Nummular Eczema

Nummular Eczema is a chronic skin disorder that is said to affect two out of every 1000 people in the United States. Read and know all about the causes, symptoms, diagnosis, treatment and more about this condition.

What is Nummular Eczema?

It is an allergy-related, dermatological disorder that causes development of coin-shaped, itchy spots or patches over the skin surface. It is characterized by rashes as well as round patches of dry, itchy skin.

Photo of Nummular Eczema

Picture 1 – Nummular Eczema

Collectively, all types of eczema are known as atopic dermatitis. However, this type of eczema is also known by other names like

  • Nummular dermatitis
  • Eczema – nummular
  • Discoid eczema
  • Eczematous dermatitis

Nummular Eczema Symptoms

The early stages of this disease are typically manifested by the formation of red, coin-sized papules and fluid-filled vesicles on the skin. The rashes often develop into a ring-like form with a distinct center. Due to such an appearance, nummular eczema lesions are often mistaken for spots caused by ringworm infection (fungal infection).

Typically, the initial onset of this condition is evidenced by the appearance of reddish, coin-shaped spots and fluid-filled blisters, known as papules and vesicles, respectively. Since these lesions often evolve into a ring formation with a clear center, nummular eczema is sometimes mistaken for ringworm, which is a fungal infection.

This condition is mainly characterized by symptoms like:

  • Formation of coin-shaped skin lesions on the arms and legs
  • Redness of skin
  • Inflammation of skin
  • Itchiness of skin spots
  • Scaly skin
  • Raw skin
  • Later distribution of rashes to mid-section of the body
  • Oozing of lesions
  • Development of crusts on rashes

The condition is usually seen to affect the lower legs. Due to this, the disorder is often known by the nickname “Varicose eczema”. However, the disease may also manifest itself on the arms, hands and torso of sufferers.

Nummular Eczema Causes

The exact cause of nummular eczema is still regarded as a mystery. However, the condition is known to be unassociated with allergy, fungal infection or heredity. It has also been found to be non-contagious. Therefore, transmission through skin contact or any other close interaction is not the cause of this disorder. However, people may develop this disease if they have a personal or family history of conditions like:

  • Asthma
  • Allergies
  • Atopic dermatitis

The disease is comparatively uncommon. However, it mostly arises in elderly people. Due to this reason, old age is supposed to be associated with the condition in some way. The condition is most common in individuals aged over 50 years.

People who suffer from severe acne and receive Isotretinoin for treatment are also more likely to suffer from this skin disease.

Nummular Eczema Risk Factors

Even though the causes of Nummular Eczema have not exactly been identified, researchers have pinpointed some of its possible risk factors. These factors, which can worsen the condition, include

  • Stress
  • Environmental irritants
  • Changes in temperature
  • Dry skin

People of any age can suffer from this skin condition. However, it is seen to arise most in patients within the 55-65 age group. The disease is believed to be more common in males even though some also suppose women to be the prime sufferers of this condition. Women usually suffer from the first outbreak of the disease when between 15 and 25 years of age.

Nummular Eczema Diagnosis

The diagnosis of this condition is generally made by simple physical observation of the skin appearance. Doctors also ask patients about the medical history of their family. In some cases, a skin biopsy may be required to rule out the presence of other similar disorders. This involves taking a sample of the affected spots and evaluating them under a microscope in the laboratory. A skin biopsy can help rule out any cancerous skin condition.

Nummular Eczema Differential Diagnosis

The differential diagnosis of Nummular Eczema involves ruling out the presence of other conditions that give rise to similar symptoms. These include disorders like:

  • Asteatotic Eczema
  • Atopic Dermatitis
  • Contact Dermatitis
  • Cutaneous T-cell lymphoma
  • Lichen Simplex Chronicus
  • Pityriasis rosea
  • Psoriasis, Plaque
  • Tinea Corporis

Nummular Eczema Treatment

Images of Nummular Eczema

Picture 2 – Nummular Eczema Image

There is no sure treatment for this condition. Treatment mainly involves various therapies that aim at minimizing the discomforting symptoms arising from the disorder. These include:


Redness and itching may improve with frequent application of moisturizers. Regular use of moisturizing creams or lotions can prevent dryness of skin. Applying a thick moisturizer over dry, scaly patches can help moisten the region and provide relief from itchiness.

Avoidance of irritants

Patients should also try to avoid irritants like discomforting clothes, chemicals or very hot water. Skin experts advise against bathing frequently or using soaps that result in too much dryness of skin. This can worsen the condition by aggravating its symptoms.

