What is dermatitis?

Dermatitis is a term that is commonly used to describe skin inflammation. It can be caused by irritating substances, allergies or bacteria. Patients with dermatitis often experience discomfort, frustration, and embarrassment upon the manifestation of symptoms such as itchiness, redness or scaling. It is generally a manageable condition, especially if you are under the care of skin experts at Advanced Dermatology.

What are the types of dermatitis?

There are two common types of Dermatitis: atopic dermatitis and contact dermatitis.

Although atopic dermatitis is more commonly observed in children, it can also happen in adults. Atopic dermatitis is characterized by dry, itchy skin that easily turns into a rash. Furthermore, inflammation causes blood to rush to the surface of the skin, which makes the urge to scratch difficult to resist. The skin becomes highly irritable and susceptible to thickening, darkening, and scar-formation.

Contact dermatitis is further classified into two types: irritant contact dermatitis and allergic contact dermatitis. The former occurs after an injury to the skin’s surface, while the latter is a delayed allergic reaction to an irritable substance.

Classifying the exact type of dermatitis you are experiencing is an important part of managing the condition. Visit our Westchester Advanced Dermatology office for a consult with one of our skin care experts today!

What are the common causes of dermatitis?

Each person has a unique immune system. This means that one person can be allergic to certain elements or substances, while others may be perfectly fine. It is important to know which substances trigger your flare-ups so that you can stay away from them.

The most common substances that cause dermatitis are:

  • Detergents
  • Strong Perfumes
  • Adhesives
  • Dust
  • Disinfectants, Anti-bacterial gels
  • Products with a high concentration of chemicals
  • Plants such as poison ivy

Who is at risk for developing dermatitis?

People who are constantly exposed to high concentrations of chemicals or metals are highly susceptible to developing dermatitis. Patients with a strong family history or past history of allergies are also at risk for developing dermatitis, as well as people with asthma, HIV, or congestive heart failure.

What are the symptoms of dermatitis?

The common symptoms of dermatitis include red, tender, dry, itchy, and thickened skin. Depending on the severity, patients may also experience blister formation and swelling in the affected area.

How is dermatitis treated?

The choice of treatment depends on the cause of the dermatitis. Our doctors may prescribe a topical medication (lotion, cream or serums) to calm the skin. They may also use an oral medication, such as antihistamines, to control the inflammation from within.

How can I prevent dermatitis?

Primary prevention involves staying clear of the triggering factor. You can also help prevent flare-ups by making sure your skin is well-hydrated, moisturized, cleansed and protected. Do your research and use fragrance-free products known to be gentle on the skin.

If you are not sure whether what you have is a form of dermatitis, it is imperative that you consult one of our skin care experts at our Westchester clinic for a thorough evaluation. Remember, treating your skin with medication (topical or oral) without the advice of a licensed physician can be dangerous.