Eczema is a broad condition that has many faces — seven, to be exact. Read on to learn the different eczema types and how you can cope with your symptoms.

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7 Types Of Eczema: Causes, Treatment, And Prevention

09/12/20228 min read

Eczema can seem like an uphill battle with irritating symptoms. But there’s not just one kind of eczema. What are the primary eczema types, and what’s the best way to cope with your symptoms?

This article will help you understand the different eczema types and what to do about them. First, let’s start with understanding what eczema is and why it occurs.

Table Of Contents

What Causes Eczema?

At its core, eczema is an overreaction of your immune system. Because of this overreaction, your skin can become inflamed and experience the typical symptoms of eczema: itching, dryness, redness, and irritation.

Eczema also appears to have a genetic component, meaning some people are predisposed to suffer from it because of inherited traits. In particular, if you have a family history of hay fever, asthma, or dermatitis, you may be at higher risk for eczema.

Below are a few more common triggers to look out for.

Common Eczema Triggers

Almost anything that can trigger an allergic reaction can trigger eczema. Pollen, pet dander, or certain foods, for example. Air pollutants, some fragrances and skincare products, and some fabrics, such as wool, can also irritate your skin and cause an eczema flare-up.

Another culprit is the weather. Dry air (low humidity) in addition to excessive humidity, heat, and sweating can irritate eczema-prone skin. This can be very stressful if you live somewhere that causes your body to react. Speaking of stress, it’s also a trigger because it causes your immune system to go into overdrive.

Keep in mind that specific eczema triggers vary by person, and even with some triggers in common, there are at least seven distinct types of eczema. Let’s take a look at them in detail.

7 Types Of Eczema And Their Symptoms

Atopic Dermatitis

Atopic dermatitis is the most common form of eczema. In fact, you’ll often see it referred to as a synonym for “eczema,” although there are other types.

This kind of eczema causes the typical inflammation, dryness, redness, and itchiness that generally characterize the condition. Even though it’s very common in small children, people of any age can experience it, and it can often be long-lived and chronic.

Man experiencing contact dermatitis, one of the eczema types

Contact Dermatitis

If you’ve ever suffered from exposure to poison ivy, sumac, or oak, you know exactly what contact dermatitis is: skin inflammation caused by contact with something that triggers an allergic reaction. But the trigger isn’t limited to known irritants, like the plants mentioned above.

The trigger could be a fragrance, cosmetic, piece of jewelry, or type of watch band. It might also be a less-infamous family of plants, such as the mustard family, that causes a reaction. Certain chemicals, particularly solvents, acids, and alkalis, could also cause skin irritation.


This type of eczema begins as an itchy patch of skin that, once scratched, becomes worse. More scratching makes it itchier, which itself incites more scratching, setting up a bad cycle of negative reinforcement.

Eventually, the itchy spot can become scaly, thicken, and feel leathery.

Dyshidrotic Eczema

This eczema type affects the hands and feet and is usually characterized by small, extremely itchy blisters that can also burn. It occurs more often in women than men and mostly in young adults. As the blisters heal, the skin dries out, reddens, and may peel.

Nummular Eczema Or Nummular Dermatitis

Characterized by small, disc-shaped patches, this form of eczema can affect any part of the body but is most often found on the arms and legs. The coin-shaped lesions — “nummular” is derived from the Latin word for coin — can itch and ooze.

Seborrheic Dermatitis

You may know this type of eczema by its more common names: dandruff or cradle cap. This inflammatory reaction mainly affects the scalp, though it can also plague oily parts of the body, such as the face — nose, eyebrows, eyelids, ears — and chest.

Stasis Dermatitis

This form of eczema is directly related to poor blood flow, so it is often found in areas of the body with varicose veins. The skin manifestation is related to an underlying medical condition, venous insufficiency, where valves in veins don’t work properly, leading to poor circulation.

How To Treat Different Types Of Eczema

As you can see from the range of eczema types, many times, the distinction is where it appears on the body. But sometimes the underlying cause may vary.

Because of this, there is no one solution for all eczema types. However, there are general treatment approaches that may help you manage your symptoms and avoid flare-ups.

