7 types of eczema
If your skin itches and turns red from time to time, you might have eczema. This skin condition is very common in children, but adults can get it too.
Eczema is sometimes called atopic dermatitis, which is the most common form. “Atopic” refers to an allergy. People with eczema often have allergies or asthma along with itchy, red skin.
Eczema comes in a few other forms, too. Each eczema type has its own set of symptoms and triggers.
1. Atopic dermatitis
Atopic dermatitis is the most common form of eczema. It usually starts in childhood, and often gets milder or goes away by adulthood. Atopic dermatitis is part of what doctors call the atopic triad. “Triad” means three. The other two diseases in the triad are asthma and hay fever. Many people with atopic dermatitis have all three conditions.
In atopic dermatitis:
- the rash often forms in the creases of your elbows or knees
- skin in areas where the rash appears may turn lighter or darker, or get thicker
- small bumps may appear and leak fluid if you scratch them
- babies often get the rash on their scalp and cheeks
- your skin can get infected if you scratch it
Atopic dermatitis happens when your skin’s natural barrier against the elements is weakened. This means your skin is less able to protect you against irritants and allergens. Atopic dermatitis is likely caused by a combination of factors such as:
- dry skin
- an immune system problem
- triggers in the environment
2. Contact dermatitis
If you have red, irritated skin that’s caused by a reaction to substances you touch, you may have contact dermatitis. It comes in two types: Allergic contact dermatitisis an immune system reaction to an irritant like latex or metal.Irritant contact dermatitisstarts when a chemical or other substance irritates your skin.
In contact dermatitis:
- your skin itches, turns red, burns, and stings
- itchy bumps called hives may pop up on your skin
- fluid-filled blisters can form that may ooze and crust over
- over time, the skin may thicken and feel scaly or leathery
Contact dermatitis happens when you touch a substance that irritates your skin or causes an allergic reaction. The most common causes are:
- poison ivy and other poisonous plants
- skin care products, including makeup
- soaps and perfumes
- tobacco smoke
3. Dyshidrotic eczema
Dyshidrotic eczema causes small blisters to form on your hands and feet. It’s more common in women than men.
In dyshidrotic eczema:
- fluid-filled blisters form on your fingers, toes, palms, and soles of your feet
- these blisters may itch or hurt
- the skin can scale, crack, and flake
Dyshidrotic eczema can be caused by:
- damp hands and feet
- exposure to substances such as nickel, cobalt, or chromium salt
4. Hand eczema
Eczema that only affects your hands is called hand eczema. You may get this type if you work in a job like hairdressing or cleaning, where you regularly use chemicals that irritate the skin.
In hand eczema:
- your hands get red, itchy, and dry
- they may form cracks or blisters
Hand eczemais triggered by exposure to chemicals. People who work in jobs that expose them to irritants are more likely to get this form, such as:
- laundry or dry cleaning