is a blanket term which simply means simply an inflammation
of the skin, or put more simply, a rash.
the common cause that links all the varied forms of dermatitis
is that is usually derives from some sort of allergen, which
means the rash is usually some sort of allergic reaction.
In all, there are as many as nine different types of dermatitis,
all with their own specific symptoms and causes.
Dermatitis causes & symptoms
The causes of dermatitis vary widely. Generally, dermatitis
is caused by either mental or physical stress,
allergens, previous health conditions, genetic factors, environmental
causes such as irritants found in poison ivy, or some combination of causes.
Generally, the symptoms of dermatitis are itchy patches of
skin which usually become swollen and red. and are usually
area specific. For example, seborrheic dermatitis (which is often called 'cradle cap' in infants) is a condition
which affects the scalp and can cause dandruff in adults, while
perioral dermatitis is a bumpy rash which affects the skin surrounding the mouth.
Other forms of the condition include nummular dermatitis which usually shows up on hands, arms, legs and torso in the form of circular red disks of inflammation, (and usually caused by an excessively hot or dry environment) as well as stasis dermatitis or when the skin begins to break down due to poor circulation especially seen in the legs and ankles of patients suffering from heart disease.
Dermatitis treatment varies widely based on a patient's particular conditon. Often,
it is simply a matter of finding the cause of the dermatitis
and removing it.
For many forms of dermatitis, topical treatments are available
which will help treat symptoms. For some forms of dermatitis
such as perioral dermatitis, the treatment is usually more
involved and can even involve prescribed antibiotics as well
as steroid creams.
For all dermatitis types, scratching itchy areas should always
be avoided to prevent aggravating the rash, which only slows
down the healing process.
Preventing dermatitis once it has been treated is usually
a matter of avoiding whatever caused the initial condition.
Dry skin should also be avoided, and steps such as using milder
soaps and moisturizers should be taken to prevent additional
More information about dermatitis around the Web:
Manual - Dermatitis - Find an expert overview with information on dermatitis in all its forms with facts on causes, symptoms and treatment.