Eczema lesions are small round or oval bumps on the skin that result from nummular or discoid eczema. They may be itchy, ooze liquid, and have a crusted top layer.

Eczema, which doctors sometimes call atopic dermatitis, is a noncontagious skin condition that causes itching, redness or discoloration, and rashes. A person with eczema may experience pain as a result.

According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, approximately 7.3% of adults in the United States have eczema. Of those, about 40% have moderate or severe symptoms.

Sometimes, a person may develop eczema lesions if they have a form of the condition known as nummular or discoid eczema. These lesions may be small, bumpy, and round or oval. They may also ooze liquid or have a crusted layer on top.

In this article, we look at eczema lesions. We cover what eczema lesions are, the symptoms, possible causes, treatment options, and prevention methods.

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Nummular eczema can appear as itchy, crusted lesions on the skin. Image credit: OliverCh/Shutterstock

Eczema is a skin condition that can occur anywhere on the body. It can cause pain, itchiness, skin irritation, and lesions.

According to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, a person can develop eczema at any age. The condition is not contagious.

There are several types of eczema, including:

  • atopic dermatitis
  • dyshidrotic eczema
  • contact dermatitis
  • nummular or discoid eczema
  • neurodermatitis
  • seborrheic dermatitis
  • stasis dermatitis

A person with nummular or discoid eczema may develop eczema lesions on the skin. These are oval- or coin-shaped bumps that may be itchy and raised and have fuzzy edges. Scaly or inflamed skin may surround these lesions.

Read more about nummular eczema here.

Symptoms of nummular or discoid eczema include:

  • the sudden appearance of round or oval lesions on the arms, legs, torso, or hands
  • itchy skin
  • a burning sensation
  • liquid oozing from the lesions or crusting over the top
  • discolored, inflamed, or scaly skin surrounding the lesions

According to the National Eczema Society, these lesions:

  • begin with a slightly bumpy surface with fuzzy edges
  • usually appear on the lower legs, trunk, forearms, hands, or fingers
  • can become raised lumps or blisters that ooze liquid after a few days
  • may become itchy, crusted, or infected
  • may become scaly, clear in the center, dry, and flaky after some time

The lesions may clear up and then reappear in different places or in the same place, any time from 10 days to a few months later.

Read more about eczema here.

The National Eczema Association states that the exact cause of nummular or discoid eczema is unclear. However, dry, sensitive skin or trauma such as insect bites, scrapes, or chemical burns may contribute to the development of the condition.

According to the American Academy of Dermatology Association (AAD), dry skin is the usual reason for this type of eczema.

The following are common triggers:

  • stress
  • dry air
  • heat or humidity
  • skin injuries, including insect bites and scrapes
  • skin infection
  • heavy alcohol consumption
  • new medications that cause dry skin

The aim of the treatment for eczema lesions is to reduce pain and itching and clear the skin.

Doctors may treat the lesions in the following ways:

  • Over-the-counter creams: These creams can help moisturize the skin, which may reduce symptoms. Doctors may recommend fragrance-free, hypoallergenic creams that people can buy without a prescription. Some of these creams can also help eliminate any infections that may develop as a result of eczema.
  • Prescription creams: A healthcare professional may provide a person with a prescription for a product such as a corticosteroid ointment, tacrolimus ointment, or tar cream. These products can help reduce pain, inflammation, and itchiness.
  • Antihistamines: A person may find antihistamines beneficial to manage the itching sensation before going to sleep.
  • Corticosteroid injections: For severe cases in which creams have not worked, a person may receive a corticosteroid injection into the affected skin area. This can help reduce inflammation. However, a person can receive only a limited number of these injections with a certain amount of time in between.
  • Phototherapy: This is a type of light therapy that exposes the affected skin to UV light to reduce symptoms. A person generally receives this treatment in a doctor’s office, hospital, or phototherapy center.

Home remedies

Alongside their treatment from a doctor, a person may wish to try some home remedies to help manage symptoms.

The AAD advises the following for individuals with eczema lesions:

  • Take daily baths or showers in lukewarm water for up to 20 minutes.
  • Add hydrating bath oil to a daily bath.
  • Apply moisturizer to damp skin.
  • Use a mild, nondrying cleanser to wash the skin.
  • Wear loose-fitting cotton clothing.
  • Avoid sitting near heat sources.
  • Use a humidifier while sleeping.

Read more about home remedies for eczema here.

If a person has dry skin, they may be more likely to develop skin lesions due to nummular or discoid eczema.

If a person knows they may be likely to develop this type of eczema, they may wish to try the following to attempt to prevent it:

  • Use a humidifier while sleeping or when the air feels dry.
  • Apply a fragrance-free, hypoallergenic daily moisturizing cream to damp skin.
  • Take baths or showers in lukewarm water for no more than 20 minutes.
  • Try to avoid skin injuries.
  • Avoid skin exposure to harsh chemicals such as cleaning products.
  • Take steps to manage stress levels.
  • Avoid overheating.
  • Wear loose-fitting cotton clothing.
  • Avoid excess alcohol consumption.

Eczema lesions often occur as a result of nummular eczema, which people may also call discoid eczema. These lesions may appear as oval or round bumps that may be itchy and have a crusted layer on top. Scaly or inflamed skin may surround these lesions.

Medical professionals do not yet fully know the cause of this type of eczema. However, it often occurs in people with very dry skin.

Most people will use either prescription or nonprescription creams to try to clear up these lesions. If creams do not work, a person may receive corticosteroid injections or phototherapy. People can also take steps to manage the condition themselves at home.