About Dermatitis at Dermatology Associates of Atlanta
Dermatitis encompasses a wide variety of skin conditions, all of which are characterized by an inflammation of the skin. Symptoms can include (but are not limited to) blistered, oozing, flaky, itchy, swollen, or reddened skin. Dermatitis is extremely common and generally not serious, but it can make you feel self-conscious and uncomfortable. The board-certified dermatologists at Dermatology Associates of Atlanta have extensive experience diagnosing and treating dermatitis and can work with you to determine the best course of treatment for your symptoms.
“Dermatitis” is a general term that includes myriad skin disorders, some of the most common of which are listed below:
- Stasis dermatitis – Characterized by swelling and blistering, this is common among individuals with poor circulation in the legs as a result of varicose veins and associated fluid buildup.
- Allergic contact dermatitis – Allergens like perfume, poison ivy, and cosmetics are responsible for this type of dermatitis, which manifests in the form of a rash, itching, blisters, bumps, and draining fluid.
- Eczema – The cause of eczema is not known. Symptoms include red or brownish-gray patches on the skin, itching, bumps, and cracked, scaly, or thickened skin.
- Irritant contact dermatitis – Similar to allergic contact dermatitis but not indicative of an allergic reaction, this type of dermatitis results when your skin is regularly exposed to an irritant. Skin products like soap and deodorant are a common culprit.
- Neurodermatitis – Repeated scratching causes neurodermatitis, which results in itchy, leathery, scaly skin.
- Perioral dermatitis – Small red bumps and mild peeling on the face characterize perioral dermatitis, the cause of which is unknown.
- Seborrheic dermatitis – Commonly affecting the oiliest parts of the body, it causes itching, soreness, flaking, and scaling. On the scalp, seborrheic dermatitis appears as dandruff (adults) or cradle cap (infants).
One of our dermatologists can determine the appropriate treatment for your dermatitis depending on the cause and symptoms. Sometimes all that is necessary is avoiding the substance that is causing the dermatitis. In other cases, medication or special compounds may be prescribed or over-the-counter treatments may be recommended. Corticosteroid creams and oral antihistamines are commonly prescribed to relieve severe itching, for example. If you have seborrheic dermatitis, your doctor may recommend anti-dandruff shampoo. Topical treatments, such as moisturizing lotion, may also help relieve dermatitis symptoms.
Is dermatitis contagious?
Dermatitis is usually not contagious, since its development depends largely upon an individual’s unique body chemistry. Your dermatologist will determine if your dermatitis is contagious.
Can I treat dermatitis at home?
There are dozens of over-the-counter treatment options for dermatitis, but keep in mind that they treat only the symptoms, not the cause. Only a board-certified dermatologist can accurately diagnose your dermatitis and recommend the appropriate treatment.
What can I do while waiting for my dermatologist appointment?
Avoid scratching the affected area, as this can further irritate the skin and even cause your dermatitis to spread to other areas. Apply cold compresses and take cool baths in water sprinkled with baking soda or uncooked oatmeal. This will ease any pain or irritation associated with dermatitis.
What can I expect when I see my dermatologist?
He or she will ask you about your daily activities and the chemicals with which you regularly come into contact. You may also undergo a patch test, wherein your doctor tests small patches of your skin with different irritants to determine if any are causing your dermatitis.