Dermatitis is a rash caused by contact with an external irritant or allergen. It may be an allergic reaction or it may be cause by coming in contact with something that removed the protective layer of oils from your skin, causing it to become irritated.
Dermatitis causes the skin to become red and swollen. The affected area will become sensitive and sore or itchy.
If you haven’t had it before, dermatitis can be difficult to differentiate from other types of rashes. If the rash hasn’t cleared up or looks to be getting worse after about a week, you should see your dermatologist.
What Causes Dermatitis?
There are two types of dermatitis — allergic contact dermatitis and irritant contact dermatitis. The symptoms for the two are similar, but the causes are different.
The first, allergic contact dermatitis, occurs when you touch something that your body perceives as a threat. As a defense measure, your skin produces chemicals to fight off the perceived attacker. One of these chemicals is histamine. Histamine causes capillaries to become more permeable, which allows white blood cells (infection fighters) to move from the capillaries to the site to attack the foreign bodies. Histamine also causes inflammation and irritation of the skin, runny nose, sneezing and watery eyes. One type of common allergic contact dermatitis is seborrheic dermatitis, which commonly occurs on the scalp or body and can cause dandruff and red patches.
The second type of dermatitis, irritant contact dermatitis, occurs when the skin’s protective outer layer is damaged by friction or an external irritant. The removal of this protective layer allows the irritants to penetrate the outer layer of the skin, which causes the skin to become inflamed, sore, and itchy. Below is a list of common triggers for dermatitis:
- Hair dyes, soaps, shampoos, cosmetics
- Poison ivy, poison oak
What Treatments are Available for Dermatitis?
There are few different types of treatments for dermatitis. Mild cases can usually be taken care of with hydrocortisone cream, which actually reduces the inflammation in the skin. Your doctor may also prescribe an oral antihistamine to reduce discomfort.
Seborrheic dermatitis often causes dandruff. Dandruff shampoos work by fighting bacteria or by slowing the rate that skin cells die on your scalp. It’s often sufficient to use a dandruff shampoo for week straight and then reduce use to two or three times a week to maintain.
Contact dermatitis can be stopped by avoiding the chemical that triggers it. Symptoms can be treated using antihistamines or hydrocortisone cream.
Contact TrueSkin Dermatology in Sandy, Utah
If you live in Draper, Riverton, Bluffdale, South Jordan, or any of the other surrounds areas give us a call! For dermatitis treatment, contact the offices of TrueSkin Dermatology in Sandy to set an appointment today.