The main types of eczema

author/source: DrB

Atopic eczema, also known as atopic dermatitis and atopic skin disease, is one of the most common types of eczema. It is sometimes simply called "eczema". This is a useful shorthand, but it can be confusing.

This short article explains!

  •  Eczema and dermatitis refer to exactly the same skin condition. Both words mean inflammation of the skin.


  •  Inflammation is a reaction of any tissue to injury.


  •  Eczema and dermatitis make up about 20% of all new patients seen by dermatologists


  •  Types of eczema can be classified according to appearance, site, cause or as here, according to how common they are:



Atopic: Associated with asthma, hay-fever and hives (urticaria)

Contact: Two types, allergic and irritant: both can complicate atopic eczema

Xerotic: Also called asteatotic eczema. Due to skin becoming dry and greaseless

Seborrhoeic: Distinct from seborrhoea, with characteristic distribution and appearance

Dyshidrotic: Also called pompholyx. Hands and feet, with distinctive appearance

Discoid: Also called nummular. Distinctive appearance, possibly stress related

Lower limbs, due to poor venous circulation. Can lead to ulcers.

Neurodermatitis: Also called lichen simplex. Itchy areas that are scratched a great deal.  Sometimes chronic eczema is called neurodermatitis for this reason.