So you have eczema or your little one has eczema. Or maybe you haven’t been diagnosed yet, but you think you have eczema. What’s next? It’s important to figure out what type of eczema you have and get to the root cause. Topical treatments can help fix the symptoms, but they don’t get to the underlying cause of why you even have eczema in the first place. Read on to learn the 8 eczema types with pictures so you identify which one you have, what your root cause is, and begin your healing journey!
8 Eczema Types (with Pictures!) & Their Causes
I’ve had eczema for over 10 years and learned how to heal it naturally. I’m here to tell you, healing eczema takes TIME. There’s no one quick fix to eliminate your eczema forever. And it takes some good sleuthing skills to identify your triggers. But I’m here to help with that! I wrote a post here all about how to heal your eczema naturally and one on eczema and the gut – how they’re connected.
I‘m not a doctor, but am in the process of becoming a certified holistic nutritionist and health coach, and I can’t wait to better be able to help clients heal their eczema naturally!
Eczema can be caused by different things, so it can require different remedies and treatments to heal it. It’s important to first know what eczema types there are and identify which type you have.
It is possible to have more than one type of eczema currently or to have different types of eczema at different times in your life. In fact, if you have one eczema type, you’re more likely to get another type.
If you’d rather watch than read – watch my video explaining the 8 eczema types!
1. Atopic Dermatitis:
This is the most common eczema type and the one most people are referring to when they use the word “eczema.” Most of you will probably have this type, but keep reading to make sure. This is ONE of the types I’ve had.
This one is an autoimmune issue where the immune system attacks the skin. It has a lot to do with what you eat. And you can develop it at any time – as a baby, a kid, or an adult. When the immune system attacks, it causes inflammation. This inflammation damages the skin, dries it out, and makes it super itchy.
You’ll get dry patches, and they can be ANYWHERE on your body. The skin will change colors to pink, red, purple, or brown, depending on your natural skin color. The more you scratch it, the thicker and more discolored the skin becomes. It can actually then form another type of eczema we’ll get to in a bit.
Because the immune system is overactive in atopic dermatitis, with this one you’re likely to ALSO have allergies, asthma, and/or another autoimmune disease.
2. Contact Dermatitis
Contact dermatitis is a kind of allergic reaction. This one is not from food that you ingest, but from something your skin has touched. If you have this type, your skin came in contact (hence the CONTACT dermatitis) with an allergen or irritant.
Very similar to atopic dermatitis, your body is in attack mode when the irritant comes in contact with you, and your immune system starts to attack that spot. It causes inflammation at that point of contact.
It could be a number of things that cause your contact dermatitis – jewelry, makeup, laundry detergent, soap, poison ivy, fragrances in products, or another allergen.
Also, you may not get an outbreak of contact dermatitis the first time your skin touches something. But he more you’re exposed to an allergen or irritant, the more likely you are to get contact dermatitis from it. Your body builds up antibodies to it so that it’s ready to attack and each exposure thereafter.
This eczema type will be red, dry, and itchy and can even look like hives.
I’ve had this type as well. In fact the first type of eczema that I got was contact dermatitis. In high school, I got an outbreak of this type on my eyelids from the cheap, drugstore eyeshadow I was wearing. That’s one reason I decided to make the switch to cleaner beauty products. You can check out this post for more on that and what ingredients to look out for.
3. Dyshidrotic Eczema
Dyshidrotic eczema is also called hand eczema. Can you guess where this one usually shows up? The hands, fingers, toes, and feet.
If you have this type, you get itchy, little, fluid-filled bumps, like blisters. You’ll get those itchy blisters first, and then the blisters start to go away and your skin becomes more dry and peels. This stage can take a while to heal. And it’s definitely still itchy, but not as itchy as those dang bumps are!
Most people who have this also have atopic dermatitis.
This is the main eczema type that I have. It can be caused from your diet, stress, or other allergens. I recently found out that nickel allergies are very common with this type of eczema. I found that out when I got a HUGE eczema flare on my hands after getting a nose ring. This was very unusual, because, like I said, I healed my eczema and it’s been pretty clear for years now. Every once in a while I’ll get a LITTLE flare if I eat something I have a sensitivity to or am super stressed. But this flare was not a little one.
Come to find out a lot of jewelry has nickel in it. So having that nose ring in for over a month and having constant contact with it caused my body to develop an allergy to nickel. I didn’t get contact dermatitis. The eczema did not show up on the spot where my nose ring was. It caused Dyshidrotic eczema on my hands.
If you have this type, as best as you can, try not to pop those little blisters. It opens the skin and can cause infection.
The next eczema types is neurodermatitis. “Neuro” refers to the nerves and “dermatitis” is inflammation of the skin. So this has to do with the nerves and the skin.
Neurodermatitis develops after your skin itches, whether from another type of eczema, a bug bite, poison ivy, etc. And you scratch it so much that you actually irritate the nerve endings on that spot. It’s intensely itchy and scratching irritates it and causes even MORE inflammation.
The skin usually becomes thick, leathery, and discolored. This one doesn’t really spread like atopic dermatitis can – it stays in the area where you scratched.
5. Nummular/discoid eczema
If you have this type of eczema you get itchy, coin shaped spots on your skin. They can be anywhere on the body, but are usually on the legs, arms, or abdomen. The skin turns pink, red, or brown on those “coin” eczema spots. They can look like ringworm and can even ooze liquid.
The cause of this one is usually insect bites, scrapes, heavy metals, or infections. It can also be caused from inflammation from other types of eczema. Unlike many other types of eczema, this one is more common in men than women.
6. Stasis Eczema
This eczema is also known as “Varicose Eczema” or “Venous Eczema” and it shows up mostly in older people – especially women – who have varicose veins. Both varicose veins and stasis eczema are not just skin issues, they are issues with the cardiovascular system.
People who have this eczema type experience poor circulation in their legs. Pressure can develop in their legs, causing their ankles to swell, and then this stasis eczema to show up. ‘
The skin changes colors to red, purple, or brown. It’s itchy, dry, and scaly.
With this type of eczema, as well as with EVERY type, it’s important to find the root cause and treat it, rather than just putting topical treatments on your skin and masking symptoms. Eczema is an outward sign of some kind of imbalance or issue on the INSIDE of your body.
7. Seborrheic Dermatitis
This one shows up in oily areas of the body, like the back, nose, scalp, or armpits.
Like most eczema, this one can be caused by stress (read this post for 7 simple ways to help you relieve stress. It can also be related to hormone changes – which is why it’s common in babies and teenagers.
This eczema type shows up as cradle cap or a diaper rash in babies or redness on the sids of the nose, the upper back, or the armpits in teens or adults.
8. Asteatotic Eczema
This last eczema type is most common in older people, just like with Stasis eczema.
It shows up on the shins, thighs, arms, back, or abdomen. If you have this type your skin will be super dry, rough, and scaly. This one is mostly caused from the weather or hot water (although hot water and extreme weather can trigger other eczema types as well!).
So those are the 8 eczema types. I hope you were able to identify which eczema type you have. Of course, to be sure, visit your doctor and let them take a look. Let me know in the comments what type you think you have. Whatever type of eczema you have, I hope you are able to get to your root cause and find healing soon!