What Are the 7 Different Types of Eczema?

By Dr. Kalpana Sarangi in Dermatology

Apr 24 , 2023 | 8 min read

Eczema is a blanket term used for a cluster of skin conditions marked by red, itchy skin that can be quite discomforting. The condition is very common and can be managed with proper guidance and treatment. Eczema keeps recurring and can be triggered by various factors, including direct contact with dust, allergens, pet dander, certain soaps, detergents, etc. Eczema commonly affects small children. In fact, doctors hailing from the best dermatology hospital in Mumbai suggest that nearly 20 to 30 percent of children are suffering from the same. In the majority of cases, the problem diminishes as the child grows, however, for those who do not outgrow eczema, it is a serious condition. People rarely develop eczema after 60 years of age and even if they do, it is mostly a result of some underlying medical condition. Some common symptoms associated with eczema include dryness, scaly skin, rashes, redness, and intense itching. 

Some Common Eczema Types Include:

Atopic Dermatitis

It is the most common eczema type that usually develops in children and subsides gradually as the child grows. It is a part of the atopic “triad” (which means three). The other two conditions in the triad are hay fever and asthma. Usually, a person suffering from atopic dermatitis experiences the other two problems as well. The condition is triggered by the weakening of the skin’s protective layer thereby making it more prone to allergic reactions. The problem may be genetic or a result of some immune disorder or environmental factors. 

Some of the common symptoms associated with atopic dermatitis include:

  • Rashes in the crease of elbows and knees
  • Lightening or darkening of the skin in the affected areas
  • Formation of tiny fluid-filled bumps that burst on being scratched
  • Rashes on the cheeks and scalps (in the case of babies)
  • Increased skin sensitivity

Atopic dermatitis is caused by:

  • Inherited genes; people who have family members with eczema are more likely to suffer from this form of the illness
  • Allergies to things like dust, mold, pollen, and dander can cause eczema on the skin
  • Stress-related flare-ups are common in this type of eczema
  • Strenuous exercise, hot weather, and cold climates are also common triggers for this type of eczema
  • Certain medications can also trigger atopic dermatitis

Contact Dermatitis

As the name suggests, the condition is triggered by coming in contact with a reactive substance which may include detergents, bleach, metallic jewelry, latex, paint, poison ivy, solvents, and soaps. It is broadly classified into two types – allergic contact dermatitis and irritant contact dermatitis.

Common symptoms associated with contact dermatitis include: 

  • Burning and stinging sensation in the ski
  • Hives
  • Fluid oozing blisters
  • Dry and scaly skin

Contact dermatitis eczema is caused by:

  • Antibiotics; if you are taking antibiotics and you develop a rash, it may be contact dermatitis
  • Poison ivy, oak, or sumac; these plants can cause contact dermatitis 
  • Preservatives like sulfite and formaldehyde found in dyes, hair colour, and nail polish can trigger contact dermatitis
  • Rubber products like latex and vinyl can irritate your skin and lead to contact dermatitis 
  • Tattoo ink; some skin-colored pigments in tattoo ink can also lead to the disease.

Dyshidrotic Eczema

The condition is marked by the formation of tiny, fluid-filled blisters on the palms of the hands and soles of the feet. These blisters are intensely itchy and may last for about 2 to 4 weeks or even more. These are usually associated with seasonal allergies, exposure to harmful substances (e.g. cobalt, chromium, and nickel), stress, and damp skin. Treatment for the same is offered at all the best hospitals in Mumbai.

Common symptoms associated with dyshidrotic eczema include:

  • Scaly, flaked, and cracked skin
  • Itching and discomfort
  • Deep-set blisters 
  • Redness and rashes

This type of dyshidrotic eczema can be caused by:

  • Seasonal allergies such as hay fever can cause a reaction in the immune system
  • Stress may make Dyshidrotic eczema worse
  • Exposure to toxic substances or irritants such as paint, metal, or metal dust
  • Smoking tobacco can also trigger Dyshidrotic eczema

Nummular Eczema

This is marked by the formation of well-defined, round, itchy spots or lesions on the skin which resemble a coin. Owing to this unique shape, the problem looks quite different from the other eczema types. These usually appear after a chronic skin injury and are more likely to affect men as compared to women. The problem is non-contagious and can be managed by using certain medications. Major symptoms triggered by nummular eczema include:

  • Coin-shaped lesions
  • Itching and burning sensation in the affected area
  • Scaling and flaking of skin

If you are experiencing related symptoms and want to seek expert medical help, you can find some of the best doctors for skin and cosmetic treatment in Mumbai

This condition is caused by:

  • Allergies to certain chemicals, foods, and fabrics 
  • Asthma can cause nummular eczema
  • Atopic dermatitis increases the risk of developing nummular eczema
  • Insect bites can cause nummular eczema
  • Dry skin also increases the risk of getting nummular eczema

Hand Eczema

Also referred to as hand dermatitis, hand eczema is triggered mostly due to exposure to chemicals, and makes people more prone to allergies. If not treated rightly, it can cause dry and cracked skin, which is uncomfortable. 

