Dermatitis is a common skin condition. There are many different types and levels of severity, including:
- Acute – This is commonly a red itchy rash that appears very quickly, sometimes with the development of blisters and swelling
- Subacute – This is not a rapidly developing variant, but can have the same appearance as the acute varieties. This subtype may persist for a relatively long-term if the underlying cause is not addressed
- Chronic – This type tends to be nearly permanent. The skin is darkened and thickened because of the years or months of irritation and scratching
The term eczema is broadly applied to a range of persistent skin conditions. These include dryness and recurring skin rashes that are characterized by one or more of these symptoms: redness, skin swelling, itching and dryness, crusting, flaking, blistering, cracking, oozing, or bleeding.
Areas of temporary skin discolouration may appear and are sometimes due to healed injuries. Scratching open a healing lesion may result in scarring. These three variations indicate that there is not a single cause for dermatitis. What we do know is that it can be caused by allergies, irritants, emotional or psychological stress, physical stress or illness, poor circulation, inherited conditions and certain cosmetics.
As there are many causes and ways to manifest, dermatitis is also broken down into a handful of very clear and common varieties that include:
- Atopic dermatitis – Frequently inherited from parents with dermatitis or asthma, this is the type that develops very early in life and presents with very dry and easily irritated skin, a tendency towards allergies and asthma, and other atopic tendencies.
- Irritant-contact dermatitis – Many patients with irritant-contact dermatitis are also atopic dermatitis sufferers. It is unknown why this is the case, but those who have poor reactions to handling solvent, detergents, water, or harsh chemicals (meaning they develop red and irritated skin) are frequently those who suffer from atopic dermatitis too – though not all who suffer from it have both conditions.
- Allergic-contact dermatitis – A very uncomfortable, but not uncommon, condition where handling particular substances leads to immediate rash break out or reaction. Though solvents and chemicals are often to blame, people can have strong allergic reactions to rubber or latex, hair dyes, cosmetics, food preservatives, perfumes. and much more.
- Hand eczema – This is also considered a common form of dermatitis that presents on the hands. It is often mistaken for atopic dermatitis, but must be properly diagnosed by a dermatologist if it is to be treated effectively. It is uncomfortable and known for presenting patients with a great deal of psychological stress because of the way it looks and because of the itch and pain that it causes.
You should note that the words “dermatitis” and “eczema” are often used interchangeably. Be sure to get a clear answer from your dermatologist about the variety (or varieties) of the condition that you are experiencing, in order to treat it effectively.
If you have any questions or concerns about dermatitis contact your local doctor, who will arrange for you to see a dermatologist. Contact us today.