How to Get Rid of Nummular Eczema (Nummular Dermatitis): Causes, Symptoms, Treatment, and Remedies

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Nummular Eczema

What Is Nummular Eczema (Dermatitis) or Discoid Eczema?

Nummular eczema, also known as discoid eczema or nummular dermatitis, is a chronic skin condition marked by coin-shaped rashes. The term “nummular” comes from the Latin word for “coins,” and it can be a highly irritating problem to experience. Although the use of home remedies is not necessarily how to get rid of nummular eczema, there may be a few natural methods you can try to prevent flare-ups and relieve symptoms.

Some of the symptoms of nummular eczema include itchiness, dryness, multiple red spots, oozing fluid, and circular patches that sometimes look like ringworm.

Because it is a chronic condition, once you have it, it never really goes away. That said, there are times when it’s dormant and times when it flares up. Therefore, keeping it under control and minimizing outbreaks may be the key to keeping nummular eczema pain and discomfort at bay.

Nummular Eczema Causes

At this point, there are no distinguished causes of nummular eczema. However, the condition does seem to affect more men than women, and tends to result in people who have particularly dry skin.

Having dry skin generally means the skin does not act as an effective barrier to the substances (bacteria, water, soap, etc.) it comes into contact with, leading to irritation and inflammation.

Aside from dry skin and sensitive skin, there also seems to be a correlation between nummular eczema and inflammatory conditions like asthma, allergies, or atopic dermatitis, which is a skin condition causing itchy or scaly rashes.

Even if you don’t suffer from the above conditions, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re in the clear. If there is a family history, it’s possible that you could experience the symptoms of nummular eczema at some point.

Other factors that could contribute to flare-ups and the appearance of nummular eczema rashes include:

  • Changes in temperature
  • Stress
  • Dry skin
  • Allergic reactions to environmental irritants (soaps, dogs, etc.)
  • Allergies
  • Asthma
  • Poor blood flow/swelling
  • Skin injury such as a bug bite, abrasion, or burn
  • Bacterial skin infection

Because skin irritants like soap and cosmetics can lead to symptoms, it’s important to read the list of ingredients and determine if there is any substance you have a problem with. Experiment with different brands and ingredients to see if it makes a difference—there’s a good chance it will.

Since nummular eczema seems very closely related to other chronic inflammatory conditions, using the same preventative techniques to prevent flare-ups for these conditions may work. This could include eating a diet that focuses on minimizing inflammation, taking antihistamines when needed, and trying to influence internal factors rather than just external or environmental ones.

Symptoms of Nummular Eczema or Dermatitis

There are a variety of symptoms of discoid eczema (nummular eczema), and they may come in waves.

You may first begin to notice a small group of red spots on the skin. These can appear anywhere, although they are unlikely to show up on the head or scalp. Eventually, they might form larger pink, red, or brown patches.

The size of the coin-shaped spots can vary from a few millimeters to several centimeters, and usually arise with swelling. As they swell, they may appear like blisters with small, fluid-filled pockets at the surface, which may ooze fluid.

Over time, the spots may become crusty, dry, cracked, or flaky, which is what leads to confusion about ringworm. The outer ring of the rash will remain red, brown, or purple while the inside portion will appear white or yellowish, or return to its original color.

The rash can also become quite itchy, and may intensify at night. This may be aided through the use of an antihistamine or doctor-prescribed corticosteroid cream.

It’s highly recommended to avoid scratching the rash or popping the blister to avoid infection. The symptoms of an infected nummular eczema rash include:

  • Oozing of excessive fluid
  • Yellow crust forming atop the rash
  • Hot, red, swollen, tender, or painful surrounding skin
  • Nausea, fever, or chills

For the most part, the rash will appear, and if it fits the description of small- to regular-sized coins, it’s very likely nummular eczema. But because its appearance is very similar to ringworm, it’s important to first rule out the common fungal infection.

