Eczema is a very common problem in children as well as in adults. Also known by the term 'atopic dermatitis', eczema is more prevalent in infants and children. 

Eczema is one of the most bothersome and chronic disorders of the skin. Contact eczema is the type commonly observed in adults, while atopic eczema is more prevalent in children. The arms, and the region behind the knees, are the commonly affected sites. However, any part of the body may be affected.

Let’s look at some types of eczema to understand them better.

Atopic Eczema 

  • The most common of all types, atopic eczema, is also known as infantile eczema. 

  • This form generally affects people who are extremely sensitive to allergens in their environments such as pollen, dust, animal skin or hair, and certain foods.

  • Atopic eczema is characterized by an extremely itchy, red patch on the skin that may sometimes swell, and develop into fissures (a break or slit in tissue usually at the junction of skin) that may crack and ooze out clear fluid or even blood. The infected skin seems to be crusty and scaled.

Hand Eczema

  • This is a chronic form of eczema that only infects the hand and is also known as hyperlinear palms.

  • It is caused due to constant hand washing with harsh soaps, detergents, or contact with strong chemicals like bleach, etc. 

  • Shiny red blisters (a small painful area of skin that looks like a bubble filled with fluid) and lesions (any damage or abnormal change in the skin) develop on the hands that are quite painful. 

  • People who have this form of eczema find it difficult to perform their daily activities, as there are many chances of aggravating the eczema blisters. 

Nummular Eczema 

  • Its name has been derived from the Latin word 'nummus', which means coin. 

  • This type produces coin-shaped patches of infected skin (hence the name), mainly on the legs, arms, or chest. It usually occurs in adults.

Seborrheic Eczema 

  • In adults, it is known as dandruff, while in infants it is termed as cradle cap. 

  • It first develops on the face or neck around the nose and at the scalp line, causing extremely greasy pink or yellow patches, which are often covered by scales.

Discoid Eczema 

  • Discoid eczema occurs as round, red scaly patches of blisters, usually affecting the arms and legs. 

  • They become itchy and can ooze fluid, causing the infection to spread.

Stasis Eczema

  • Stasis dermatitis happens when fluid leaks out of weakened veins into your skin.

  • The leaked fluid causes swelling, redness, itching, and pain on the site of occurrence.

Contact Eczema

  • Also known as contact dermatitis, this occurs if your skin becomes red and inflamed due to a reaction to a substance you touch or come in contact with. 

  • The common causes are detergents, bleach, certain jewelry, paint, and certain makeup products.

Skin Care and Protection Tips Against Eczema

  • Wash your hands in lukewarm water. Rinse and dry your hands thoroughly after washing. The skin-damaging potential of a detergent is temperature-dependent. Warm, soapy water causes more skin irritation than lukewarm or cold soapy water.

  • Use protective gloves when starting wet-work tasks. Unprotected wet work is a significant risk factor for the development of skin irritation. Gloves are essential for protecting the skin against water, dirt, detergents, shampoos, and foodstuffs.

    • Protective gloves should be used when necessary but for as short a time as possible. Irritant reactions due to wearing gloves are frequently reported. Prolonged use of gloves leads to impairment of the skin barrier, especially if the skin has previously been exposed to detergents.

    • Protective gloves should be intact and clean and dry inside. Even a small amount of an irritant may act as a strong irritant when the skin is occluded. Furthermore, allergens trapped inside a glove could induce sensitization or elicit allergic contact dermatitis, if you are already sensitized.

    • When protective gloves are used for more than 10 minutes, cotton gloves should be worn underneath. Wearing a cotton glove inside the protective glove has been shown to protect your skin from deterioration caused by using gloves.

  • Do not wear rings at work; eczema often starts under a finger-ring. Irritants may become trapped under the ring, causing irritation and irritant contact dermatitis.

  • Disinfectants should be used according to the recommendations of the workplace. The use of disinfectants may cause skin irritation, followed by irritant contact dermatitis, and was recently reported as a contributory factor for the development of hand dermatitis. 

  • Select a lipid-rich moisturizer free from fragrance and with preservatives having the lowest allergy-causing potential.

  • Apply moisturizers on your hands. Moisturizers that are rich in lipids promote regeneration (regrowth of skin after damage) faster than those that contain less lipid. Fragrance and preservatives are common causes of allergic reactions to cosmetic products. Moisturizers should be applied all over the hands, including the finger webs, fingertips, and back of the hand daily, especially if you have eczema.

  • Take care when doing housework, use protective gloves for dishwashing, and warm gloves when going outside in winter.

However, in case you experience extreme dryness, itchiness, or patches due to eczema, it is advisable to consult your dermatologist right away.

Disclaimer: This article is written by the Practitioner for informational and educational purposes only. The content presented on this page should not be considered as a substitute for medical expertise. Please "DO NOT SELF-MEDICATE" and seek professional help regarding any health conditions or concerns. Practo will not be responsible for any act or omission arising from the interpretation of the content present on this page.