Posted on: November 26, 2008 Posted by: Nicole Harding Comments: 5

Today, much stock is placed upon the physical aspect of things. It is no wonder, then, that for most people, skin care is a paramount concern. After all, skin, the largest organ in the human body, is also the first thing everyone sees when looking at a person. The exposure of skin to everything around it is also the reason why several diseases affect it. Among the most common of these diseases is dermatitis.

Skin Deep

Dermatitis is a general term that is applied to conditions that cause a swelling or inflammation of your skin. There are several types of dermatitis, the more common being contact dermatitis and atopic dermatitis (also known as eczema). Although they have different causes as well as occur in different forms, they exhibit common symptoms such as redness, swelling, itching, and the formation of skin lesions.

There can be several causes of dermatitis. Allergies, genetic factors, mental and physical stressors, irritants—all these can cause your skin to become irritated. The kind of dermatitis is usually based upon its behavior, location and cause. For example, contact dermatitis results from direct contact of your skin to an irritant or allergen. In this regard, contact dermatitis can very well be considered a simple allergic reaction. Seborrheic dermatitis, on the other hand, produces a red rash and “oily” scales, usually on the scalp. It targets people with oily hair and skin, and it can come and go with the season. Finally, perioral dermatitis is most commonly found in the skin around the nose or the mouth. There is no exact or definitive cause for this kind of dermatitis but it is believed that makeup, moisturizers, or dental products containing fluoride may be the root cause.

Getting Rid of Dermatitis

Dermatitis can be extremely irritating, not to mention make you so very self-conscious. Oftentimes, when people find out you have a dermatitis problem, they shy away from you as if you’re a leper. But since there are many causes of dermatitis, total treatment often depends on what kind of dermatitis you have. There are steps you can take, however, that will enable you to manage dermatitis, if not get rid of it.

  • Apply some anti-itch cream to the affected area. Hydrocortisone creams are the usual application for temporary relief of dermatitis itching. Calamine lotions are a popular choice as well. For really severe itches, oral antihistamine such as Benadryl (containing diphenhydramine) can be really helpful.
  • Wear smooth cotton clothing. Cotton clothes are less irritating than other types of clothing. A smooth-textured cotton cloth will help you avoid irritating areas affected by your dermatitis.
  • Take a comfortably cool bath. There are baths called oatmeal baths made from powders such as Aveeno that can provide temporary relief from itchiness caused by dermatitis, especially eczema. While temporary it is suprisingly effective. If you can’t find Aveeno powder in your area, you can substitute baking soda, colloidal oatmeal, or uncooked oatmeal instead. Sprinkle it on your bath water.
  • Use mild, unscented detergents when washing your clothes. Laundry detergents that have strong ingredients in them have greater chances of irritating your skin, especially if you’re particularly sensitive to chemicals. Also, make sure that you rinse all your clothes well, to take away all traces of detergent chemicals from your laundry. Use the extra rinse function of your washer if it has one.
  • Apply cool and wet compresses. Cover the rashes with cool bandages and dressings to help lessen itchiness, as well as protect it from infection and scratches.
  • Consider alternative home remedies. Some popular home remedies are said to get rid of dermatitis and its symptoms. The most common include applying natural Vitamin E to the affected area to relieve itching and zinc, taken orally and applied directly to the skin. A mixture of camphor and sandalwood paste applied directly to the rashes is also a popular solution.
  • Identify allergens and stay away from them. If you’re suffering from contact dermatitis, identify the allergens that trigger it and then avoid contact with them. Likewise, wear protective gear like gloves when handling chemicals like house cleaners to prevent any contact to your skin.

Prevention Tips

It’s always better to not get the condition than treating it. For the most part, for dermatitis, this just means staying away from the things that trigger it. As mentioned above, identifying your triggers is a good start to preventing dermatitis, as well as avoiding dry skin. Here are a few tips to avoid dry skin and lessen the risk of you getting dermatitis.

