A rash is your body’s way of letting you know something is irritating it, but figuring out what’s causing the itching and redness can be tricky.
At Easton Dermatology Associates, our team of skin experts specialize in getting to the bottom of rashes. “Eczema” is an umbrella term that encompasses several of the most common types of rashes. Here, we describe the symptoms of each, so you can zero in on what’s causing your rash.
The most prevalent form of eczema is atopic dermatitis. It usually starts in childhood and gradually subsides over the years. Atopic dermatitis is known for its connection with two other conditions: hay fever and asthma. These three often go hand-in-hand.
Typical symptoms of atopic dermatitis
Classic signs of atopic dermatitis include:
- Skin color changes: lighter to darker or darker to lighter
- Thickened skin
- Crease rashes inside the elbows and knees
- Scalp and cheek rashes on babies
- Oozing bumps
- Infection after scratching
Often, atopic dermatitis is genetic, but anything that weakens your skin can make you susceptible to this type of eczema, including extremely dry skin, environmental factors, and a compromised immune system.
As its name suggests, contact dermatitis is caused by something that contacts your skin. There are two subtypes of this condition: Allergic contact dermatitis occurs when your immune system reacts to something you’ve touched, and irritant contact dermatitis occurs when a chemical substance irritates your skin.
Typical symptoms of contact dermatitis
Contact dermatitis typically involves skin color and texture changes. For example, if you have contact dermatitis, you may notice:
- Bright red, pink, or magenta skin
- Hive-like bumps
- Blisters that ooze and crust over
- Burning and stinging sensation
If you don’t seek treatment, contact dermatitis can lead to thickened skin that turns scaly, rough, and leathery.
Again, the clue is in the name: hand eczema affects your hands only.
Typical symptoms of hand eczema
The telltale signs of hand eczema include:
- Red, chapped hands
- Itchy skin
- Dry skin that leads to cracking
Hand eczema is common among folks in jobs that involve the use of chemicals. Hairdressers, nurses and doctors, cleaning personnel, laundry professionals, and dry cleaners are all familiar with hand eczema.
If you have eczema on your hands and your feet, you may have dyshidrotic eczema, a form of the condition that develops on the palms and soles.
Typical symptoms of dyshidrotic eczema
Clues your rash may be dyshidrotic eczema include:
- Blisters on the palms of your hands and on the soles of your feet
- Blisters on your fingers and toes
- Scaly or flaky skin
- Dry, cracked skin
Some cases of dyshidrotic eczema stem from allergies to certain substances, but stress can also trigger it, as can smoking tobacco and chronic dampness.
This type of eczema is related to a blood circulation problem. Chronic venous insufficiency can weaken the one-way valves in your leg veins and cause blood to pool in one area. These vessels, called varicose veins, become visible through the surface of your skin. If the fluid leaks out of the veins and into your skin tissue, you develop stasis dermatitis.
Typical symptoms of stasis dermatitis
As fluid leaks out of your veins, it seeps into your skin tissue and causes:
In addition to varicose veins, your legs may have dry, itchy skin and feel heavy, swollen, and achy.
From the Latin word for “coin,” nummular eczema causes coin-shaped rashes.
Typical symptoms of nummular eczema
The classic symptoms of nummular eczema include:
- Round, rashy spots
Metals, chemicals, and insect bites are the most common causes of nummular eczema.
If you recognize any of these symptoms, call us to schedule an appointment at any of our three locations. We can confirm the type of eczema and get you started on effective treatments.