6 Doctor-Approved Tips for Getting Rid of Nummular Eczema for Good

Nummular eczema also goes by nummular dermatitis and discoid eczema, but whatever you call it, these sores can be pretty stubborn. Don't despair—we've got expert tips that will help.

Moisturize

nummular eczemaCourtesy American Academy of DermatologyThis is extremely important, says Michele S. Green, MD, a dermatologist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, and don’t be stingy. Apply moisturizer generously on the affected skin at least twice a day, preferably when skin is damp to lock in moisture. The National Eczema Association gave its seal of approval to Avène XeraCalm A.D Lipid-Replenishing Balm and CeraVe Itch Relief Moisturizing Cream and Cetaphil RESTORADERM Eczema Calming Moisturizer.

Take cooling oatmeal baths

Hot water can further irritate nummular eczema, so when bathing or showering, go for cooler water and don’t spend more than 15 minutes bathing. “Adding colloidal oatmeal to your bath can help relieve itching that can occur with all types of eczema,” Dr. Green says. Some products, such as Aveeno Baby Cleansing Therapy Moisturizing Wash, contain healing colloidal oatmeal. (You can also DIY by pouring one cup of store-bought oatmeal to your lukewarm bath as it fills.)

Know when to step up your nummular eczema treatment

Nummular eczema treatment is similar to treatments of other forms of eczema, and sometimes bathing and moisturizing just isn’t enough to get rid of the condition. Steroid creams are available OTC and as prescriptions, when dermatologists need the big guns to treat nummular eczema. Sometimes, steroids may not be appropriate due to risks like skin thinning. In those cases, non-steroid topicals, such as tacrolimus (Protopic) or pimecrolimus (Elidel), can help. These creams block an immune system chemical called calcineurin that plays a role in the inflammation. Another topical crisaborole (Eucrisa) blocks PDE4 enzymes within the skin that have been linked to inflammation. “The important thing is that we have a lot of options to treat nummular eczema,” says Jeffrey Fromowitz, MD, FAAD, a dermatologist in Boca Raton, FL. These are the eczema treatments that dermatologists use on themselves.

Look out for signs of infection

nummular eczemaCourtesy American Academy of DermatologySometimes, nummular eczema can become infected, often by staph bacteria. How can you tell? The coin-shaped sore may develop a yellowish crust. See your dermatologist as you may need a topical or oral antibiotic to kill the infection.

Break the cycle

This is key for all forms of eczema including nummular eczema, Dr. Fromowitz says. “Once the skin barrier disruption occurs, the inflammatory cycle starts, and that means itching and scratching,” he explains. “When we scratch an itch, our body releases more itch-causing histamines. We need to break the itch-scratch cycle to allow the skin barrier to heal.” Frequent moisturizing can repair the barrier and help break this cycle. Sometimes, prescription-strength barrier repair creams like EpiCeram are warranted, he says. In addition, oral antihistamines may help you sleep through the itch of nummular eczema. Make sure you don’t forget these nine things everyone with eczema needs to know.

Be patient

It can take a while for nummular eczema to fade. “It takes a minimum of two weeks for it to go away once treatment starts,” Dr. Fromowitz says. “There is also a protracted period of time for redness and pigmentation changes to resolve.” If you want to alleviate symptoms in the meantime, try out these all-natural eczema treatments you can make at home.

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Denise Mann, MS
Denise Mann is a freelance health writer whose articles regularly appear in WebMD, HealthDay, and other consumer health portals. She has received numerous awards, including the Arthritis Foundation's Northeast Region Prize for Online Journalism; the Excellence in Women's Health Research Journalism Award; the Journalistic Achievement Award from the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery; National Newsmaker of the Year by the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America; the Gold Award for Best Service Journalism from the Magazine Association of the Southeast; a Bronze Award from The American Society of Healthcare Publication Editors (for a cover story she wrote in Plastic Surgery Practice magazine); and an honorable mention in the International Osteoporosis Foundation Journalism Awards. She was part of the writing team awarded a 2008 Sigma Delta Chi award for her part in a WebMD series on autism. Her first foray into health reporting was with the Medical Tribune News Service, where her articles appeared regularly in such newspapers as the Detroit Free Press, Chicago Sun-Times, Dallas Morning News, and Los Angeles Daily News. Mann received a graduate degree from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill., and her undergraduate degree from Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pa. She lives in New York with her husband David; sons Teddy and Evan; and their miniature schnauzer, Perri Winkle Blu.