Round eczema is really quite common. It’s more common in men than women and affects approximately 2 out of 1,000 individuals. It’s also most common in people in their 50’s and 60’s. This eczema can also be referred to as dermatitis which means a general term for inflammation of the skin.
Also called discoid eczema or nummular eczema, it appears as round, red, itchy patches of skin that are more prevalent in the winter months and in colder, dryer climates. Nummular means coin shaped which is another apt description of these patches of skin. Your doctor diagnoses round eczema visually and will do cultures if he/she feels there is an infection.
The patches of eczema can be totally red in appearance or they can be clear in the center with a ring of the eczema showing. The appearance of the ring of round eczema can appear to be similar to ring worm and can be mistaken for it. The patches of round eczema can be infected with bacteria. This is noticeable if the become more red or start to weep.
There is no known cause for round eczema or discoid eczema. It does occur in people that have dryer skin and some medications can trigger an outbreak as well as insect bites or minor injuries.
With people who have dryer skin there is a theory that the fatty layer in the skin gets broken down and the skin looses some of it’s normal protection. When this protection is lost then things that cause allergies can get into the skin irritating it and causing the outbreaks of round eczema.
Round eczema is treated in several ways. Lotions, creams, and ointments should be used to keep the skin hydrated. There is a difference in the fat/lipid content in lotions, creams, and ointments. Lotions have the least and ointments have the most. The higher the lipid content, the more effective the ointment but that also means it’s a lot messier to use. Higher lipid or fat content means that the cream or ointment is thicker and greasier. Apply the lotion, cream, or ointment to all of your skin not just the areas that have the eczema.
Prescription strength steroid creams can be used to reduce inflammation and itching. They can be used along with a lotion, cream, or ointment. If you use the two together be sue to apply the ointment, cream, or lotion first then wait about fifteen minutes before applying the steroid cream. If the eczema outbreak is severe the oral steroids or shots might be in order. Steroid cream or ointment should only be used for short periods of time because they cause thinning of the skin.
To give more relief at night an antihistamine could be taken for the itching. Be careful during the day though because many antihistamines can make you sleepy.
Cream or oral antibiotics can be given if the round eczema becomes infected. Be careful not to scratch these itchy patches because it could cause infection or scarring.
Unfortunately, round or discoid eczema can reoccur. It’s best to constantly keep your skin hydrated with lotions, creams, or ointments.