The Different Types of Eczema and How to Treat Them

Eczema is a “catch all” diagnosis for conditions that cause red, inflamed skin that itches. We don’t know the exact cause, but a combination of genetic and environmental triggers are involved.

There are 7 different types of eczema:                                                          

Atopic dermatitis

Atopic dermatitis usually starts in childhood and can be persistent. You may need to try various treatments over months or years to control it. And even if treatment is successful, signs and symptoms may return (flare). It’s important to recognize the condition early so that you can start treatment. If regular moisturizing and other self-care steps don’t help, your doctor may suggest one or more of the following treatments: anti-itch cream, antibiotics, and/or oral corticosteroid. For severe cases, there is a biologic medicine called Dupixent that can help.

Contact dermatitis

Contact dermatitis is a red, itchy rash caused by direct contact with a substance or an allergic reaction to it. The rash isn’t contagious or life-threatening, but it can be very uncomfortable.

Many substances can cause such reactions, including soaps, cosmetics, fragrances, jewelry and plants. To treat contact dermatitis successfully, you need to identify and avoid the cause of your reaction. If you can avoid the offending substance, the rash usually clears up in two to four weeks. You can try soothing your skin with cool, wet compresses, anti-itch creams and other self-care steps.


Neurodermatitis is a skin condition characterized by chronic itching or scaling. You’ll notice raised, rough, itchy areas of skin — typically on the neck, wrists, forearms, legs or anal region. Neurodermatitis is a skin condition that starts with an itchy patch of skin. Scratching makes it even itchier. Treatment is aimed at controlling the itching, preventing scratching and addressing underlying causes in the following ways:

  • Anti-itch medicated creams. If over-the-counter corticosteroid cream isn’t helping, your doctor may prescribe a stronger corticosteroid or a nonsteroidal anti-itch product.
  • Corticosteroid injections. Your doctor may inject corticosteroids directly into the affected skin to help it heal.
  • Medicine to ease itching. Prescription antihistamines help relieve itching in many people with neurodermatitis.
  • Anti-anxiety drugs. Because anxiety and stress can trigger neurodermatitis, anti-anxiety drugs may help prevent the itchiness.
  • Medicated patches. For stubborn itching, your doctor may suggest topical lidocaine 5 percent or capsaicin 8 percent patches.
  • Light therapy. Exposing the affected skin to particular types of light is sometimes helpful.

Dyshidrotic eczema

Dyshidrosis is a skin condition that causes small, fluid-filled blisters to form on the palms of the hands and sides of the fingers. Sometimes the bottoms of the feet are affected too.

The blisters that occur in dyshidrosis generally last around three weeks and cause intense itching.

Once the blisters of dyshidrosis dry, your skin may appear scaly. The blisters typically recur, sometimes before your skin heals completely from the previous blisters.

Treatment for dyshidrosis most often includes creams or ointments that you rub on the affected skin. In severe cases, your doctor may suggest corticosteroid pills, such as prednisone, or injections.

Nummular eczema

Nummular eczematous dermatitis (nummular eczema or nummular dermatitis) is a name given to a stubborn, itchy rash that forms coin-shaped patches on the skin (nummular means coin in Latin).

The lesions as they get older may clear in the center or become scaly and then resemble fungus (ring worm) or psoriasis.

The following can help relieve your eczema:

  • using moist bandages to cover and protect the affected areas
  • taking antihistamines to relieve itching and discomfort
  • applying medicated lotions or skin ointments, such as corticosteroids
  • getting ultraviolet light treatment for severe itching
  • hydrating skin with a non-scented moisturizer after showering

Seborrheic dermatitis

A skin condition that causes scaly patches and red skin, mainly on the scalp.

It can also occur on oily areas of the body, such as the face, upper chest, and back.

In addition to scaly patches and red skin, seborrheic dermatitis can cause stubborn dandruff.

Treatment involves self-care and medicated shampoos, creams, and lotions. Repeated treatments may be necessary.

Stasis dermatitis

Stasis dermatitis is inflammation, typically of the skin of the lower legs, caused by chronic edema.

Symptoms are itching, scaling, and hyperpigmentation. Ulceration can be a complication. Diagnosis is clinical. Treatments may include compression stockings and prescription creams as well as treating the underlying condition. Treatment is directed at the causes of edema and preventing ulceration.

It’s possible to have more than one type of eczema at the same time. Each has its own triggers and treatments. If you might have eczema, consult with a board certified dermatologist. They will be able to pinpoint your diagnosis and help you treat and prevent flares.

If you think you have eczema, give our office a call at 954-666-3736 to book your appointment with Dr. Mikhail, and start receiving your treatment!