Nummular Dermatitis, also known as Discoid Eczema, appears as small circular patches of red skin on the trunk, legs, arms or buttocks.
The affected area may become blistered and scaly and the skin can become itchy and weep fluid.
who does it affect?
Discoid eczema appears most commonly in middle aged to elderly people and is more likely to affect those with a family history of allergies or atopic eczema.
The condition may also be precipitated by a minor skin injury such as an insect bite or burn.
It occurs most often over the winter months when skin can become dry, but humid summer conditions can also aggravate the condition.
People who come into contact with harsh detergents are more likely to develop this type of eczema and stress is thought to aggravate the condition.
Topical corticosteroids and tar preparations can reduce the itch and inflammation but long term use can lead to thinning of the skin.
Antihistamines may relieve the itch but will not clear the condition.
Oral steroid based drugs are also prescribed, but side effects can include a change in skin colour, upset stomach and interrupted sleep patterns. Long term use can result in weakening of the bones, or stunted growth in children.
For more severe cases, steroid injections can be administered.
Antibiotics are also used to treat this condition where the skin becomes infected, but the condition may reappear when antibiotics are discontinued.
When cases reappear and are particularly resistant to conventional treatments, ultraviolet radiation may be helpful, but may take several months to control the eczema.
Use bath oils and emollients to keep the skin moist, but avoid those containing artificial fragrances, and petrochemicals such as mineral oil. An oatmeal bath may soothe itchy skin.
Avoid using creams containing lanolin, and avoid wearing woollen clothing in direct contact with the affected areas.
Use mild soaps, free from artificial fragrances, on the skin. Avoid using laundry detergents containing artificial fragrances.
Avoid activities that produce excessive perspiration and elevated skin temperature.
Exposure to mild sunlight may be beneficial.