7 types of eczema
If your skin itches and turns red from time to time, you might have eczema. This skin condition is very common in children, but adults can get it too.
Eczema is sometimes called atopic dermatitis, which is the most common form. “Atopic” refers to an allergy. People with eczema often have allergies or asthma along with itchy, red skin.
Eczema comes in a few other forms, too. Each eczema type has its own set of symptoms and triggers.
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There are also some common symptoms for all types of eczema:
Pictures of eczema
1. Atopic dermatitis
Atopic dermatitis is the most common form of eczema. It usually starts in childhood, and often gets milder or goes away by adulthood. Atopic dermatitis is part of what doctors call the atopic triad. “Triad” means three. The other two diseases in the triad are asthma and hay fever. Many people with atopic dermatitis have all three conditions.
Learn more: Do you have a rash from hay fever? »
In atopic dermatitis:
Atopic dermatitis happens when your skin’s natural barrier against the elements is weakened. This means your skin is less able to protect you against irritants and allergens. Atopic dermatitis is likely caused by a combination of factors such as:
2. Contact dermatitis
If you have red, irritated skin that’s caused by a reaction to substances you touch, you may have contact dermatitis. It comes in two types: Allergic contact dermatitisis an immune system reaction to an irritant like latex or metal.Irritant contact dermatitisstarts when a chemical or other substance irritates your skin.
In contact dermatitis:
Contact dermatitis happens when you touch a substance that irritates your skin or causes an allergic reaction. The most common causes are:
3. Dyshidrotic eczema
Dyshidrotic eczema causes small blisters to form on your hands and feet. It’s more common in women than men.
In dyshidrotic eczema:
Dyshidrotic eczema can be caused by:
4. Hand eczema
Eczema that only affects your hands is called hand eczema. You may get this type if you work in a job like hairdressing or cleaning, where you regularly use chemicals that irritate the skin.
In hand eczema:
Hand eczemais triggered by exposure to chemicals. People who work in jobs that expose them to irritants are more likely to get this form, such as:
Neurodermatitis is similar to atopic dermatitis. It causes thick, scaly patches to pop up on your skin.
Neurodermatitis usually starts in people who have other types of eczema or psoriasis. Doctors don’t know exactly what causes it, although stress can be a trigger.
6. Nummular eczema
This type of eczema causes round, coin-shaped spots to form on your skin. The word “nummular” means coin in Latin. Nummular eczema looks very different from other types of eczema, and it can itch a lot.
In nummular eczema:
Nummular eczemacan be triggered by a reaction to an insect bite, or by an allergic reaction to metals or chemicals. Dry skin can also cause it. You’re more likely to get this form if you have another type of eczema, such as atopic dermatitis.
7. Stasis dermatitis
Stasis dermatitis happens when fluid leaks out of weakened veins into your skin. This fluid causes swelling, redness, itching, and pain.
In stasis dermatitis:
Stasis dermatitis happens in people who have blood flow problems in their lower legs. If the valves that normally push blood up through your legs toward your heart malfunction, blood can pool in your legs. Your legs can swell up and varicose veins can form.
Seeing a doctor
See your doctor if the itching and redness you’re experiencing doesn’t go away on its own, or if it interferes with your life. A skin doctor called a dermatologist can diagnose and treat eczema. If you don’t already have a dermatologist, our Healthline FindCare tool can help you connect to physicians in your area.
To help your doctor understand your condition, it may be helpful to keep a diary to identify your eczema triggers. Write down:
You should begin to notice connections between your activities and your eczema flare-ups. Bring this journal to your doctor to help them pinpoint your triggers.
An allergy specialist can also do a patch test. This test places small amounts of irritating substances on patches that are applied to your skin. The patches stay on your skin for 20 to 30 minutes to see if you have a reaction. This test can help your doctor tell which substances trigger your eczema, so you can avoid them.
Eczema often comes and goes. When it appears, you might need to try different medicines and other treatments to get rid of the rash.
If an allergic reaction results in a flare-up of your eczema, you’ll want to avoid the substance that triggers it.
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Most eczema comes and goes over time. Atopic dermatitis is usually worst in childhood and improves with age. Other forms of eczema may stay with you throughout your life, although you can take measures to reduce your symptoms.
Tips for reducing outbreaks
Here are a few ways to prevent eczema flare-ups and manage symptoms:
You should also avoid any known triggers.