Dermatitis: Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Prevention & Treatments

Dermatitis: Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Prevention & Treatments post thumbnail image

Various types of inflammation can cause redness, itchiness, and irritation of the skin. Dermatitis is the general term that is used to denote such conditions. There are different causes and forms of Dermatitis. Generally, the patient can experience swollen skin with an itchy rash. When affected by dermatitis the skin can ooze or blister resulting in inconvenience and pain. With time, crusts are developed or your skin which might flake off. Some examples of dermatitis include but are not limited to dandruff, rashes, atopic dermatitis and eczema. Though not contagious the condition can interfere with the normal lifestyle.

Different types of dermatitis have different appearances and occur in different parts of the body.

The major types of Dermatitis include:

– Contact dermatitis: Sometimes the immune system can react even if you come into contact with a substance that cannot harm you. Such immune reactions are not good for the body and in medical terms, they are known as allergic reactions. The substance is that trigger such reactions are called allergens. There are various names of allergic eczema-like contact dermatitis, allergic dermatitis, allergic contact dermatitis etc

– Atopic Dermatitis: Also known as eczema, this type of dermatitis generally affects the parts of the skin that flex like the portions just behind the knees or inside the elbows. Leaking of fluid may occur when one scratches the affected portions. The patient can experience intermittent improvements in the symptoms. In Atopic dermatitis, the patient can experience dryness in the skin and itchiness on the affected portions. Atopic Dermatitis is classified as the most chronic and extreme type. The extreme symptoms trigger uncontrollable itching and a red coloured itchy rash can be noticed at the time of flare-ups. The uncontrollable itching can result in increased inflammations and widens the chances of skin infections, the patients are almost unable to keep them from itching during the instances of the flare-up.

– Seborrheic dermatitis: Seborrheic dermatitis is one of the most general types of eczema that generally occurs on the scalp and other oily areas of the body. The back, upper chest and face are the major areas that are affected by this disease.

Symptoms of Dermatitis:

Depending on the specific type of Dermatitis there could be different symptoms noticed on the skin:

Atopical Dermatitis

–  Scaly skin that is deprived of moisture and is very dry

–  Face rashes especially surrounding the eyes

–  Scaly patches on the affected portions

–  Rashes on neck and portion where the skin creases

–  Discolourations of the affected part of their skin are also noticed

Seborrheic Dermatitis

–  Scaly patches of white or yellowish colours that generally flake off. Commonly known as dandruff this condition generally occurs on the scalp, beards, and eyebrows

–  Red skin that may be accompanied by greasy and oily texture in the affected areas

–  Itchiness and hairless

–  The above symptoms are generally noticed in specific portions like Eyebrows, Area surrounding ears, Back and chest (especially the upper portions)

Contact Dermatitis

–  Pain or a burning sensation on the affected part

–  The allergic reactions cause different biological or bodily changes including burning eyes, runny nose coughing etc. When such changes occur in the skin it is known as eczema.

–  When your body contacts the allergen, an itchy skin rash is developed and it is medically termed as Allergic eczema

–  Itching

–  Tender, warm or thickened skin

–  Swelling

–  Red, dry or rough skin

–  Cuts and rashes

–  Inflammation

Causes of Dermatitis:

The causes for different types of dermatitis can vary. Here are the causes of different types of Dermatitis:

Atopical Dermatitis

–  Generally, the presence of a large volume of inflammatory cells in item’s skin is the major cause of the D. Besides, it is also suspected that the weakened skin barrier can also expose people o AD

–  While the major causes that flare the AD include a number of individual factors, the common factors include:

–  Heat and excessive sweat

–  Taking hot showers or remaining under the shower for a long time

–  Dry and cold weather

–  Specific detergents or soaps especially the ones loaded with many chemicals

–  Sand, smoke or other pollutants

–  Stress

–  Physically demanding workouts or labour

Seborrheic dermatitis

–  While no precise cause can be determined, it is suspected by the medical fraternity that when the oil production in the body significantly exceeds the required or average quantity it turns the body oil into an irritant. That is why in such cases the redness on the skin accompanied by greasiness is caused.

–  It is also believed that a specific type of fungus called Malassezia is also responsible for Seborrheic dermatitis

–  This fungus is present in the skin oils and when it registers an abnormal growth, it significantly increases the secretion of oil from the skin. It is this excessive quantity of oil that causes Seborrheic dermatitis

–  Fatigue and obesity

–  Pollution and similar environmental factors

–  Acne or other dermatological problems

–  Stress

–  Alcohol rich skincare products

–  HIV

–  Parkinson’s disease

–  Stress

Contact Dermatitis

There are various allergens that can trigger allergic eczema-like

– Nickel (in the form of various types of jewellery, metal buttons, and similar accessories)

–  Clothing dyes

–  Latex

–  Adhesives

–  Hair dye

–  Specific plants like poison ivy

–  Certain types of skin ointments and creams especially antibiotics

Diagnosis of Dermatitis:

There are various signs or symptoms that indicate the presence of this disease. The skin biopsy or other similar tests can confirm the presence of this disease. Some of the most common diagnostic methods include:

–  Patch testing: This type of test involves applying various substances to your skin under the adhesive covering. It requires more than one visit. When you return to the doctor s/he checks for any reaction that your skin might have developed as a cause of coming into contact with the applied substances.

