What is nummular eczema?
Nummular, or discoid, eczema is a type of atopic dermatitis which develops in characteristic circular patterns on the skin. It tends to start as small bumps, spots, or blisters; these bumps grow outwards, with the outer edge being the most inflamed (the centre of the circular lesion can clear up completely as the patches expand). Nummular eczema can be intensely itchy, inflamed, sore and dry. As the flare progresses, skin can crack, weep or crust.
What causes nummular eczema?
Like other kinds of eczema, the root cause of nummular eczema can be hard to establish. It’s usually a combination of factors that triggers an episode; often it takes two or three different risk factors to be present at once to tip the skin into a flare-up.
Risk factors/triggers for Nummular Eczema include:
- Dry environments
- Cold weather
- Contact with irritants (metals, soaps, detergents, perfume, chemicals, some fabrics etc)
- Being prone to dry skin
- Minor injury or trauma to the skin, including surgery, burns, insect bites
- Some medications
- Having poor circulation in the lower legs
Will nummular eczema go away?
That’s a bit of a complicated question! It is certainly true that flare-ups of nummular eczema do eventually resolve themselves. This may take quite a while, and flares can come and go in rapid waves, but it’s likely that your patch of nummular eczema will go away eventually. How long it takes will depend on whether the initial trigger or risk factor is still present, and how effective your treatment regime is.
However, as a chronic condition, nummular eczema can’t be cured, only managed. So if you’ve had one flare up of the condition, you’re likely to have another, and it may be in exactly the same place as the original flare.
How to manage nummular eczema
The good news is that effective management strategies can reduce the frequency and the severity of flares.
Here’s some tips for helping get rid of nummular eczema:
- Catch it early: as soon as you notice those tell-tale initial bumps, go into action with the emollients!
- Moisturise even between flares: your eczema-prone skin needs extra care and attention, so keep it well hydrated. A rich oil-based balm like Skin Salvation can work very well to keep eczema-prone skin moisturised and protected.
- Identify your triggers and avoid them: check to see if your toiletries, household cleaners, clothes etc are affecting your skin.
- Protect your skin from damage: wear gloves and long trousers outside, when gardening etc., and do your best to avoid insect bites.
- Keep moving: even if your movement is limited, try to do some circulatory exercises to keep blood flow going in your feet and legs.
Discoid dermatitis can be a difficult condition to shift; in severe cases, the patches of irritated skin can last for months, if not years, and can get infected. If you can’t manage your flares of nummular eczema at home, if it doesn’t improve or gets worse, consult your doctor. Your treatment options could include a combination of the following: emollients, wet wraps, steroids, antihistamines, antibiotics, immunosuppressants, or UV phototherapy.
Balmonds Skin Salvation
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Bath & Body Oil
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Balmonds Daily Moisturising Cream
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If you require medical advice we recommend you always contact your healthcare professional.
If you or someone you are caring for seems very unwell, is getting worse or you think there's something seriously wrong, call for emergency services straight away. For general medical advice, please contact your healthcare professional, this article does not contain or replace medical advice.
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