What is Dermatitis and What are the Different Types

Dermatitis is an infection of the skin. There are different categories of Dermatitis these are:

  • Contact Dermatitis – This causes the skin to develop a pink or red rash which is usually itchy. Plants can cause this type of Dermatitis to flare up and it can also be very irritant or allergic. Common chemical irritants include detergents, soaps etc.
  • Nummular Dermatitis – This causes distinctive coin shaped red plaques that are most common on legs, hands, arms and torso. This is more common in men than women and the peak age of onset is between 55 and 65. Living in a dry environment or having hot showers can cause this condition.
  • Atopic Dermatitis or Eczema – This causes the skin to itch, scale, swell and sometimes blister. This type of Eczema usually runs in families and is often associated with allergies, asthma and stress.
  • Seborrhoeic Dermatitis – This type of dermatitis consists of greasy, yellowish, or reddish scaling on the scalp and other hairy areas, as well as on the face or genitals, and in skin creases along the nose, under the breasts, and elsewhere. This condition is called cradle cap in infants and is likely to be related to maternal hormonal changes affecting the sebaceous glands (glands that produce a natural greasy substance, sebum). It may be aggravated by stress and for many people could be the backbone of an industrial disease claim.
  • Statis Dermatitis – This is caused by poor circulation and is most common in people with varicose veins, congestive heart failure or other conditions. Veins in the lower legs fail to return blood efficiently causing blood and fluid build up. This leads to irritation especially around the ankles.

What are the symptoms of Dermatitis?

Dry, reddish, itchy skin indicates some kind of dermatitis, or skin inflammation of which there are many types.

  • A red rash that is limited to the area of skin exposed to an irritant is probably contact Dermatitis.
  • Red, itchy, circular patches of weeping, scaly or encrusted skin suggest Nummular Dermatitis
  • Greasy, yellowish scales on the scalp and eyebrows indicate Seborrhoeic Dermatitis.
  • Extreme persistent itchiness may signal atopic dermatitis (eczema). Very often however itchiness results simply from dry skin.

Treatment for Dermatitis

Dermatitis treatment varies, depending on the cause.  Using corticosteroid creams, applying wet compresses and avoiding irritants are the cornerstones of most dermatitis treatment plans. In some cases light therapy can be used which involves exposing your skin to controlled amounts of natural or artificial light.

The most common treatments for dermatitis are topical steroids, ointments, creams and lotions containing steroid medicines. These work on the skin and reduce inflammation. However these steroids can thin the skin and inhibit its ability to fight off further inflammation.

Dermatitis is a real irritation and can also create a lack of confidence, as well as other physical issues. It’s far from ideal, however with a little care and well thought out medical action it can be dealt with and cured.