7 Types Of Eczema: Causes, Symptoms, And Treatment
If you or someone you love has eczema, you know that it can be a frustrating condition. But did you know that there are actually several different types of eczema? Did you also know that one out of five children are affected by eczema, and it often appears in adults, too?
In this article, we’ll discuss the seven different types of eczema to help you understand what is happening on your or your little one’s skin and the best ways to treat it.
7 Types Of Eczema
1) Atopic Dermatitis
Atopic dermatitis is the most common form of eczema and probably what comes to mind when you think of this condition. While eczema often begins in childhood and improves in adulthood, it’s a chronic condition that people live with their whole lives.
If you have atopic dermatitis, your skin has a compromised skin barrier, which is what keeps the good guys (like moisture) in and protects you from the bad guys (like allergens, irritants, and bacteria).
Skin with a compromised barrier can be dry, itchy, sensitive, and susceptible to infection.
It’s not entirely clear what causes atopic dermatitis, though it may have to do with genetics. In fact, it could be due to a combination of genetics, dry skin, an autoimmune condition, and environmental triggers.
Some symptoms of atopic dermatitis include:
- Itchy skin
- A rash on the inside of elbows or backs of knees
- A rash on your baby’s scalp or cheeks
- Thicker or discolored skin
- A rash that bleeds or leaks fluid when you scratch
- Easily infected skin
- Difficulty concentrating or sleeping due to itching
Unfortunately, there is no cure for atopic dermatitis. Some treatments include topical steroid or non-steroidal creams; however, there are several ways to help control the symptoms naturally.
If you’re looking for natural eczema treatments for your little one, read our complete parent’s guide, reduce symptoms by bathing your baby with extra care, and dress them in soft, breathable clothing to help avoid flare-ups.
(Our Stelatopia Skin Soothing Pajamas are ideal! Using microcapsule technology, these 100% cotton pajamas deliver skin-soothing moisture to the skin throughout the night to help your little one sleep well.)
It’s also important to use a moisturizer throughout the day and after bathtime that’s designed specifically for eczema-prone skin, like Mustela’s Stelatopia Emollient Balm.
2) Contact Dermatitis
Contact dermatitis is an easy one to remember since it’s your skin’s reaction to coming into contact with something that it disagrees with.
The offending party could be a substance that causes an allergic reaction (allergic contact dermatitis) or one that simply causes irritation (irritant contact dermatitis).
The allergy or irritation from contact dermatitis can be caused by a variety of substances, and what affects the skin may be different for each person!
Here are a few things that can cause this type of skin condition:
- Laundry detergent
- Poison ivy
- Synthetic fragrances
- Itching, stinging, or burning
- Dryness or cracking
Your doctor may recommend applying a steroid cream to help with the itching. For more extensive rashes, oral corticosteroids might also be given.
Of course, the best and easiest way to avoid contact dermatitis is to stay away from what causes the rash in the first place! You can often identify these irritants if the itching begins soon after contact with something or is in a particular area, like where you often wear jewelry.
We recommend using hypoallergenic laundry detergent as well as soaps and cleansers that are certified by the National Eczema Association (NEA), like our Stelatopia Cleansing Gel and Stelatopia Cleansing Oil.
Your doctor can also do patch testing to find out what may be causing allergic contact dermatitis.
3) Nummular Eczema
This type of eczema gets its name from the kind of rash it creates: round, coin-shaped red marks. If you’re not up on your Latin, “nummus” is a Latin word that means “coin,” so this skin condition is aptly named.
The exact cause of nummular eczema is a bit mysterious, but it’s more likely to be seen in men and in people who have atopic dermatitis as well.
Triggers include dry skin, stress, soap, surgery, scrapes on your skin, and reactions to bug bites.
- Circular patches that can itch or ooze
- Spots typically on the arms or legs (but can be elsewhere)
- Spots that are red, pink, or brown and scaly
Since this type of eczema is easily confused with other circular skin conditions, like fungal infections, it’s best to schedule a visit with the dermatologist to seek proper treatment.
They may give you topical corticosteroids or treat you with topical antibiotics if an infection has developed.
Neurodermatitis is a cycle of itching and then scratching, which makes your skin itch even more.
Like some of the other types of eczema, the exact cause of neurodermatitis is unknown. It’s more common in women, adults between 30 and 50, people with anxiety disorders, and individuals with another type of eczema as well.
Tight, itchy clothing can set off the cycle of neurodermatitis, as can bug bites and dry skin.
