Are there different types of eczema? This is the question that echoes in the minds of people that visit us when we discuss how serious eczema could be as an illness.
Of course yes, there are about seven different types of eczema.
Eczema can be classified according to the causes, areas affected, symptoms, etc.
However, eczema is usually classified according to its causes.
Based on this fact, we can say there are just four main types of eczema that have different triggers.
What are the Different Types of Eczema?
As I said, there are four different types of eczema according to its causes but could be seven when categorized according to its effects.
The most common types of eczemas are the following
- Allergic Contact Dermatitis
- Toxic Contact Dermatitis
- Atopic Eczema (Neurodermatitis)
- Seborrhoeic Eczema
There are also other different types of eczema but they don’t occur frequently as the above-mentioned types.
Allergic Contact Eczema
Allergic contact eczema is a common type of eczema in clinics, and it’s also one of the most common skin diseases in the US.
This type of dermatitis is caused by an allergic reaction of the skin when it’s in contact with certain materials or substances that are regarded as allergens, for example, jewelry, cleaning agents, or cosmetic products.
Once the allergy has reacted on the skin, it causes eczema relatively quickly, usually within one to three days.
The first symptom of allergic contact eczema is the reddening of the skin, thereafter, itchy blisters occur, and it can burst and later form crusts.
Allergic contact eczema or allergic contact dermatitis is not that serious as you can get healed naturally within one week if you avoid the allergens that caused it in the first place.
If otherwise, you can develop serious symptoms as the reddening and blisters can extend beyond the area of skin where the allergen has first taken effect.
If the allergic substance or item in question continues to be in contact with your skin, allergic contact eczema becomes chronic, hence it’s called chronic contact dermatitis.
Then, the skin is constantly reddened, the skin layer becomes coarser and calluses and cracks appear.
Allergic contact dermatitis can affect both babies and adults, on their hands or other parts of the body that’s in contact with the allergens.
Toxic Contact Eczema
Toxic contact eczema is caused by harmful effects on the skin without causing an allergic reaction.
Toxic contact eczema is commonly known as irritant contact eczema or irritant contact dermatitis as it only causes irritation of the skin.
The triggers of this type of skin disease can be the regular use of soaps, alkalis, oils, acids, or water.
In fact, there’s now shoe contact dermatitis as many people experience itching for wearing some types of shoes without socks for a long period.
Repeated stimuli such as heat, cold, or friction can also damage the skin in the long term and thus cause eczema.
In contrast to allergic contact eczema, the inflammation is clearly limited to the area where the harmful influence occurs.
The irritant contact eczema is very common, just like allergic contact eczema.
Also, it can affect both children and adults.
However, irritant contact dermatitis is pertinent to some profession or works that deal with the regular use of certain materials or substances.
For example, if a person deals with watching or cleaning, there’s a tendency of having irritant contact eczema later.
Types of Irritant Contact Dermatitis
Dermatologists have clearly differentiated the two forms of irritant or toxic contact dermatitis.
These are acute toxic eczema and chronic toxic contact eczema.
In the acute form, toxic substances, heat, or strong sunlight damage the tissue significantly.
The skin is severely reddened, blisters, crusts, and sore spots form.
Chronic toxic contact dermatitis, on the other hand, is caused by low but long-lasting harmful effects.
In the chronic form, the skin scales becomes cracked and the skin structure coarsens.
The irritant toxic contact eczema is very common.
It often occurs during household work or in certain professions where harmful substances repeatedly affect the skin.
Atopic Eczema (Neurodermatitis)
Atopic eczema is another common type of dermatitis. It’s also a chronic skin disease since more than 10% of the people in the US are affected at one time or the other.
Atopic eczema is also a type of eczema that is common in babies and children.
It can affect the victim for a longer period when compared with other types.
Also, it can show little to no symptoms, making many victims not to be aware of it.
In the acute phases of atopic eczema, the skin is inflamed, itches severely, and reddened, sometimes secreting fluids.
Other times, the affected areas of the skin develop blisters, and nodules may appear, causing scales on the skin.
Many affected persons have an increased risk of developing skin disease due to genetic characteristics.
In general, the skin becomes very dry. As a result of this, allergenic substances and pathogens can penetrate more easily and inflammations develop quickly.
Finally, the immune system produces an increased amount of certain antibodies, which contributes to an allergic inflammatory reaction.
Neurodermatitis usually begins early in life – Over 75 percent of those affected fall ill in the first two years of life.
However, the symptoms can appear for the first time at any age.
Seborrhoeic eczema occurs frequently in both babies and adults.
Findings have shown that Seborrheic eczema affects men more often than women.
This type of eczema occurs mainly on the scalp and faces, in areas of the skin with many sebaceous glands.
For example, on the eyebrows, and around the eyes, on the eyelid, and in the area between the nose and mouth.
However, other parts of the body can also be affected, especially in the middle of the chest and back, the armpits, and skin folds.
Some Dermatologists opined that sensitivity to certain yeast fungi on the skin contributes to the development of eczema.
The affected areas are reddened, yellowish, and greasy scales form.
In babies, the scales appear on the scalp, hairline, or face in the first weeks of life.
The symptoms usually disappear naturally after some time.
In adults, the affected areas are reddened, with defined plaques with yellowish scales on the hairy scalp, at the hairline, on the face, and behind the ears.
In rare cases, the whole body can be affected.
To reduce the colonization with yeast fungi, your doctor can recommend using active substances that kill the fungi (antimycotics).
They can be used as creams or – in the case of the scalp – as shampoos.
These substances contain for example ketoconazole, selenium sulfide, or zinc pyrithione.
If the skin is very inflamed, a cream containing cortisone may be useful for a short period of time.
For skincare, soaps and shampoos with a neutral or slightly acidic pH value should be used.
As seborrhoeic eczema worsens under stress, it is important to learn how to deal with stress appropriately.