–  Biopsy: The doctor takes the samples of your skin cells by careful scraping them off the affected area and then send the same for the analysis in the laboratory

Prevention of Dermatitis:

One of the best ways to prevent this condition is to avoid dry skin. Some specific types of Dermatitis may need specific prevention care.

Contact Dermatitis

–   Reduce the bath time to 10 minutes and avoid using hot water. You might use warm water if the temperature is cold. You can also use bath oils.

–    Don’t expose your skin to the allergens that can cause irritation

–    Avoid using chemical-based fragrant soaps Non-soap cleansers or mild soaps can be used to replace the ordinary chemical-based soaps as those soaps can deprive your skin of moisture

–   Don’t leave your skin wet. After taking bath or washing a part of your skin like your legs or arms don’t forget to dry yourself carefully with a towel. However, avoid brisk rubbing against the skin and prefer slow patting.

–    Retaining a good amount of moisture in your skin is another way to reduce the severity of this disease. You can use the oil or cream to retain locks the moisture just after taking the bath. For the best results, you might take advice from your dermatologist

Atopic Dermatitis

–    Changes in lifestyle

–    Using prescribed medication and applying specific herbal or chemical-free over counter creams (after taking advice from your doctor) are some of the other ways to treat this condition

–    You can also take various steps to lock in the moisture by applying the oil or cream just after taking the bath.

Seborrheic dermatitis

–    Applying hypoallergic detergent soap

–    Using permitted itching creams

–    Using chemical-free soaps and shampoo and rinsing them off carefully at the end of bathing (such products should be used only after thorough consultation with your doctor)

–   Carefully shaving the affected portions so as to prevent instances of cuts and rashes

–    Using special fabrics like cotton in order to avoid the irritation on the skin

–    Applying Special ointments or shampoos that contain *disunite, fluocinolone or hydrocortisone on the affected areas. Limited use of the same is recommendable as the excessive use might trigger the side effects

–    Terbinafine or similar antifungal medicines is sometimes recommended in the specific cases. However, it can cause some serious side effects and the doctors are very cautious while recommending the same

–    Metronidazole is another medicine that is used for fighting the bacteria. It is generally applied once or twice on the affected areas.

–    Light therapy and Psoralen can also be used to prevent the disease. The Psoralen can either be administered orally or applied topically. After administering this medicine the affected portion of your skin is exposed o UV light for a brief period of time

Treatment of Dermatitis:

Depending upon the skin type, causes, symptoms and a person’s physical response, the treatment of dermatitis can vary. Some of the treatments include :

–  Applying Corticosteroid creams on the affected areas

–  Improving your immune system with help of special lotions and creams

–  Allowing the affected portion to come into contact with the light (natural or artificial) also known as phototherapy

–  Using anti-inflammation and anti-itch creams: Though they cannot replace the medicines or medical ointments the over the counter creams that control inflammation and itching can offer you the temporary relief.

–  Creams like Benadryl or similar oral -antihistamines can be helpful in the instances of severe itching.

–  Applying wet cool pads can also soothe your irritating skin

–  Bleach bath: Adding reasonable quantity of household bleach to a bathtub can also help in relieving the condition. You can check with your doctor for the right amount of bleach to be added to the water

–  If you are suffering from contact dermatitis then it is advisable to avoid the irritants by minimizing the contact with such substances

–  Stress management

–  If you are suffering from atopic dermatitis then Vitamin D or similar dietary supplements can prove to be relieving

–  You may also consider applying rice bran broth to the affected parts of the skin

–  For the people suffering from seborrhoea dermatitis tea tree oil is recommended you can either use it as it is or can also add to your shampoo

–  Aloe Vera can also be a good method to control seborrheic dermatitis

–  An ongoing treatment is recommended for the people who are suffering from Seborrheic eczema. The major effective treatment includes adopting a healthy skin care routine.

Complications of Dermatitis:

–  Due to the constant itchiness, the patient can develop various open sores. Over the period of time, the sores can also get infected. These infections can spread and affect various parts of the body. In rare cases, the infection could be life-threatening

–  It affects various activities and physical movements of the child and especially disturbs the sleep. Skin infections developing out of this type of condition are not uncommon

Myths associated with Skin conditions:

Just like any other disease or medical condition, there are several myths attached to Eczema. Here are a few of them:

Myth #1: Stress is the major cause of Eczema

While it is true that stress can flare up the symptoms of eczema, it is not the cause of the same. In other words, if you have eczema and are stressed then you may notice the intensity of the symptoms but your stress cannot be the only cause of eczema if you are not already suffering from this condition.

Myth #2: It is contagious

Eczema cannot be developed by coming into contact with the affected person. Besides, the person cannot spread it by any means.

Myth #3: My skin will be permanently scarred by eczema

It is absolutely true that constant itching can leave rashes on your skin but it does not leave the scars that are permanent.

Myth #4: Eczema is occurred due to complete lack of hygiene

Though the scar and rashes may not give a good look to the skin it is completely wrong to believe that the unhygienic skin habits are the only causes of this disease. In fact, many of the patients are very much particular about skin hygiene and in some cases, the overcautious people who repeatedly wash their skin with soap, etc. several times in a day, are more prone to this condition.


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