Is your rash nummular eczema? Here’s how to say
Nummular eczema is a master of disguise because its symptoms can mimic many other skin conditions. On the surface, nummular eczema can trick you into thinking you’re dealing with an infection like ringworm. After all, both can watch so similar, but each has different causes that require different treatments. So how can you figure out what’s going on with your skin?
Seeing a primary care physician or a board-certified dermatologist for an exam is the only way to get clarity on what’s going on. But if you think you may be dealing with nummular eczema, keep reading to possibly help clear up your suspicions, so you can get the care you need if needed.
What is nummular eczema?
Nummular eczema is one of many forms of eczema, which is a collection of skin conditions that can cause inflamed, dry, itchy, or scaly skin, as well as uncomfortable or even painful rashes. In the case of nummular eczema, the plaques typically appear on the legs, forearms, or backs of the hands, according to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD). According to the Skin of Color Society, nummular eczema typically presents as circular, itchy patches that may look pink or red on lighter skin tones and dark brown or gray on darker skin tones.
Typically, all eczema is caused by a disruption of the skin barrier, which is the outermost layer of your skin that is responsible for protecting against irritants and retaining essential moisture, according to the AAD. . Nummular eczema is not contagious, which means it does not spread from person to person.
The frequency of nummular eczema is not entirely clear. Some research estimates that 1 in 1,000 people have nummular eczema while other studies report that 9 in 100 people live with the condition. Since people with nummular eczema often have other skin conditions, some people may attribute their symptoms to something else and never seek further treatment. Or, symptoms of nummular eczema may go undetected by providers who are not skin specialists.
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What are the most common symptoms of nummular eczema?
Avid coin collectors may recognize the word prefix “num” from the word “numismatics,” which is the study of coins and money. That’s because nummular eczema was named after its most defining characteristic – the clearly defined coin shape that skin patches tend to take on, according to Dr. Silverberg. Dermatologists sometimes call this type of eczema discoid eczema, another reference to its characteristic circular markings.
Aside from the shape, the AAD states that symptoms of nummular eczema can be identified by:
- Cutaneous wounds: These begin as a group of tiny solid or fluid-filled bumps that are commonly found on the arms and legs. If you’ve had a recent injury, such as a scrape on your knee, sores may appear in that general area.
- Spots or lesions: Inflamed coin-shaped bumps may appear brown or gray on medium to dark skin tones and pink to red on light to medium skin tones. The lesions are usually raised and scaly, can grow in size (often up to four inches), and can last for weeks or even months.
- Itchy, dry skin: Typically, the skin surrounding the lesions is dry and may peel, and the spots themselves may really itching or burning.
- Raised lesions that flatten: Usually the spots flatten out during the healing process. The middle area of the skin lesion begins to fade first.
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What causes nummular eczema?
The answer is still a mystery, but there are several known risk factors associated with the disease. Most often, people born female at birth develop nummular eczema before age 30, while people born male typically develop the condition in their 50s or beyond, depending on age. ‘ADA. The reasons for this discrepancy are unclear, but the answer could be related to other risk factors for discoid eczema.
For example, people whose skin barriers have been weakened by other skin conditions such as atopic dermatitis (the most common type of eczema) or contact dermatitis (a type of eczema triggered by a substance that irritates skin or causes an allergic reaction) are at increased risk of also developing nummular eczema. Research shows that these other forms of eczema are more common in people designated female at birth. Having family members with a history of eczema or asthma also increases your risk of developing nummular eczema. And if you’re already susceptible to the disease due to genetic factors, certain events, such as skin lesions or infections, can trigger symptoms, according to the AAD.