Some symptoms of hand eczema include:

  • Redness and pain
  • Cracked and peeled skin
  • Itchy skin in the affected area
  • Dryness leading to peeling and flaking of skin

The primary cause of eczema is exposure to chemicals. People who work in beauty, cleaning, painting, etc are more prone to this. 

The common  causes of hand eczema include:

  • Exposure to chemicals, fabrics, and detergents 
  • Occupational factors may cause hand eczema
  • Certain foods can trigger hand eczema
  • Laundry or dry cleaning jobs increase the risk of hand eczema
  • Hairdressing jobs also increase the risk of hand eczema


Neurodermatitis starts off as an itchy patch on the skin and is characterized by intense itching, followed by hardening. This can cause trouble and hinder daily life. 

The symptoms include:

  • Itchy, scaly skin patch/patches
  • Wrinkled and discolored genital skin
  • Thick skin due to intense itching
  • Open sores (bleeding is centric to them)
  • Rough and raised patches inflamed than the entire skin

Also referred to as lichen simplex chronicus, neurodermatitis happens mostly to people who already suffer from dermatitis. But in certain cases, it can also afflict those who have no history of eczema. 

The common causes of neurodermatitis are:

  • Anxiety is a common cause of neurodermatitis in both adults and children. If a person is experiencing stress, their immune system reacts by overproducing skin cells, which causes flare-ups of eczema. 
  • Stress can also weaken the immune system, which causes an outbreak of neurodermatitis
  • Tight clothing can cause skin irritation and lead to the development of neurodermatitis
  • Bug bite allergies can cause flare-ups in some people

Stasis Dermatitis

Stasis dermatitis occurs mostly in women aged 50 and above, most commonly in the lower legs due to weakened veins. It is also referred to as venous eczema. 

Symptoms of stasis dermatitis include:

  • Swelling
  • Itching and pain
  • Redness 
  • Brown or purple colour in darker skin tones.
  • Heaviness in legs
  • Swelling in lower legs

Weakened veins do not allow the blood to flow properly due to which the fluid from the veins starts to leak. 

Irrespective of its type, there is no particular treatment for eczema but it can be managed by preventing triggers, taking precautions, and managing symptoms.

The common causes of stasis dermatitis are:

  • Inflammation of the skin is caused by skin irritants can cause stasis dermatitis
  • Insect bites can cause stasis dermatitis
  • Infections can result in stasis dermatitis, mostly with yeast infections
  • Genetics also play a factor in stasis dermatitis
  • Lymphatic obstruction can cause severe problems with the immune system and other body parts and lead to stasis dermatitis

Diagnosis and When to See a Doctor

Eczema can affect the quality of your life if it is not treated properly. If you have a bad case of eczema and can't get rid of it, then you should see a doctor. Many people ignore this condition until it becomes worse and spreads to other parts of the body.

Your doctor is your best friend when it comes to treating eczema. He or she will perform a physical exam, blood tests, and skin biopsies to determine if you have eczema. It is also important to find out what is causing your flare-ups. The doctor will help you to avoid triggers and give you medications that will relieve eczema symptoms.

Treatment of Eczema

Treatment for eczema can be very complicated. Over-the-counter medications are usually not effective at relieving the symptoms of eczema. Most severe cases of eczema require medical attention because it can lead to infections and other serious issues in the long run.
The most common treatments for eczema include:

  • Antihistamines, such as Benadryl, help to relieve itching, burning, and redness of the skin
  • Corticosteroid cream or ointment to reduce itchiness
  • Calcineurin inhibitors prevent flare-ups in the long run by reducing the activity of immune cells that cause eczema
  • Light therapy for healing rashes

Tips to Prevent Eczema

Eczema is a sensitive condition that can be caused by many different things. But if you know what triggers your flare-ups, then you will be better prepared to keep your eczema under control. 

  • Keeping your skin moisturized and reducing stress will help to reduce eczema symptoms
  • Try to minimize the amount of stress you face each day
  • Do not use harsh soaps, shampoos, or other skin care products. Use gentle products that don't irritate your skin 
  • If you have eczema, do not get tattoos, since they can make the condition worse
  • Avoid allergens, such as wool, dust, soaps, and detergents
  • Avoid scratching the affected area because it can lead to infections and make it worse
  • Wear loose-fitting clothes and cotton clothing
  • Use natural remedies, such as peppermint oil and aloe vera, to reduce itching, redness, and swelling of the skin


Eczema is a common condition that affects many people. It is important to know different eczema types and their triggers so that you can treat them accordingly. You should not be reluctant to consult a dermatologist if you have an eczema flare-up. It is best to consult a skin doctor who will be able to provide you with the right treatment, dosage, and medication.

Treatment for all the above-mentioned conditions is offered at Nanavati Max Hospital where you can find some of the renowned doctors offering the best skin treatment in India.

Reviewed By

Dr. Kalpana Sarangi (Senior Consultant - Dermatology)

Dr. Kalpana Sarangi, Senior Consultant, Dermatology, is a leading Cosmetologist and Dermatologist in India. She is among the few qualified Skin Specialist in India to have established as a Cosmetic-Dermatologist and has over 20 years of experience.  In the year 2006, she won the Pantene Shine Award as one of the Six Beauty & Grooming Experts in India and serves on the board of several prominent national and multinational grooming brands as a scientific advisor.