What Causes Nummular Eczema? Its Symptoms And How To Treat It?

Nummular eczema is a form of dermatitis characterized by coin shaped, round or oval itching lesions on the body. It is associated with dry skin. It is a chronic and recurrent condition. It is not contagious. Usually elderly people of age group sixty to seventy years are affected with this ailment. Males are prone to develop nummular dermatitis. It is also called as discoid eczema. Two people out of every thousand are affected with nummular dermatitis.

Causes and risk factors for nummular eczema include:

  • Person having family or personal history of allergy, asthma and atopic dermatitis are more prone to develop nummular eczema.
  • Dry skin is the most important contributing factor for nummular eczema.
  • Temperature changes can aggravate the existing nummular dermatitis.
  • Caffeine consumption may aggravate the condition.
  • Sometimes an attack of nummular dermatitis is preceded by some injury such as insect bite, abrasion or contact with any metal or chemical.
  • Treatment taken for hepatitis C or exposure to mercury may lead to development of nummular dermatitis.

Signs And Symptoms Of Nummular Eczema

Round or oval erythematous plaques are found on extremities. It may also appear on trunk. Usually face is not affected. First lesion appears as papules. Many papules coalesce to form plaque. After few days plaque becomes dry and scaly. Then it flattens to macules with brown hyper-pigmentation which may lighten gradually. Sometimes vesicles with exudate may be seen in earlier stages.

  • It is associated with severe itching.
  • Discomfort and insomnia may be present due to persistent itch. Itching is worse at night.
  • Affected skin looks red, inflamed, scaly and dry.
  • Secondary infection may set in. Especially when the eruptions are vesicular, staphylococci may grow in it and cause secondary infection.
  • Nummular dermatitis is aggravated during winter season due to cold, dry climate.
  • New lesions usually occur at the same location as that of old ones.
  • Lesions usually take long time to heal especially lesions that occur on lower extremities.

Diagnosis: Your dermatologist will diagnose the condition on the basis of visual inspection and history. He may advise skin biopsy to rule out other conditions.

How To Treat Nummular Eczema Naturally?

Consult your dermatologist for the treatment of nummular dermatitis. Usually it is treated with local application of steroid ointments. Oral steroid may be given if necessary. Oral antibiotics are given to combat secondary infection.

  • Important step in treatment is re-hydration of the skin. Apply moisturizer generously to the skin immediately after taking bath.
  • Drink plenty of water to remain well hydrated.
  • Take bath with lukewarm or cold water to reduce itching. Avoid hot water bath.
  • Wet wrap treatment is useful to hydrate the skin. Keep the wrap at least for ten minutes.
  • Photo therapy may be helpful in severe cases.
  • Rest in cool and moist environment.
  • Avoid places or activities that may irritate the lesion or cause dryness of the skin.
  • If there is heater or air conditioner in the room, air humidifier may prove helpful.
  • Application of vitamin E on nummular patches reduces the itching and dryness.
  • Take multivitamin and multimineral tablet after consulting your doctor. Vitamin B complex and zinc are useful for healthy skin.
  • Use mild soap.
  • Wear loose clothes made of cotton.

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