What is Dermatitis?
Dermatitis is a term used to describe inflammation of the skin. While there are many different types of dermatitis, patients often complain of red, dry patches on face or an itchy rash on swollen skin. Other symptoms include skin that blisters, oozes, or crusts.
Some forms of Dermatitis include:
- Seborrheic dermatitis– This is a very common skin disease that causes a rash and can present in infants or adults. Babies can experience “cradle cap”, a form of seborrheic dermatitis, which forms scaly, greasy patches on the baby’s scalp. Seborrheic dermatitis can also form a red rash in their diaper area, which is often mistaken for diaper rash. In adults, seborrheic dermatitis can surface in the form of dandruff or skin flakes on your scalp, red skin, itchy skin, or greasy patches of skin covered with white or yellow scales.
- Atopic dermatitis– This is the most common form of eczema and it emerges in the for of a red, itchy rash or raised skin which is typically found on the cheeks, arms, and legs. Atopic dermatitis generally appears in the first six months of a person’s life; it is the most severe and long-lasting form of eczema. Researchers believe that both genetics and environmental factors play a part.
- Nummular dermatitis or discoid eczema- This form of eczema is different from others and can be difficult to treat. Nummular dermatitis is very similar in appearance to ringworm, resembling a coin-shaped legion on arms, legs, midsection, or hands. It’s very important for your doctor to ensure that it is not a fungal infection. Nummular dermatitis presents after a skin injury such as an insect bite, an abrasion, or a burn. Other triggers include cold weather and inflammation. The patient may see one or more patches which can last for weeks or months.
- Irritant contact dermatitis– There are two types of contact dermatitis, irritant and allergic. Irritant contact dermatitis is the more common form and is a non-allergic reaction. Responses vary as some people can reaction after a single exposure whereas others present symptoms only after repeated exposure. Mild irritants may evoke dry or chapped skin, red, swollen, or scaly skin, or with repeated exposure: sores and blisters. Strong irritants can cause burning, stinging, or inflamed skin, as well as fluid-filled blisters. Common irritants include toxic substances, solvents, shampoos, plants, fertilizers and pesticides.
- Allergic contact dermatitis– This skin condition occurs when you come into contact with a substance that causes an allergic reaction. Symptoms can take hours or even weeks to present, and can appear as itchy skin, rash, burning, stinging, hives, fluid-filled or oozing blisters. You should seek medical attention immediately if you experience difficulty breathing, confusion, or swelling of the face or eyes.
- Stasis dermatitis (also called gravitational dermatitis, venous eczema, and venous stasis dermatitis)- This occurs in people with poor circulation or problems with their veins, predominantly in the lower legs. “Stasis dermatitis is most common in the lower legs because leg veins have one-way valves, which play an important role in circulating our blood.” (https://www.aad.org/public/diseases/eczema/stasis-dermatitis) Common symptoms include swelling, redness, scaling, itching, or pain. Severe cases may involve oozing, cracking, or infection. Stasis dermatitis is most common in adults over 50, generally affecting women more often than men.
Treatment for Dermatitis
Treatment for Dermatitis varies by the form of the condition and by the age of the patient:
- Seborrheic dermatitis– When Seborrheic dermatitis occurs in adults, it can last for their rest of their lives. Patients should pay attention to their triggers, which can include factors such as stress or weather changes. Treatment options include medicated shampoos, creams, and lotions. Dermatologists may also recommend antifungal gels, creams, shampoos or medication in pill form. In infants, the condition may clear on its own, whether the dermatitis is on the scalp or not. If treatment is necessary, your dermatologist may recommend cleansing the baby’s scalp daily with a baby shampoo, gently brushing away scales, or applying medication to the affected area.
- Atopic dermatitis– In infants, it’s important to identify and avoid skin irritants, avoid extreme temperatures, and lubricate the child’s skin with oils, creams, and ointments. For adolescents and adults, your dermatologist may prescribe creams, oral medications, or injections. Alternative options include wet dressings with topical corticosteroids or light therapy, which involves exposing the skin to controlled, natural sunlight.
- Nummular dermatitis can be treated with prescription steroids or corticosteroid cream, moisturizer, antibiotics, or antihistamines. Your doctor may also recommend light therapy or bed rest in a moist room (achieved with a humidifier).
- Contact dermatitis (allergic and irritant)- When a reaction has occurred, your dermatologist may prescribe oral medications (including antihistamines), steroid creams, or ointments. Once you’re aware of the irritant or allergen, you should take steps to avoid it.
- Stasis dermatitis– Wearing pressure stockings and elevating the legs are both helpful in moving the fluid and reducing the swelling, however, the underlying condition should be addressed. Your dermatologist may prescribe a topical steroid to help with inflammation and itching.
Dermatitis Treatment in Lithia and Valrico, FL
For more on dermatitis treatment in the Lithia and Valrico area contact us by clicking here or call us on 813.530.6511. We’re here to help with medical dermatology needs.