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What you should know about discoid eczema?

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    What is discoid eczema?

    Nummular dermatitis

    Discoid eczema, also known as nummular or discoid dermatitis, is a long-term (chronic) skin condition that causes skin to become itchy, swollen and cracked in circular or oval patches.

    Without treatment, discoid eczema can last for weeks, months or even years. It may also keep coming back – often in the same area that was affected previously.

    Who gets discoid eczema?

    Discoid eczema is a skin condition that usually affects adults. It is more common among men aged from 50 to 70 and women in their teens or twenties.

    Some people with discoid eczema may also have other types of eczema, such as atopic eczema. Discoid eczema most commonly affects the scalp, face, and neck, but it can occur anywhere on the body. The patches are usually not itchy or painful, but they can be unsightly. There is no cure for discoid eczema, but treatment can help control the symptoms.

    Causes of discoid eczema

    The cause of discoid eczema is unknown, although it may happen as a result of having particularly dry skin.

    When your skin is very dry it cannot provide an effective barrier against substances that come into contact with it. This could allow a previously harmless substance, such as soap, to irritate your skin.

    It’s important to look carefully at all the chemicals in cosmetics and toiletries that may have come into contact with your skin. Contact dermatitis, a type of eczema caused by coming into contact with a particular irritant, may have a role in discoid eczema.

    Symptoms of discoid eczema

    Scaly and inflamed skin is one symptom of discoid eczema

    Discoid eczema causes distinctive circular or oval patches of eczema which can look like ringworm or fungal infection. It can affect any part of the body, although it does not usually affect the face or scalp.

    The first sign of discoid eczema is usually a group of small spots or bumps on the skin. These then quickly join up to form larger patches that can range from a few millimetres to several centimetres in size.

    On lighter skin these patches will be pink or red. On darker skin these patches can be a dark brown or they can be paler than the skin around them. Initially, these patches are often swollen, blistered (covered with small fluid-filled pockets) and ooze fluid. They also tend to be very itchy, particularly at night.

    Over time, the patches may become dry, crusty, cracked and flaky. The centre of the patch also sometimes clears, leaving a ring of discoloured skin that can be mistaken for ringworm.


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