Dermatitis is basically skin inflammation. It is usually caused by direct contact with an irritating substance. Men are more prone to it than women and the peak age of onset is 55-65 years.
Sometimes the terms “dermatitis” and “eczema” are interchangeable since eczema can also be due to both internal (endogenous) and external (exogenous) factors.
Types of Dermatitis:
Irritant dermatitis – Caused by substances which irritates the skin, for example prolonged contact with water, soaps and detergents, chemicals, acids, abrasives, oils, solvents and alkalis. The rash is usually limited to the contact area.
Allergic Dermatitis – Where the skin reacts adversely to the offending substance (allergen) – this is a cell-mediated immunological reaction. In this case, dermatitis will be the result every time the person comes into contact with the allergen, notwithstanding the quantity of the allergen or the time period of contact.
Common allergens are usually in glue, adhesive tape, cement, paint, varnish, polish, dyes, plastics, cosmetics, creams, soaps, detergents and rubber chemicals including rubber gloves apart from some other products. In certain cases the rash can affect other parts of the body too.
Irritant dermatitis is five times more likely to occur than allergic dermatitis. As per theory, any irritant which comes into contact with the skin frequently enough and in sufficient concentration will affect the skin causing dermatitis. Therefore the efficacy of the skin barrier is the main preventative.
There is no specific or single symptom or feature used to identify this disease. Though the symptoms of dermatitis can take the form of redness, itching, swelling, blistering, scaling and weeping.
Each person tells a different story of syndromes and the symptoms, and severity of the disease may change over time and vary from person to person. Therefore the practitioner may need to check out the patient several times to make a diagnosis.
The most valuable diagnostic tool in the hands of the practitioner is a thorough examination of medical history of the patient which provides valuable information such as family history of allergic diseases, any food that causes skin problems, previous treatments for skin, use of steroids, effect of stress, career or social life.
Sometimes a biopsy or patch testing is required to understand reactions of the skin or overreactions of the immune system.
If not properly treated in time, skin can crack and bleed and the dermatitis can spread all over the body. It is important to know that dermatitis cannot be passed from one person to another as it is not infectious.
Treatment of Dermatitis
1. Bathing – if water is the problem, reduce the frequency of bathing.
2. Replace your standard soap with a mild soap-free cleanser.
3. Clothing – Wear soft smooth cool clothes; avoid wool, pure cotton or linen are great options.
4. Use the emollient liberally and often, particularly after bathing, and when itchy.
5. Use a topical steroid cream or ointment on the itchy patches over a 5 to 15 day course. Steroids should usually be applied once or twice daily to the problem areas.
6. Apply Pimecrolimus cream. It is a new anti-inflammatory cream, and is very effective for atopic dermatitis.
7. Antihistamine tablets may help in irritation, and are very useful at night.
8. Creams containing hydrocortisone or wet dressings that can provide moisture to the skin may help relieve redness and itching.
I hope the above information helped you, but it is not enough by any means. For detailed and exhaustive information on dermatitis visit www.dermatitisfacts.com