What Is Eczema? - Meaning and Types of Eczema

by Heidi Ros June 30, 2019 4 min read

People with skin problems often try to find out what is eczema. It is a medical condition in which the skin of a person becomes inflamed, red and itchy. There are different eczema types. Some of these include atopic dermatitis, discoid eczema, varicose eczema, and others. Eczema is a very common skin condition. You might be thinking that what does eczema look like and what causes eczema.

What Does Eczema Look Like and How Does it Flare-Up?

The look of eczema varies from mild to severe. In the beginning, the skin becomes dry and sore. Gradually the patch of the skin becomes rough and itchy. When you scratch those itchy areas the patches on the skin turn out to be oozing, cracked and swelled.

Symptoms of Eczema

Commonly eczema is found in babies. The adults might be able to bear the pain to some extent, but it creates the worst situation for a child. It creates sleepless nights for the child and parents too. You might discover that your skin is becoming dry, sensitive or inflamed. The common symptoms of eczema are red or scaly patches on the skin, itching, blisters and sometimes swelling and oozing.

Causes of Eczema

Eczema makes the skin dry and red. It appears on the different parts of the body. Commonly it is observed at neck, face, wrists, back of the knees and other parts also. Eczema causes vary from person to person. Some of the top reasons include a weak immune system and genetic transmutation. The other factors that can contribute to eczema causes are the use of irritant soaps, fragrances, and household cleaning items. There are few fabrics like polyester and wool that can create irritation and rashes to the skin.

Different Types of Eczema

The most important fact of eczema is that it is non-contagious. There are several types of eczema. You can read on the different types of eczema that are explained below.

Atopic Dermatitis orAtopic Eczema

Atopic dermatitis is often known as atopic eczema. It is the form of eczema which is very common. The symptoms of this type of eczema tend to appear in childhood only. It has been observed that this condition gets milder and sometimes goes away by the time of adulthood.  Few doctors call it 'triad.' The meaning of triad is ‘three.’ It is observed that persons suffering from atopic dermatitis tend to have hay fever and asthma also.

Dyshidrotic Eczema

Another name for dyshidrotic eczema is pompholyx eczema. It occurs on the feet and hand of the adults. It is more common in the females than the males under the age of 40 years. It causes tiny blisters filled with fluid on fingers, palms, and toes. It can occur due to excessive stress, allergy or exposure to elements like nickel or cobalt.  

Varicose Eczema

Varicose eczema is also known as static eczema. It is found commonly in older adults. The veins of the adults become weak due to less activity and turn into varicose eczema. It has a more significant effect on the lower legs of adults.  

Asteatotic Eczema

Xerotic eczema is another name of asteatotic eczema. Generally, it affects the people who are above the age of 60 years. The symptoms include

  • Scaling
  • Light pink or red grooves
  • Dry and cracked skin
  • Soreness and itching

Asteatotic eczema might occur due to the allergen soaps, scrubbing excessively and sometimes due to cold and dry weather.

Discoid Eczema

InDiscoid Eczema different patches are formed on the skin that is red, itchy, cracked and swollen. The patches formed are in the shape of a disk. The causes of this eczema are not recognizable just like other types of eczema. However, the known risk factors are:

  • Insect bites
  • Skin injuries like burns or friction
  • Some medications
  • Any kind of bacterial infection of the skin

Discoid eczema is also known as nummular eczema. It can occur in the children and adults too.

Contact Dermatitis

If the skin reacts and turns itchy and red when you touch certain elements then you might be suffering from contact dermatitis. Commonly it is of two types- Allergic and Irritant.

Allergic:This type of contact dermatitis occurs when the immune system of an individual reacts to a particular element. The elements are known as allergens. It includes glues, fabric dyes, latex and metal like cobalt.

Irritant:This is a type of contact dermatitis which can occur due to repetitive exposure of the skin to a substance that causes irritation. The substance can be acid, harsh detergents, cement, etc.

Seborrheic Dermatitis

Seborrheic dermatitis is a type of eczema in which the skin becomes itchy, flaky and red. It usually develops on the oily areas of the skin like ears, scalp, eyelids, armpit, genitals and many more. It can affect the people of any age. Seborrheic dermatitis often occurs on the baby's scalp. It is also known as cradle cap. Usually, it disappears after some time.

Lots of people have questions like what causes eczema in babies, what causes eczema on hands and so forth. While many different aspects contribute to its occurrence, clarity on the different types of eczema help you know the disease and its causes better.