Dermatitis is a condition that results to the inflammation of the skin. It is not contagious and usually occurs due to a variety of causes. The condition is not considered life-threatening but it can cause a lot of discomfort. There are types of the condition that are chronic such as atopic dermatitis, however treatments are available.
Types of dermatitis
There are different types of dermatitis but the most common are contact dermatitis and atopic dermatitis. With contact dermatitis, it usually develops once the skin is in direct contact with an allergen which results to an allergic reaction. The common allergens include poison ivy, poison oak, perfume, detergent, nickel and cosmetics. Atopic dermatitis is also known as eczema that can be chronic and usually starts during infancy. It has the tendency to run in families with a history of allergies.
Causes of dermatitis
The cause of dermatitis usually varies depending on the type. Contact dermatitis is caused by an allergic reaction. As for atopic dermatitis, the cause is not yet clear but it can be a genetic factor. Individuals with atopic dermatitis often have a family history of asthma or allergies.
Risk factors for dermatitis
Individuals who have a family history of dermatitis are at higher risk for developing the condition. Those with a family history of hay fever or asthma are also at higher risk for atopic dermatitis. Individuals who work with strong chemical substances that can irritate the skin are also prone to develop the condition.
Symptoms of dermatitis
The symptoms of the condition range from mild to severe. Take note that not all individuals suffering from dermatitis experience all the symptoms. Generally, the symptoms include:
- Red-colored rashes
- Dry cracked skin
- Itchy skin
- Stinging or burning sensation on skin
How dermatitis is diagnosed
A diagnosis is made once a physical examination is performed along with a discussion on the medical history of the individual. A dermatologist can diagnose the condition by simply checking the skin. In some cases, a skin patch test is performed in which different substances are placed on the skin. This will help determine what is actually causing the reaction.
The treatment for this condition usually depends on the symptoms, cause and severity. In most cases, medications can help such as topical creams that contain hydrocortisone that can minimize the redness, inflammation and itching. Antihistamines are often recommended to minimize the allergic reaction while antibiotics are given only if there is an infection which occurs once the skin is broken due to constant scratching.
Home care for dermatitis usually involves the application of a cool cloth over the skin. In doing so, it helps minimize the itchiness and discomfort. The addition of baking soda to a cool bath can also minimize the symptoms. The skin should also be covered with bandage or dressing in order to prevent scratching or infection in case the skin is broken.