Eczema is a term used to refer to a group of skin conditions. It is also known by the name of dermatitis. This skin ailment can affect people of all ages and races. There is not a single but various forms of eczema, varying in the factors that cause them and also their symptoms. Contact with allergies and irritating chemicals is often pointed out to be the main cause behind most eczema types. Here is a list of the different types of eczema:
Atopic eczema (atopic dermatitis) – It is the most common type of eczema that is largely found in people with a genetic tendency to have allergies. This form of eczema may not resolve altogether but may recur from time to time. In majority of the cases, the person suffering from this form of eczema is often found to develop this disease from a family member who has hay fever or asthma or some form of allergy. Atopic eczema generally strikes patients early in life, especially infants aged between 2 and 18 months. In babies, symptoms of this type of eczema largely appear on the neck, ears, face and torso. Sometimes, top of the feet or the outside surface of the elbows is also affected in kids. Children, teen-agers and adults are even affected by this type of eczema. In older people, the symptoms of this form of eczema appears on the inner skin of the creases of the inward bend of the ankle, wrist joints, the knee, elbow or hands and the upper eyelids.
Contact dermatitis – This type of eczema is largely caused when the skin comes into contact with irritants or environmental allergens. It triggers direct irritation and itchiness. When an allergic reaction occurs in the skin, the skin condition is called the allergic contact dermatitis. Sometimes, irritant contact dermatitis can be triggered even by mild irritants such as soap, saliva, sweat, urine and even water. This form of dermatitis occurs only when a person has an allergy to a specific substance. Some of chemicals as present in fragrances, lotions, shampoos, clothing and shoes can also trigger allergic reactions. Poison Ivy, poison oak and poison sumac are considered to be the most common allergens that can cause allergic contact dermatitis. Some people even develop this disease when their skin comes into contact with common allergic substances such as construction materials, deodorants, cosmetics and some kind of medicines.
Varicose eczema – This form of eczema generally strikes people in their middle age or late years. Symptoms of this eczema generally appear on the lower legs or on the skin around the ankles of the affected person. The skin swells up, becoming itchy, red and speckled. Doctors advise the use of emollient lotions and steroid creams for the effective treatment of varicose eczema. However, if this type of eczema is not treated then it can lead to an ulcer.
Discoid eczema – Arms and legs are usually seen to be affected with this form of eczema. It is most common in middle-aged men than in younger children. Some common symptoms of this type of eczema is round patches on the skin surface, coin-shaped areas of red skin on the lower legs or trunk, itchiness, extreme skin irritation and weepy fluid.
Hand eczema – It is somewhat related to atopic dermatitis. As the name suggests, this skin ailment only occurs on the hands and can be caused due to repeated washing or exposure to harmful chemicals and strong detergents.
Nummular eczema – This form of eczema generally affects adults. A person suffering from this form of eczema gets coin-sized patches of irritated skin, largely on the arms, chest and on the legs. It is less related to allergic contact eczema but more commonly associated with atopic dermatitis. In some cases of nummular eczema, it appears as an allergic reaction to a fungal infection.
Asteatotic eczema – In this type of eczema, the skin becomes dry and cracked. Lower legs are the most affected regions that are shown to have fine cracks. This skin condition is believed to occur due to lack of sufficient moisture. As lower legs have fewer oil glands, fine cracks first appear on the legs. Elderly people mostly suffer from this form of eczema. It is more common during winter months.
Seborrheic dermatitis (seborrhea) – It is also known by the term scaly dermatitis as it most commonly appears on the scalp in infants and adults. Face, neck, skin around the nose and the scalp line is generally most affected from this type of eczema. Most doctors believe that this type of eczema occurs mostly due to a skin fungus called the Pityrosporum ovale.
Stasis dermatitis – Knees, soles of the feet, ankles and calves are generally affected in this type of eczema. This happens in individuals with varicose veins or other conditions that leads to poor blood circulation. Red bumps, darkened skin, itching and ankle sores are some common symptoms of this type of dermatitis.