Eczema: Knowing all the Different Types

Posted on : 08.07.2015

Eczema is a common skin condition that affects many, but did you know that there are different types? The terms eczema and dermatitis are generally used interchangeably and the characteristics include itching, redness, scaling and inflammation of the skin.

Here are some of the eczema types people often suffer from.

Contact (also known as contact dermatitis)

Contact eczema is an exogenous kind, which means that the cause is an external trigger.  This eczema type is caused by direct irritation of the skin, usually by a reaction to jewellery, perfumes or strong soaps.  It can commonly occur on the hands and face, and particularly with certain occupations including hairdressers, mechanics, cleaners or nurses1.


Atopic (also known as dermatitis) can occur all over the body, as opposed to contact dermatitis which occurs at the point of contact with an irritant/allergen. This eczema type is often associated with asthma and allergies, but not in all cases1.

A main characteristic of atopic dermatitis is the itch which can become unbearable. It is often called the ‘itch that rashes’ because the itch comes first, which is scratched that then starts the ‘itch-scratch’ cycle that leads to redness, rash and inflammation.

Flare ups of atopic can be caused by certain triggers, such as soaps, detergents, house-dust mites, pollens, animal dander, and overheating2.  Some foods may aggravate the condition, and it is estimated that particular foods can trigger this condition in about 10% of children1.


Essentially this is eczema of the sebaceous areas of the body, primarily the face and scalp.

Dandruff is seen as a precursor to seborrhoeic’s condition. The dandruff symptoms can change to redness, increased scaling much like eczema and irritation to the skin.

The three listed above are some examples eczema types that can occur. If you suffer from this condition, consult your doctor for further information. An accurate diagnosis and a dermatologist can provide you a tailored treatment plan to help the discomfort.


1 Champion RH, Burton JL, Burns, DA & Breathnach, SM (eds).  Textbook of Dermatology:  6th edition.  Blackwell Science: Oxford, 1998.  p.629-736
2 National Eczema Society. Types of eczema. [online]. [cited 11-07-2013]. Available from URL:

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