For example, many medications can alleviate eczema symptoms or, in some forms like nummular eczema, eliminate them completely. Common medications your healthcare professional may recommend include antihistamines to suppress immune response and antibiotics to deal with infections.

Fortunately, you may be able to deal with flare-ups without resorting to prescription medications. Things like bath oils, baking soda, oatmeal, salts, or even apple cider vinegar can help.

Woman holding Bodewell’s Eczema Daily Calming Cream to manage eczema

Creams and lotions can also make a big difference! For example, Bodewell Eczema Daily Calming Cream includes a special botanical blend with colloidal oatmeal, which can soothe irritated skin and reduce eczema symptoms.

Wet wraps are another option to replace lost moisture by directly applying plant-based or vitamin topicals that can encourage your skin to repair itself.

Whatever treatment you prefer, remember you are trying to reduce the symptoms and calm your hyper-reactive skin. As always, proceed cautiously with any new treatment. And know your own skin! The better you know how your skin reacts, the better you can prevent eczema outbreaks.

Preventing Eczema Flare-Ups

As with medication, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to treating any one eczema type, let alone all seven of them. But here are a few proven approaches that may help you stop your next flare-up before it has a chance to, well, flair.

Bodewell’s Sensitive Skin Moisturizing Body Wash bottle

Moisturize Your Skin

Dry skin is more susceptible to damage and more easily irritated.

Using daily moisturizing products, such as our Eczema Daily Calming Cream, can keep it supple and strong. In addition, our line of bath products can lock moisture in on your whole body.

Eliminate Substances That Trigger Outbreaks

Do your best to stay away from known irritants. That might mean saying goodbye to your favorite cologne or perfume, thick wool sweater, or spicy dish.

Take Frequent Showers — Just Not Hot

Showers can wash away irritants and moisturize your skin, especially if you apply a gentle cream or lotion after to help lock in that moisture. Just remember to always use lukewarm water, never hot water.

Use A Humidifier

Dry air leads to dry skin. Especially in winter, this means trying to keep the air in your house at a comfortable humidity. A humidifier tied into your home heating system can do the trick, or a separate standalone unit can work well, too.

Avoid Scratching

This is the simplest advice but the hardest to apply, especially if you’re suffering from neurodermatitis. But scratching worsens the underlying irritation and almost always increases the intensity of an eczema flare-up and its symptoms.

Wear Clothing Made Of 100% Cotton

For the most part, clothing made from cotton rests easily on the skin. Other fabrics, particularly wool and some synthetic materials, can irritate at best or cause an allergic reaction at worst. If it’s close to your skin, keep it cotton.

Choose Your Body And Facial Products Carefully

Find skincare products designed with eczema sufferers in mind. These products are free of known irritants, giving you a much better chance at avoiding what might be driving you and your skin crazy.

Keep Cool; Don’t Overheat

Too much heat and sweating can cause eczema to erupt. Take steps to stay hydrated in hot weather so your body can cool itself. And avoid dressing too warmly, even in cold weather, so you don’t sweat underneath your layers.

Woman managing her stress to treat different eczema types

Learn To Manage Your stress

Since stress is a known eczema trigger, learning to reduce it can help you avoid flare-ups. Of course, you can’t eliminate all the sources of stress in your life, but you can work to better deal with them.

Since stress is a known eczema trigger, learning to reduce it can help you avoid flare-ups. Of course, you can’t eliminate all the sources of stress in your life, but you can work to better deal with them.

When To See A Doctor

While most cases of eczema can be alleviated without a trip to the doctor’s office, don’t hesitate to reach out if you experience:

  • So much discomfort and pain that you can’t sleep or function
  • Severe eczema symptoms even after trying your usual home treatments
  • Skin infections — especially pus, red streaks, or yellow scabs

You Can Cope With Different Eczema Types

As we’ve explored in this article, by identifying your eczema type, you may be able to effectively manage and even prevent your symptoms.

Using eczema-specific products, like Eczema Daily Calming Cream and our line of bath products, you can lock in that much-needed hydration to keep eczema symptoms at bay. In addition, learning to avoid triggers and manage your stress can make living with this skin condition much easier.

No matter which of the seven eczema types you deal with, proper treatment means there are better skin days ahead!


Cleveland Clinic
National Eczema Association
National Health Service

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