Dermatitis: what is it, symptoms, causes, prevention and treatment?

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Skin conditions are very common. They may present different symptoms, depending on the health condition of the sufferer as well as the type of disease. Among them there is one that appears frequently: dermatitis.

what is dermatitis, what are its symptoms and how can it be controlled? Let’s see the answers below.

What is dermatitis?

Dermatitis is a condition that is primarily directed at the skin. Constant irritation on different parts of the body is associated with this disease. It can present itself in different forms.

  • Atopic. It is an eczema. Its duration is long, becoming a chronic problem
  • Contact eczema. It is part of the skin reaction after touching some harmful element. It may also be due to the person being allergic to that element.
  • Seborrheic. It appears in the head area, causing dandruff and scalp discomfort. In some cacases,ses it may extend to the face.
  • Diaper rash. It is the irritation that appears in the area where the diaper is placed. It can affect children and adults. It usually appears when diapers are wet or used for a long time.

Symptoms of dermatitis

Although they are different kinds of dermatitis, the symptoms are often very similar. Mayo Clinic, a leading medical website, mentions the most relevant ones.

  • Itching. This is the itching felt in the affected area.
  • Dryness. The skin in the diseased area becomes dry.
  • Rash. This is one of the most frequent symptoms. Depending on the location and severity, it may have a pink or red tone.
  • Blistering. In the most severe cases, the skin may become crusty and then fall off. In the case of the scalp, it turns into dandruff.
  • Others. The skin may appear inflamed or stiff.

In the presence of any of these symptoms, it is necessary to see a health professional. If left untreated, the condition may worsen as the hours go by.

Causes of dermatitis

The cause of dermatitis is usually an external factor, such as contact with chemical agents. Such is the case with plants such as poison ivy or chemicals such as nickel. It is also possible that the cause is lack of hygiene, as in the case of diaper rash, which has to do with not removing the diaper in time, or that the diaper is not in good condition.

In addition, health can be the cause, when it is affected by viruses or bacteria. In this point of health, we must also include the increase in stress levels, hereditary diseases and low defenses in the body.

Determining the cause is the first step to find an effective treatment. Therefore, this condition should always be treated by health professionals.

Prevention of dermatitis

Prevention is always better than regretting the consequences later, that is what a well-known saying emphasizes. And in the case of dermatitis it applies very well. Although it is true that the measures that can be taken do not completely avoid the risk, they do reduce the chances of its occurrence.

When handling chemicals

When a person cannot avoid contact with chemicals, such as someone whose work requires their use, he/she should use all the protective instruments within his/her reach. Both masks and suits designed for this purpose prevent skin contact with chemicals. This prevents the chemicals from damaging the skin.

Increasing skin moisture

This is one of the best ways to reduce the risk of dermatitis. It is enough to follow these recommendations.

  • When bathing. When bathing for more than 10 minutes, the skin can dry out. That is why the time should be shorter. The water should be at room temperature or warm, not cold.
  • Do not use soap. Unless proven otherwise, soap may be the cause of dry skin. It can be substituted with another product.
  • Use moisturizers. There are many products that increase skin moisture, and even prolong that state. Using them after bathing is a good idea.
  • When drying. Even this detail is important. It should not be done abruptly, because it could affect the skin and give rise to the appearance of dermatitis

Treatment of dermatitis

The US National Library of Medicine points out the best treatments for dermatitis sufferers. Logically, this will not be the same for all situations, because both the site and the symptoms may vary. Therefore, after an expert medical review, the best treatment can be chosen from the following alternatives.

  • Use of corticosteroids. For a greater effect, it is recommended to apply it in the form of cream or oil.
  • Phototherapy. The skin is placed in front of elements that project light, even natural light, to gradually reduce the effect of the condition.
  • Drugs. These are also corticosteroids, but when the condition is very severe, they must be used in the form of pills or injections.
  • Calcineurin inhibitor. When applied in the right way, they are able to influence the body’s defenses. That is why they are used in dermatitis, especially atopic dermatitis.

There are other medications that can be applied to the affected area, but each of them must be reviewed and approved by the physician. It is also possible to reduce the symptoms of the disease by using techniques at a personal level, until a doctor can attend the problem

  • Diphenhydramine. It is a component present in anti-inflammatory and antipruritic drugs. It serves to reduce both inflammation and itching.
  • Medicated shampoo. When it comes to seborrheic dermatitis, this product can be used to correct the problem.
  • Avoid scratching. Although it is not easy, the best thing to do is not to complicate the problem. Therefore, do not scratch or rub the affected area.

Dermatitis is a condition that anyone can suffer from. But, the recommendations we have given are an excellent guide to reduce risks.

German Fuertes Otero
German Fuertes Otero
CEO at M.D. from Stanford Medicine: Stanford, California, US, M.Sc. from University of Cambridge: Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, UK and University of Oxford: Oxford, Oxfordshire, UK. PhD at Harvard University Harvard Catalyst: Cambridge, MA, US.

Aunque pueda contener afirmaciones, datos o apuntes procedentes de instituciones o profesionales sanitarios y la información contenida en PharmaSalud esté redactada por profesionales en medicina, recomendamos al lector que cualquier duda relacionada con la salud sea consultada con un profesional del ámbito sanitario.

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