- One or two itchy patches
- Dry, thick, scaly skin
- Patches that bleed when scratched
- Itching that increases when you’re stressed or anxious
Your doctor may suggest a topical steroid or non-steroid cream for neurodermatitis, both of which can help calm the itching.
Other approaches include oral medication, patches with a numbing agent, applying plastic wrap after moisturizer or gauze with zinc oxide, relaxation techniques, and counseling.
5) Seborrheic Dermatitis
Seborrheic dermatitis mainly affects the scalp and goes by a few different names. The most common term for this condition in adults is dandruff, while it’s often called “cradle cap” in babies.
Seborrheic dermatitis is another type of eczema with an unknown cause, although it’s thought to be an inflammatory reaction related to an excess of Malassezia yeast. Hormone levels, oily skin, and genetics could also play a role.
There are also certain triggers and conditions that make you more susceptible to seborrheic dermatitis, such as stress, extreme weather temperatures, the existence of other skin conditions, HIV, and depression.
- Skin flakes
- Areas of oily skin with white or yellow scales
- Redness and swelling
If you’re not sure how to tell if your little one has cradle cap or simply a dry scalp, you can learn about the differences here.
To ease symptoms, treat your baby’s scalp with a gentle cream, like Mustela’s natural Cradle Cap Cream, and be sure to wash their hair with a gentle shampoo that’s formulated to minimize cradle cap flakes.
Treatment for an adult can vary depending on where you have seborrheic dermatitis, but the goal is to minimize flaking and scaling while calming itching and inflammation.
Washing and moisturizing your skin is important, but specific treatment may include antifungal cream, steroid cream, or a medicated shampoo.
We recommend Stelatopia Foam Shampoo for little ones. It’s fragrance-free, made with ingredients of natural origin, and NEA Certified.
Our tear-free and pH-balanced formula is enriched with a blend of Sunflower Oil Distillate to soothe and moisturize and Avocado Perseose®, a patented natural ingredient to help protect and strengthen your baby's delicate skin.
6) Stasis Dermatitis
This skin condition is also called gravitational dermatitis, venous eczema, or venous stasis dermatitis and, if you haven’t already guessed, has to do with veins and blood flow.
Simply put, it is a pooling of water and blood cells in your legs.
Stasis dermatitis can develop due to poor circulation in your legs and is the result of fluid leaking out of veins and accumulating under your skin.
It can be common in people with high blood pressure, obesity, multiple pregnancies, and those who spend long hours sitting or on their feet.
Since venous insufficiency can be caused by more serious conditions, it’s important to speak with your doctor if you suspect you might have this type of eczema.
- Swelling in the lower legs or ankles
- Orange-brownish spots
- Varicose veins
- Sores on lower legs or tops of feet
- Itching, scales, or dry skin
Your doctor will want to address any root cause of stasis dermatitis and may recommend antibiotics if your skin has become infected or a steroid to soothe inflammation.
Wear compression socks to help with swelling and, when you can, elevate your feet above your heart.
7) Dyshidrotic Eczema
Dyshidrotic eczema gives you small but very itchy blisters on your hands and feet — specifically the palms, soles of feet, and the sides of fingers and toes. Because of this, it is often called foot-and-hand-eczema.
Dyshidrotic eczema is more common in women, adults between 20 and 40 years old, and those who have another type of eczema, but the exact cause is unknown.
Allergies, stress, metals, heat, and humidity can all trigger a flare-up.
- Itchy or painful blisters
- Patches on the palms, soles of feet, and the sides of fingers and toes
- Red, dry, cracked, or scaly skin
If your dyshidrotic eczema is related to a fungal infection or you are likely to develop a skin infection, your doctor may prescribe a specific regimen to follow or medications to take.
Otherwise, it can help to wash your skin and pat it dry thoroughly so your skin doesn’t stay wet, apply a gentle but protective moisturizer, reduce stress, avoid triggers, and apply cold compresses.
Addressing All Types Of Eczema Naturally
No matter which type of eczema you have, there are ways to care for your skin naturally. Keep in mind that steroid creams come with their fair share of side effects.
Our entire Stelatopia Range is NEA Certified, fragrance-free, and made with ingredients of natural origin to soothe and replenish eczema-prone skin.
By understanding the causes, treatments, and symptoms of the seven types of eczema, you’re no longer in the dark. You’re now equipped to find the right ways to protect yourself and your family!