7 Subtypes of Eczema Atopic Dermatitis to Stasis Dermatitis
About 10% of children are diagnosed with eczema. It can often begin during childhood or the teenage years. However it’s complicating and can occur in adults as well.
Eczema affects all races. For example more African-American children and European-American children in the United States have been diagnosed.
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What is Eczema?
Eczema is a group of inflammatory skin conditions causing very dry and irritated areas. It is very common and not contagious. Therefore some types can be inherited.
In general it can be caused by an overreaction of the immune system. In addition there are environmental triggers.
I have been reading a couple books dealing with the gut-skin axis. You can recall this connection that all disease starts with poor gut health. Above all THE GOOD SKIN SOLUTION suggests eczema is the start of an allergic disease.
On the other hand it goes on to explain what is called the allergic march involving food allergies.
Most importantly knowing which type you or your child has is important in treating the condition.
7 Subtypes of Eczema
Eczema is an advanced, more severe form of dermatitis (inflammation). It is broken down into several subtypes. However there is the possibility to have more than one type at the same time. So let’s look at the differences.
Other names: Atopic Eczema
Atopic dermatitis is the most common form of eczema and is used interchangeably. Though your atopic dermatitis may be small dry patches of skin others may have more severe symptoms covering their entire body. Further inflamed areas appear red on light skin.
Darker skin presents areas difficult to see. That is to say patches can appear darker brown, purple or grey.
The common type usually occurs in childhood before the first birthday. In children the symptoms usually involve the inner crease of knees and elbows. On the other hand it has been known to clear up completely for some children as they get older. However it can develop for the first time with adults.
Atopic Dermatitis Symptoms:
- Itchy skin
- Dry skin
- Cracked skin
- Sore skin
- Inflamed skin
- Scaly skin
This kind can be seen on any location of the body. However more common on:
- Elbows on inside
- Behind the knees
Atopic Dermatitis Triggers
The exact cause is unknown but it seems to worsen with multiple factors.
- Allergies (food especially in kids)
- Hay fever
Like the name implies it has to do with coming into contact with a substance that makes your skin react. This makes it localized. For instance this is broken down further:
Allergic contact dermatitis triggered by an irritant like latex or metal.
Irritant contact dermatitis triggered from a chemical or other substance.
Contact Dermatitis Symptoms
- Your skin itches, becomes red, burns and stings
- Hives can appear
- Blisters that are fluid-filled can ooze and crust over
- Skin can thicken and feel scaly or leathery with time
Contact Dermatitis Triggers
The most common triggers include:
- Cobalt or chromium salt
- Poison ivy and other poisonous plants
- Skincare products such as makeup
- Soaps and perfumes
- Tobacco smoke
Other names: Pompholyx, Dyshidrotic Dermatitis
Dyshidrotic eczema occurs with small blisters forming on your hands and feet. This type tends to run in families. To sum up it typically affects women more than men.
Dyshidrotic Eczema Symptoms
- Fluid filled blisters on your fingers, toes, palms and soles of your feet
- Blisters can itch or be painful
- Your skin can scale, crack and flake
Dyshidrotic Eczema Triggers
- Seasonal allergies
- Damp hands and feet
- Excessive sweating (hyperhidrosis)
There is also a condition known as Hand eczema which only affects the hands. Typically it is connected to a certain type of job. Above all these positions expose you to chemicals that irritate your skin.
Hand Eczema Symptoms
- Hands are red, itchy, as well as dry
- Cracks or blisters on hands
Hand Eczema Triggers
Most importantly is the contact with chemicals. You are more likely to get this type if your work exposes you to irritants.
- Laundry or dry cleaning
Other names: Lichen Simplex Chronicus
Neurodermatitis is somewhat like atopic dermatitis. It presents thick, scaly patches popping up on your skin. Furthermore a skin irritation develops from having a habit of scratching.
Thick, scaly patches develop on:
- Behind your neck
- Soles of feet
- Top of your hands
If neurodermatitis affects the scalp it can cause pain and hair loss. Scratching these patches can cause bleeding and an infection. Most importantly when you’re relaxed or asleep these patches can be extremely itchy.
