Quick Guide to the 7 Different Types of Eczema Dermatitis

Collage of Eczema

Contrary to popular belief, eczema is not a singular condition. Instead, it’s a “catch-all” term for conditions that cause inflamed, irritated, and often very itchy skin. In total, there are seven different types of eczema: 

  1. Atopic Dermatitis 
  2. Contact Dermatitis 
  3. Dyshidrotic Eczema
  4. Seborrheic Dermatitis 
  5. Neurodermatitis Eczema
  6. Nummular Eczema
  7. Stasis Dermatitis 

Let’s take a closer look at the different types of eczema. 

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Atopic Dermatitis Is the Most Common Type of Eczema

According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, 16.5 million adults suffer from atopic dermatitis, and around 6.6 million people report moderate to severe atopic dermatitis symptoms

As the most common form of eczema, atopic dermatitis usually starts in childhood and may become milder or go away entirely with adulthood. The atopic dermatitis type of eczema occurs when the skin’s natural barrier is weakened and has a reduced ability to protect from the elements, irritants, and allergies. Atopic dermatitis can be caused by a confluence of factors, such as:

  • Environmental triggers
  • Dry skin
  • Genetics
  • An immune system problem

The Atopic Triad: Asthma, Allergies & Eczema 

The atopic triad refers to the increased prevalence of occurrence of three conditions together:

  • Asthma
  • Eczema
  • Allergies. 

This progression usually starts with eczema, followed by food allergies, and finally by the formation of asthma and allergic rhinitis, which causes a runny nose or sneezing. According to a 2018 research paper, 20% of kids that have mild atopic dermatitis went on to develop asthma, and 60% of children with severe atopic dermatitis developed asthma. Another study conducted in 2021 connected eczema with the development of peanut allergies, especially if the eczema is severe. 

Symptoms of Atopic Dermatitis

Black person's skin with atopic dermatitis.

Common symptoms of atopic dermatitis include:

  • The development of eczema rashes in the creases of the knees or elbows.
  • Thicker, darker, or lighter skin tones where eczema flare-ups occur
  • Skin infections from continual itching. 
  • Babies often develop eczema rashes on their cheeks and scalp.
  • The appearance of small bumps that may leak fluid when scratched. 

Contact Dermatitis Types of Eczema

Boy's elbow touching poison ivy and contact dermatitis.

Contact dermatitis explains when you have irritated, red skin caused by a reaction to a substance or environmental factor. Contact dermatitis can be present in two different forms: 

  1. Irritant contact dermatitis is when a substance or chemical irritates your skin.
  2. Allergic contact dermatitis is when your immune system reacts to irritants, like metals or latex. 

Allergic contact dermatitis is very common and impacts approximately one in five people. The American Academy of Dermatology suggests almost everyone will be affected by contact dermatitis at some point in their lives. However, those who have experienced atopic dermatitis symptoms since childhood may be more likely to experience allergic contact dermatitis. 

What Causes Contact Dermatitis? 

Contact dermatitis can be triggered by many factors, such as:

  • Jewelry, 
  • Detergents, 
  • Bleach, 
  • Latex, 
  • Paint,
  • Perfumes,
  • Soaps,
  • Chemicals in skin care products,
  • Poison ivy, and
  • Paint.

After identifying a trigger, you should — of course — avoid it. Because of this, a growing number of people are switching to more natural, plant-based skincare and cosmetics products

Symptoms of Contact Dermatitis Types of Eczema?

White man with a white tee shirt that has contact dermatitis from insect bites.

The symptoms of contact dermatitis include:

  • The formation of hives or itchy red bumps.
  • The skin turns red, itches, burns, and/or stings.
  • Fluid-filled blisters form and may crust or ooze.
  • The skin becomes more scaly, leathery, and thickens.

Dyshidrotic Eczema Is a Foot-and-Hand Form of Eczema

A white man's hand with dyshidrotic eczema.

Dyshidrotic eczema — also called pompholyx eczema — is a form of eczema that dries the skin out, causes a burning sensation, and blisters and rashes. Dyshidrotic eczema is most prevalent in younger adults under the age of 40 in certain areas:

  • Palms of the hands, 
  • Soles of the feet, 
  • Edges of the toes, and 
  • Edges of fingers. 

Because of where it occurs, dyshidrotic eczema is referred to as foot-and-hand eczema. 

Common Triggers of Foot-and-Hand Eczema 

Dyshidrotic eczema is linked to seasonal allergies, such as hay fever, and humid or hot weather. In addition, the dyshidrotic form of eczema can be triggered by:

  • Smoking tobacco products,
  • Allergies,
  • Stress,
  • Metals with nickel,
  • Exposure to substances, and
  • Damp feet and hands. 

How to Treat Dyshidrotic Eczema? 

A white man with both hands showing dyshidrotic eczema.

Most cases of dyshidrotic eczema are treatable with a short course of corticosteroids and a cold compress to the affected areas. This can help dry out the eczema blisters.

Symptoms of Dyshidrotic Eczema

People with dyshidrotic eczema may experience:

  • Fluid-filled blisters may develop on the palms, toes, fingers, and soles of your feet.
  • Painful or itchy blisters.
  • Skin that flakes, cracks, and scales.

Seborrheic Dermatitis Is a Form of Eczema

Up close image of yellow flakes on skin from seborrheic dermatitis

According to the National Institutes of Health, about 3 to 10 people out of 100 suffer from seborrheic dermatitis. Seborrheic dermatitis is a form of eczema that causes oily, scaly patches of skin and flakes that look like dandruff. Seborrheic dermatitis often occurs where there are more oil-producing or sebaceous glands in your body, such as:

  • Your scalp,
  • Your hairline,
  • The upper back,
  • The groin, and
  • The nose. 

