Types of eczema


Different Types of Eczema (Dermatitis)

If you’ve been suffering from dry, itchy, and irritated skin, you could have Eczema, also referred to as Dermatitis. While eczema commonly affects young children, it can also be triggered later in life, appearing in adults in their 30s to 50s. The different kinds of eczema are:

  • Atopic Dermatitis (most common)
  • Contact Dermatitis
  • Dyshidrotic Eczema
  • Discoid Eczema (also known as Nummular Eczema)
  • Seborrheic Dermatitis (commonly called “Cradle Cap” in babies)
  • Juvenile Plantar Dermatosis (commonly called Sweaty Sock Syndrome)
  • Varicose Eczema (also known as Venous, Gravitational, or Stasis Eczema)
  • Asteatotic Eczema

Do I Have Eczema? | Identifying Eczema

There are many different types of eczema, and symptoms can present at varying levels of severity. Generally, eczema symptoms include:

  • Intensely itchy skin
  • Skin flaking off, leaving a scaly or rough-textured appearance to the skin surface
  • Blotchy or red appearance of the skin
  • Bleeding skin
  • Blisters that ooze fluid or form crusts
  • Cracked skin

If you or your child has eczema, it is extremely important to learn how to properly manage and prevent the uncomfortable and sometimes painful symptoms. The first step is to determine which type of eczema you have.

Atopic Dermatitis

Atopic Dermatitis is the most common form of eczema and typically appears within the first six months of life. Normally, the condition goes away or becomes milder with time, but it is a chronic condition and may reappear as “flare-ups” throughout your life.

Typical symptoms of atopic dermatitis are:

  • Rashes along the scalp or cheeks (in babies)
  • Rashes in the creases of elbows and knees or in the face, neck, and wrists
  • Crusted or oozing sores
  • A family history of atopic dermatitis, hay fever, or asthma

Contact Dermatitis

Contact Dermatitis occurs when you come into contact with something that irritates your skin. If you suffer from allergies, you may be more likely to experience this throughout your life. Contact dermatitis usually presents itself as rashes of red, burning, or swelling skin that may blister and ooze. Some common irritants and allergens that may induce contact dermatitis include:

  • Soaps, fragrances, and synthetic ingredients in skincare products or detergents
  • Chemicals, solvents, paints
  • Allergens to animals, pollens, plants, or other materials
  • Tobacco smoke
  • Certain medications
  • Wool or other “itchy” materials

Dyshidrotic Eczema

Dyshidrotic Eczema typically occurs on your hands and feet and is most common in young adults equally affecting both men and women.  If you or your family has a medical history of hay fever, atopic dermatitis, or fungal skin infections, this may also increase your chances of experiencing dyshidrotic eczema.

Symptoms of dyshidrotic eczema are blisters along the hands and feet that can become enlarged, fluid-filled, oozing, and painful. Once the blisters clear, the skin typically becomes dry and cracked. Exposure to nickel, cobalt, and chromium salts are believed to trigger an episode of dyshidrotic eczema. Stress, allergies, and consistently damp hands and feet can also lead to an outbreak.

Discoid Eczema

Discoid Eczema, also known as Nummular Eczema or Nummular Dermatitis, is more typical in adults but can occur at any age. Discoid Eczema looks very different from other types of dermatitis, presenting itself as extremely itchy coin-shaped spots along the skin that may develop into dry, flaky patches of skin.

Exact causes are unknown, but common triggers of nummular eczema include:

  • Insect bites
  • Overexposed, dry skin
  • Skin infections or injuries (such as burns)
  • Medications
  • Sensitives to particular materials

Seborrheic Dermatitis

Seborrheic Dermatitis, also known as Dandruff or “Cradle Cap” in babies, is a chronic form of eczema that can occur at any time throughout a person’s life. It typically appears as greasy, swollen, and irritated skin, or as a thick, yellow-crusted patch that is difficult to remove. Seborrheic dermatitis can occur anywhere on the body but is most common in areas that produce a lot of natural oil, such as the scalp, upper back, and nose.

The exact cause is unknown, though researchers believe there is a link between overproduction of Malassezia Yeast and the dry, flaky symptoms of Seborrheic Dermatitis. (perhaps make a link here  to the graphic I made about pathophysiology of seb derm –and photo can be stored under photos? The same goes for the last dandruff article where we talk about malasseszia’s role in dandruff)  Most products for eczema symptoms include ingredients that specifically target this yeast. However, it is important to know that many eczema shampoos contain additional ingredients that may be harmful to your child. It’s important to find a kids eczema shampoo when fighting the symptoms of “cradle cap.”

Juvenile Plantar Dermatosis

Juvenile Plantar Dermatosis is commonly called Sweaty Sock Syndrome because it is believed to be caused by a loss of moisture and can worsen with excessive sweating and tight, non-breathable footwear. Toddlers and school-aged children are the most likely group to suffer from juvenile plantar dermatosis and usually experience redness, rashes, or scaly and cracked skin along the toes and soles of the feet. Treatments usually involve applying corticosteroids and thick emollients and wearing cotton socks to lock in the moisture.

Varicose Eczema

Varicose Eczema, also known as Venous, Gravitational, or Stasis Eczema is common in older, less active adults who also suffer from varicose veins. The first signs of varicose eczema may appear as small red-brown spots that appear in areas that are affected by weakened veins walls and slow blood flow. The spots can feel hot and itchy and may sometimes blister, become dry and flaky, and begin to “weep” or ooze.

Asteatotic Eczema

Asteatotic Eczema usually occurs in adults over the age of 60 and is believed to be due to progressively drier skin. Patients with asteatotic eczema usually experience dry, scaling, itchy, and sore skin that may create pink or red cracks along the skin. As with other types of dermatitis, the cause is unknown. However, exposure to dry or cold weather, hot baths, irritable soaps and detergents, and other factors seem to encourage an outbreak of asteatotic eczema.

Treating types of eczema

The best way to treat various types of eczema is by consulting with your doctor to determine which type you or your child has and investigating what irritants may cause an outbreak. Using a specially-designed body wash for soothing eczema symptoms can also help to ease and control an outbreak. Unfortunately, many eczema products often contain other ingredients that can further irritate skin, especially in children, stripping natural oils and potentially causing further issues.

Dr. Eddie’s products for eczema symptoms are specially formulated for children of all ages. Happy Cappy Daily Shampoo & Body Wash is designed to soothe dry, itchy, and irritated skin associated with eczema. It is dermatologist-tested, fragrance-free, dye-free, sulfate-free, and complies with the pediatric dermatologist recommendations for eczema. Happy Cappy Medicated Shampoo helps fight the symptoms of Seborrheic Dermatitis, and includes the active ingredient Pyrithione Zinc, which has been proven to be highly effective in eliminating the flaking, and itching associated with dandruff.


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Dr. Eddie Valenzuela is an award winning pediatrician and the founder and CEO of Pediatric Solutions, LLC.

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What is the most common type of eczema in babies?

The most common type of eczema in babies is atopic dermatitis, which usually affects them in the first year of their life.

Where is eczema most common in babies?

Eczema usually appears on the cheeks, outside and inside of the elbows and knees, and the diaper area. But it can also appear on their hands, feet, and legs.

Can my baby have more than one type of eczema at the same time?

Yes, it is possible for babies and adults as well that they develop two different types of eczema at the same time on their bodies.

Can eczema be mistaken for another disease?

Yes, eczema can be mistaken for common skin conditions such as baby acne, ringworm, psoriasis, and skin infections.

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