What Is Discoid Eczema? Quick Guide + Treatment Tips 2023
The dreadful tale of dastardly discoid eczema...that’s why you’re here, right?
And heck, we can’t blame you.
Dry skin, itchy patches, swelling, oozing - sounds like a wish list of all the things you really don’t want for Christmas.
But unfortunately, you often have no say in the matter. Your skin has this amazing habit of just...changing. One day you’re king of the castle sitting atop the throne of your glowing complexion, and the next you’re cleaning out dry skin flakes from under your duvet.
We’ve all been there. And it sucks.
Yet whilst we don’t have a say over when discoid eczema decides to arrive, we do have a say in how we react to it and our treatment methods. And luckily, that’s where we come in!
In this article, you’ll find:
1. What is discoid eczema?
3. Common symptoms
4. 4 top tips for a simple home treatment plan
5. Final thoughts
Let’s get to it!
So, what is discoid eczema?
Also referred to as nummular eczema or discoid dermatitis, it’s one of the 7 different types of skin condition that falls under the umbrella term of ‘eczema’.
A chronic, long-term skin condition, discoid eczema causes the skin to become itchy, dry, reddened and cracked. Often patches might ooze clear fluid and become crusty.
It can affect any part of the body, however the most usual spots for the condition to appear are:
- Lower legs
Those suffering from discoid eczema will have round or oval-shaped patches appear on their body, with well defined edges that clearly stand out from the rest of the skin.
It can often start as a group of small blisters or red spots, before developing into a dis-coloured, scaly patch of skin.
Areas of nummular eczema can range from a few millimeters to a few centimetres in size.
It’s more common for men to suffer from the condition than women, with the first episode typically coming on between the ages of 55 to 65. And as usual, this form of eczema is not contagious. So no need to hide yourself away from friends or family!
When it comes to discoid eczema, health professionals are uncertain what the primary cause is. As ever, it tends to be a combination of a number of factors.
Dry skin is usually number 1 on the hit list (with the negative impact it has on your skin’s ability to fight off external irritants) as is stress, weather changes and even surgery.
This can mean that substances you’re usually fine with (soap for example) might start to inflame and irritate your skin in unwanted ways.
With this in mind, contact dermatitis may play a part in the development of the condition.
And the final cherry atop the cake? If you’ve suffered from atopic dermatitis in the past or are considered an ‘atopic’ individual, you’re also more likely to develop discoid eczema. Just in case you thought one condition was bad enough.
The main symptoms of discoid eczema to watch out for are:
- Coin shaped lesions on your legs, arms, hands or torso
- Scaling or inflamed skin
- Dry patches
- Itchy skin (and maybe burning)
- Oozing and crusting
You can have just the one patch of discoid eczema, or you may be super lucky and have spots over your entire body.
It’s also possible, if not treated properly, that your skin may become infected. If this is the case you may experience:
- A yellow crust developing over your skin
- Feeling sick, hot or shivery
- Skin feeling hot or swollen
Remember - at any sign of infection, it’s critical you seek the advice of a medical professional immediately.
And finally, sometimes it’s also common for skin patches to be clear in the centre, leaving a ring of eczema around the outside. In this case, discoid eczema can often be mistaken for ringworm.
4 top tips for a simple home treatment plan
1. Stop the need to itch
We know, this is a tough one. And you’ve probably tried 100 and 1 different options already. But luckily our very own calming spray is the one you’ve been missing!
Inspired by Chinese Herbal Medicine, our plant-based formula contains a unique blend of traditional herbs used for 1000’s of years to treat eczema-prone skin. Anti-itch and deeply nourishing for those tricky dry patches, it works to fight back the symptoms of a flare up.
Anti-inflammatory by nature, it’s also steroid, paraben and sulphate free :)
Seriously, you need to be slapping on the stuff like clockwork.
We mentioned that discoid eczema might be caused by dry skin, so moisturising regularly is a must if you hope to avoid another flare up. Opt for a thick, greasy emollient and get it on day and night (especially after your morning shower).
3. Avoid irritants that might trigger flare ups
This can be difficult when you’re not entirely sure what triggers your skin in the first place - we get that. If you’re lucky enough to see a dermatologist, demand a patch test. We know it can be a time consuming process to get referred, but it’s worth it if it helps you understand your condition better.
Other triggers to be aware of are:
- Harsh or fragranced soaps
- Fabric softener
- Household cleaners
4. Relieve stress
You may not have been aware, but stress and the state of your skin are inextricably linked.
When you’re anxious or stressed, your body releases a number of hormones in the body that can lead to inflammation. This in turn can negatively impact your skin, and exacerbate any symptoms you might have already been experiencing.
Because of this, it’s vital you prioritise your own mental health and emotional wellbeing - even when life seems too busy to do so.
Meditation, mindfulness and exercise can be great strategies to help - jump over to our social channels @yanyeeskincare to find out more.
So there we have it. Hopefully discoid eczema doesn’t seem quite so dastardly after all.
What have we missed out? Jump over to our Twitter page and share your story!
The yan-yee team
- Ringworm (body). (2019). Link
- Effects of stress on your skin. (2019). Link
- Nummular dermatitis. (n.d.). Link
- Poudel RR, et al. (2015). Nummular eczema. Link