Dermatitis (acute)

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Dermatitis is a general term for conditions that cause inflammation or irritation of the skin. Please continue reading for more information regarding the skin condition and the treatment options available...

What is dermatitis?

If you have dermatitis, your skin may typically be dry, swollen, and red. Depending on the type of dermatitis you have, causes vary. Dermatitis isn’t contagious, but it can make you feel uncomfortable and self-conscious. Moisturizing regularly can help to control the symptoms. Treatment may also include medicated ointments, creams and shampoos.

Dermatitis can cause discomfort for some people, with skin itchiness ranging from mild to severe. Certain types of dermatitis will be persistent for a long time, while others may flare up, depending on the season, what you’re exposed to, or stress.

The symptoms of dermatitis range from mild to severe and will look different depending on which area of the body is affected. Not all people with dermatitis experience all the symptoms listed below.

In general, the symptoms of dermatitis may include:

  • rashes
  • blisters
  • dry, cracked skin
  • itchy skin
  • painful skin, with stinging or burning
  • redness
  • swelling

Who is affected by dermatitis?

Certain types of dermatitis are more common in children, and others are more common in adults. Speaking with a pharmacist can help you determine which type of dermatitis you have and whether you will gain relief with medications and topical creams.

Here are the most common types of dermatitis:

  • Atopic dermatitis (also known as eczema) This is a skin condition that is usually inherited and develops during infancy. Someone with eczema will likely experience rough patches of dry, itchy skin.
  • Contact dermatitis Contact dermatitis occurs when a substance touches your skin and causes an allergic reaction or irritation. These reactions can develop further into rashes that burn, sting, itch, or blister.
  • Dyshidrotic dermatitis In this type of dermatitis, the skin can’t protect itself resulting in itchy, dry skin, often accompanied by small blisters. It occurs mainly on the feet and hands.
  • Seborrheic dermatitis (also known as cradle cap in babies) This type is commonly found on the scalp, though it can also occur on the face and chest. It often causes scaly patches, red skin, and dandruff.
  • Follicular eczema With this type, the affected skin thickens and develops bumps in hair follicles. This condition is common in African Americans and in people with dark-brown skin.

There are various other types of dermatitis that are less common than those mentioned above. If you are unsure, consider getting a GP referral or chatting to one of our team to learn more.

Should I seek medical advice?

Your pharmacist may advise you to meet with your GP if:

  • You’re so uncomfortable that you are losing sleep or are distracted from your daily routines
  • Your skin becomes painful
  • You suspect your skin is infected
  • You’ve tried self-care steps but your signs and symptoms persist

Next steps…

If you are concerned that you may have dermatitis, please don’t hesitate to get in touch by booking a free telephone consultation with one of our experienced pharmacists for advice and support.

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