Nummular eczema is a chronic skin condition that causes coin-shaped, discolored lesions to appear. The causes remain unclear, and there is no cure. However, the condition is not contagious, and treatment may lessen the symptoms.

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Nummular eczema can also cause other symptoms, including itching and areas of inflamed skin.

This article looks at the causes, symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment of nummular eczema. It also discusses other types of eczema.

The causes of nummular eczema are not clear, according to the National Eczema Association. However, several factors may trigger the condition, including damage to the skin’s barrier, such as a cut, scrape, burn, or insect bite. Nummular eczema may also occur as a result of the skin being very dry or sensitive.

In people with contact dermatitis, nummular eczema may develop as a reaction to that type of eczema and its triggers, which can vary but may include detergents, hair dye, and nickel.

Stress may also result in eczema flare-ups, including the nummular form of the condition.

The American Academy of Dermatology Association (AAD) state that males generally get nummular dermatitis more often than females. They also note that whereas males typically get it between the ages of 55 and 65 years, it tends to present in females during their teenage years or young adulthood.

People with nummular eczema may experience several symptoms, including:

  • Coin-shaped, discolored lesions on the skin: These may range in color from red or pink to brown.
  • Burning or itching sensations: These sensations may be severe.
  • Inflamed or scaly skin: People may notice these skin changes around a lesion.
  • Lesions on the legs and hands: Usually, nummular eczema lesions develop on a person’s hands and fingers. However, they may also appear on the arms, legs, feet, and shoulders.

The appearance of eczema can vary in different skin tones. For example, people with black skin may notice gray, purple, or dark brown patches.

Learn more about how eczema looks on black skin here.

A doctor may take several steps to diagnose nummular eczema. These may include:

  • performing a visual examination of the skin, focusing on any itchy patches
  • taking a history of the symptoms, including the start and duration of the itchiness
  • asking about any self-treatment
  • taking a bacteriological swab to check for infection
  • doing an allergy test or referring a person to get one

Nummular eczema is a chronic condition for which there is currently no cure. However, various treatment options may lessen the symptoms. The most effective options will depend on the stage and possible causes of eczema, along with any other skin conditions.

Usually, the aim of initial treatment is to help stop a person from touching the affected skin areas. It may involve:

  • topically applied corticosteroids, which can help reduce inflammation in the affected areas
  • doxepin or capsaicin creams to lessen the itch
  • certain antihistamines that have a sedative effect, which may help people with intense itching to fall asleep and stay asleep
  • moisturizers, which can reduce painful flare-ups and the need for steroid use

According to the AAD, other treatments can include applying a solution of dichloromethane and aspirin to itchy patches of skin or using tacrolimus ointment or pimecrolimus cream. Sometimes, a doctor may suggest botulinum toxin (Botox) injections or phototherapy.

If the person has wounds or an infection, a doctor will also prescribe medication.

Some people may find that making lifestyle changes can also help reduce eczema symptoms. These measures can include following a specific eczema elimination diet and taking steps to minimize stress.

Eczema is the term for several conditions that cause inflamed skin, including nummular eczema. Below, we list five other types of eczema.

Atopic eczema

About 30% of the population of the United States has atopic dermatitis, according to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. A person with this chronic condition may have itchy, dry skin that can crack, bleed, or become infected.

Learn how to treat atopic eczema here.

Allergic eczema

Contact dermatitis is also known as allergic eczema, and it can be a long lasting issue. When a person’s skin comes into contact with an allergen, this triggers the symptoms. The condition affected almost 13% of children in the U.S. between 2007 and 2008.

Learn more about allergic eczema here.

Dyshidrotic eczema

The symptoms of this type of eczema, which people sometimes refer to as pompholyx, generally involve blisters on the hands and feet, which intense itching or a burning sensation may sometimes accompany. Topical steroids and moisturizers are the first-line treatment for dyshidrotic eczema.

Learn more about dyshidrotic eczema here.


Neurodermatitis, or lichen simplex chronicus, initially presents as an itch, with a rash typically developing when a person scratches the itchy patch of skin. The patches can develop anywhere on the body.

Standard treatments include anti-itching medications, such as antihistamines and corticosteroids.

Learn more about lichenification here.

Stasis eczema

Stasis eczema develops when a person has poor blood flow, which generally affects the lower legs. Therefore, stasis eczema generally appears on or close to a person’s ankles. Doctors may also call the condition gravitational dermatitis, venous stasis dermatitis, venous eczema, or varicose eczema.

The lesions in stasis eczema can progress into ulcers, so early recognition of this condition is essential.

Learn more about varicose eczema here.

Nummular eczema is one of several types of eczema. It generally causes itchy, disc-shaped spots that may become chronic. The condition can develop after the skin becomes damaged or because of an allergic reaction to a substance or irritant. Some people find that stress plays a role.

There is currently no cure for nummular eczema. However, treatments to ease the symptoms may include antihistamines, corticosteroids, phototherapy, and lifestyle changes.