Usually occurs in those who already have a type of eczema or psoriasis. The exact cause is unknown. Thus it is suggested that stress can trigger neurodermatitis.
Other names: Nummular Dermatitis, Discoid Eczema
Nummular eczema takes its name from the round, coined-shaped spots that appear. In Latin “nummular” means coin. That is to say a glance is quite different compared to other kinds of eczema and can be especially itchy.
It is not widespread but confined to one or two locations. Nummular eczema is common in adults 30-50 years old. But more in women and those with contact dermatitis and atopic dermatitis.
Nummular Eczema Symptoms
Nummular Eczema Symptoms
- Round, coin-shaped areas found on your skin
- The areas can be itchy or form scales
So NE can resemble:
- Fungal infections
- Atopic dermatitis
- Stasis dermatitis
- Contact dermatitis
Nummular Eczema Triggers
According to the National Eczema Organization Nummular Eczema can be triggered by:
- Tight clothing especially wool or synthetic fabrics
- Nerve injury
- Dry skin
- A reaction due to a bug bite
In addition I came across these:
- Allergic reaction to metals
- Triggered by chemicals
- Skin trauma
- General inflammation
- Linked to interferon and ribavirin therapy
Other names: Cradle Cap (infants), Seborrheic Eczema
Infants can have seborrheic dermatitis which usually goes away by two years of age. It appears on the scalp (cradle cap) or especially the baby’s cheeks and chin area.
Seborrheic Dermatitis is more common in children and adults 30-60 years old. With adults and teens it is more common in males.
This kind has an itchy, scaly rash that appears in body areas that contain oil producing glands. Locations like the upper back, nose and scalp. More importantly there is a connection to excess malassezia yeast.
Seborrheic Dermatitis Symptoms
- Red patches or scales
- Itchy to burning sensation
Scratching can lead to an infection which is common with this condition.
Other names: Gravitational Dermatitis, Venous Eczema, Venous Stasis Dermatitis
Stasis dermatitis develops when fluid from weakened veins leaks out into your skin. So typically occurs in people over 50 with poor circulation such as ankle swelling. Further this fluid delivers redness, itching and pain.
Stasis Dermatitis Symptoms
- The lower area of your legs can swell, especially after you’ve been walking during your day
- Your legs can be achy or feel heavy
- Likely you’ll also have varicose veins that are thick, ropey damaged veins in your legs
- The skin above those varicose veins can feel dry and itchy
- Open sores can occur on your lower leg and the tops of your feet
Stasis Dermatitis Triggers
Those with blood flow problems, common among elderly, in their lower legs can develop stasis dermatitis. Because valves that usually push blood up through the legs going to your heart malfunctions, blood can pool here. In conclusion your legs swell and can cause varicose veins.
The Differences with the Eczema Types
All eczema can involve itchy skin (pruritus). The most unique type might be seborrheic dermatitis because of its connection to yeast present on your skin. In addition contact dermatitis can involve only one trigger and skin improves when this is removed. But the other types of eczema involve various potential triggers.
Truth be told for many you can experience multiple types of eczema at once. You can also experience all the eczema types at different periods during your lifetime. Thus with contact dermatitis and atopic dermatitis a patch test is important.
Diagnosing eczema often requires a lab test or imaging. See your dermatologist to be examined. An allergy test may be done to see if allergies are causing symptoms. Moreover some cases a skin biopsy may be suggested.
Wrapping it up
Eczema is an inflammatory condition. Dry itchy skin is the result. Above all there are 7 subtypes overlapping but different.
Atopic dermatitis is the most common and a term used for all eczema. Hand eczema involved certain occupations. Above all you can have multiple types at once.
Triggers can cause flare-ups. Being aware of these and avoiding them can improve your skin. Certainly remember to moisturize skin regularly. Most importantly your dermatologist will diagnose your eczema and assist with a treatment plan.
Get involved: occasionally there may be clinical trials available check in your area.
Mary is the founder of All About Our Skin. Former esthetician and CPC. Enjoys researching skincare and has been studying our skin for the past fifteen years.