Last Updated: September 21 2022

Dermatitis is an umbrella term used to describe skin inflammation from conditions such as eczema, contact dermatitis, and seborrheic dermatitis. Symptoms of these conditions include dry skin, redness, and itchiness.

Dermatitis falls under theAutoimmune DiseaseandSkin, Hair, & Nailscategories.

What is dermatitis?

Dermatitis is a general term used to describe skin inflammation resulting from a wide variety of skin conditions. Common causes of dermatitis include eczema, contact dermatitis, and seborrheic dermatitis (of which dandruff is a mild form).[1] Other causes include vascular disease, which causes stasis dermatitis,[2] or photosensitivity, which is an abnormal reaction to sun exposure.[3]

What are the main signs and symptoms of dermatitis?

People with dermatitis experience skin redness, irritation, and itchiness. The skin may blister, ooze, and appear flaky in severe cases.

How is dermatitis diagnosed?

Diagnosis is based upon medical and physical assessment findings. If these findings are unclear, further testing such as skin prick testing, blood tests measuring immune reactivity to allergens, or biopsy may be performed.

What are some of the main medical treatments for dermatitis?

Moisturizers, topical corticosteroids, and topical calcineurin inhibitors are the first-line treatments for most cases of dermatitis. Treatment choice depends upon the severity, location, and type or cause of dermatitis.[1] For contact dermatitis, avoiding the offending trigger is the first-line treatment.

Have any supplements been studied for dermatitis?

Supplements that have shown potential benefits for treating eczema are oral Vitamin E, topical Vitamin B12,[4] Vitamin D,[5] and probiotics.[6]. One study found that whey protein reduced symptoms of contact dermatitis[7]. Additionally, people who are deficient in certain minerals and nutrients — Vitamin B2, Vitamin B3, Vitamin B12, zinc, iron — often present with dermatitis-like symptoms.[8] In this case, supplementation of the deficient nutrient is advised.

What’s the connection between diet and dermatitis?

Allergies to certain foods can cause or worsen dermatitis. The most common food allergies include peanuts, cow’s milk, soy, shellfish, wheat, and nuts.[9] Furthermore, in some people the autoimmune condition celiac disease can manifest as dermatitis herpetiformis (DH); people with DH develop blistering rashes after consuming gluten-containing foods.[10]

Are there any other treatments for dermatitis?

Avoiding irritating fabrics such as thick-fiber wool can mitigate symptoms of eczema,[11] and reducing exposure to known irritants such as pollen, dust, fragrances, etc. can reduce symptoms of contact dermatitis.[1] Fine merino wool has been demonstrated to be helpful for people with eczema, despite the fact that thick-fiber wool may exacerbate eczema symptoms.[11] Furthermore, phototherapy has been shown to be beneficial in people with eczema that does not respond to initial treatments.[12]

What causes dermatitis?

Dermatitis can be caused by endogenous (within the body) or exogenous (outside the body) factors. Endogenous dermatitis involves a pathology within the body. Examples are eczema and stasis dermatitis. On the other hand, exogenous dermatitis is precipitated by contact with substances outside the body. Examples are irritant contact dermatitis, allergic contact dermatitis, and photosensitive dermatitis.[1]

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