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In general, the term “dermatitis” is a broad phrase that refers to a wide variety of inflammatory illnesses that affect the skin, while the specific appearance and underlying cause of each ailment might differ significantly. An associated fairly apparent rash that may look raised, red, or oozing in some cases is present in the vast majority of the patients.

Dermatitis is not communicable, as it is typically caused by a combination of factors, including your immune system and sensitivity to a specific trigger. However, comparable allergenicity potential may be genetic. Fortunately, most cases of dermatitis are moderate and can be treated with over-the-counter medications that are easily available.

Dermatitis Types, Signs, and Symptoms

The appearance of the rash will vary depending on where it develops and what caused it to develop in the first place, among other factors. However, categorizing dermatitis as belonging to one of three categories can aid in the explanation of the symptoms that are linked with it. The following are examples of these types:

Contact Dermatitis

Acute itching, stinging, or burning may occur in rashes linked with contact dermatitis, which is caused by coming into contact with an allergen that causes the dermatitis to manifest itself.

In most situations, the rash is restricted to the area of the body that was in contact with the trigger; however, in rare cases, a widespread outbreak of rashes may occur, particularly if the trigger could pierce the skin and enter bloodstream. 

Contact dermatitis can be further subdivided into two categories: allergic and irritant in nature, depending on the source of the exposure. Chemicals are frequently classed as irritants, whereas insect stings/bites and accidental contact with plants are classified as allergens.

Atopic Dermatitis 

This type of dermatitis, which is more commonly known as eczema, is closely related with an immunological problem, and it is most often associated with disorders such as asthma or allergies that are chronic in nature.

Atopic dermatitis is a chronic skin condition that typically manifests in childhood and is defined by rashes that occur on parts of the body where skin folds are prevalent, such as the elbows, knees, and neck, among other places.

Atopic dermatitis can flare up at any time and then go unnoticed for a period of time until flare-ups occur again.

Seborrheic Dermatitis 

This type of dermatitis is characterized by the development of a rash on the body’s surface that is concentrated in places where a considerable amount of sebum is produced.

Sebum is a natural oil-like substance secreted by the sebaceous glands on the body. Sebaceous glands are found in high concentration on the face, head, upper back, and chest.

It manifests as crusty skin rashes on the skin’s surface, and it can also present as dandruff on the scalp or make the skin appear excessively dry and white.

Taking steps to limit sebum production can help to lessen the frequency of flare-ups of seborrheic dermatitis, while the condition has been known to go into remission on its own in certain cases.

Dermatitis Causes 

Dermatitis has a variety of causes that vary depending on how the rash is defined. Specifically, some of the most common causes are as follows:

In the case of Atopic Dermatitis

Apart from environmental triggers, poor skin health, and occasionally difficulties with bacteria or fungal pathogens, one of the most common underlying causes of atopic dermatitis is an immune system.

Strangely enough, something called as the “Hygiene Hypothesis” proposes that extreme cleanliness is more likely to result in the development of atopic dermatitis and associated problems (such as allergies and asthma) in children throughout their formative years.

It is believed that by avoiding a variety of natural microorganisms that aid in the development of the immune system, deficiencies develop and contribute to hypersensitivity to allergens at a later stage in life.

In case of Contact Dermatitis

Accidental exposure to poison ivy, some types of metals, fragrances, cosmetics, or even colorants used in some skin care products are all potential causes of contact dermatitis rash. Frequently, the presence of certain proteins or amino acids is to blame, while it is very impossible to avoid all sources of the allergic trigger altogether.

In case of Seborrheic Dermatitis 

Temperature and weather have a significant effect in the frequency with which you experience seborrheic dermatitis, with summer months resulting in high sweat and sebum production by your skin being particularly aggravating.

Therefore, seborrheic dermatitis is more frequent in tropical nations and during the summer months. However, it can also occur because of fungal infections, which cause the skin to produce more sebum.

Dermatitis Treatment

The treatment of dermatitis varies depending on the symptoms that are encountered; frequent techniques include:

In the case of Atopic Dermatitis

By reducing the excessive production of histamine by the immune system: Over-the-counter antihistamines help to reduce the activation of mast cells by the immune system. Masses of mast cells are potent inflammatory mediators, and they are frequently linked in the initiation of asthmatic attacks as well as the development of eczematous rashes.

Calamine lotion: When applied to the skin, calamine lotion produces a cooling sensation that soothes irritation. However, this is only a temporary solution, as the itchy sensation normally returns after a few days.

Treatment with prescription medicine: This may include topical corticosteroids, oral corticosteroid medication to be taken orally, or inhalers to decrease allergies or asthmatic triggers. Individuals who use corticosteroid inhalers on a long-term basis may see a decrease in the frequency of atopic rashes as well as a decrease in the incidence of seasonal allergies.

In case of Contact Dermatitis

Anti-itch creams: These creams are typically formulated with an antihistamine or an anti-inflammatory corticosteroid to relieve itching that is restricted to a specific location.

Prescribing medication: In rare cases, contact dermatitis will progress to the point of becoming a systemic condition requiring rapid medical intervention.

This may occur, for example, because of insect stings or bites, particularly if the individual has a pre-existing sensitivity to the venom of the insect. In the case that shock occurs, therapy may include corticosteroids or even drugs to adjust blood pressure, among other things.

In case of Seborrheic Dermatitis

Antifungal medication: Treatment with antifungal medicines is indicated if the patient or physician suspects that pathogenic fungi are the source of the skin reaction. Seborrheic dermatitis can be managed with the use of topical creams, lotions, and even shampoos.

Anti-itch lotions: Using anti-itch lotions, such as antihistamines or topical corticosteroids, you can reduce the amount of sebum produced by your skin, which will reduce the appearance of seborrheic patches.

Salicylic acid/Benzoyl Peroxide products: Products containing benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid – though predominantly promoted for acne, these medications are effective for treating seborrheic dermatitis as well, especially because acne is fundamentally related to excessive sebum production.

Air conditioning: Colder temperatures help to minimise the production of sebum by the skin, which helps to lessen the frequency of rashes that are encountered.

Conclusion

While it may be impossible to completely avoid the development of seborrheic and atopic dermatitis, you can reduce your chances of acquiring contact dermatitis by following the steps outlined above.

It is possible to protect yourself against further breakouts by making sure your skin is properly covered before handling substances that may be potential allergens or irritants, using gloves when necessary, and avoiding subsequent contact with something if you experience mild manifestations of a reaction the first time you come into contact with something.

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