Nummular Eczema

Nummular Eczema is a chronic dermatitis. The word nummular comes from the Latin term ‘nummus’ meaning coin. An appropriate name for the condition, as it presents itself as stubborn coin shaped lesions. The lesions are red, inflamed and scaly. They are often accompanied by vesicular eruptions or blisters.

Lesions of Nummular Eczema

The lesions are usually wide spread on the arms and legs. They sometimes appear on the trunk and buttocks as well. Typical of any eczema the cause of the nummular form is unknown and there is no known cure. It is most common in older people especially if they have excessively dry skin. It is worse in the winter season, low humidity, during times of emotional stress and with frequent bathing (ie more than once a day).

The Name: Nummular Eczema

As the condition clears the lesions heal from the inner skin layers to the outer. They look like red rings not unlike ring worm. It is because of these red rings that nummular eczema developed its other name – Discoid eczema.

Treating Nummular Eczema

Treatment is aimed at decreasing the inflammation and itching whilst healing the lesions. Cortisone is the preferred cream prescribed by doctors. Coal tar may be required for stubborn lesions. Although remission is possible, flare ups will occur if the skin is not kept moisturized and well hydrated.

Because nummular eczema often covers a large amount of the body a daily bath using a Bath Oil is the most effective way to keep the skin moisturized. I recommend soaking in a warm bath for 15 – 20 minutes each evening. Pat the skin dry after the bath and rub in any excess bath oil left on the skin. Bath Oil can also be applied directly to the skin if the skin is excessively dry.

Immediately after bathing apply your emolient to the lesions. It is after the soaking that the skin is at its softest and moistest and the most receptive to the cream. Check to see how often you can use your emollient to aid in the healing of the lesions and skin repair.

Mel Sinclair, RN