What Is Nummular Eczema?
also known as nummular dermatitis or discoid eczema, is a chronic condition
that causes coin-shaped spots to develop on the skin. These spots are often
itchy and well-defined. They may ooze clear fluid or become dry and crusty.
Nummular eczema often appears after a skin injury, such as a
burn, abrasion, or insect bite. The condition may result in one patch or
multiple patches of coin-shaped lesions. The patches can last for several
Nummular eczema tends to occur more often in men than in
women. Men usually have their first episode between ages 55 and 65. Women
typically get it during adolescence or young adulthood. Though the symptoms of
nummular eczema can be bothersome, they can be treated with medications and
topical medicines. It isn’t contagious, which means it can’t be passed from one
person to another through direct skin contact.
Pictures of Nummular Eczema
What Are the Symptoms of Nummular Eczema?
The most common and noticeable symptom of nummular eczema is
a patch of coin-shaped lesions on the body. The lesions frequently develop on
the arms or legs, but they may eventually spread to the torso and hands. They
may be brown, pink, or red. Some lesions may itch and burn. Other lesions may
ooze fluid and eventually crust over. The skin around the lesions may be red,
scaly, or inflamed.
Call your doctor if you believe you have nummular eczema. If
it’s left untreated, a secondary skin infection could develop. Once this
occurs, a yellowish crust will form on the infected lesions.
What Causes Nummular Eczema?
There’s no known cause for nummular eczema. However, many people with
nummular eczema have a personal or family history of allergies, asthma, or
atopic dermatitis. Atopic dermatitis is a skin condition that causes itchy or
scaly rashes. People with nummular eczema also tend to have sensitive skin that
gets irritated easily.
The following factors may also contribute to the development of
- temperature changes
- dry skin
- environmental irritants, such as soaps, metals,
Is at Risk for Nummular Eczema?
The following conditions may increase your risk of developing nummular
- living in a cold, dry climate
- having dry skin
- having poor blood flow or swelling in the legs
- having another type of eczema
- having a skin injury, such as an insect bite or abrasion
- having a bacterial infection that affects the
How Is Nummular Eczema Diagnosed?
Your doctor may be able to diagnose nummular eczema by
asking you about your medical history and visually inspecting your skin. They
may also want to perform a skin biopsy to help rule out other possible conditions,
such as an infection. During the biopsy, the doctor will remove a small piece
of skin tissue from the affected area. The sample will then be analyzed for the
presence of bacteria.
If your doctor suspects the lesions are a result of an
allergic reaction, they may perform an allergy test as well. This may include
skin tests or blood tests that can help determine what substances you’re
allergic to, if any.
How Is Nummular Eczema Treated?
There isn’t a cure for nummular eczema. However, you may be
able to manage your condition by making certain lifestyle changes and avoiding
To help control your nummular eczema, you should avoid:
- wool and other irritants that may trigger your
- excessive bathing and hot water
- using harsh soaps
- stressful situations
- exposure to environmental irritants, such as
household cleaners and chemicals
- using fabric softener and dryer sheets
- getting scrapes, cuts, and abrasions on the skin
The following can help relieve your eczema:
- using moist bandages to cover and protect the
- taking antihistamines to relieve itching and
- applying medicated lotions or skin ointments
- getting ultraviolet light treatment for severe
- hydrating skin with a non-scented moisturizer
What Is the Outlook for People with Nummular Eczema?
With the proper treatment, nummular eczema may improve
within one year. However, nummular eczema is a chronic condition, so it may
never resolve. Some lesions may go away completely while others may come and
go. Lesions on the thighs, legs, and feet often take longer to heal and may
leave behind darker or lighter spots. It’s best to avoid triggers that
make your symptoms worse.