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Dermatitis is a broad term that describes any itchy inflammation involving the skin. Forms of dermatitis are not dangerous or contagious, however they can be uncomfortable and may be the symptom for something else. There are a number of different types of dermatitis, and the type that is affecting the patient will lend clues to its actual underlying cause. Some examples of dermatitis include eczema, seborrheic dermatitis and allergic dermatitis. Dermatitis is rather common and is not dangerous or life-threatening. Generally the disease pinpoints to the presence of an underlying cause or condition. Some of these underlying causes do need to be treated or monitored, which is why it can be important to get to the root cause of the issue with the help of a trained physician.

Causes, Risk Factors and Complications ofDermatitis

Each type of dermatitis has its own unique set of causes and risk factors. Contact dermatitis, for example, results from contact with an irritant or any substance that produces an allergic reaction such as poison oak or ivy. On the other hand, neurodermatitis is a chronic condition that is typically localized to small areas of the skin. Some irritants that may cause contact dermatitis include soaps or detergents, cleaning products, certain metals, cosmetics, weeds and plants, rubber, fragrances and perfumes. Causes for neurodermatitis and seborrheic dermatitis include dry skin, eczema, chronic irritation, physical stress and neurological conditions. Some complications of Dermatitis include Staph infection and Cellulitis, a bacterial infection of tissues that are found underneath the skin.

Signs, Symptoms and TestsofDermatitis

There are distinct signs and symptoms associated with each type of dermatitis. Some of the most common signs of dermatitis include skin lesions, swelling of the skin, redness and itchiness. Some forms of dermatitis simply present as a skin irritation while others possess specific qualities that allow their diagnosis to be more easily made. Seborrheic dermatitis appears as dandruff or a similar skin reaction on the scalp or the face. Stasis dermatitis is localized to the legs and caused by a buildup of fluids under the skin. Atopic dermatitis is also referred to as eczema and is a chronic form of dermatitis that can occur without a known cause or as a result of an irritant or allergy. Perioral dermatitis is localized to the mouth and typically occurs as a bumpy rash.

The key to treating any form of dermatitis is to discover the underlying cause. A physician will begin with a physical examination as well as a medical history to determine what might be causing the dermatitis. Because there are so many types and causes of dermatitis, working with a physician is essential to get to the root of the problem. It is important to note that other skin conditions that appear similarly to dermatitis, meaning that a physician will want to rule out skin cancer, psoriasis or symptoms of a psychological condition before diagnosing dermatitis.

Treatment, Drugs and PreventionofDermatitis

Treatment is going to vary based on what type of dermatitis is developing. The physician will want to treat two different facets of the dermatitis, the discomfort and the cause. For eczema, for example, the physician will want to relieve the itching or irritation first, and then discover what is causing it. Drug therapies may include hydrocortisone creams for reduction in the itching and redness, medicated skin creams or shampoos, antihistamine medications, antibiotics and TCIs or topical calcineurin inhibitors for skin conditions such as eczema. Complementary, home-based therapies are also useful, but cannot relieve the need for a physicians assistance in dealing with the condition. These may include changes in nutrition, herbal remedies, homeopathic medicine and the use of cold, wet compresses.

Because skin conditions can be a sign that something serious is going on, any unusual itching, redness or irritation like those described should be looked at by a licensed physician before any decisions are made regarding its treatment.