Discoid eczema

Discoid eczema

What is discoid eczema?

Eczema (also called dermatitis) is a term used to describe conditions where there is inflammation affecting mainly the outer layer of the skin (the epidermis). There are several different types of eczema, and in some cases the cause is known whilst in others it is not. Discoid eczema is one type of eczema with characteristic round or oval red patches of inflamed skin. Discoid eczema is sometimes also called “nummular” eczema – nummular meaning coin-shaped and discoid meaning disc-shaped.

Discoid eczema can occur at any age but is seen more frequently in adults. It is slightly more common in adult men than women.

What causes discoid eczema?

Often the cause of discoid eczema is unknown and is considered a distinctive type of eczema. However, similar appearances of round or oval red patches of skin can occur in other types of eczema, particularly atopic eczema. It can also occasionally be triggered by skin contact with irritants or allergens (contact dermatitis). In some people discoid eczema can be made worse by body washes, moisturisers or other materials coming to contact with the skin.

In some people discoid eczema may arise in old scars or areas where the skin has been damaged. Individuals with a type of eczema called irritant contact dermatitis of the hands may also develop discoid eczema elsewhere on the limbs or body.

Like other types of eczema, discoid eczema can be worsened by heat, sweating, scratching, local infection, and dryness of the skin.

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