Hi there, Susan here.
In this article, I am going to identify some nummular eczema treatment methods that are commonly used to treat this form of eczema. Before I dive into the exact details, I believed that it is good for us to have a better understanding of what it is and how to spot them.
What is Nummular Eczema?
Nummular eczema (also known as ‘discoid eczema’) mainly affects the arms and legs, and sometimes the hands. This kind of eczema appears as round coin sized, red and scaly patches. It usually affects middle-aged men. Discoid eczema is very itchy and a relatively strong topical steroid is usually needed to relieve the symptoms. As with other forms of eczema, this is not a cure.
It can last for many months. In some cases, it may come and go over a period of several years. Sometimes, there is an added bacterial infection and the infected areas get redder, crusted and weepy. In such instances, a combination of strong steroid-antibiotic cream can be helpful.
The cause remains a mystery, but there is no link with other health problems or food allergy, and blood tests are unnecessary.
Nummular Eczema Treatment Strategy
A usual treatment strategy may include the following:
The most common form of nummular eczema treatment involves the constant use of emollients. The term ‘Emollient’ literally means a soothing calming substance. This name refers to simple moisturizers for use on eczema and other skin complaints. In simple terms, an emollient simply acts as a barrier to prevent loss of the skin’s own moisture.
How do I choose the right one?
The wide range of emollients can be rather bewildering for any newcomers with eczema. The right emollient should be the one that you like, so choose small tubes to try out first. You may need several different emollients. For example, a lighter cream to use during the day at school or work, and a heavier ointment after bathing and before going to bed.
Emollients can be bought without prescription but it is usually less expensive in the long run with a doctor’s prescription. It is important that you are prescribed with sufficient quantities. For instance, to treat widespread dry eczema, a child will require 250g/week and an adult 500g/week.
As a general rule, the runnier the moisturizer, the less effective it will be. Greasy preparations that stay in the pot when tipped upside down is the best for dry skin. Cosmetic moisturizers are not recommended because they are not intended for use on skin complaints and may contain irritating or allergy-provoking ingredients such as fragrances.
They are usually much more expensive than simple emollients and are not available on prescription.
This form of nummular eczema treatment option is mainly used to reduce flare-ups. Topical corticosteroids are applied on the skin for its anti-inflammatory properties. They can be readily found in pharmacies at your neighborhood. They are very good at treating mild to moderate cases of eczema as well as inflammatory rashes.
Oral corticosteroids such as prednisolone, is the next nummular eczema treatment used to combat severe flare-ups. These are occasionally prescribed in short courses to treat a severe eczema flare-up. This treatment may be justified to get someone over a flare-up at an important time such as during exams or before a wedding.
Although oral steroids are very effective, the eczema will regained its severity over a week or so unless another treatment is implemented to keep it under control. The dose of oral corticosteroids is based approximately on your body weight. The medication should be taken first thing each day to minimize interference with your body’s natural steroid, cortisol.
Long-term use of oral steroids should be avoided because they can cause many serious side-effects such as diabetes, increased blood pressure and thinning of your bones (osteoporosis). They can also suppress growth in children. These internal problems do not apply to topical steroids, except when excessive quantities of potent or very potent steroids have been overused.
The skin surface in eczema has tiny cracks which are prone to infection. This is especially common in nummular eczema. Topical antibiotics are usually combined with topical steroids to treat infected eczema. However, long-term use of topical antibiotics is not recommended as it encourages the growth of resistant bacteria.
People can also become allergic to topical antibiotics, which means that using them can actually make the eczema worse.
Oral antihistamines are the last nummular eczema treatment used to combat itching. However, you should be aware that the itching symptom can be triggered by other inflammatory substances aside from histamine. Therefore, these drugs may not have much effect on your eczema although they are commonly prescribed.
In conclusion, these 5 forms of nummular eczema treatment are the most commonly used. However, they come with side-effects as well.
Last Updated: 28 March 2012