Dermatitis is a common skin disorder world over. Dermatitis is the inflammation of the skin which can occur either due an allergic reaction to a substance or coming in direct contact with the substance. Some people misconstrue dermatitis as eczema but in fact, it is not true.
Dermatitis can be of many types, classified according to the cause and signs. The most obvious sign of dermatitis are itching, redness and swelling on the skin.
Condition of dermatitis is not life-threatening but it is very uncomfortable condition which can hinder the patient’s day today activities like sleeping or working due to constant itching.
Rashes appear on the skin if the person is suffering with dermatitis. These rashes appear red, itchy and may have some distinct margins. Condition of skin depends upon the duration from which person is suffering from dermatitis.
There are blisters in acute dermatitis or there may be crusting and scaling in sub-acute dermatitis and chronic dermatitis can have lichenification.
Several types of dermatitis can be as following.
Contact dermatitis : Contact dermatitis can be due to an allergic reaction to allergens or antibodies. And contact dermatitis can also occur due to coming in contact with irritant.
Neurodermatitis: Skin becomes chronically itchy but in certain limited locations in form of patches.
Atopic Dermatitis : It is called eczema commonly. Skin becomes itchy, very dry and body also develops hay fever or asthma.
Seborrheic dermatitis in which there is chronic dandruff on the scalp.
Stasis Dermatitis occurs at lower legs and ankles due to accumulation of fluid under skin.
Diaper Dermatitis occurs due to long contact of skin with wet diapers.
There are several causes for dermatitis. Common irritants for contact dermatitis can be chemicals, soaps, detergents or cosmetics. Common allergens can be metals like nickel, rubber, perfumes, weeds such as poison ivy and neomycin which is an ingredient in topical antibiotic creams. Repeated scratching of area of skin, which has come into contact with an irritant, can cause Neurodermatitis. Other causes are hereditary condition, mental stress, physical stress and malfunctioning of immune system of the body .
Dermatitis can be determined by appearance of rashes, history and other signs. However, it becomes difficult to differentiate between the different types of dermatitis. Doctors prescribe patch tests for the confirming the kind of irritant causing the dermatitis.
First step for treating dermatitis is to identify its type and treat accordingly. If you have dermatitis due to some irritant or allergen, identify that substance. After that try to stay away from that substance to prevent the dermatitis.
Antihistamines are given to reduce itching.
Oral steroids are given to ease the itching and suppress the symptoms.
Immuno-modulators are the new medicines help to control inflammation and immune system react less intensely when these medicines are applied.
Chronic cases may be benefited from emollients.
Always keep the skin moisturized to avoid cracks in skin.
To treat dermatitis topical steroids are applied. Strength of various topical steroids is different and can have different side effects.
Preventing the skin from getting dry is the most important prevention. Following measures can help you reduce the drying effects on the skin.
While taking bath, avoid hot water, use only lukewarm water and also limit the time of bath. Avoid using harsh soaps rather use mild one containing moisturizers in them. Do not rub hard with towel to dry skin after bathing, just brush skin with palms of your hands. Moisturize your skin immediately after bath, sealing in the moisture present on the skin. For dry skin, you can apply lubricating moisturizer cream specially designed for dry skin.
You can manage dermatitis by following these measures:
To reduce and control itching, you can apply an anti-itch cream or calamine lotion on the affected skin. A nonprescription hydrocortisone or nonprescription antihistamines are helpful for reducing the itch.
To prevent scratching, apply cool and wet compresses over skin.
You can take cool bath with water containing baking soda or uncooked oatmeal.
Keep your nails trimmed and wear gloves at night to prevent any hard scratching which can give cuts and cracks in the skin.
Try to wear only natural fabrics like cotton or silk; polyester fabrics aggravate itching.
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