Dermatitis is an inflammation or irritation of the skin that is generally characterized by itchy, dry, and red skin. This skin disease generally occurs as a result of an allergic reaction. Dermatitis itself is divided into many types, including atopic dermatitis and contact dermatitis.

Dermatitis or eczema is a non-contagious skin disease . Dermatitis can attack anyone, from babies to the elderly. Although not dangerous, this condition can cause discomfort and interfere with daily activities. To overcome it, the doctor can give ointments or medicine to drink.

Causes of Dermatitis

Dermatitis can be caused by genetic factors, immune system response, environment, or exposure to irritants. Here is the explanation:

  • Genetics
    A person can get dermatitis if they have genes that make their skin more sensitive . A person can also get dermatitis if they have a family with the same condition.
  • Immune system response
    In some people, certain allergens (substances that trigger allergies) can cause the immune system to overreact. This can cause atopic dermatitis.
  • Environment Environmental
    factors can also cause dermatitis, for example exposure to cigarette smoke or vehicle smoke. Pet dander , pollen, and dust can also cause dermatitis.
  • Exposure to irritants
    Several types of dermatitis can occur when the skin is exposed to chemicals or irritants. For example, irritant contact dermatitis can occur if hands are exposed to detergents.

In addition to the above factors, dermatitis often occurs in people who lack sleep, or suffer from depression, anxiety disorders, asthma, or other allergic diseases .

Dermatitis and psoriasis have very similar symptoms, namely scaly skin . However, psoriasis is an autoimmune disease , while dermatitis is more often the result of irritation or an allergic reaction. In addition, psoriasis often complicates into arthritis , while dermatitis does not.

Symptoms of Dermatitis

The symptoms of dermatitis vary, depending on the type of dermatitis experienced. The following are the types of dermatitis and the accompanying symptoms:

1. Atopic dermatitis

Atopic dermatitis or dry eczema usually occurs in babies or toddlers and can last until adulthood. Symptoms of atopic dermatitis generally appear on the skin of the face, hands, inside elbows, and knees.

Symptoms of atopic dermatitis are dry and scaly skin, a red rash, itching, and a wet rash.

2. Contact dermatitis

Contact dermatitis is caused by exposure to irritants or allergic reactions . Generally, a person gets contact dermatitis if exposed to substances found in soaps, detergents, or solvents.

Contact dermatitis can cause symptoms in the form of a reddish rash that feels warm or hot, as well as itchy and blistered skin. Symptoms arise when there is contact with allergens or irritants, then improve if exposure is removed.

3. Dyshidrotic dermatitis

This type of dermatitis is also called pompholyx and is generally triggered by hot temperatures that cause the hands or feet to sweat more often. The most common symptoms of dyshidrotic dermatitis are blisters on the skin of the palms, fingers, or soles of the feet. This blister can be accompanied by pain and itching around the affected area.

4. Seborrheic dermatitis

Seborrheic dermatitis most often occurs in skin that contains many oil glands, such as the scalp, face, around the ears, and chest. In babies, seborrheic dermatitis or what is also called cradle cap is characterized by thick yellowish scales or crusts on the scalp.

While in adults, seborrheic dermatitis causes symptoms in the form of stubborn dandruff, as well as a yellowish crust on the scalp that can spread to the face. These symptoms can worsen if the sufferer experiences stress.

5. Neurodermatitis

Neurodermatitis or lichen simplex chronicus is characterized by a rash on the scalp, as well as itching on the neck or legs. Itching can worsen when the sufferer is resting or scratching the rash.

6. Dermatitis herpetiformis

Dermatitis herpetiformis or Duhring's disease is a dermatitis that occurs in celiac disease sufferers . The rash of dermatitis herpetiformis resembles a burn with a burning and itching sensation. This rash will disappear if the sufferer applies a gluten-free diet.

When should you go to the doctor?

Immediately see a doctor if you experience the symptoms mentioned above. Medical help should also be done immediately if you or your child experiences the following symptoms:

  • A rash and itching that is so severe that it interferes with sleep and daily activities
  • The skin feels sore and signs of infection appear, such as fever, as well as a rash that feels hot and watery
  • The rash and itching did not improve after treatment.

Diagnosis of Dermatitis

To diagnose dermatitis, the doctor will ask questions about the symptoms, health history, and how long the patient has had the symptoms. After that, the doctor will examine the skin using a magnifying glass.

Generally, doctors can directly diagnose dermatitis by examining the patient's skin. However, if the doctor suspects that the dermatitis is caused by allergies or other things, the patient will be advised to undergo a supporting examination.

Supporting examinations for dermatitis can include allergy tests , skin patches , and skin biopsies.

Treatment of Dermatitis

Dermatitis treatment will be tailored to the patient's symptoms and causes. For example, allergic contact dermatitis will disappear on its own if the exposure to the allergen or irritant is eliminated. Therefore, patients are advised to avoid contact with allergens and irritants.

In addition to avoiding contact with allergens and irritants, patients can use moisturizing creams or ointments that contain emollients. This moisturizer can be used after washing hands, bathing, or when the skin is dry.

In addition to moisturizers, medications that can be used to treat dermatitis include:

  • Corticosteroid ointment or cream, such as betamethasone or hydrocortisone
  • Topical anti-inflammatory drugs, such as pimecrolimus, tacrolimus, and ruxolitinib

Oral medicine (orally) can also be given to deal with dermatitis, among others:

  • Antihistamine tablets, to relieve itching and reduce inflammation
  • Antibiotics, to overcome secondary infections that often occur in dermatitis
  • Drugs that suppress the immune system ( immunosuppressants ) , such as methotrexate , azathioprine, and ciclosporin, to overcome dermatitis that is not effectively treated with the above drugs

To speed up the healing process of dermatitis, patients can do self-treatment. Some of the efforts that can be made are:

  • Do not shower for too long
  • Avoid bathing with too hot water
  • Do not scratch or rub the rash with nails or rough cloth
  • Pat the skin with a soft towel after showering
  • Manage stress
  • Adopt a healthy diet by avoiding foods high in starch, sugar , or saturated fat

Complications of Dermatitis

A rash due to dermatitis that is constantly scratched can cause complications in the form of open wounds. This open wound can become infected and the infection can spread to deeper layers of the skin ( cellulitis ) or form a pus pocket ( abscess ).

Although rare, the infection can also spread to other organs, such as lymph nodes ( lymphadenitis ).

Dermatitis can also cause hyperpigmentation or hypopigmentation in the affected skin area. However, skin areas that have changed color due to dermatitis can return to their original skin color after several years.

Prevention of Dermatitis

Prevention of dermatitis is done according to the type and cause. In contact dermatitis, the most effective prevention method is to avoid allergens or irritants that cause rashes.

Some of the following ways can also be done to prevent the occurrence of dermatitis:

  • Do not take a bath with water that is too hot
  • Use soaps and shampoos that are mild or specific for sensitive skin
  • Apply moisturizer and sunscreen regularly
  • Use gloves when washing if you experience irritation from detergent or laundry soap
  • Exercise regularly and adopt a healthy diet to improve the immune system
  • Get regular treatment and check-ups with a doctor if you suffer from asthma or other allergy-related diseases
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