Dermatitis / Eczema
Dermatitis is an inflammation of the skin – i.e., a rash. Characterized by dry skin, irritation, itching and scaling, dermatitis is often called eczema as well.
Eczema is characterized by red, itchy, scaly plaques and can affect anyone at any age. There are multiple subtypes and each one tends to have its own specific affected areas.
Atopic dermatitis is often seen in adolescents. Most can outgrow it though some will carry it into adulthood.
Contact dermatitis is due to an allergic reaction. It can occur at any time and can be quite irritating and annoying. Patch testing can help to determine if a patient is allergic to something.
Seb derm is a form of eczema affecting the scalp, face and mid chest and back area. It's a chronic condition but can be controlled with topical medications.
The different types of dermatitis are classified according to the cause of the condition:
- contact dermatitis is caused by an allergen or an irritating substance;
- atopic (childhood) dermatitis is hereditary, especially among individuals who live in urban areas with low humidity;
- seborrheic dermatitis (referring to the fatty lubricant matter secreted by the skin's sebaceous glands) is most common in infants (though also found among individuals 30-70 years old), primarily affecting men and found in 85 percent of AIDS sufferers;
- nummular dermatitis, most often found among middle-aged people, is the least common type of dermatitis, with no known cause;
- stasis dermatitis is an inflammation on the lower legs caused by build-ups of blood and fluid, most likely to occur in people with varicose; and
- perioral dermatitis, similar to rosacea, appears most often in women between 20 and 60 years old.
A number of health conditions, allergies and genetic factors can cause dermatitis. Also exposure to any number of everyday irritants, such as soap, detergent, bleach, rubber, metal, jewelry, cosmetics, fragrances, perfumes, weeds (think poison ivy) and neomycin, an ingredient commonly found in topical antibiotic creams.
Treatment can be as simple as avoiding the allergen and irritant that invites the condition. However, much more effective and longer-lasting is the professional diagnosis available from a dermatologist, who may prescribe creams containing corticosteroids in conjunction with wet compresses.