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Dermatitis And Their Causes

Dermatitis is a skin condition that is generally manifested by inflammation and severe itchiness of the skin. It is a term synonymous to (and often used interchangeably with) eczema is generally used to refer to a variety of skin inflammation types.

While dermatitis can afflict almost anyone at any age, infants are the most common age profile that is afflicted by this skin disorder. About 20% of all children, including infants are suspected to have been affected by dermatitis, which normally disappears (in most cases) by the age of three.

Common types of dermatitis

  1. Atopic Dermatitis – this type of dermatitis is suspected to be triggered by anomalous functions of the immune system. The most common symptom of this skin disorder is an extremely inflamed and itchy skin.
  2. Contact Dermatitis – this type of dermatitis is a location-specific skin disorder, i.e., only the area that comes into contact with the triggering factor or allergen gets affected. The symptoms of this condition are similar to that of atopic dermatitis (i.e., severe itching and inflammation), except that contact dermatitis is a localized disorder.
  3. Nummular Dermatitis – this normally chronic type of dermatitis affects mostly elderly men. Symptoms include small circular-shaped patches of reddened and severely itching skin. Commonly affected areas are the back, buttocks and lower extremities.
  4. Neurodermatitis – this type of dermatitis starts relatively simple enough with an area that was, e.g., bitten by an insect but progresses to a severe inflammation situation due to the intense scratching brought about by the severe itchiness. The head and lower extremities are the most commonly affected parts for this skin disorder.

Causes of Dermatitis

There are many theories as to what causes dermatitis although there is no one who can absolutely say with complete authority what these causes precisely are. One major theory put forward which is gaining wide support by several doctors is that dermatitis is generally a result of some functions in the body’s immune system going wrong. Another theory being considered is that dermatitis is caused by allergens, in which case, it is really dependent on what the person is allergic to. Allergens could include skin contact with certain types of cosmetics, jewelry, soaps, clothing, etc. Other factors that trigger dermatitis include physiological stress and extreme weather changes.

Symptoms of Dermatitis

The symptoms of dermatitis vary depending on the type of disorder and the person himself. The level of reaction is not standard, either. Clearly, however, skin inflammation and severe itchiness are common across almost all types of dermatitis. The progress of symptoms are induced by the severe scratching. These resulting symptoms include blisters and lesions, and thickened, crusty skin.

Common areas where dermatitis appears are the head, inner sides of the joints of the extremities, particularly elbows, knees and ankles. In infants, the common areas of dermatitis are the extremities (legs, arms) and the head (scalp, forehead, neck and cheeks).