Symptoms of Seborrheic Dermatitis Types of Eczema

A white man's neck and beard with red little bumps caused by seborrheic dermatitis type of eczema.

The most common symptom of seborrheic dermatitis is yellow or white dandruff-like scales on your hairline, scalp, armpits, groin, under breasts, or mid-chest. It can also lead to skin discoloration:

  • The patches can appear darker on those with brown skin, such as Black people.
  • The patches can appear lighter on those with lighter skin. 

Seborrheic dermatitis can also cause small, red itchy bumps underneath the skin of the beard. 

What Causes This Form of Eczema? 

Seborrheic dermatitis is caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Many people experience seborrheic dermatitis because of an illness or stress, which causes an inflammatory skin reaction. In this instance, your oil-producing glands kick into overdrive and create an excess Malassezia yeast. Malassezia yeast naturally lives on the surface of the skin. But if it grows too fast, it causes your immune system to implement skin changes. Additional seborrheic dermatitis triggers include:

  • Illness,
  • Dry and cold weather,
  • Hormonal change,
  • Chemicals,
  • Detergents,
  • Medicines, and
  • Certain medical conditions.  

Cradle Cap Is a Type of Seborrheic Dermatitis

A blond baby's head with seborrheic dermatitis or cradle cap.

Cradle cap is a very common form of seborrheic dermatitis that develops when they are between two weeks and 12 months old. A baby with cradle cap will have crusty yellow patches or slightly red scaly patches on their scalp. It can also start in the diaper area or face and spread to other parts of the body. While it can look irritating and uncomfortable, fortunately, it usually doesn’t itch or seem to bother infants. 

Neurodermatitis Types of Dermatitis 

A white woman's hand with neurodermatitis type of eczema dermatitis.

Like atopic dermatitis, neurodermatitis can cause scaly, thick patches on your skin. As a common form of eczema, the National Eczema Institute estimates it impacts around 12% of the population. This condition usually starts in those who suffer from other forms of eczema or psoriasis. While doctors are unclear about what causes this form of eczema, stress appears to be a trigger. 

Where Does Neurodermatitis Occur? 

Neurodermatitis can occur wherever you can scratch, but it most often impacts:

  • Ankles,
  • Feet,
  • Elbows,
  • Wrists,
  • Neck,
  • Shoulders, and 
  • Scalp. 

Neurodermatitis can also affect the anal and genitalia region. Neurodermatitis can also cause eczema on the eyelids.

Symptoms of Neurodermatitis 

The most common symptoms of neurodermatitis include:

  • Itchy patches of skin on the back of your neck, legs, arms, scalp, backs of your hands, the bottom of your feet, or genitals.
  • Leathery, thick patches of neurodermatitis can develop scales, skin lines, and discoloration. 
  • Continued scratching can open wounds that bleed, scab, scar, and become infected. 

The Nummular Form of Eczema 

Up-close image of a white person's leg who has nummular form of eczema. 10:57 PM  Topaz2, CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

Nummular eczema is a condition that causes coin-shaped, round spots to form on your skin. The term “nummular” means coin in Latin. Easy to spot, nummular eczema has a distinct appearance from other types of eczema. While it looks different, it shares the same itchy sensation as other forms of eczema. 

Causes of Nummular Eczema

As with other forms of eczema, nummular eczema can be triggered by many factors:

You are more likely to develop nummular eczema if you suffer from other types of eczema.  

Stasis Dermatitis Types of Eczema 

Image of white man's feet with stasis dermatitis type of eczema

Researchers estimate that anywhere from 15 to 20 million people in the United States over 50 years old live with stasis dermatitis types of eczema. Also referred to as varicose eczema, venous eczema, or gravitational dermatitis, stasis dermatitis occurs whenever fluid oozes from weakened veins into your skin. The fluid can cause:

  • Pain,
  • Itching,
  • Redness in lighter skin tones,
  • Purple, brown, ashen, or gray color in darker skin tones, and 
  • Swelling. 

What Causes Stasis Dermatitis?

Stasis dermatitis is often experienced by those with lower leg blood flow complications. Many people who suffer from this condition also have varicose veins — where the skin nearby turns itchy and dry. 

How to Treat Varicose Eczema?

Image of white person's foot with varicose veins.

If you have been diagnosed with varicose eczema or any form of venous insufficiency, you should seek treatment from a medical professional. When you do, you can help prevent the condition from worsening. In addition to professional medical care, implementing healthy habits to bolster blood flow to your legs can help: 

  • Exercising as suggested by your doctor,
  • Elevating your legs when sitting, and
  • Briskly walking for 10 minutes or so after standing or sitting down for a period. 

Got Eczema? Stop the Scratch-Itch Cycle with Butter by Q Eczema Balm

Butter by Q's tin of Eczema Balm

While there may not be a cure for any form of eczema, there are many lifestyle changes and natural therapies to alleviate the symptoms and help restore your skin’s integrity. In most instances, the key to preventing eczema flare-ups is to keep your skin moisturized and hydrated. And whether you have atopic dermatitis, seborrheic dermatitis, contact dermatitis, or another form of eczema, Butter by Q’s Eczema Balm can help. 

Our Eczema Balm is an all-natural, plant-based skincare product made with the best ingredients Mother Nature offers. Created for our daughter, our Eczema Balm has no mineral oil, artificial fragrances, artificial dyes, or chemicals. Safe for all ages, our Eczema Balm can help:

  • Moisturize and help hydrate skin,
  • Soften rough patches from eczema,
  • Alleviate itch and skin irritation,
  • Reduce eczema flare-ups,
  • Calm inflamed skin,
  • Restore skin integrity,
  • Nourish your skin,
  • And more!

Shop Butter by Q’s Eczema Balm.