If you’ve never experienced this form of eczema before, seek treatment from your doctor or dermatologist.

Nummular Eczema Treatment

Generally, a breakout of nummular eczema will be treated through topical ointments to either add moisture to the area or battle inflammation. A doctor will usually prescribe a strong corticosteroid to apply to the area, which often remedies the situation quickly.

Taking oral antihistamines before bed can help ease nighttime itchiness. Applying moisturizers that won’t irritate your skin can also provide some relief. Natural moisturizers may work best here so that there is little irritation.

Sometimes the best defense is prevention, so eating a diet low in processed foods and high in leafy greens and healthy fats, as well as avoiding known irritants, may be beneficial for limiting inflammation.

Home Remedies for Nummular Eczema

There isn’t a cure for nummular eczema, and the best way to take care of symptoms is with a doctor-prescribed corticosteroid topical rub. But that doesn’t mean you can’t employ techniques at home to limit the likelihood and severity of flare-ups.

You may be able to help control it by:

  • Avoiding wool and other skin irritants that can trigger symptoms
  • Avoiding excessive bathing and hot water
  • Getting rid of harsh soaps loaded with chemicals
  • Trying to avoid stressful situations and finding ways to minimize stress; exercise, improving sleep hygiene, yoga and mindfulness can all help with stress relief.

There are a number of inflammatory conditions that can be aided by lifestyle decisions. Although they might not specifically target nummular eczema, they can create an internal environment that limits the chances and seriousness of an outbreak.

For example, eating more leafy greens, fruits, and vegetables instead of processed foods, refined sugars, and packaged goods can keep inflammation low, which is a preventative measure against inflammatory flare-ups.

1. Dietary Changes

Research and anecdotal evidence has also shown that adopting a Mediterranean-style diet could potentially lower inflammatory markers, while people with inflammatory gut conditions like Crohn’s or colitis might benefit from removing gluten from their diet.

For some, lectin absorption may also be a problem. There is anecdotal evidence from cardiac surgeon and The Plant Paradox author Dr. Steven Gundry that suggests removing lectin-rich food from the diet may improve skin-related inflammatory conditions like vitiligo.

Specific nutrients that may help with inflammation include omega-3 fatty acids from fish oils as well as healthy fats from olive oil. Vitamin E from leafy greens and vitamin D might also help.

Ultimately, to treat inflammation, it’s best to adopt healthier eating habits.

2. Better Sleep

Another way to limit inflammation is to improve sleep quality. Setting up a consistent sleep schedule and aiming for seven to nine hours of quality sleep per night can drastically help with stress and inflammation.

You can give yourself a better chance at a high-quality sleep by establishing and sticking to a sleep/wake schedule, making your bedroom dark, limiting screen time in the evenings, and perhaps taking 400 mg per day of a magnesium supplement.

If you notice the symptoms of nummular eczema flaring up, some quick things to do to battle symptoms include:

  • Using moist bandages to cover and protect the area
  • Taking antihistamines to prevent itchiness
  • Using medicated ointments
  • Exposing skin to ultraviolet lights, like a prescribed light box
  • Hydrating skin by applying non-scented moisturizers following a shower

How to Get Rid of Nummular Eczema: Do Your Best

Because it’s a chronic condition, you’ll likely never get rid of nummular eczema completely. However, if you take some lifestyle approaches focused on lowering inflammation, you may be able to at least manage the frequency and severity of symptoms. Doing this can also help treatment in the long run, making doctor-prescribed treatment more effective.

The less you have to rely on corticosteroid treatment, the less likely you are to build a tolerance or be subject to uncomfortable or dangerous side effects.

Also Read :

Article Sources (+)

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Estruch, R., “Anti-inflammatory effects of the Mediterranean diet: the experience of the PREDIMED study,” The Proceedings of the Nutrition Society, Aug. 2010; 69(3):333-40;, last accessed November 17, 2017.
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