6 Types of Eczema: Which Do You Have?

Your dermatology provider can give you an accurate diagnosis based on your eczema symptoms and other clues and get you the eczema treatment you need.

Eczema is a common skin condition that affects people of all ages. It is characterized by inflammation, itching, and redness of the skin. There are several types of eczema, each with its own unique characteristics and triggers. In this article, we will explore the six main types of eczema to help you identify which type you may have.

1. Atopic Dermatitis
Atopic dermatitis is the most common type of eczema. It typically begins in childhood and is characterized by dry, itchy, and inflamed skin. People with atopic dermatitis often have a family history of allergies or asthma. This type of eczema tends to occur in "flare-ups" and can be triggered by factors such as certain foods, environmental allergens, stress, or irritants.

2. Contact Dermatitis
Contact dermatitis occurs when the skin comes into contact with an irritant or allergen. There are two types of contact dermatitis: irritant contact dermatitis and allergic contact dermatitis. Irritant contact dermatitis is caused by direct exposure to substances like chemicals, detergents, or soaps that can irritate the skin. Allergic contact dermatitis is triggered by an allergic reaction to a specific substance, such as nickel, latex, or certain fragrances.

3. Dyshidrotic Eczema
Dyshidrotic eczema primarily affects the hands and feet. It is characterized by the formation of small, itchy blisters on the skin. The exact cause of dyshidrotic eczema is unknown, but it is believed to be associated with factors like allergies, stress, or exposure to certain metals. This type of eczema can be triggered by sweating or contact with irritants.

4. Nummular Eczema
Nummular eczema, also known as discoid eczema, is characterized by the formation of coin-shaped patches of irritated and inflamed skin. The exact cause of nummular eczema is unclear, but it is often triggered by dry skin, environmental factors, or certain medications. This type of eczema can be more prevalent during the winter months when the air is dry.

5. Seborrheic Dermatitis
Seborrheic dermatitis commonly affects areas of the body with a high density of oil glands, such as the scalp, face, and chest. It is characterized by red, scaly patches and dandruff-like flakes. The exact cause of seborrheic dermatitis is not fully understood, but factors such as yeast overgrowth, hormonal changes, and a compromised immune system may contribute to its development.

6. Stasis Dermatitis
Stasis dermatitis, also known as gravitational dermatitis, typically occurs in the lower legs and feet. It is associated with poor circulation or venous insufficiency. Stasis dermatitis is characterized by swelling, redness, itching, and the formation of sores or ulcers. This type of eczema is often related to circulatory issues and can be aggravated by prolonged standing or sitting.

Identifying the type of eczema you have is important for effective management and treatment. If you suspect you have eczema, it is recommended to consult with a dermatologist or healthcare professional for a proper diagnosis and personalized treatment plan. By understanding the specific characteristics and triggers of your eczema, you can take appropriate steps to manage symptoms and improve your skin health.