What is discoid eczema?

Discoid eczema, also called nummular eczema or nummular dermatitis, is one of the less common forms of eczema and is characterized by coin-shaped lesions or sores on the skin. The circular shape of these lesions earns this type of eczema the name “discoid” eczema. Lesions typically begin on the lower legs, back surfaces of the hands and elbows. These sores are intensely itchy, tend to recur, and they can vary significantly in number and size. The condition more often affects middle-aged and older males.

While its exact cause is not known, discoid eczema has been linked to allergies. It is more common in adults than children. There is no cure for discoid eczema, but you have a variety of treatment options, and by following a physician-monitored plan of care, your symptoms can be controlled effectively, making the disease quite manageable.

While discoid eczema is uncomfortable, it is not usually serious unless excessive scratching and the resultant inflammation causes a secondary bacterial or fungal cellulitis (infection of the skin), which can be potentially serious for individuals with diabetes, human immunodeficiency virus/acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (HIV/AIDS), or those taking immune-suppressing drugs.

The irritation from discoid eczema can lead to a cycle of itching and scratching that can predispose you to infections of the skin. If untreated, these infections may eventually progress to cellulitis, which may rarely lead to serious, even life-threatening complications.

If cellulitis results from secondary infections, potentially serious complications can occur. Left untreated, cellulitis can lead to serious, even life-threatening complications. Seek immediate medical care (call 911) if you, or someone you are with, have serious symptoms, such as high fever (higher than 101 degrees Fahrenheit), blackened skin, confusion, lethargy, loss of consciousness, or red lines appearing on the skin, especially extending from the affected area.


What are the symptoms of discoid eczema?

The symptoms of discoid eczema include coin-shaped lesions or sores on the skin that vary significantly in number. The lesions can also vary in size from a few millimeters to centimeters. These lesions are itchy and scaly, and they can ooze fluid, eventually causing the sores to become crusty.

Your skin may also be inflamed, leaving it red and warm to the touch. The itching can be... Read more about discoid eczemasymptoms


What causes discoid eczema?

The causes of discoid eczema are not known, but it has been linked to dry skin and allergies.

Environmental factors that can trigger a flare-up

Environmental factors that can induce a flare-up of discoid eczema are specific to each individual, but can include:


How is discoid eczema treated?

Discoid eczema is a chronic skin condition that is not curable. However, by following a physician-monitored plan of care, your symptoms can be controlled effectively, making the disease fairly comfortable to live with.

Treatment begins with a conscientious plan to avoid your specific triggers or irritants, along with the use of moisturizers for dry skin. Sometimes your best treatm... Read more about discoid eczematreatments

Medical Reviewer: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS Last Annual Review Date: Aug 9, 2013 Copyright: © Copyright 2014 Health Grades, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Health Grades, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the HealthGrades User Agreement.

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