What is nummular eczema?
Nummular eczema is one of the names given to a particular type of eczema; it is called nummular (which means ‘coin-shaped’) because of the distinctive circular patches it makes on the skin. It’s also sometimes known as discoid dermatitis, for the same reason.
What are the symptoms of nummular eczema?
Nummular eczema can occur as just one small patch of bumpy, dry, itchy skin, or several patches close together. It can develop anywhere on the body, but isn’t very often found on the face or scalp. In older people, it can affect the lower legs and is associated with poor circulation.
Nummular eczema can be very dry, inflamed, and itchy, and can get so sore that the skin breaks and bleeds, and a crust can form over the worst patches. It’s likely to look differently coloured than your usual skin tone: darker brown, purple, grey, pink or red are all possible.
How does nummular eczema grow?
Patches tend to start as little bumps or spots, sometimes even blisters, but expand into circular shaped lesions, in fact nummular eczema can develop to cover a larger area of the body as time goes by. The individual circular patches expand outwards, with the edge of the circle usually being the most itchy and sore. As the lesion grows bigger, it may leave an area of clear skin in the centre of the ring, clear of itchiness and inflammation.
Is nummular eczema infectious?
Nummular eczema isn’t infectious, and isn’t caused by an infection either, although, like other kinds of eczema, it can sometimes get infected by bacteria on your skin. And also, confusingly, it can look very much like a fungal infection, ringworm, which also forms circular patches on the skin.
Take extra care if you feel the skin is hot, angry or weeping: it’s always best to check with a medical professional if you’re worried that your skin is infected.
Will it go away?
This type of eczema tends to come and go; it can’t be ‘cured’, but it can be managed by taking care of your skin and avoiding the things that make it worse, or set off a flare. One of the key ways of managing nummular eczema is to keep your skin well hydrated with emollient creams, balms and oils. Find an unscented moisturiser that you like and use it whenever you need to.
If your skin is really itchy, sore or cracked, try Skin Salvation balm, which is less likely to sting on open skin, and can help support the regeneration of a healthy skin barrier. For daily maintenance, use our shea butter and hemp Daily Moisturising Cream, and try countering the dehydrating effects of bathing with some Bath & Body Oil.
If symptoms don’t improve after a week, or get worse, consult your doctor; there are various other options you can try: antihistamines to help ease the itchiness, antibiotics (if the eczema is infected) or a short course of topical steroids if the inflammation is not calming down.
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If you require medical advice we recommend you always contact your healthcare professional.
If you or someone you are caring for seems very unwell, is getting worse or you think there's something seriously wrong, call for emergency services straight away. For general medical advice, please contact your healthcare professional, this article does not contain or replace medical advice.
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