In dermatology, more than half of skin conditions are classified as eczema. The word Eczema is derived from Greek word, and it means ‘boil out’. The peculiar clinical manifestation of eczema is red skin rash, itching, scratching, blister formation etc. Eczema is categorized in several forms such as atopic eczema, contact dermatitis etc. One such form is nummular eczema.
People suffering from nummular eczema have distinct circular coin shaped (nummular) skin lesions on their skin surface. The lesions of nummular eczema are primarily seen on the back of hand, fingers, forearms, arms, legs and on the thighs.They appear on both sides of the body, and are symmetrical. The skin condition is chronic and recurrent.
Aged males are at greater risk of developing this skin condition. The exact cause of nummular eczema is not known, but stress, allergy to food and drug and skin injury is held responsible. The primary focus of treatment is to alleviate itching, inflammation and to heal the skin rash.
Causes Of Nummular Eczema
The exact cause is not definitely established. However, researchers believe certain factors play an important role in development of nummular eczema.
- Men above the age of 50 are at greater risk. Nummular eczema is more common in men than women. The condition is rarely observed in children.
- People who have family history of asthma, allergies and atopic dermatitis are susceptible to this condition.
- Skin sensitivity to certain metals and chemicals such as mercury, nickel, formaldehyde, and neomycin.
- Allergy to certain food and drugs.
- The risk increases in people who have other forms of eczema such as atopic eczema, stasis eczema etc.
- Skin injury due to an insect bite, burn or an abrasion.
- Low humid climate and dry chilly weather.
- Psychogenic stress
Signs And Symptoms Of Nummular Eczema
In the beginning, you may see red tiny spots that may merge to form coin shaped lesions. Many times these lesions may ooze. These are the characteristics from which the doctor is able to recognize the lesion to be nummular eczema.
- Coin or oval shaped patches seen on back of fingers, hands, legs, and forearms and thighs.
- The lesions may ooze and later on crust develops on them.
- The lesions can be red or pink or brown.
- Nummular eczema is bilateral and symmetrical.
- The plaques (round lesions) may enlarge slowly with a tendency to clear at the centre. For this reason they may be confused with ringworm skin infection.
- Itching and burning are common. Itching is worse at night.
- If there is secondary infection, a yellow crust may form on the spots.
- Face and scalp are spared.
Home Remedies For Nummular Eczema
It is obvious for the patient to become anxious and tensed on seeing coin shaped spots on his hands and various other sites. Considering the chronic nature of the disease it is important to reassure the patient. Providing certain tips may help the patient in long way.
- Patients should recognize and avoid the triggering causes. For example they should not consume certain foods (dairy, peanuts etc) that are known to cause allergy. Avoid wearing too tight clothes. They should avoid wearing rough clothes that adhere to the skin.
- Hydrate your skin properly. After taking bath, apply a moisturizer cream. Even oil like coconut oil or olive oil is handy and good natural moisturizer. It will alleviate itching.
- Sleep in a cool moist room. Use a humidifier if required.
- Rubbing flax seed oil is also found to be beneficial in treating nummular eczema. Rub it two to three times in a day.
- Apply vitamin E oil on the lesions. Crush a vitamin E caplet, take out the oil and mix it with coconut oil and apply it on the lesions.
- Application of aloe vera gel on the lesions calms itching and reduces inflammation.
- Avoid activities that make your skin hot and dry. For example avoid taking hot bath or sit next to fireplace or remain in sun for too long. All these factors may cause flare-ups.
In a nutshell, nummular eczema can be treated by correcting the known etiology, alleviating inflammation and itching with home remedies. The disease can be completely treated. In some patients the lesions may take short time to heal, while some patients may take more than a year.