Many of us suffer from one of the different types of dermatitis, with red, itchy bumps plaguing our arms, legs, face, or even scalp. This common skin condition is not dangerous, but it can lead to further complications if the resulting lesions become infected.
Most cases produce a feeling of self-consciousness and low self-esteem in the sufferer, due to the sometimes unsightly marks. We will uncover the various dermatitis types, their symptoms, and specific causes.
What is dermatitis? It can refer to an array of skin rashes all caused by numerous internal and external factors. Each type is easily identifiable by its markings and symptoms, which can range from mild to extreme conditions. Some of the characteristics of dermatitis include itchiness; redness; inflammation; small, raised bumps; crusty lesions; and blisters.
Types of Dermatitis
There are mainly eight types of dermatitis, each of which has its own distinguishable markings based on location on body and the patient’s medical history. What are the different types of dermatitis? Continue reading to learn more about them in detail.
1. Allergic Contact Dermatitis
A common form of dermatitis, allergic contact dermatitis typically occurs when the immune system reacts to a substance the skin has come into contact with as a harmful invader. The result is red, itchy patches on the skin with possible pus-filled bumps, depending on the triggering allergen. This is seen in patients having direct contact with poison ivy, poison oak, and poison sumac. This particular condition is also known as allergic contact eczema.
2. Irritant Contact Dermatitis
Similar to allergic contact dermatitis, the condition known as irritant contact dermatitis is caused by the skin’s contact with an irritant such as soap, cosmetics, bleach, and solvents. This form most often presents as a localized red rash, which may be itchy or have a burning sensation. The rash itself may also look like a burn with redness and dryness.
3. Atopic Dermatitis
One of the most prevalent dermatitis types is atopic dermatitis. This is an inherited skin condition where sufferers are predisposed to have reactions to environmental allergens. Food allergens can also be a trigger for atopic dermatitis. It usually develops in infancy with occurrences throughout the first several years, and some cases continuing into adulthood. Symptoms to watch for include a red, itchy skin rash that forms discharge when scratched. These patches are commonly found on the face in infants, and in skin folds, on the ankles, and on the feet.
Also referred to as lichen simplex chronicus, neurodermatitis is an itchy skin patch that is localized to one area. It can appear as a tough, raised leather-like area on the wrist, forearm, ankle, or even on the head. Any scratch can continue the cycle and interrupt your daily tasks and activities. Neurodermatitis is triggered by excessively dry skin, the release of stress hormones, high temperatures, poor circulation, or by wearing tight-fitting clothing with wool or synthetic fibers.
5. Nummular Dermatitis
Nummular dermatitis is a form of dermatitis that is seen near the site of recent damage to the skin, such as an injury from an insect bite or burn. It is also called nummular eczema or discoid eczema, and it can present as a round or oval-shaped red mark. It is seen more commonly in older men from 55 to 65 years of age, as affected women are usually younger than 25 years of age.
6. Seborrheic Dermatitis
Every parent knows the signs of cradle cap on newborns, and seborrheic dermatitis is the adult version. The skin condition may develop on the face, chest, or the scalp—basically wherever the most oil of the skin forms. It presents as dandruff, red skin patches, and yellow-colored crust. In addition to an overproduction of oil by the sebaceous glands, seborrheic dermatitis can be triggered by the natural microorganisms that live on our skin.
7. Stasis Dermatitis
Functionality issues within the veins caused by thrombosis, injury, or damage from a recent surgery may lead to stasis dermatitis. Damage to the valves of the veins sees an interruption in the blood flow from the legs to the heart. This can cause a buildup of pressure in the veins, creating a seepage of fluid that results in the inflammation symptoms. It is seen in adults older than 50 years of age, and can affect one or both of the lower extremities.
8. Perioral Dermatitis
Perioral dermatitis presents as a red rash primarily around the mouth region with outbreaks near the eyes, nose, and on the cheeks. There may be fluid-filled bumps that frequently appear and disappear with an itching and burning sensation. It could be caused by the excessive use of topical steroid creams, nasal sprays, inhalers, or irritation by the use of fluoride toothpaste.
Dermatitis is a term covering a grouping of different skin conditions, all sharing similar symptoms. The types of dermatitis can be distinguished by their individual characteristics as well as the location of the outbreak. Many times, most dermatitis cases can be prevented by avoiding direct or indirect contact with one of the triggering agents.
“Slide Show: Types Of Dermatitis,” Mayo Clinic; http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/dermatitis-eczema/multimedia/dermatitis/sls-20076203?s=1, last accessed July 13, 2017.
“Dermatitis,” Cleveland Clinic; https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/dermatitis, last accessed July 13, 2017.
Flugman, S., “Stasis Dermatitis,” eMedicine, April 17, 2017; http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/1084813-overview#a4, last accessed July 13, 2017.
“Nummular Dermatitis,” American Academy of Dermatology; https://www.aad.org/public/diseases/eczema/nummular-dermatitis, last accessed July 13, 2017.