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What is Discoid Eczema? And How to Treat it?

Most people are familiar with the skin condition eczema, however what many people don’t know is that there are several different types of eczema. Each type has its own causes, symptoms and treatments.

Discoid Eczema is one type of eczema. It is a rash that appears on the skin that looks like red coin-shaped discs, causing inflammation, itching and can be incredibly uncomfortable. Discoid Eczema is also known as nummular dermatitis or nummular eczema, due to its coin like shape.

It can appear on all parts of the body, although it’s typically found on the lower legs, hands and forearms. Unfortunately, Discoid Eczema is a chronic condition, which means it is long term. Fortunately, there are ways to manage the condition, reducing itching and discomfort.


Like most skin conditions, the causes are unknown. However, this condition is most likely to affect people with dry, sensitive skin that is easily irritated by body products and detergents. People who already suffer from atopic eczema may find they are more prone to Discoid Eczema, but it is also more common throughout the winter months as the dry air can drastically affect our skin.


Symptoms vary from person to person, but may include:

  • Round or oval shaped red plaques
  • Raised and scaling on a red base that has a defined edge
  • Extremely itchy
  • Patch sizes can range from 2-10cm
  • Weeping and pus (could be a sign of infection)
  • Burning or stinging
  • Very dry and scaly

Diagnosing Discoid Eczema

If you suspect you may have Discoid Eczema, see your doctor. They will assess your skin, and can refer you to a dermatologist or skin specialist for further treatment. In some cases, they might take a sample of your legions to test and rule out ringworm.


Unfortunately there is no cure for Discoid Eczema, however there are many ways to relieve the symptoms. When it comes to treating dry skin conditions, the main focus is on rehydrating and protecting the skin.

Emollient cream

The most popular treatment for Discoid Eczema is an emollient cream. Emollient treatments work to protect, moisturise and lubricate the skin and are perfect for soothing dry skin conditions.

Natural oil

There are many other at-home treatments you can try, for example, bathing an a natural oil. This allows the oil to penetrate deep into the skin, replacing the lost moisture and rehydrating your skin. After bathing, you can massage the excess oil into the skin and then pat the skin dry to avoid wiping away the oil. If you don’t have a bath, you can massage the oil directly into the skin before you jump in the shower. This will protect your skin from the water which can dry out your skin. Follow with your emollient cream for even more hydration.

Because the skin is so dry, it’s important to apply your oil and cream topically throughout the day (2-4 times daily) to reduce the itch. During the night this can be difficult, so if you find yourself ripping your skin apart to relieve the itch, try bandaging the affected area.

Read our handy how to guide here.

Prevention & management

Once you have your Discoid Eczema under control, there are ways to prevent it returning. Here are our top tips for prevention:

  • Always moisturise and take regular oil baths
  • Never rub the skin dry, always pat it
  • Try not to use harsh chemical soaps that could be stripping the natural oils from your skin
  • Wear loose fitted clothing
  • Avoid super hot baths and showers

While living with a skin condition such as Discoid Eczema can be frustrating, taking care of yourself and working to prevent and manage the condition can help to maintain healthy skin.