Nummular eczema is a chronic skin condition that causes raised, round spots on your skin. The coin-shaped lesions are often itchy, sometimes ooze clear fluid and may become crusty. The condition usually responds well to treatment, but episodes can recur even after successful treatment. Several skincare strategies can prevent and ease flare-ups.
Nummular eczema is a skin condition that causes circular, raised spots on your skin. Nummular comes from a Latin word for “coin,” and the patches are coin-shaped. The lesions are often itchy, sometimes ooze clear fluid and may become crusty on top.
The condition is chronic. Patches can last for weeks to months, and flare-ups or episodes can repeatedly happen over a long period of time.
Nummular eczema is also called nummular dermatitis and discoid eczema.
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Ringworm and nummular eczema both cause circular patches on your skin. But the causes and treatments are different.
Ringworm is a contagious skin infection caused by a fungus. Nummular dermatitis is a type of eczema rather than a fungal infection. Ringworm tends to appear as one or two patches on your skin, but nummular eczema often causes multiple patches.
Nummular dermatitis isn’t a fungus, and it’s not contagious.
It can be difficult to tell the difference between eczema and psoriasis.
Psoriasis tends to cause thick scales on your skin. Nummular eczema causes bumps that may ooze and become crusty. Eczema tends to be itchier than psoriasis.
Discoid eczema (nummular eczema) can affect anyone, but it’s more common among men or people assigned male at birth. It tends to occur in:
Scientists aren’t sure why nummular dermatitis occurs, but it may be triggered by:
Although stress doesn’t cause discoid (nummular) eczema directly, some research shows that it can contribute to flare-ups.
Nummular eczema lesions usually appear on your arms, legs, hands or torso. The early signs are tiny bumps or blisters. The bumps may join together into a coin-like shape. They often leak clear fluid and become crusty on top.
Nummular dermatitis spots tend to be intensely itchy. Your skin may burn or sting.
The color of the lesions may vary, depending on your skin tone. They may be pink, red or brown. They can be lighter than your skin or darker.
Nummular eczema isn’t contagious. You can’t spread it to other people, and it won’t spread on your own body, but you may get additional patches in other areas.
For diagnosis, consider visiting a dermatologist, who specializes in skin conditions. They can tell the difference between ringworm, nummular dermatitis, psoriasis, additional types of eczema and other skin conditions.
Your healthcare provider can usually diagnose nummular eczema by examining your skin. Tests are generally not necessary, but sometimes, a healthcare provider will scrape your skin and look at it under a microscope.
There’s no cure for this condition. Treatment aims to:
To help clear nummular dermatitis flare-ups, your healthcare provider may prescribe topical treatments. These creams or ointments are applied to your skin:
Some people with broad areas of discoid eczema have difficulty covering all spots with topical treatments. Healthcare providers may suggest ultraviolet light therapy two to three times per week or oral corticosteroids.
Researchers continue to study additional treatment options.
To reduce your risk of discoid eczema flare-ups, try these skincare strategies:
With correct diagnosis, treatment and self-care, nummular eczema usually clears up.
The nummular eczema healing process usually takes one to several weeks. The spots will flatten, get lighter in the middle and disappear.
Nummular eczema is a chronic condition, which means you can have additional episodes after successful treatment. You may experience flare-ups every few months or years.
To ease the symptoms of nummular dermatitis at home, use the prevention tips above. Also:
If you have nummular eczema, you should talk to a healthcare provider and receive treatment. They can help you clear the flare-up more quickly and prevent infection.
During treatment, call for any signs of infection, such as:
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Nummular eczema is a skin condition that causes raised, coin-shaped lesions on your skin. If you have any unusual spots on your skin, talk to a healthcare provider such as a dermatologist. They can differentiate between fungal infections such as ringworm, chronic problems such as eczema and other skin conditions.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 04/19/2022.
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