Nummular eczema is a skin disorder marked by occurrence of itchy skin rashes. It gets the name from the Latin word, ‘nummus’ meaning a coin, and is so named due to the rounded coin-like appearance of the skin rashes. The condition is also called discoid dermatitis.
The skin rashes associated with nummular eczema can appear all over the body, but the arms, legs, and buttocks are most vulnerable. It is a non-contagious ailment and does not spread via direct or indirect contact with a patient. Nummular eczema is a persistent condition; patients may suffer from regular flare-ups interspersed with periods of remission.
Nummular eczema can affect the young as well as the old and both genders. Older people are however more prone to developing this skin problem. The symptoms tend to worsen and become more noticeable during the winter months. Affected people are also more susceptible to developing other forms of dermatitis and eczema.Skin care and medications can help alleviate the abnormal symptoms of nummular eczema.
People with nummular eczema may elicit the below listed common signs and symptoms:
- The abnormal rashes of nummular eczema are oval or circular in shape. They have a distinctive and clear border. The size of the irregular skin patches varies; it may measure just 2 mm diametrically, or be as large as a nickel.
- The rashes may consist of cracked sections of skin, blisters,dryness, and a somewhat bumpy-raised texture.
- Nummular eczema skin rashes may feature brown, pink, or reddish hues.
- The rashes often result in mild to severe itchiness. However, patients may not experience any elevated levels of discomfort. The skin around the rashes are healthy. They may sometimes become irritated and/or dry.
- After some time, nummular eczema skin rashes tend to form into a peculiar ring-like design, similar to the bulls-eye rashes of ‘ringworm.’ These skin anomalies typically feature a healthy, unaffected section of skin bang in the middle of the rash. The lesions may also eventually ooze fluids.
- Any part of the body can develop the lesions of nummular eczema. The lower limbs are however more prone to developing the rashes. The condition is persistent; the rashes may stay-put for many weeks to even many months.
- In severe cases of nummular eczema, the rashes tend to spread all across the body. Patients may suffer from many small and large abnormal skin rashes throughout the body.
- Nummular eczema does not cause any scar marks after it has completely healed. The affected skin areas may however elicit minor pigmentation; it may be a tad bit lighter or darker than nearby skin.
Causes of nummular eczema
- The exact cause of nummular eczema is currently not known. However, it is known that the abnormal skin patches do not occur due to the underlying presence of hereditary disorders, infectious diseases, or as a part of an allergic reaction. It is also known that nummular eczema is not a contagious condition.
- The lesions of nummular eczema can occur in both dry and wet forms, wherein the latter discharges fluids.
- Any kind of skin infection, by bacteria or other germs, can cause adverse reactions in people with hypersensitive skin; such abnormal reaction may sometimes result in formation of nummular eczema lesions.
- The abnormal skin rashes may also form after the intake of certain medicines, especially isotretinoin.
- The skin often becomes dry during cold weather conditions. Such dry skin is at increased risk to developing dry, non-itchy, circular nummular eczema rashes.
- In varicosenummular eczema, the rashes affect the veins present in the legs.
- Bruises, cracks, insect bites, cuts, bee stings, and other such minor skin injuries can also induce the formation of nummular eczema lesions.
- Children suffering from atopic dermatitis are prone to developing nummular eczema.
A pre-existing case of nummular eczemacan deteriorate due to:
- Prolonged contact with soaps and detergents
- Drinking excess amounts of coffee or caffeinated beverages
- Occurrence of very dry skin
- Wearing tight woolen clothes
- Increased number of hot baths
- Intake of certain medications
- Nummular eczema rashes are also susceptible to secondary infections by bacteria and other pathogens.
Treatment of nummular eczema
Currently, no known cure is available for nummular eczema. Treatment is aimed at alleviating and managing the associated signs and symptoms as well as diagnosing any underlying causative factors and then eliminating/remedying them.
- Individuals prone to developing nummular eczema rashes should take steps to avoid the triggers at all times. Patients need to avoid everything that can aggravate an underlying case of nummular eczema.
- Ensure that the skin is kept moisturized at all times. This will minimize the discomfort and ugly appearance.
- Antihistamines can help find relief from itchiness.
- Severe irritation and pain can be alleviated with topical steroids.
- Scaling, itching, dryness of the skin, and burning sensations can be eased with emollients.
- Light therapy treatment for a week or more can help limit the adverse symptoms in some cases.
- Secondary infections of nummular eczema lesions by bacteria are treated with antibiotics.