What is Nummular Eczema?
The formation of coin-shaped, itchy rash is called Nummular eczema. This is also otherwise known as microbial eczema, discoid eczema (owing to its oval shape) and more descriptively as nummular eczematous dermatitis. This originally comes from the Latin term “nummus” which literally means clay. Nummular eczema is just among the many different forms of dermatitis.
The exact cause of nummular eczema, like some diseases, also still remains unknown. This skin condition may be itchy but is not considered contagious and is also not influenced by any genetic factors. Nummular eczema may appear in all age groups but commonly seen in people over 60 years of age. The male population also has slightly higher risk than the females. Although doctors are still baffled as to the main cause of nummular eczema, this has been associated to dry skin. That is why nummular eczema commonly develops during the winter. This may also appear nearly everywhere in the body but is primarily on the lower extremities including the buttocks and the legs. Unfortunately, scientists are still on the look out for its cure. Nowadays, some medications may be available for palliation but not necessarily as a cure.
Nummular Eczema Symptoms
The primary manifestation of nummular eczema is the development of red spots that progresses into vesicles (fluid-filled lesions or blisters). This may begin with a single red spot but cluster of red spots may also be observed at the beginning. Initially, the blisters may be reddish but later on these would then clear up especially at the center. As a result, the blisters would now appear like they’re fungal infections. Additional symptoms may also be noted such as:
- Itchiness – This may be present at the onset of the condition until its whole duration. The itchiness has been found to worsen as night approaches.
- Lichenification – Severe itchiness leads to continuous scratching and this in turn would cause hypertrophy or thickening of the skin. That’s why the affected skin of a person with nummular eczema would look like a leathery bark.
- Burning or stinging sensation may also be felt
- Crusting – The lesions would then begin to form crusts making them appear more scaly.
These are generally seen on the legs though other parts of the body may also be involved. The scalp and the face are usually spared from it.
Nummular Eczema Causes
Until recently specialists are still baffled with the exact cause of nummular eczema. However, the development of nummular eczema has been associated to dry skin. This is the very reason why nummular eczema flare-ups commonly occur during the cold season. Nummular eczema has also been linked to the use of certain medications but this is considered to be a rare case though.
There are also certain factors that would aggravate nummular eczema and these include using soaps and detergents that would further cause drying of the skin. The presence of underlying allergies may also exacerbate this but certain allergies do not really lead to the development of nummular eczema because this is not the same with atopic dermatitis. Stress and caffeine are also known to aggravate the condition. Wearing garments especially those that are made from wool are also highly irritating to the skin and eventually lead to the development of nummular eczema. Getting exposed to the extremes in temperature may also worsen the condition.
Nummular Eczema Treatment
There are no medicines that would effectively cure nummular eczema. However, there are drugs available that would help alleviate the symptoms associated with nummular eczema. Among the common treatments for this condition include the following medications:
Topical cortisone – This medication is primarily given to prevent the lesions from getting exacerbated. This is directly applied on the affected areas. There are some considerations though when using this medication. A regular dermatologic test is necessary especially when topical cortisone is used on a large area over longer periods. Be sure to only apply a small amount on the affected sites and gently massage it. Topical cortisones are usually applied once daily. Oral or injected cortisone may also be used.
Coal tar – For severe cases of nummular eczema, coal tar may be used. Ointments are usually added with coal tar to make it more effective in treating the condition. Just be cautious when applying coal tar because this may stain clothes. Aside from that, this also has a repugnant smell.
Oral Antibiotics – These may also be prescribed alongside topical medications to make the treatment course more effective. Oral antibiotics are primarily given in conjunction with topical cortisone to prevent or treat infection, specifically staphylococcal infection.
Ultraviolet light – For resistant cases of nummular eczema, ultraviolet light therapy is usually indicated which is done in a doctor’s office. Ultraviolet light therapy is especially effective in controlling the itchiness.
Lotion – Most importantly, one should not forget to keep the affected regions lubricated as dryness would worsen the condition. Body oil may also be applied. Skin lubricants are normally applied after a bath.
These are just some of the commonly given treatments to manage the symptoms of nummular eczema. The condition would be under control after a few weeks of using these medications. Nevertheless, nummular eczema may just wax and wane through time. This means that nummular eczema has the tendency to get better or worsen over time.
Prevention also plays a very important role in the management of nummular eczema. This means that the skin should be kept properly lubricated at all times. Aside from that, avoiding triggering factors like exposure to extremely hot or cold temperatures, the use of irritating soaps, detergents and clothing would also help improve the condition. People with nummular eczema should also take a bath not more than once daily because this would make the skin dry. Using non-irritating clothing such as those made from a hundred percent cotton is also highly advised. Doing so would effectively keep nummular flare-ups at bay.
Nummular Eczema Pictures
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