Understanding Different Eczema Types
Eczema is a term used to refer to a particular group of clinical symptoms and characteristics. The types of eczema are described by certain location, specific appearance or by a possible cause.
Back in 2001, the EAACI or the European Academy of Allergology and Clinical Immunology published a paper which simplified the classification of the allergy-related disorders, under which includes atopic along with allergic contact eczema, which are the more widespread types of eczema.
Most Common Types of Ezcema
- Atopic Eczema. Atopic eczema or sometimes known as infantile eczema or sometimes referred to as flexural eczema or atopic dermatitis is characterized by an allergic condition and has been found to be hereditary and often passed on genetically among families with a predisposition to asthma. The rash appears on the head as well as the scalp, certain areas of the neck, in the creases of the elbows, behind the knees and the buttocks.
- Contact Dermatitis. Contact dermatitis is divided into two different categories or types of eczema, allergic which is due to the delayed response to a certain allergen, e.g. nickel or poison ivy and irritant which mainly brought about from the direct exposure and contact to chemicals such as linolool found in soaps and shampoos and sulfate found in detergents. Some substances, e.g. wet cement, can act as an allergen and an irritant. Phototoxic dermatitis is caused by substances that have been exposed to sunlight. Seventy five percent of people with contact eczema are classified to belong to the irritant dermatitis type. Contact eczema can be treated once the irritant substance is found and removed or avoided.
- Xerotic Eczema. Xerotic eczema is sometimes called by various names such as asteatotic eczema, craquelatum eczema, winter itch and pruritis hiemalis. This refers to a dry skin conditions which develops into eczema as it becomes more serious and it is common amongst the elderly. The limbs as well as the torso are most affected areas of the body and the condition tends to worsen when exposed to the cold and dry air of winter. The skin becomes itchy, tender and resembles a cracked and dried up river bed.
- Seborrhoeic Dermatitis. More commonly known as “cradle crap”, which afflicts infants is a condition which is classified as another type of eczema and is closely associated with dandruff. Except in severe cases of cradle crap, the condition is harmless. Seborrhoeic dermatitis presents itself as a dry or sometimes greasy flaking affecting the scalp, face, eyebrows and sometimes the trunk. Afflicted newborns present a thick, yellowish crust that resembles a scalp rash, which is more commonly called cradle crap. This particular condition is curable and has been related to a biotin deficiency.
Rare Types of Eczema
- Dyshidrosis. This is a common form of eczema which affects the hands and worsens in warm weather. It presents itself as tiny, densely opaque bumps that are called vesicles along with cracks which come with by severe itching and thickening which are known to worsen at night. It is known as dyshidrotic eczema, pompholyx, vesicular palmoplantar dermatitis or housewife’s eczema.
- Discoid Eczema. Discoid eczema otherwise known as nummular eczema, and is also referred to as exudative eczema or the more popular layman’s term microbial eczema. This condition is characterized by rounded reddish spots that are oozing or dried out rashes with visibly clear boundaries. This condition typically affects the lower limbs and is known to worsen during the winter season. There is no known cause and this skin disorder is known to be chronic in nature, as with most types of eczema.
- Venous Eczema. Sometimes called gravitational eczema, or the more common terms such as stasis eczema and the varicose eczema. This is one of the rare types of eczema that affects people who are found to have problems with oedema, poor circulation, and varicose veins, commonly affecting the ankles of people with ages 50 and above. It is characterized by redness, swelling, scaling, itching as well as dullness and darkened affected areas of the skin.
- Dermatitis Herpetiformis. This form of eczema causes intensive itchiness and a somewhat symmetrical inflammation on the arms, as well as the thighs, the knees and the back area. This particular condition is directly associated to celiac disease, which typically becomes worse at night. Eczema Herpetiformis is known to be a variation of celiac disease and its effects can be lessened through general observance of proper diet and healthy lifestyle.
- Neurodermatitis. It is usually in a single spot and presents as an inflamed area characterized by thickened and pigmented eczema patch which is a direct result of persistent rubbing or scratching of the skin. Lichen simplex chronicus or localized scratch dermatitis can be cured through behavioral modification along with the administration of medication designed to relieve or prevent inflammation. A related disorder which shows as numerous lumps is known as Prurigo nodularis, which is also one of the many types of eczema.
- Autoeczemztisation. ID reaction or autosensitization is one of the common types of eczema response to a particular infection brought about by fungi, bacteria or infestation of parasites or viruses. The reaction occurs in close proximity with the initial infection and usually clears up once the initial infection heals. There are types of eczema covered by a viral infection such as eczema herpeticum and eczema vaccinatum and others occurring due to other underlying diseases such as Lymphoma.
Eczema types caused by food and other allergens have not been included into this classification but are generally seen as Atopic eczema depending on severity and location.