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WHAT IS NUMMULAR ECZEMA?
Nummular eczematous dermatitis (nummular eczema or nummular dermatitis) is a name given to a stubborn, itchy rash that forms coin-shaped patches on the skin (nummular means coin in Latin). The lesions as they get older may clear in the center or become scaly and then resemble fungus (ring worm) or psoriasis. The condition tends to be chronic, with periods when it gets much better or worse.
IS THERE A CURE?
The cause is unknown. Only occasionally does this turn out to be a medication allergy, although this is often considered in the evaluation. It is more common in the winter. Nummular eczema is frequently associated with dry skin. Wool, soaps and frequent bathing (more than once a day) often worsen the condition. People with eczema often have skin that is dry and easily irritated by soap, detergents, and rough clothing. Clothes washed or dried with liquid or sheet fabric softeners, may also irritate the skin. Hot and cold weather often aggravates eczema. Certain allergies may worsen eczema, but they don’t cause it. This is not the same condition as atopic eczema, a much more common skin problem that can be allergic.
WHAT CAN BE DONE TO PREVENT NUMMULAR ECZEMA?
In general, keep the skin lubricated. Do not take more than one bath or shower a day. Use lukewarm water, as hot water dries out the skin. When toweling dry pat, don’t rub. Blot the skin so there is still some water left on the skin. Soap irritates and dries the skin, so keep it away from the eczema. When bathing limit the use of soap to the face, armpits, genital area, and feet. For soap, use Cetaphil, Oil of Olay, Dove or Caress. Avoid contact with wool or rough clothing. Cotton clothes (100%) are best. When laundering the clothes, use no fabric softener or dryer sheets. Wash the clothes using dye free, fragrance free detergents such as the “All free” detergent. It is possible to find a treatment routine that controls nummular eczema.