Nummular eczema, also called nummular dermatitis or discoid eczema, is a persistent but treatable skin disorder characterized by coin-shaped patches on the skin.
You can get rid of nummular eczema by managing three factors:
- Skin healing
12 treatment options for nummular eczema
- Corticosteroid medications: Corticosteroids are typically applied or injected to address the afflicted region. Corticosteroids relieve swelling, heat, itching, and soreness, as well as soften thickened skin.
- Cool compress: Applying a cold compress or bathing the affected area in water for 5 minutes before applying a corticosteroid can help the medication penetrate thicker skin more quickly, relieving irritation.
- Antihistamines: Antihistamines can relieve allergy symptoms such as itching and help improve sleep quality.
- Moisturizer: Reduces dryness, which can reduce itching.
- Coal tar preparation: This can be applied to the skin or added to a bath.
- Covering the skin: Covering the eczema area before going to bed protects your skin from injury caused by scratching while sleeping. Applying an aspirin and dichloromethane solution, tacrolimus ointment, or pimecrolimus cream to the itchy area may help.
- Botox injections: Botox injections can help with itching. According to studies, patients suffering from neurodermatitis may have less itching within 1 week of receiving botulinum toxin therapy. Patches of neurodermatitis may resolve in 2-4 weeks.
- Skin care: Irritated skin may continue to stimulate your desire to scratch if it does not heal. Your dermatologist may recommend the following treatments to promote skin healing:
- Soaking can help relieve the itch, irritation, or pain.
- Applying moisturizer after a soak helps seal in moisture.
- If the area is infected, an antimicrobial medication may be prescribed. You must complete the course of medications, even if you are feeling better or the infection seems to have cleared.
- Nutrition: Individuals suffering from nummular eczema are advised to avoid foods that are known to trigger allergies. These include peanuts, dairy products, wheat, and other grains. Foods that can cause inflammation should be avoided as well, such as sugar and processed foods. Individuals suffering from nummular eczema are recommended to take nutritional supplements, such as fish oil, flavonoids, and vitamin C supplements daily to alleviate symptoms. However, before starting supplements, speak to your doctor.
- Herbal creams: Studies have shown that herbal lotions and salves can help minimize the severity of eczema and related symptoms, such as itching and irritation. Chamomile cream, licorice, witch hazel, chickweed, St. John's Wort, and sarsaparilla are examples of herbal medicines that have shown good outcomes with few side effects. These herbal remedies must be used under medical supervision because they may interact negatively with other prescriptions.
- Bleach bath: According to researchers, bathing in a bleach bath for about 10-15 minutes can significantly improve the symptoms of nummular eczema. Half a cup of liquid bleach in 40 gallons of water is required for the bath. After soaking in the water, you must cleanse your body with fresh water, pat your skin dry, and then apply recommended medications. Following this approach at least 3 times each week can significantly lessen eczema and associated symptoms.
- Other treatments: Other treatments may include:
- Surgical repair for infected wounds
- Negative pressure wound therapy
- Hyperbaric oxygen therapy
- Anti-anxiety medications
- Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation
- Ultraviolet light treatments or phototherapy
What does nummular eczema look like?
With nummular dermatitis, you may notice a cluster of little patches or lumps on your skin that may combine to form larger areas. Depending on your skin tone, the patches may look pink, red, or deeper brown. Characteristics include the following:
You may develop more than one patch at the same time. The skin at the center of the patch is often dry. This middle section clears away with time, leaving only the outside part.
Scratching the patches can lead to infection, which may cause the following:
New spots often appear when the older ones disappear, and multiple patches may emerge at the same time.
What causes nummular eczema?
Some people are more prone to discoid eczema than others:
- People with a history of atopic eczema and allergic contact dermatitis are at a higher risk of developing discoid eczema.
- Children with severe atopic dermatitis may have dry, itchy skin, which may result in discoid eczema.
Discoid eczema often affects persons in the following age ranges:
- Women: Ages 15-25
- Men: Ages 50-65
Though some people are predisposed to severe eczema, the exact cause is unknown. Certain variables, however, may raise the risk of developing the condition:
- Skin infections (secondary to bacterial colonization)
- Contact allergies
- Xerosis (dry skin)
- Sensitive skin
- Frequent hot water baths
- Rough fabrics
- Certain medications, such as antivirals or interferons
- Using regular gold components
- Personal or family history of atopic dermatitis, allergies, or asthma
- Minor skin injuries including an insect bite or a burn
- Dry, cold climate
How serious is nummular eczema?
Nummular eczema can be treated with over-the-counter drugs and home remedies. If your eczema worsens, however, you may need to seek medical attention. If the skin cannot be handled with over-the-counter lotions or it is widespread, itchy, and painful, you should consult a board-certified dermatologist.
To avoid additional infection, begin therapy as soon as possible. Finding a treatment plan that works for you may take time. While nummular dermatitis seldom goes away on its own, appropriate treatment can help prevent flares and minimize existing symptoms.
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"Eczema Types: Nummular Eczema Diagnosis and Treatment." American Academy of Dermatology. Mar. 15, 2021. <https://www.aad.org/public/diseases/eczema/types/nummular-dermatitis/treatment>.
"Nummular Eczema." AOCD. <https://www.aocd.org/page/NummularEczema>.
"Nummular Eczema." National Eczema Association. <https://nationaleczema.org/eczema/types-of-eczema/nummular-eczema/>.
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