Avoiding trigger factors

The symptoms of this disease can be controlled or prevented from worsening by avoiding intake of certain foods and using clothes made of substances like wool and lanolin.


Use of oral or topical medicines may also help reduce the discomfort caused by this disease. Penicillin antibiotics can be prescribed as a part of the treatment if signs of infection are detected in fluid-filled (oozing) blisters. If the lesions ooze, use of oral penicillin antibiotics like Flucloxacillin can be effective.


In some cases, anti-histamines are administered to patients who complain of itchy symptoms. Antihistamines taken by mouth can provide relief from itchiness in the affected spots. In patients with hypersensitive immunity, immune responses can be controlled with the aid of antihistamines.


In acute cases, corticosteroids like Prednisone may be administered orally or through injection for 1-2 weeks until the symptoms are brought under control. This may be followed by treatment through topical creams and lotions for continued management.

Skin ointments

Sufferers may also be recommended skin lotions, moist bandages or soaps which help heal the spots and reduce dryness and scales in the healing areas. Patients with acute symptoms may be prescribed skin ointments that contain immunosuppressive drugs, corticosteroids or tar.

The therapeutic intervention of this itchy skin disease is decided according to the symptoms displayed by sufferers. It is necessary to strictly avoid exposure to irritants during and after the treatment course. It is also essential to follow a proper skin care regimen and minimize or completely avoid the trigger factors for this disease.

Nummular Eczema Home Remedies

Certain home remedies are said to be powerful enough to cure this skin condition. These include:

Vitamin E

Applying Vitamin E on the spots affected by this condition provides relief from itchy symptoms and heals dryness of the skin.

Flaxseed oil

Rub this oil over the affected spots for three times every day, preferably in the morning, afternoon and evening. Regular application can make the condition get better within two to three days.

Blueberry leaves

Grind leaves of blueberry into a powder form. Combine the powder with glycerin and apply the mixture over the skin spots until the condition shows an improvement.


Soak a cotton ball into a small bowl filled with rosewater. Press the wet cotton ball on the affected region to let the rosewater seep into the area. Rosewater has a soothing effect on the skin and restores the natural pH balance of the dermis.

Oral intake of zinc tablets and supplements of Vitamin B complex may also help improve the health of skin.

Nummular Eczema Prognosis

This is a long-term or chronic disorder that never really goes away. The symptoms of this disease may subside or worsen over a period of time. However, medical treatment and avoidance of irritants can help decrease the symptoms of the disease. The problems arising from this skin disease can be effectively fought off with medications. Some patients show a good response to treatment by artificial ultraviolet light. However, it is not recommended to deliberately expose the skin to sunlight for prolonged duration as it can increase the risk of sunburn.

Nummular Eczema Complications

The disorder usually does not cause any complications. In some cases, however, the skin may suffer from a secondary infection. In rare cases, there may also be a recurrence of this disorder. However, medical science has not yet been able to come up with any specific medication that completely cures this type of eczema. The main difficulty faced in the research for eczema cure lies in the problem that its cause is an unknown one.

Nummular Eczema Prevention

The condition may be prevented by adopting the following measures:

  • Shower with lukewarm water. Do not take bath in very hot water as it makes the skin dry out.
  • Apply moisturizers daily on your skin, particularly after taking a shower. This will avoid drying out of the skin, which is one of the main factors for the rise of this disorder.
  • Use gentle cleansers to remove dirt off your skin. Make sure that they do not contain dyes or detergents. These substances can dry out the skin. Washing garments with fabric softeners like Kling can also irritate the skin and produce Nummular Eczema.
  • Wear loose cotton clothes that allow air to dry out the sweat and allow the skin to breathe.
  • Avoid exposure to drastic changes in temperature. Severe temperature changes can adversely affect your skin and give rise to this condition.
  • Avoid consumption of alcohol. Alcohol can act as a trigger for this skin disease and worsen its symptoms.

Nummular Eczema Pictures

Here are some nummular eczema photos that will provide you with an idea about the physical appearance of skin regions affected by this condition. Take a peek at these nummular eczema images and find out how the disease makes the skin look like.

Photos of Nummular Eczema

Picture 3 – Nummular Eczema Photo


Nummular Eczema Picture

Photo 4 – Nummular Eczema Picture

If you are suffering from Nummular Eczema symptoms and the discomforts persist despite treatment, call your healthcare provider. Medical attention is even more important if you are suffering from infectious symptoms, such as pain, fever and redness. The faster you begin the treatment, the quicker can be your rate of recovery. You should also modify your lifestyle as a follow-up measure.


  1. Sue McDaniel October 17, 2012
  2. Jamie L Drook October 14, 2017

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