Atopic Dermatitis

This is the most common form of eczema and tends to affect people with asthma, a family history of eczema or hay fever. Though this is the trend you do not have to have experienced one of these prior ailments to have this type of eczema. It usually is seen from childhood onward but can start rarely in adulthood as well. The rates for children are 10-20% encountering this form of eczema at some point. Atopic Dermatitis is also the typical “baby eczema,” mentioned in other articles. The prevalence of AD is increasing in children and while scientists are not sure why the numbers are climbing, they have some theories. Colder temperatures and increased levels of pollution in urban areas are thought to contribute to a person’s likelihood of developing AD according to the American Association of Dermatology. Many people who had AD as an infant and continue to have it into adulthood also have hand eczema as well.

Where it is: face (often cheeks of infants), hands, feet, inner elbows, back of knees, nape of neck (in adults that continue to have this it can cover a good portion of the body)

Triggers for this type: soap, rough clothing, household chemicals, food or dust mite allergies

Common treatment: includes environmental changes like shorter baths (5-10 minutes), moisturizing, petroleum jelly applications (it is thick, fragrance-free and inexpensive to continuously replace), and sensitive laundry detergent.

Hand Eczema

This common form of eczema affects the hands and is especially common in people who do a lot of manual labor or expose the skin to harsh chemicals regularly. It is characterized by cracks in the skin of the hands and intensely dry areas in the webbing between the fingers.

Where it is: the hands

Triggers for this type: avoid heavy chemicals in dish soap, hand sanitizers, anything you regularly bathe your hands in. Preservatives in topical substances applied to the hands are often the culprits for most people’s hand eczema.

Common treatment: find a moisturizer that has low water content, as most commercial lotions won’t work. Try Vaseline, Shea butter, olive or coconut oil.

Contact Dermatitis

Contact Dermatitis is the larger term for hand eczema that is shown on other parts of the body. Unlike AD this is caused by a substance directly coming into contact with you and not a unprovoked reoccurring instance. This is one of the easiest types of eczema to diagnose because the patient normally recognizes the sudden appearance of the rash and attributes it to something new they have introduced to their skin. It is more difficult to diagnose in people who are so often introduced to their trigger that they no longer think of it as a contact eczema. It’s important when determining what type of eczema you have to rule out Contact Dermatitis first by removing substances that frequently or recently have come in contact with your skin. Once you have determined whether or not a product causes your eczema then you can narrow down an appropriate treatment.

Where it is: Any area in contact directly with the trigger

Triggers for this type: Nickel, poison ivy, harsh cosmetics, or any substance that triggers the allergic reaction (usually a product you haven’t been using long term)

Common treatment: removal of the trigger, time for healing and moisturizers

Seborhheic Dermatitis

This form of eczema is most commonly known as dandruff caused by eczema and can be mistaken for psoriasis that often affects the scalp. Some would consider Seborhheic dermatitis as separate entity from eczema but as the treatment is similar to that of eczema they are often grouped together. Those who suffer from this usually have oily skin and the flakes that appear look oily or wet. Burning sensations, red areas and itching are all trademark signs of Seborhheic Dermatitis. In infants this type of eczema can be mistaken for diaper rash.

Where it is: usually the scalp but also: below breasts, in or surrounding the groin, around the bellybutton, under arms, in the center of the chest or legs.

Triggers for this type: the direct cause is unknown but certain factors can increase your risk like (rosacea, eating disorders, epilepsy, acne, psoriasis, heart attack, stroke, alcoholism or depression)

Common treatment: over the counter dandruff shampoos, applying mineral oil to the affected areas, sunlight on the affected areas, antifungal products, sulfur-infused solutions, or corticosteroid lotions.