How to Treat Dermatitis

Your body has been overtaken by itchy red patches of skin, and you’re worried that you look like a kid with chicken pox. However, chances are much greater that you have some form of dermatitis. Dermatitis is the name for several types of skin inflammations.

  • Seborrheic dermatitis. If you avoid wearing black shirts because of embarrassing white flakes on your shoulders, you may have this condition. It is the medical name for what you usually call dan­druff in adults or cradle cap in infants. This type of dermatitis makes your skin look greasy and flaky, usually on the scalp. But it can sometimes affect the skin in other areas of your body, like your face or chest. No one is sure what causes seborrheic dermatitis, but it is fairly common and easy to treat with special dandruff shampoos.


  • Atopic dermatitis. This condition is also called atopic eczema. It is a kind of allergic skin condi­tion that tends to be inherited. If other members of your family have the same kind of itching, crusty, thickened areas of skin as you, atopic dermatitis may be the cause. It usually occurs on the face, upper chest, and neck, or on knees, elbows, wrists, and ankles.
  • Dermatitis herpetiformis. Intense itching accom­panies patches of tiny red blisters in this chronic disease. It usually develops in adulthood, and may be connected to celiac sprue disease. Celiac sprue involves an allergy to gluten, which is found in many wheat products. Avoiding products that contain gluten may be the key to controlling this type of dermatitis.
  • Photodermatitis. Certain substances can make you more sensitive to sunlight, causing this type of dermatitis. These photosensitizers include cer­tain drugs, perfumes, cosmetics, and plants. If you are sensitive to sunlight, avoid going outside between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., when the sun is strongest, and always protect your skin with sun­screen.
  • Contact dermatitis. As the name suggests, you have to touch an irritating substance to get this type of dermatitis. You usually don’t react imme­diately, but one to three days afterwards, your skin may become red, itchy, and blistered. A good example is poison ivy. If your skin is sensitive, you may also react to certain metals such as nickel, chrome, and mercury. Other problems include cosmetics, especially permanent hair dyes that contain paraphenylenediamine, and some types of medicated creams or ointments.

Filed Under: Health & Personal Care


About the Author: Andrew Reinert is a health care professional who loves to share different tips on health and personal care. He is a regular contributor to MegaHowTo and lives in Canada.

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