  • Bathe less frequently. If you are prone to dermatitis, you don’t need to bath daily. A day or two without bathing should be enough. When you do bathe, use lukewarm water instead of hot water and limit your bathing to 15 to 20 minutes.
  • Use mild soap. Use soaps that do not have harsh chemicals that may irritate sensitive skin. Mild soaps also do not excessively remove your skin’s natural oil. Don’t use antibacterial soap as they may be more drying to your skin. Use soap on your face, underarms, genital areas, feet, and hands only. For everywhere else, use clear water.
  • Carefully dry yourself. Instead of rubbing vigorously with your towel, gently pat your skin dry. Also, use a towel that is not too rough on your skin.
  • Use moisturizers. After getting out of the shower, seal in the moisture by using skin moisturizers. You can use either oil or cream. Apply special helpings on your arms, legs, back, and the sides of your body. If your skin is already dry, then use a lubricating cream made specifically for dry skin.

With the tips mentioned above, you don’t need to fear looking ugly with dermatitis. You also don’t have to feel self-conscious with the condition. Face the world with a smile and the thought that you’re protected throughout the day.

Click here for more information on how to get rid of dermatitis.

5 People reacted on this

  1. I have really bad dermatitus on both of my elbows. I need suggestions on how to cheaply remove it before it gets really serious. I have tried lotions, creme, the whole nine yards. How do I fix it!!!!!!

  2. My husband has recently developed severe dermatitis all over his body we cannot figure out what causes it or how to slow it down. I really feel for him id say at least 80% of his body is covered. We have tryed medicated creams, herbal things, changing washing powder please can someone help? We have seen a doctor twice and been told there is nothing they can do!

  3. @ LEAH: My first suggestion is to get your husband a second opinion. Be sure that he sees a dermatologist NOT a general physician. My next suggestion would be to ask if the dermatologist thinks it could be a fungus. Those sometimes cover 80% of the body.

    @CHRISSY: First thing you need to do is see a dermatologist to get a correct diagnosis on the severity and type of dermatitis. Next, there are several shampoos to try that seem to work: Neutragena T-Gel (brown color w/coal tar), Desenex (try the lowest strength first), Fructis’ Anti-Dandruff shampoo. The last one is the most recent one I’ve been using and seems to work. I’m not a chemist, but I wonder if it has something to do with the pyrithizone (sp?) zinc in their formula that makes it work longer than the others seemed to.

    @ANNA: First thing to do is see a dermatologist NOT a general physician, to get a correct diagnosis. Next it needs to be determined as to what kind of dermatitis you have. Then, you can try over-the-counter lotions like Gold Bond’s Ultimate body lotion (it’s non-greasy and works great for me) or Aveeno’s overnight lotion for extremely dry skin. If these don’t work or you’ve already tried them, it’s time to see the dermatologist for a remedy.

  4. @ Leah Webb: I don’t have a remedy. However I suggest getting a second opinion from a different doctor and make sure your husband is seeing a dermatologist, NOT a general physician.

    @ CHRISSY: I have eczema on my scalp too, that was diagnosed by a dermatologist. So please see a dermatologist to get a correct diagnosis FIRST. Then, there are several shampoos you can try to see what works best for you: Neutragena T-Gel (with coal tar), Desenex (with coal tar) – try the least potent one first, and Fructis’ Anti-Dandruff Shampoo. I found after trying the others that the Fructis Anti-Dandruff shampoo seems to work consistently. I’m not a chemist, but I wonder if it’s the pyrithizone (sp?) zinc in their formula that helps. The Neutragena works for my Dad who has eczema on his scalp as well, so it just depends on your scalp as to what will work. A dermatologist can also provide a prescription of straight coal tar that will relieve moderate to severe eczema. In any case, I would consult a dermatologist if you have not already done so to determine the severity of your eczema.

    @Anna: Is it contact dermatitis or eczema? In either case, see a dermatologist NOT a general physician to correctly diagnose the severity and type of problem. If it’s contact dermatitis, try to figure out what is causing it and you’re going to need to wear something to keep your elbows from touching whatever it is that irritates them. If it’s eczema, you can try Gold Bond’s Ultimate lotion – it is non-greasy and very moisturizing. Or Aveeno works well too – they have an overnight lotion for extreme dryness. In any case, see a dermatologist NOT a general physician to get a correct diagnosis.

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