The term dermatitis includes a number of different types of skin problems, but there’s one thing in common about all of them. Dermatitis causes inflammation of the skin somewhere on your body. It normally makes the skin red, swollen, itchy and it can cause skin lesions in some people. Dermatitis is not a fatal disease, and it does not disable you. But because it changes your appearance, it can make you uncomfortable around friends and co-workers – besides just being downright uncomfortable and annoying.
In this article, we’ll try to answer the most likely questions you have about dermatitis.
What does dermatitis look like? Some people say it resembles a very bad sunburn. Others describe it as looking like you scalded yourself with hot water. Blisters are typical with some types of dermatitis, and so are liquid secretions on the skin’s surface. Scratching the skin also makes it look worse, but dermatitis can sometimes be so itchy that scratching is hard to resist.
What causes dermatitis? Genetic factors and allergies are two of the biggest causes of dermatitis. Irritants and pollution in your environment are among the causes of dermatitis. Physical and emotional stress have also been shown to cause different types of dermatitis. Causes, as you might expect, are different for different types of the disease.
Can dermatitis be contagious? Dermatitis is not contagious and cannot be spread to other people.
What are the most common types of dermatitis?
Atopic dermatitis Most people know this type of dermatitis as eczema. It’s a chronic, itchy skin problem that comes and goes. Atopic dermatitis may be at its worst during childhood and grow less severe with maturity. While it’s widely believed that stress doesn’t cause atopic dermatitis, stress probably makes it worse. Medical researchers haven’t figured out the exact cause of atopic dermatitis. But a compromised immune system and dry irritable skin may be important factors.
Lotions that contain hydrocortisone are often used as treatment for eczema.
Contact or allergic dermatitis This type of dermatitis gets it’s name from the fact that it’s caused by an irritant that comes in contact with your skin and causes a reaction in the form of a rash.
Seborrheic dermatitis This type of dermatitis is characterized by a red rash that’s accompanied by oily yellow scales that usually appear on the scalp. When infants have seborrheic dermatitis, it’s called cradle cap. Adults who have Parkinson’s appear to be at higher risk for seborrheic dermatitis, as are those under a great deal of physical stress. Individuals with oily hair are also more prone to have this type of dermatitis.
Usually, the treatment doctors recommend for seborrheic dermatitis is a shampoo which contains tar, pyrithione zinc, salicylic acid or ketoconazole as the active ingredient. Hydrocortisone creams and lotions are another option.
Perioral dermatitis A bumpy rash around the mouth is the most typical symptom of this type of dermatitis, which is probably a form of rosacea, seborrheic dermatitis or adult acne. You should consult a doctor if