Dermatitis

Dermatitis

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Dermatitis is a general term that describes an inflammation of the skin. Dermatitis can have many causes and occurs in many forms. It usually involves an itchy rash on swollen, reddened skin.

Skin affected by dermatitis may blister, ooze, develop a crust or flake off. Examples of dermatitis include atopic dermatitis (eczema), dandruff and rashes caused by contact with any of a number of substances, such as poison ivy, soaps and jewelry with nickel in it.

Dermatitis is a common condition that’s not contagious, but it can make you feel uncomfortable and self-conscious. A combination of self-care steps and medications can help you treat dermatitis.

Dermatitis care at Mayo Clinic

Atopic dermatitis can cause small, red bumps, which can be very itchy. When scratched, the bumps may leak fluid and crust over. Atopic dermatitis most often occurs where your skin flexes — inside the elbows, behind the knees and the front of the neck.

Contact dermatitis can appear as an itchy, red rash. In this photo, the irritation is likely due to a watchband or to soap residue trapped beneath the band.

Seborrheic dermatitis causes a red rash with yellowish and somewhat “oily” scales. In addition to the scalp, seborrheic dermatitis can occur on the sides of the nose, in and between the eyebrows, and in other oil-rich areas.

Each type of dermatitis may look a little different and tends to occur on different parts of your body. The most common types of dermatitis include:

See your doctor if:

A number of health conditions, allergies, genetic factors and irritants can cause different types of dermatitis:

A number of factors can increase your risk of developing certain types of dermatitis. Examples include:

Scratching the itchy rash associated with dermatitis can cause open sores, which may become infected. These skin infections can spread and may very rarely become life-threatening.

Avoiding dry skin may be one factor in helping you prevent dermatitis. These tips can help you minimize the drying effects of bathing on your skin:

Dermatitis care at Mayo Clinic

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Dermatitis

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