Dermatitis – Causes, Symptoms and Treatment



Dermatitis, also called eczema, is an inflammation of the skin. Dermatitis can occur on any part of the body, but it mostly affects the hands, feet, and groin.

The terms dermatitis and eczema are often used interchangeably. In some cases the term eczematous dermatitis is used. Dermatitis can be acute or chronic or both.

There are different type of dermatitis are found. These ares-

  • cercarial dermatitis
  • dermatitis herpetiformis
  • atopic dermatitis
  • seborrhoeic dermatitis
  • contact dermatitis
  • urushiol-induced contact dermatitis
  • nummular dermatitis
  • dyshidrotic dermatitis


The causes of dermatitis depend on there types. Hand dermatitis can be caused by contact with an irritant, an allergic reaction to a substance, or an inherited condition. Irritant contact dermatitis (ICD) of the hands is most often caused by detergents, certain types of metals, soaps, strong chemicals, and solvents that, either immediately or after repeated exposure, irritate the skin. The cause of perioral dermatitis is unknnown.  But some dermatologists believe it is a form of rosacea or sunlight-worsened seborrheic dermatitis.


The dermatitis usually shows redness, swelling and water blisters, from tiny to large. The blisters may break, forming crusts and scales. Untreated, the skin may darken and become leathery and cracked.

The severity of symptoms depends on how large an area of skin is affected, how much you scratch the rash, and whether a secondary infection develops.


Treatment of dermatitis varies, depending on the cause:

  • Contact dermatitis. Creams containing hydrocortisone or wet dressings that provide moisture to your skin may help relieve redness and itching. It can take as long as two to four weeks for this type of dermatitis to clear up.
  • Neurodermatitis. Hydrocortisone lotions and creams may help soothe your skin. You also may find that wet compresses provide relief. Sedatives and tranquilizers also may help you stop scratching.
  • Seborrheic dermatitis. You’ll need to frequently shampoo, then carefully rinse your scalp. Your doctor may recommend a specific shampoo. Commonly used shampoos contain tar, zinc pyrithione, salicylic acid or ketoconazole as the active ingredient. Hydrocortisone creams and lotions may soothe your skin and relieve itching. You also may need treatment for a secondary infection.
  • Stasis dermatitis. Treatment consists of correcting the condition that causes fluid to accumulate in your legs or ankles for extended periods. This may mean wearing elastic support hose or even having varicose vein surgery. You may also use wet dressings to soften the thickened, yet fragile, skin and to control infection.
  • Atopic dermatitis. Treatment typically consists of applying hydrocortisone-containing lotions to ease signs and symptomsA class of medications called immunomodulators, such as tacrolimus (Protopic) and pimecrolimus (Elidel), affects the immune system and may help maintain normal skin texture and reduce flares of atopic dermatitis.
  • Perioral dermatitis. Treatment for this condition is usually with the oral antibiotic tetracycline. You may need to continue this treatment for several months to prevent a recurrence.


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