Eczema affects over
31 million
people in the U.S.
There are
7 types
of Eczema
Studies show
1 in 3 infants
will have Eczema
It is more common in
females
than in males
What Is Eczema?

Eczema is a common skin condition that affects more than 31 million people in the United States, according to the National Eczema Association (NEA). It causes dry, scaly skin with redness and itching, and blisters or tiny bumps with a rash-like appearance. In severe cases, the skin may form painful cracks that bleed and form a crust. It’s very common for babies and young children to develop eczema on their cheeks and chin, but it can appear anywhere on the body and affect people of all ages. The NEA estimates that one in ten people will develop eczema at some point in their lives.

If you have eczema, living with the condition can be challenging and frustrating. It can greatly affect your quality of life, often leading to difficulty sleeping, low self-esteem, embarrassment, and avoiding social situations. People with eczema commonly experience flare-ups and periods of remission. During a flare, skin is actively itchy and very inflamed. During a period of remission, skin heals and there may not be any noticeable symptoms. Remission can last weeks, months, or even years. Eczema isn’t contagious and can’t be transmitted from person-to-person.

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Eczema Symptoms

The symptoms of eczema won’t be the same for everyone. For most people with eczema, their skin is extremely itchy. Because the skin itches so much, people often scratch their skin until it bleeds. In addition to intensely itchy skin, these are the most common eczema symptoms to watch out for:

Are There Different Types of Eczema?

According to the NEA, there are seven different types of eczema:

Atopic dermatitis This is the most common type of eczema. It’s a chronic and inflammatory type of eczema that typically affects the backs of the knees and elbows and produces symptoms that are typically seen in most people with eczema, such as dry, scaly skin, itching, and redness. Atopic dermatitis usually affects people who have hay fever and asthma.

Contact dermatitis Irritant or allergic contact dermatitis occurs when your skin comes into contact with allergens or an irritating substance, such as some soaps and fragrances, detergents, pollen or animal dander, wool, or nickel in jewelry. Contact dermatitis makes the skin inflamed, causing your skin to burn and itch.

Nummular eczema Nummular eczema produces scaly, coin-shaped patches that are very itchy. It usually occurs on the legs and is thought to be triggered by insect bites and dry skin during the winter.

Neurodermatitis Neurodermatitis is very similar in appearance to atopic dermatitis, and it affects about 12% of people in the US, according to the NEA. Symptoms of neurodermatitis include thick, scaly patches that form on the scalp, neck, shoulders, hands, ankles, and feet. These patches are very itchy and bleed easily when scratched.

Seborrheic dermatitis This type of eczema usually forms on parts of the body that have a lot of sebaceous, or oil-producing, glands, such as the scalp, back, or eyebrows. When it affects the scalp, seborrheic dermatitis results in dandruff. In infants, it’s known as “cradle cap.”

Dyshidrotic eczema This skin condition produces small, fluid-filled blisters on the soles of the feet, toes, palms, and fingers. It’s much more common in women and is usually caused by moist hands and feet, allergies, stress, or exposure to nickel (found in some jewelry), chromium salts (found in some paints, leather, and cement), and cobalt (found in metal-plated objects).

Stasis dermatitis Stasis dermatitis usually affects the lower legs and typically affects the elderly. It’s caused by a circulation problem that affects blood flow, causing fluid to leak out of weakened veins and into the skin. Symptoms include swollen ankles, open red sores, pain, and itching.

Doctor looking at patients arm.
Are There Different Types of Eczema?
Doctor looking at patients arm.

According to the NEA, there are seven different types of eczema:

Atopic dermatitis This is the most common type of eczema. It’s a chronic and inflammatory type of eczema that typically affects the backs of the knees and elbows and produces symptoms that are typically seen in most people with eczema, such as dry, scaly skin, itching, and redness. Atopic dermatitis usually affects people who have hay fever and asthma.

Contact dermatitis Irritant or allergic contact dermatitis occurs when your skin comes into contact with allergens or an irritating substance, such as some soaps and fragrances, detergents, pollen or animal dander, wool, or nickel in jewelry. Contact dermatitis makes the skin inflamed, causing your skin to burn and itch.

Nummular eczema Nummular eczema produces scaly, coin-shaped patches that are very itchy. It usually occurs on the legs and is thought to be triggered by insect bites and dry skin during the winter.

Neurodermatitis Neurodermatitis is very similar in appearance to atopic dermatitis, and it affects about 12% of people in the US, according to the NEA. Symptoms of neurodermatitis include thick, scaly patches that form on the scalp, neck, shoulders, hands, ankles, and feet. These patches are very itchy and bleed easily when scratched.

Seborrheic dermatitis This type of eczema usually forms on parts of the body that have a lot of sebaceous, or oil-producing, glands, such as the scalp, back, or eyebrows. When it affects the scalp, seborrheic dermatitis results in dandruff. In infants, it’s known as “cradle cap.”

Dyshidrotic eczema This skin condition produces small, fluid-filled blisters on the soles of the feet, toes, palms, and fingers. It’s much more common in women and is usually caused by moist hands and feet, allergies, stress, or exposure to nickel (found in some jewelry), chromium salts (found in some paints, leather, and cement), and cobalt (found in metal-plated objects).

Stasis dermatitis Stasis dermatitis usually affects the lower legs and typically affects the elderly. It’s caused by a circulation problem that affects blood flow, causing fluid to leak out of weakened veins and into the skin. Symptoms include swollen ankles, open red sores, pain, and itching.

Can Eczema be treated?

There isn’t an eczema cure, but there are treatments to help manage symptoms. No treatment option will work for everyone, and treatments can range from eczema medicine, such as prescription topical treatments, over-the-counter products, and lifestyle modifications. Eczema treatment must be consistent regardless of which type of eczema you have.

Let’s take a closer look at the different ways to treat eczema:

Skin care: Ensuring that your skin stays moist is important if you have eczema. Itching increases when your skin is dry, so using a moisturizer, cream, or ointment can help keep your skin moisturized. Applying these products several times a day, especially after showering or bathing while your skin is still slightly wet, can help to restore the moisture barrier and hydrate your skin. Look for products containing hyaluronic acid, ceramides, and coconut oil. Products labeled “for sensitive skin,” “hypoallergenic,” and “fragrance free” are key words to look for.

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