Dermatitis is a general term that describes an inflammation of the skin. There are different types of dermatitis, including seborrheic dermatitis and atopic dermatitis (eczema). Though the disorder can have many causes and occur in many forms, it usually involves swollen, reddened and itchy skin.
Dermatitis is a common condition that isn't life-threatening or contagious. But, it can make you feel uncomfortable and self-conscious. A combination of self-care steps and medications can help you treat dermatitis.
There are several types of dermatitis, including:
* Contact dermatitis, a rash that results from either repeated contact with irritants or contact with allergy-producing substances, such as poison ivy
* Neurodermatitis, a chronic itchy skin condition localized to certain areas of the skin
* Seborrheic dermatitis, a common scalp condition that often causes dandruff
* Stasis dermatitis, a skin condition that's caused by a buildup of fluid under the skin of the legs
* Atopic dermatitis, more commonly known as eczema or atopic eczema, a chronic itchy rash that tends to come and go
* Perioral dermatitis, a bumpy rash around the mouth
Each has distinct signs and symptoms. Common signs and symptoms include:
* Skin lesions
A number of health conditions, allergies, genetic factors, physical and mental stressors, and irritants can cause dermatitis:
Contact dermatitis results from direct contact with one of many irritants or allergens. Common irritants include laundry soap, skin soaps or detergents, and cleaning products. Possible allergens include rubber; metals, such as nickel; jewelry; perfume; cosmetics; weeds, such as poison ivy; and neomycin, a common ingredient in topical antibiotic creams.
It takes a greater amount of contact with an irritant over a longer time to cause dermatitis than it takes for an allergen. If you're sensitized to an allergen, just brief exposure to a small amount of it can cause dermatitis. Once you develop sensitivity to an allergen, you typically have it for life.
* Neurodermatitis typically develops when something has created an itchy sensation in a specific area of your skin. This irritation may lead you to rub or scratch your skin repeatedly in that area. Common locations include ankles, wrist, outer forearm or arm, and the back of your neck. Neurodermatitis may also be associated with other skin conditions, such as dry skin, eczema or psoriasis. Contact dermatitis caused by allergens doesn't seem to be a factor, though.
* Seborrheic dermatitis causes a red rash with yellowish and somewhat "oily" scales, usually on the scalp. It's common in people with oily skin or hair, and it may come and go depending on the season of the year. It may occur during times of physical stress, travel or in people who have neurological conditions, such as Parkinson's disease. In infants, this disorder is known as cradle cap.
* Stasis dermatitis can occur when fluid accumulates in the tissues just beneath your skin, and typically involves the lower leg. The extra fluid interferes with your blood's ability to nourish your skin and places extra pressure against your skin from underneath. Varicose veins and other chronic conditions that affect circulation in your legs often cause this fluid buildup.
Atopic dermatitis often occurs with allergies and frequently runs in families in which members have asthma or hay fever. It usually begins in infancy and may vary in severity during childhood and adolescence. It tends to become less of a problem in adulthood, unless you're exposed to allergens or irritants in the workplace.
The exact cause of this disorder is unknown, but is likely due to a combination of dry, irritable skin together with a malfunction in the body's immune system. Stress can exacerbate atopic dermatitis, but it doesn't cause it.
* Perioral dermatitis may be a form of the skin disorder rosacea, adult acne or seborrheic dermatitis, involving the skin around the mouth or nose. The exact cause is unknown, but makeup, moisturizers, topical corticosteroids or some dental products containing fluoride may play a role.
Dermatitis is an inflammation of your skin that usually involves swollen, red and itchy skin.