What is the definition of Nummular Eczema?

Nummular eczema is a dermatitis (eczema) in which itchy, coin-shaped spots or patches appear on the skin. The word nummular is Latin for "resembling coins."

What are the alternative names for Nummular Eczema?

Eczema - discoid; Nummular dermatitis

What are the causes for Nummular Eczema?

The cause of nummular eczema is unknown. But there usually is a personal or family history of:

  • Allergies
  • Asthma
  • Atopic dermatitis

Things that can make the condition worse include:

  • Dry skin
  • Environmental irritants
  • Temperature changes
  • Stress

What are the symptoms for Nummular Eczema?

Symptoms may include any of the following:

  • Coin-shaped areas of the skin (lesions) that are red, dry, itchy, and scaly, and appear on the arms and legs
  • Lesions may spread to middle of body
  • Lesions may ooze and become crusty

What are the current treatments for Nummular Eczema?

Eczema is often treated with medicines applied to the skin. These are called topical medicines, and may include:

  • A mild cortisone (steroid) cream or ointment at first. You may need a stronger medicine if this does not work.
  • Other ointments or creams that help quiet the immune response may be prescribed for anyone over 2 years old, often for use on the face or other sensitive areas.
  • Creams or ointments that contain coal tar may be used for thickened areas.

You may also be asked to try the wet wrap treatment. This involves the following steps:

  • Soak the skin in lukewarm water for about 10 minutes.
  • Apply petroleum jelly (such as Vaseline) or corticosteroid ointment to the lesions.
  • Wrapping the affected area with wet bandages to keep the skin moist. This also helps the medicine work. If larger areas of the body are affected, you can wear damp pajamas or a sauna suit.
  • Follow your provider's instructions for how long to keep the area covered, and how many times a day to do the wet wrap treatment.

The following measures may help improve your symptoms or prevent them from returning if your skin has cleared:

  • Use lukewarm water when bathing and showering. Hot water can dry and irritate the skin. Take shorter or fewer baths or showers.
  • Don't use soap. It can dry the skin. Use a gentle, mild cleanser instead.
  • Ask your provider about adding bath oil to bath water.
  • After bathing or showering, pat the lesions dry and apply lotion before the skin is all dry.
  • Wear loose clothing. Tight clothing can rub and irritate the skin. Avoid wearing rough fabrics, such as wool, next to the skin.
  • Use a humidifier in your home to help moisten the air.

What is the outlook (prognosis) for Nummular Eczema?

Nummular eczema is a long-term (chronic) condition. Medical treatment and avoiding irritants can help reduce symptoms.

What are the possible complications for Nummular Eczema?

A secondary infection of the skin may develop.

When should I contact a medical professional for Nummular Eczema?

Contact your provider if you have symptoms of this condition.

Also contact your provider if:

  • Symptoms continue despite treatment
  • You have signs of infection (such as fever, redness, or pain)

How do I prevent Nummular Eczema?

There is no known way to prevent the disorder.


Habif TP. Eczema and hand dermatitis. In: Habif TP, ed. Clinical Dermatology: A Color Guide to Diagnosis and Therapy. 6th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2016:chap 3.

James WD, Elston DM, Treat JR, Rosenbach MA, Neuhaus IM. Eczema, atopic dermatitis, and noninfectious immunodeficiency disorders. In: James WD, Elston DM, Treat JR, Rosenbach MA, Neuhaus IM, eds. Andrews' Diseases of the Skin. 13th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 5.

  • Condition: Nummular Eczema Phenotype of Atopic Dermatitis
  • Journal: Dermatologic therapy
  • Treatment Used: Dupilumab
  • Number of Patients: 30
  • Published —
This study tested the safety and efficacy of using dupilumab to treat patients with nummular eczema phenotype of atopic dermatitis.
  • Condition: Severe Nummular Eczema in Children
  • Journal: Pediatric dermatology
  • Treatment Used: Methotrexate
  • Number of Patients: 28
  • Published —
In this study, researchers evaluated the safety and effectiveness of methotrexate for the treatment of severe nummular eczema in children.