Health Conditions A-Z Skin, Hair & Nail Conditions Eczema 6 Types of Eczema: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatments Itchy skin? Find out if one of these types of eczema could be causing your symptoms. By Amanda Gardner Updated on December 23, 2022 Medically reviewed by Mary Choy, PharmD Medically reviewed by Mary Choy, PharmD Mary Choy, PharmD,BCGP, FASHP, is a pharmacist with board certification in geriatric pharmacotherapy. learn more Share this page on Facebook Share this page on Twitter Share this page on Pinterest Email this page Eczema is a skin condition that causes red, dry, and itchy patches of skin. But eczema is a broad term that encompasses several subtypes, including: Atopic dermatitisContact dermatitisDyshidrotic eczemaNummular eczemaSeborrheic dermatitisStasis dermatitis In the United States, more than 31 million people have symptoms of eczema. Generally, the skin condition is manageable and treatable with topical creams, ointments, or gels. But in severe cases of eczema, the skin condition can be painful to interfere with daily activities. Here's what you should know about the symptoms of each subtype of eczema, as well as ways to prevent and treat flares of those symptoms. Atopic Dermatitis Atopic dermatitis is one of the most common forms of eczema. The dry, red, scaly skin often appears on the outer parts of joints like elbows and knees. Other symptoms of atopic dermatitis include: Oozing blisters that crust overDischarge or blood coming from the earsPatches of skin that become raw from scratchingChanges in skin colorInflammationThick patches of skin Allergens, chemicals, stress, and temperature changes can trigger flares of atopic dermatitis symptoms. In people with atopic dermatitis, the skin barrier isn't well-maintained. "The skin is not holding the fats that it should, and that creates microscopic cracks," Emily Newsom, MD, assistant clinical professor of dermatology at the University of California, Los Angeles School of Medicine, told Health. "It's like the mortar between the bricks is missing." The condition has a genetic component and often runs in families. Many people with atopic dermatitis also have asthma and hay fever, called the "atopic triad." How To Treat and Prevent Atopic Dermatitis It's best to talk to a healthcare provider about a treatment plan. Some of the most common treatments for atopic dermatitis include: Moisturizing creamsCorticosteroid creams and ointmentsOther topical medications, such as calcineurin or phosphodiesterase-4 inhibitorsOral medicationsBiologic medications, which are given via injectionSkincare treatments, including wet wrap therapy or diluted bleach baths—although, do not try either of those treatments until after speaking with a healthcare providerUltraviolet (UV) light therapy Still, there are ways you can care for your skin at home to treat and prevent flares of atopic dermatitis symptoms, like: Keeping your fingernails short to avoid scratchingTaking antihistamines when you're itchyUsing petroleum jelly or other ointments two to three times dailyConsidering a humidifierMaking sure your moisturizers are free of irritants, such as alcohol, fragrances, alcohol or harsh chemicalsAvoiding overheating or stress, which can make you sweat and intensify your symptomsTaking lukewarm baths and showers and make them shortAvoiding harsh cleansers 13 Things That May Make Atopic Dermatitis Worse Contact Dermatitis Contact dermatitis happens when the skin touches irritating substances, like nickel or a particular chemical, Michele S. Green, MD, a dermatologist based in New York, told Health. Contact dermatitis symptoms tend to show up wherever the skin comes into contact with an irritant and include: RednessSkin that feels warm and tenderScaly, raw, or thick patches of skinBlisters that can "weep" and then crust over There are several subtypes of contact dermatitis. Some of the most common subtypes are irritant and allergic contact dermatitis. "Irritant contact dermatitis is something that would irritate anyone if you have a high enough concentration, like bleach or acid or even poison ivy," said Dr. Newsom. "Allergic contact dermatitis is a true allergy. The immune system is responding as if it's dangerous when it's not." Possible irritants and allergens include: CementHair dyeRubber or latexCertain soaps and shampoosAdhesivesAntibioticsSome clothing materialsFragrancesNail polishesSome metals found in jewelry How To Treat and Prevent Contact Dermatitis What you think may be causing your rash may not be the actual cause since a reaction can take hours or days. You could also suddenly develop an allergy to something that didn't previously cause a reaction. Therefore, consulting a dermatologist to determine what's causing your rash is essential. A dermatologist may use allergy testing with skin patches to determine what allergens irritate your skin. Depending on the cause, a dermatologist can recommend the best treatment. Some common treatments for contact dermatitis include: Washing the affected skin with water to remove the irritantUsing emollients or moisturizers to reduce inflammation and help repair the skinUsing any medications, like topical corticosteroids, creams, ointments, or corticosteroid pills, as prescribedApplying wet dressings and anti-itch lotions Additionally, some ways to manage and prevent flares of contact dermatitis symptoms include: Identifying the trigger to avoid touching itNot scratching, which can lead to an infectionUsing cool compresses, oatmeal baths, or anti-itch medicineTrying 1% hydrocortisone, which you can buy over the counter, or calamine lotionUsing a moisturizer or a barrier repair cream after you bathe or washWashing new clothes before you wear them 12 Reasons Your Skin Is So Itchy–and When to Talk to a Doctor Dyshidrotic Eczema Dyshidrotic eczema, also called pompholyx eczema, causes small, itchy blisters that usually appear on the hands and feet. Those blisters can be