Dermatitis: A condition to care for


Dermatitis is a general term that refers to inflammation of the skin. It can be causative by a variety of factors, including allergies, irritants, and underlying medical conditions. Symptoms may include redness, itching, and dry or scaly skin. There are several different types of dermatitis. Including atopic, contact dermatitis, and seborrheic dermatitis. Each with their own specific symptoms and causes. Treatment for dermatitis typically involves avoiding triggers, using moisturizers and anti-inflammatory medications, and in some cases, taking oral or topical medications.

What are the types of dermatitis?

There are several different types of dermatitis, including:

  • Atopic dermatitis (eczema) – a chronic, itchy skin condition that is often associates itself with allergies and asthma.
  • Contact dermatitis – occurs when the skin comes into contact with an irritant or allergen, such as poison ivy or certain chemicals.
  • Seborrheic dermatitis – a common condition that causes a red, scaly rash on the face, scalp, and other oily areas of the body.
  • Stasis eczema – a condition that occurs when blood flow is poor in the legs, resulting in itchiness and discoloration.
  • Neurodermatitis – chronic skin condition that results in chronic scratching and rubbing of the skin.
  • Perioral eczema – a skin condition that causes a rash around the mouth
  • Discoid eczema – coin-shaped patches of eczema that usually appear on the legs, but can also appear on other parts of the body.
  • Varicose eczema – a type of eczema caused by poor circulation, usually affecting the lower legs.

Each type of dermatitis has its own set of symptoms and triggers, and treatment options may vary depending on the specific type.

What are the symptoms of Dermatitis?

The symptoms can vary depending on the type of dermatitis, but some common symptoms include:

  • Itching: This is often the most prominent symptom , and can range from mild to severe.
  • Redness: The skin may appear red or inflamed, especially around the affected area.
  • Dryness: The skin may appear dry, scaly, or flaky.
  • Rashes or bumps: The skin may develop rashes, bumps, or blisters, which can be crusty or weepy.
  • Swelling: The affecting area may form a bump or swelling.
  • Cracking or fissuring: The skin may crack or develop deep fissures.
  • Burning or stinging sensation

It is worth noting that some types of dermatitis may have more specific symptoms, such as scaling and crusting in seborrheic type, or discoloration, thickening and varicose veins in stasis type.

If you suspect you have dermatitis, it’s important to see a dermatologist to get a proper diagnosis and treatment plan.

Diagnosis of the skin disease:

Diagnosis depends on several combination of factors. Including the patient’s medical history, symptoms, and a physical examination of the affected skin.

During the examination, the dermatologist will look for characteristic signs of dermatitis, such as redness, itching, dryness, and rashes. They may also take a skin scraping or skin biopsy to rule out other conditions or to confirm the diagnosis.

If an allergen is causing Dermatitis, patch testing may be done to identify the specific allergen causing the reaction.

Once the diagnosis is made, the dermatologist will recommend a treatment plan based on the type of dermatitis and the severity of the condition.

It’s worth noting that some skin conditions may have similar symptoms to it, so a correct diagnosis is crucial for effective treatment.

Dermatitis treatment:

Treatment depends on the type of dermatitis and the severity of the condition, but generally the treatment consist of a combination of self-care measures and medications.

Some self-care measures include:

  • Moisturizing the skin regularly: This can help to prevent dryness and itching.
  • Avoiding irritants and allergens: Identifying and avoiding triggers such as certain soaps, detergents, or other chemicals can help to prevent flare-ups.
  • Keeping the skin cool: Use lukewarm water instead of hot water when bathing or showering, and avoid excessive sweating.
  • Not scratching the affected area: Scratching can make the condition worse and may lead to infection.

Medications that may be effective to treat dermatitis include:

  • Topical corticosteroids: These can help to reduce inflammation and itching.
  • Topical calcineurin inhibitors: These medications find use in suppressing the immune system and can help to reduce inflammation and itching.
  • Antihistamines: These can help to reduce itching and improve sleep.
  • Oral or topical antibiotics: If infection is on skin, doctors prescribe antibiotics.
  • UV light therapy or phototherapy: This treatment can be helpful for some types of dermatitis.

In some cases, a combination of treatments may be needed to manage the symptoms and improve the overall condition of the skin. In severe cases, systemic medications such as immunosuppressants may be prescribed. But this is usually done in consultation with a dermatologist.

It’s worth mentioning that self-care measures and medications are not one-size-fits-all, it is important to work with a dermatologist to find the best treatment plan for your specific case.