Nummular Eczema / khaaj : What is it? Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment


Nummular Eczema or Discoid Eczema is a type of dermatitis that causes coin-shaped lesions on your skin. The name nummular is a Latin term meaning resembling coins. These coin-shaped lesions that occur on the skin are itchy and red in appearance. As time goes by these lesions could ease out a clear fluid or become dry and crusty.

This is a chronic skin condition, which means that you’ll always be prone to this condition lifelong. The symptoms themselves last for several months and could recur if you encounter the stimulus causing this condition.

Nummular Eczema or khaaj isn’t a contagious condition and cannot be transmitted by sharing towels and other things. The coin-shaped lesions can appear individually or they can be more in number distributed all over the body, mostly affecting the lower legs, hands, forearms and sometimes trunk.

According to the American Academy of Dermatology, this condition affects men more than women. For men, the first episode is around the age of 50-65, whereas for women it’s earlier.

Nummular Eczema / khaaj Symptoms

Even Though this is not contagious it can spread on your body. The symptoms include coin-shaped lesions that are red and itchy. Some might even burn and cause more irritation.

They could let out fluid or could continue to be dry and scaly, with the skin around these lesions being inflamed. Other than these symptoms, if you have nummular eczema and it continues to exist then it could also develop an infection, in which case the lesions and skin could turn yellowish in colour and scaly, at this time it’s best to pay your dermatologist a visit.

Eczema (or khaaj) Causes

Most of the time it’s seen that the people who face this condition of a family history of Atopic dermatitis, allergies or asthma. Other than this nummular eczema is most likely to affect people who have dry skin and who are at a higher risk when they use soaps, and detergents as this could cause their skin to react.

The environment is another factor that plays an important role in this skin condition. It’s seen to be more prevalent during winters, as this causes the skin to dry up. Another external factor could be allergens. Most people are allergic to metals for example and this could cause nummular eczema.

It’s also noticed that the people who have nummular eczema also have atopic dermatitis, as they both have similar causes. Stress is another factor that can play a role in causing this condition and may at times worsen the condition as well.

Other than the causes mentioned above nummular eczema occurs when after a skin injury such as a burn or an insect bite. Having any type of bacterial infection, and poor blood flow on the lower part of your body can also cause this to happen.


To diagnose a person the doctor might just do a physical examination, by looking at the symptoms and identify if it’s caused due to nummular eczema. Other than this the doctor might also have to do a skin biopsy to rule out any other type of skin conditions that resemble the same.

What is the difference between Ringworm and Nummular Dermatitis?

One of the common confusions that the patients have is between nummular eczema and ringworms. Ringworm is something very different because it’s caused due to fungal infections, whereas the cause for Nummular dermatitis is still unknown, and is mostly believed to be dry skin.

khaaj (or Eczema) Treatments

The medical treatment for nummular eczema is mostly moisturizing with emollients, and other moisturizers recommended by the dermatologist. This is the common treatment for people with a less aggressive form of skin condition.

If you have a more aggressive condition then steroid creams are prescribed to apply topically, you might also be given an oral prescription of steroids. Along with this, you could also give antibiotics in case you have infections.

Other than this there are certain things that you could do to avoid this condition. Such as avoiding materials or substances that irritate your skin and cause an allergic reaction. Using harsh soaps that could further go ahead and dry your skin can also cause this. Avoid stressful situations and make sure to moisturize your skin during dry seasons.

Is Nummular Eczema/khaaj contagious?

No, Nummular Eczema is not contagious and it cannot spread from one person to another, however it can spread to different parts of the patient’s body itself.

How long does Nummular Eczema last?

Depending on the cause and the treatment that you are on, it could last for a minimum of 2 weeks to a maximum of several months.

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Dr Jisha Gomez

She is a highly skilled dermatology physician with strong expertise in improving skin & hair health through the development of corrective treatment combinations. She completed her Post-graduate Diploma in Dermatology from Cardiff, UK & Fellowship in Aesthetic Medicine (FAM) from the Institute of Laser and Aesthetic Medicine, Delhi with over 5+ years experience treating skin patients. She has worked in Government hospitals in Trivandrum and Bangalore. She is actively involved in creating awareness for healthy skin, breaking the social stigma based on skin colour & stopping steroid abuse in our country.