quite painful. Symptoms often flare during stress, when temperatures rise, or if your hands stay wet for too long. All forms of eczema can cause severe symptoms. But dyshidrotic eczema can be especially debilitating if feet blisters make it hard to walk or hand blisters get in the way of daily tasks or work. How To Treat and Prevent Dyshidrotic Eczema There is no cure for dyshidrotic eczema, but treatments may help. A healthcare provider can help determine the cause of your dyshidrotic eczema, which will inform your treatment. However, dyshidrotic eczema is generally more difficult to treat than other types of eczema. If other common eczema treatments don't alleviate your symptoms, a dermatologist may consider dupilumab, a biologic medication. Additionally, some things you can do at home to help manage and prevent flares of dyshidrotic eczema symptoms include: Applying medicated soaks and cool compresses two to four times daily for 15 minutes at a timeApplying prescription corticosteroid creams to your skin after a soak or compressTaking anti-itch medicine, such as oral antihistaminesUsing a moisturizer or a barrier repair cream, which can help reduce flares when your skin is very dry How I Deal With Dyshidrotic Eczema, a Skin Condition That Makes It Painful to Walk Nummular Eczema Nummular, also known as discoid eczema, is distinct from other types. Nummular eczema always produces round, "coin-shaped" lesions on the skin that are often itchy. "Nummular just refers to the shape of the lesion," explained Dr. Green. "It's a round spot." Typical triggers include stress, environmental allergens, or dry skin caused by cold weather. How To Treat and Prevent Nummular Eczema Some ways to treat nummular eczema include: Topical corticosteroidsOther topical creams or ointmentsWet wrap therapy as directed by a healthcare provider Additionally, some methods for managing and preventing flares of nummular eczema symptoms include: Avoiding irritantsUsing gentle cleansersKeeping your baths and showers short (under five minutes) and water lukewarmMoisturizing often with lubricants, like petroleum jelly, especially right after bathingTaking oral antihistamines that make you sleepy if your itching is very bad at night The Key Differences Between Eczema and Psoriasis You Need to Know Seborrheic Dermatitis Seborrheic dermatitis is more commonly known as dandruff when it appears on your scalp. Seborrheic dermatitis often appears in infancy, also called "cradle cap," in babies, and can recur throughout adolescence and adulthood. Seborrheic dermatitis can also appear on other body parts with sebaceous glands, which produce oils like your nose and upper back. Hormones and yeast can aggravate the condition, causing red, greasy, or swollen patches of skin. The condition might appear as fine flakes or thick white or yellow flakes that crust. "It's usually not as annoying as some of the other [types of eczema] unless it's severe," noted Dr. Green. How To Treat and Prevent Seborrheic Dermatitis Seborrheic dermatitis can flare unpredictably and can't be cured. But you can manage the condition. Sometimes, shampoos with tar are enough to manage and prevent flares of seborrheic dermatitis symptoms. Additionally, other treatments include: Salicylic acid creamsAntifungal creams or shampoosTopical coticosteroidsUV light therapy 11 Things People With Eczema Want You to Know Stasis Dermatitis Generally, stasis dermatitis is a symptom of an underlying health condition. Specifically, stasis dermatitis can indicate problems with blood flow. In addition to red, itchy, flaky skin, ankles may swell and blisters may develop into ulcers. How To Treat and Prevent Stasis Dermatitis You'll need to find and treat the underlying cause to treat stasis dermatitis. "Stasis dermatitis can be a red flag," said Dr. Green. "You can use creams. But, ultimately, you need to go see a cardiologist or a vascular [healthcare provider]." A healthcare provider may recommend that you try some of the following techniques to improve your blood flow: Elevating your legsRegularly exercisingWalking for 10 minutes for every hour of sitting or standing As with other types of eczema, applying lotion to the affected skin can help alleviate painful symptoms. A Quick Review Eczema is a general term including several subtypes of the skin condition that cause red, dry, itchy patches of skin. You can generally manage and treat flares of eczema symptoms with topical creams, ointments, or gels. But in severe cases of eczema, the skin condition can be painful to interfere with daily activities. Depending on your eczema's type, cause, and severity, a healthcare provider may prescribe or recommend different treatments. Was this page helpful? Thanks for your feedback! Tell us why! Other Submit 15 Sources Health.com uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy. National Eczema Association. What is eczema?. National Library of Medicine. Atopic dermatitis. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. Atopic dermatitis: Diagnosis, treatment, and steps to take. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Eczema (atopic dermatitis) treatment. National Library of Medicine. Contact dermatitis. American Academy of Dermatology Association. Eczema types: contact dermatitis tips for managing. National Library of Medicine. Pompholyx eczema. American Academy of Dermatology Association. Eczema types: Dyshidrotic eczema overview. American Academy of Dermatology Association. Eczema types: Dyshidrotic eczema diagnosis and treatment. Robinson CA, Love LW, Farci F. Nummular dermatitis. In: StatPearls. StatPearls Publishing; 2022. National Library of Medicine. Nummular eczema. StatPearls. Nummular dermatitis. American Academy of Dermatology Association. Seborrheic dermatitis: Overview. Seborrheic Dermatitis: Overview. Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG); 2020. American Academy of Dermatology Association. Eczema types: Stasis dermatitis overview.