There are different types of dermatitis & they are each caused by different triggers. If you already suffer from dry skin, this can make you more susceptible to dermatitis triggers, such as irritants (certain soaps, washing-up liquid, laundry detergents, shampoo, bubble bath, shower gel), food allergies (such as wheat, eggs, dairy, soy, & others), climate (extreme temperatures, very dry or damp conditions).
These include irritants in cleaning products (soap, detergent, washing-up liquid, shampoo, bubble bath), environmental allergens (house dust mites, pet dander), stress, hormonal changes, skin infections, & wearing synthetic fabrics.
Dermatitis is a group of skin conditions also known as eczema. Dermatitis causes the skin to become itchy, cracked, dry, & red. The severity of dermatitis symptoms depends on the individual case, & they can be short-term or long-term (chronic). If caused by allergy, dermatitis will clear up if the allergen is identified & can be avoided. You cannot catch dermatitis from someone else.
Generally, dermatitis comes in many forms & its symptoms can come & go, flaring up at times, & then getting better. The cause & type of the dermatitis will affect the severity of symptoms, but almost all kinds of dermatitis include:
- Dry skin
- Itching, which can be intense
- Patches of discoloration (red, brownish, grey)
- Small bumps which may ooze fluid when scratched
- Thickened skin, with cracks or scales
- Inflammation or swelling
- Atopic dermatitis (eczema): this type of dermatitis involves the skin becoming red, itchy, sore, cracked, & dry. It is most commonly found on the hands, inner elbows, & backs of the knees, or in children, on the face & scalp, although it can spread to larger areas of the body. It tends to be chronic. In some cases atopic dermatitis becomes infected, which leads to an intensification of the rash, with oozing fluid patches, white or yellowish spots, or a yellow crusting of the skin, soreness or swelling, & a fever.
- Seborrheic dermatitis: itchy, flaky, raised red rash affecting the face, scalp, ears, eyebrows, & eyelids.
- Contact dermatitis: dry, red, blistered, skin, which develops following exposure to an allergen.
- Discoid dermatitis (discoid eczema): a round (disc-shaped) rash of raised, red, swollen skin, usually appearing on the wrists & forearms, torso, & lower legs.
- Dyshidrotic dermatitis (pompholyx eczema or dyshidrotic eczema): found on the soles of the feet or palms of the hands, with intense itching, & blisters which may become infected & fill with pus.
- Varicose dermatitis: also known as venous, varicose, gravitational, or stasis eczema, is common in those with varicose veins. This condition affects the lower legs with itchy spots, blisters, dry skin, scaly patches, crusty patches, cracked skin, & thin, fragile skin on the lower legs.
- Asteatotic dermatitis: the skin becomes very dry & cracked, with pink or red grooves, scaling, itchiness, & pain. Usually affects patients aged 60 years or older.