Dermatitis Causes, Symptoms, and Solutions


Dermatitis is one of the most common skin conditions. The word is formed from the Greek dermat meaning “skin” and itis meaning “inflammation.” Thus, dermatitis simply means inflammation of the skin. As such, dermatitis is a result of a vast array of different skin conditions, since there are many that result in skin inflammation. Dermatitis is a fairly common condition. In fact, in 2015, it affected around 245 million people around the world. In this article we’ll go over the causes and types of dermatitis and inform you of the symptoms and of some solutions so that you can find the treatment you need to overcome the painful skin condition.

Dermatitis Causes and Dermatitis Types

There are a number of different factors that cause dermatitis. Accordingly, there are at least five major types of dermatitis: contact dermatitis, atopic dermatitis (eczema), seborrheic dermatitis, nummular dermatitis, and stasis dermatitis. Each type of dermatitis may have slightly different causes. We’ll go over each dermatitis type and explain some of the causes of each.

Contact Dermatitis

Contact dermatitis, as the name implies, is brought on by the skin coming in contact with allergens or irritants. There are two main types of contact dermatitis: allergic contact dermatitis and irritant contact dermatitis. Around one in every five children in the United States suffers from allergic contact dermatitis some time before adolescence. Allergic contact dermatitis may be caused by poison ivy, hair dyes, metals, and even some skin care products.

Contact Dermatitis

Irritant contact dermatitis is likely the most common type of contact dermatitis, accounting for eight out of every ten cases of contact dermatitis. The most common irritants include water (a result of washing the hands or body too much), acids, and detergents. Often, irritant contact dermatitis is caused by friction or cold temperatures. 

Atopic Dermatitis

Atopic dermatitis is also known as eczema, a skin disease that affects 15 to 25 percent of all dermatological patients. Atopic dermatitis is often genetic, meaning that it runs in families. It is often accompanied by allergies, stress, and asthma, but the cause is unknown.

Atopic Dermatitis

Seborrheic dermatitis

Known as cradle cap in infants and dandruff in adults, seborrheic dermatitis is typically characterized by scaling and flaking around the scalp. However, seborrheic dermatitis can also be found by the eyebrows, around the nose, or even in the genital area. This type of dermatitis may be worsened by stress.

Nummular Dermatitis

Nummular dermatitis is particularly noticeable because of the round red plaques that form on the hands, torso, arms, and legs. It is most common in older men between the ages of 50 and 65, but anyone can get it. Dry climates and an excessive number of hot showers can cause nummular dermatitis.

Nummular Dermatitis

Stasis Dermatitis

Stasis dermatitis is the result of bad circulation in the legs. Health conditions that cause recurrent swelling of the legs (like varicose veins, heart disease, and diabetes) may put individuals at heightened risk for stasis dermatitis. Fluid buildup and the pooling of blood causes swelling which results in this type of dermatitis.

Dermatitis Symptoms

Though the type of dermatitis can vary, the symptoms typically consist of red, itchy, or scaly skin. Swelling is commonly an accompanying symptom, and in severe cases, crusty scales, cracks, and oozing blisters can manifest themselves. Irritation may occur anywhere on the body, but it is most common on the neck, groin, elbows, wrists, ankles, and knees. If you experience the symptoms of dermatitis, you should do your research and then contact a doctor promptly so you can determine the cause of your dermatitis and get the treatment you need for the uncomfortable skin condition.

Dermatitis Solutions

The dermatitis solution will vary slightly depending on the type of dermatitis you have, but generally, there are some treatments that will prove effective for all types. Contact your doctor before beginning treatment.

Here is a list of some of the best dermatitis treatments:

  • Instituting a healthy skin care routine
  • Avoiding substances and allergens that cause irritation
  • Natural skin ointments or creams
  • Antibiotics
  • Antihistamines
  • Light therapy

Clear Up Your Dermatitis

If you are experiencing the symptoms of dermatitis, take some time to do some of your own research to attempt to determine the type of dermatitis you have and find out what may be causing it. Doing your own preliminary research will help you inform your doctor of exactly what is going on so they can determine the best treatment option for you. Pay attention to when flare ups occur and what brings them on. Do your research, see your doctor, and you’ll be well on your way to finding the relief you need to keep your dermatitis under control!