Here are the 7 Most Common Types of Eczema and How to Treat Each One
Did you know that an estimated 31.6 million Americans are currently suffering from some form of eczema? If you are a part of this unlucky group, then you know just how itchy, painful, embarrassing, and just plain expensive the condition can be!
Because we, too, have dealt with the pitfalls of this all-too-common skin condition, we’re taking the time today to let you in on the best treatment plans available for each of the most prevalent forms of eczema. Like most ailments, eczema doesn’t come with a “one-size-fits-all” cure, which means that the first step in clearing up your case is through identification and diagnosis. Here’s how you can treat the most 7 common types of eczema…
Causes: genetics, auto-immune disorders, allergies.
The most commonly diagnosed form of eczema, atopic dermatitis is currently causing trouble for more than 18 million Americans. It’s also one of the easiest to spot—most patients complain of long-lasting, itchy rashes on the cheeks, arms, and legs.
Treatment: Follow a strict daily bathing routine with detergent and fragrance-free soaps. Stay away from clothing that contains wool or synthetic materials. Always moisturize with an over-the-counter lotion geared towards eczema sufferers and, if it doesn’t clear up with this, seek a prescription from your doctor for something stronger.
Causes: stress, hormonal changes, cold or dry weather, chemical allergies, or side effects to certain medications.
Seborrheic Dermatitis, more commonly known as “cradle cap” in infants and sometimes known as “dandruff” in adults, is characterized by dry or even greasy patches of skin that flake. This tends to happen in areas that contain high numbers of oil glands, like the t-zone or the scalp.
Treatment: If you are suffering from seborrheic dermatitis specifically on the scalp, swap out your regular shampoo and conditioner for one that contains a medicated dandruff solution. For all other skin, wash with a gentle cleanser that contains 2% zinc pyrithione. Follow this with an allergen-free moisturizer. For a particularly stubborn flare-up, see a doctor for a topical corticosteroid.
Causes: direct contact with an irritant.
Contact dermatitis takes on a very similar set of symptoms to that of atopic dermatitis, like itchiness, redness, and pain. Products that contain metals, fragrances, and antibacterial ointments seem to be the ones that break sufferers out the most. The worst outbreaks can last up to 96 hours.
Treatment: Folks who suffer from this form of eczema have sensitive skin, so it’s important that all new products are first patch-tested to reduce a full-body flare-up. Pay close attention to the ingredients in soaps and laundry detergents as they often contain fragrances or other chemicals that not all bodies can tolerate. When in doubt, purchase products with an NEA Seal of Acceptance.
Causes: poor circulation, obesity, multiple pregnancies, high blood pressure, blood clots, kidney failure, varicose veins, congestive heart failure.
Stasis dermatitis is often characterized by swelling, redness, and discoloration around the ankles. In severe cases, the breakouts can crack, forming large ulcers which can put patients at a risk of developing an infection.
Treatment: Because stasis dermatitis is often linked to poor circulation, a condition that is caused by a host of potentially life-threatening diseases, it’s key that you contact your doctor before attempting to self-treat. Then, he or she may recommend some quick pain-relief methods, such as leg elevation exercises, pressure stockings, or topical medications.
Causes: genetics, stress, pollen, exposure to nickel and cobalt.
Small, deep-set, itchy, and sometimes painful blisters that appear on the palms, fingers, heels, and ankles. The rash is more common in those who suffer from seasonal allergies and is often mistaken for bug bites.
Treatment: Start by soaking the afflicted area(s) in a cold-water bath; afterward, be sure to seal in the moisture with an allergen-free topical cream. If that doesn’t do the job, visit your doc for a topical steroid or a Botox treatment.
Causes: pre-existing damage to the skin (usually from an insect bite, cut, or burn), a reaction to inflammation, poor circulation, medications, nickel.
Unfortunately, nummular eczema seems to be one of the most difficult types to prevent, mostly because it can be difficult to pinpoint the causes in most patients. It is characterized by coin-sized, bumpy, and sometimes itchy spots on the skin.
Treatment: Although it’s difficult to prevent, nummular eczema is typically simple to treat. After a diagnosis from a doctor, you can either try an over-the-counter moisturizing regimen on your own, or you can request a prescription-level topical steroid or coal-tar cream for fast results.
Lichen Simplex Chronicus
Causes: stress, insect bites, constant itching stemming from a neurological skin disorder.
Patients who suffer from lichen simplex chronicus are often afflicted with extremely itchy patches of skin that, over time, become leathery and hard in texture with pronounced cracking and dryness.
Treatment: Because scratching only makes these patches worse, it may help to slather them with heavy moisturizers containing zinc oxide before covering them up with gauzes or bandages while they heal. A stronger, prescription topical steroid may be required for severe cases.
We hope you found this helpful! Of course, see a doctor for a correct diagnosis before you get started on your own over-the-counter treatment plan. We wish you many happy—and scratch-free—days!
Do you suffer from eczema? If so, which type? Do you know of any particularly effective treatments?
Sources: National Eczema Association