term for it is called dandruff. It appears on places with lots of oil-producing glands such as upper back and the scalp.
Genes and hormones may play a role in this. Microorganisms such as yeast, that live on the skin naturally can also contribute to seborrheic dermatitis. People with certain diseases that affect the immune system are more susceptible to it too. Severity of it ranges from tiny dry white flakes (dandruff) to yellow greasy scales with reddened skin.
6. Statis Dermatitis
Stasis dermatitis is also called gravitational dermatitis, venous eczema and venous stasis dermatitis. It usually occurs in the lower legs where there is problem with blood flow in the veins.
The pressure develops and can cause fluids to leak out of the veins and into the skin. The immune system then tries to correct the swelling, but an over-response causes a crusty rash on top of the inflamed areas. A key symptom is swelling around the ankles.
To find out what I did and the products I use that are effective for my eczema, click here to read my definitive guide to healing and controlling eczema.