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What is skin dermatitis?

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Quick Answer

Dermatitis refers to any inflammation of the skin. There are many different forms and causes of dermatitis, but it usually consists of an itchy rash and reddened, swollen skin, according to Mayo Clinic.

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Full Answer

Types of dermatitis include contact, atopic, nummular, stasis and seborrheic, states Mayo Clinic. Contact dermatitis consists of rashes or blisters that develop due to skin irritation or allergic reaction. Poison ivy is a common example of contact dermatitis. Atopic dermatitis, or eczema, typically begins in infancy and involves rashes inside the elbows, behind the knees and other areas where the skin flexes. If scratched, these rashes may leak fluid and crust over.

Nummular dermatitis consists of coin-shaped red marks on the hands, arms, legs and torso, says WebMD. Nummular dermatitis typically occurs more in men than in women and may be triggered by frequently taking hot showers or living in a dry environment. Stasis dermatitis occurs due to poor circulation in the legs and causes fluid buildup and swelling, which can produce skin irritation. Seborrheic dermatitis, also known as cradle cap in infants or dandruff in adults, consists of scaling on the face, scalp or genitals and may be exasperated by stress.

Treatments for dermatitis include corticosteroid creams, calcineurin inhibitors and phototherapy, reports Mayo Clinic. Additionally, several home therapies include wet compresses, bleach baths and nonprescription anti-inflammation products. Stress management techniques such as relaxation and biofeedback have successfully treated dermatitis.

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