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Dermatitis is a skin irritation/inflammation. It is a term that refers to a variety of skin conditions. Rashes, dry skin, and itching may occur as a result of these conditions.

More common names for dermatitis include atopic dermatitis, better known as eczema, and contact and seborrheic dermatitis is known as dandruff. An experienced dermatologist or healthcare provider can help you manage dermatitis.

Dermatitis is a word used to describe many skin irritations and rashes. Dermatitis can occur because of:

  • The genetics one is born with.
  • Having an overactive immune system.
  • An infection or allergies.
  • Substances that are irritating to the skin.
  • Other environmental factors affect the protection of your skin.

The most common symptoms show up as dry skin, redness, and itchy skin.

It is not dangerous for your body to have dermatitis. Anyone can get dermatitis from young to old. There is no contagious disease associated with it. It does not imply that you have an infection or unclean skin. It is a way for your body to manage infection or irritation.

In addition to prescribed medications, home remedies can treat dermatitis. Your healthcare provider can help you find the best treatment for your dermatitis.


There is not one cause of dermatitis. Several reasons can cause the skin to get irritated. Some of the causes include:

  • The immune system can overreact to your surrounding environment. When your immune system reacts to allergens or small irritants it is known as atopic dermatitis.
  • Genetics. If family members have dermatitis then you are at an increased risk to have it as well.
  • The environment you are in can change the chemistry of the skin barrier. This can cause moisture to be easily removed from the surface and cause dermatitis. Some of the environmental factors that can cause this change are:
  • Being around tobacco smoke.
  • Air pollution.
  • Fragrances in skin products.
  • Soaps and bath gels.


Symptoms of dermatitis are dependent on your diagnosis. It can be common to have many types of dermatitis at one time. Common symptoms include:

  • Itching.
  • Bumps on skin.
  • Rashes that are red and feel hot.
  • Dry skin.
  • Blisters filled with fluid.
  • Skin that is thick, hardened, and swollen.
  • Skin that is scaled, crusted, and creased.
  • Ulcers that hurt.
  • Rashes that are broken bleed or have fluid come out.

There are other symptoms that are not as common that go along with dermatitis. These include:

  • Loss of sleep.
  • Signs of depression or even depression.
  • Increased anxiety.
  • Concerns with breathing lead to asthma.
  • Increase in allergic symptoms.

Dermatitis can cause skin discoloration and will appear on different skin tones. On darker tones of skin, the rash will look gray or purple. On lighter skin tones, the rash will appear with a red or pink color.

You should see a doctor if:

  • If you are experiencing sleep loss or you are distracted from your daily routines.
  • The skin is becoming painful.
  • The skin looks to be infected.
  • Self-care has not worked and the symptoms are persisting.


Dermatitis can be classified into several types. Some conditions last for a long time and other conditions can cycle between flare-ups. The frequency of dermatitis varies from child to adult.

  • Atopic dermatitis is known as eczema and runs in families.
  • Contact dermatitis occurs when something touches the skin and there is an adverse reaction. Typically a rash, burn, sting, itch or blister will occur.
  • Dyshidrotic dermatitis occurs on the feet and hands. This is when the skin can not protect itself.
  • Seborrheic dermatitis is called cradle cap in infants. It shows up on the scalp, face, chest, and around the ears.

There are many other types of dermatitis. A healthcare professional can help with the proper diagnosis.


The treatment for dermatitis will depend on the symptoms. Some home remedies can work as well as lifestyle changes to help reduce symptoms. The most common treatments include:

  • Use corticosteroid creams, gels, or ointment on the skin that is irritated.
  • Using ointments on irritated skin will lessen immune type response.
  • Using phototherapy on irritated skin to reduce irritation.
  • Use pills containing corticosteroids or injectable dupilumab, for severe dermatitis.
  • Using corticosteroid and protecting it with a wet bandage for severe atopic dermatitis.

At-home treatments include:

  • Covering the itchy section of the skin to avoid itching.
  • Change detergents to a mild detergent to cause less irritation.
  • Reduce stress related to dermatitis flare-ups.
  • A warm bath with baking soda or ground oatmeal and soak for five to ten minutes.
  • Moisturize the skin.


There are many medications prescribed for dermatitis. It will depend on the conditions and symptoms that are present. The most common medications include:

  1. The Cleveland Clinic. Dermatitis. 2020. Available at Cleveland
  2. The Cleveland Clinic. Symptoms and Causes. 2020. Available at Cleveland
  3. The Mayo Clinic. Dermatitis. 2021. Available at
  4. The Mayo Clinic. Atopic dermatitis. 2022. Available at
  5. The Mayo Clinic. Contact dermatitis. 2022. Available at
  6. The Mayo Clinic. Seborrheic dermatitis. 2022. Available at
  7. Drugs. Dupilumab. 2022. Available at
  8. Drugs. Cyclosporine. 2022. Available at
  9. Drugs. Azathioprine. 2022. Available at
  10. Drugs. Keflex. 2022. Available at

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