What is Dermatitis?
Dermatitis and eczema are often used interchangeably. Both represent an inflammation in the skin which can be aggravated by Colorado’s dry climate. There are many types of dermatitis, which literally means inflammation of the dermis. In most cases, dermatitis is characterized by inflamed, red, dry, itchy skin. More serious dermatitis may present itself as scales or oozing sores or blisters.
What Causes Dermatitis?
Since there are an endless number of things that can irritate the skin, your doctor will try to narrow the diagnosis to a specific category of dermatitis.
Types of Dermatitis
- Contact dermatitis – includes allergic contact dermatitis is a skin reaction to an agent that touches the skin causing a rash.
- Nummular dermatitis – is common in a dry environment and presents itself as round, red plaques that are most commonly seen on the legs, hands, arms, and torso.
- Atopic dermatitis, or eczema – causes the skin to itch, swell, and sometimes blister. This type of eczema is usually genetic and appears at a very young age.
- Seborrheic dermatitis – called cradle cap in infants and dandruff in adults, consists of greasy, yellowish or reddish scaling on the scalp, face, or genitals.
- Stasis dermatitis – leads to irritation around the ankles and is caused by poor circulation in the legs.
Even though there are many types of dermatitis, treatment is similar for most skin irritation and inflammation. Treatment will be determined by your doctor after a diagnosis of the type of dermatitis you have. Treatment options range from avoiding the allergen to topical medications, antihistamine pills, and antibiotics. At the Asarch Center for Dermatology, Laser & Mohs Surgery, our medical professionals will help you diagnose and treat your dermatitis appropriately.
What is Allergic Contact Dermatitis?
At the Asarch Center, we see many cases of Allergic Contact Dermatitis each year. Almost everyone will develop contact dermatitis, a type of eczema, at least once during their lives. Contact dermatitis occurs as the result of an agent touching our skin that causes a rash. Sometimes the rash happens immediately. More often, it takes some time to appear.
This itchy skin condition, caused by a reaction to agents that come in contact with the skin, occurs after the immune system processes the absorbed material and mounts an immune response against it.
What Does Allergic Contact Dermatitis Look Like?
The skin reaction results in severe itching, swelling and redness in the affected area. The first reaction may be delayed in appearance, but future exposure to the agent responsible will cause reactions to appear within 24 hours.
Treatment of Allergic Contact Dermatitis
Prescription medications are often necessary to control the process. Poison ivy is a classic example of allergic contact Ddrmatitis. For mild cases, topical prescription medications are used to control the process. If the problem is widespread, oral prednisone may be needed.
What Is Perioral Dermatitis?
This type of dermatitis is characterized by a facial rash with raised bumps forming around the mouth. In some cases, a similar rash may appear around the eyes, nose, or forehead. At the Asarch Center, 90% of the cases of the patients with perioral dermatitis that we see and treat are young women.
Causes Of Perioral Dermatitis
Though the exact cause of perioral dermatitis is not known, it can appear following the treatment of topical steroid creams which have been used to treat other skin conditions.
Symptoms of Perioral Dermatitis
In addition to the bumps that appear on the skin, the perioral dermatitis is characterized by an uncomfortable burning sensation around the mouth.
Perioral Dermatitis Treatment
To treat perioral dermatitis, the first suggestion doctors make is to stop using all topical steroid medications and facial creams. Anti-inflammatory oral antibiotics may also be prescribed.
What is Seborrheic Dermatitis?
Seborrheic dermatitis is a common, scaling rash that sometimes itches. Babies generally develop seborrheic dermatitis as cradle cap, while adults develop a rash that is reddish in color, swollen and scaly. One or more of these rashes can appear on the body. Sometimes, the affected skin itches. Dandruff is a common form of seborrheic dermatitis, but this condition can appear anywhere on the skin.
What Causes Seborrheic Dermatitis?
Researchers are still trying to piece together what causes this skin disorder, but they agree that it is not caused by poor personal hygiene, is not an allergy and does not harm the body. Many factors seem to work together to cause seborrheic dermatitis, including the yeast that normally lives on our skin, our genes, our environment, our stress level, and our overall health.
Treatment of Seborrheic Dermatitis
The type of treatment a dermatologist prescribes varies with age and where the seborrheic dermatitis appears on the skin. This condition is not contagious and may respond to medicated shampoos and prescription topical medications which can control the flare-ups. No long-term cure is known at this time. Many adults will have multiple flare-ups during their lifetime, while infant seborrheic dermatitis usually clears up by age 1.