What is Dermatitis?

Dermatitis is one of those nagging conditions that definitely isn’t life-threatening, but at the same time is very inconvenient to deal with. The term ‘dermatitis’ basically refers to inflammation of the skin. It is characterized by swollen, red and itchy skin and is common in both adults and children alike. Cases of dermatitis vary from one to the next by cause and specific symptoms. If you are worried your child will pass on the condition to classmates or friends, rest assured it is not a contagious disease.

There are several different types of dermatitis.

  • Atopic dermatitis – This is also called eczema. It’s basically a random itchy rash that pops up from time to time.
  • Contact dermatitis – Itchy rash which is usually caused by frequent contact with allergens or irritants. This could be a plant like poison ivy or even a certain brand of detergent.
  • Neurodermatitis– This one occurs in a specific part of the body.
  • Seborrhoeic dermatitis – This condition causes often causes dandruff on the face and scalp.
  • Perioral dermatitis – A rash surrounding the mouth area, which is usually uneven and slightly crusty.
  • Stasis dermatitis – This results from accumulation of liquids under the skin. It usually affects the legs. This is more common in the elderly, with diabetes or kidney function problems.


Dermatitis can be very embarrassing, especially when it affect the face and other visible parts like the forearms. Many would prefer treating it at home. This is where herbal remedies passed down from century to century by our wise ancestors come into play. They have proved themselves time and again and are definitely worth a try. There is nothing to be lost in it either, as all the ingredients used are natural. That being said, if the herbal remedy uses substances which you have previously identified as an irritant to your condition, strictly avoids it. I reveal to you some of the treasures from grandma’s old diary!

  • Drinking of celery, carrot, or apple juice will help speed up your skin’s natural healing process, as it contains many essential nutrients and minerals.
  • Try making a lotion out of blueberry plant leaves or purchase one from the local herbal store. Gently rub it on the affected area.
  • Massage olive oil, tea tree oil, coconut oil, or jojoba oil into the affected area.
  • Use a cotton bud to dab calamine lotion onto the rash, if it has pustules filled with liquid.
  • Take herbal supplements, like Vitamin E which reduces itchiness. Inflammation of the skin could be treated with shark cartilage supplements.


No matter how mild or severe the rash may be, it is always good to have a doctor’s opinion. It is especially advisable that you visit a doctor if the rash has been causing intense pain or self-treatment seems to be yielding no improvement in the condition. The doctor will prescribe medication, which will vary depending on the situation. Doctor’s generally aim to stop the itching and avoid further irritation of the skin when they choose medication.

Below is a brief account of what you might expect the doctor to prescribe.

  • Contact Dermatitis –  Steroidal creams that may be covered with moist gauze
  • Seborrhoeic dermatitis – Medicated anti-dandruff shampoos like Nizoral
  • Stasis dermatitis – Surgery and use of elastic support hose
  • Atopic dermatitis – Mild Astringents and Hydrocortisone lotions.
  • Perioral Dermatitis – an oral antibiotic and mild corticosteroid cream due to condition being close to mouth and sensitive areas.
  • Neurodermatitis– Wet compress and covering of affected area, as well as psychological counseling to bring emotional chaos at bay.

Signs and Symptoms of Dermatitis

Dermatitis is a skin condition that mainly leads to swelling of the skin surface and formation of rough & itchy red patches. Typical symptoms of dermatitis are similar to eczema in blisters, scales, sores, and the like. Below are outlined some of the common types of dermatitis and symptoms specific to them:
  • Contact Dermatitis: This type of dermatitis is swelling that results from direct contact of the skin to allergens or irritants, like chemicals. Usually, the itchy rashes only appear where the skin came into ‘touch’ with the substance. The rash appears first and more thickly in places where contact with irritant was greatest and then where contact was less.
  • Atopic Dermatitis: Toddlers may get crusty leaking rashes all over their bodies. In older kids and adults, the rash usually reappears in the same spots every time, such as the arms and knees.
  • Nummular Dermatitis Signs of nummular dermatitis include ring-shaped dots that itch, pimples, and blisters. IT may worsen into oozing crusts later.
  • Seborrhoeic Dermatitis: Seborrhoeic dermatitis starts out as dry and oily scalp scales (dandruff). In the beginning it just itches. Later on, it might cause appearance of red scaling pimples on the eyebrows, nose, chest, back, and hairline. Adults may get deep scaly rashes that flake large pieces of dry skin. It could even lead to hair loss and baldness, in extreme cases.
  • Perioral Dermatitis: This is often mixed up with acne or Rosacea.  It is prevalent amongst women in their middle ages. It differs from acne by the absence of blackheads and whiteheads. Rosacea has other symptoms in addition to the blisters and scaly skin.

General Tips for Treating Dermatitis

Skin conditions like dermatitis are usually such that can be prevented from worsening if treated at an earlier stage. Simple things like applying a moisturizer daily might save you or your child that trip to the family GP. We’ve listed some of the general guidelines to be followed.
  • Bathe 3-4 days a week, rather than every single day. The moisture irritates the skin. Use luke warm water when you take a shower, not scalding hot water. Also, don’t spend longer than 20 minutes in the tub. Make use of gentle soaps that do not extract natural oils from your skin.
  • Pat yourself dry properly. Use a towel or other soft cloth to gently rub your skin dry. Water left behind in the affected area could lead to infection.
  • Use a moisturizer.  The application of a moisturizing cream or oil on your body while still moist will help keep your skin naturally hydrated and store moisture.
  • Follow the allergy trend. It may be that the skin condition is triggered or worsened when you come into contact with specific substances. Try to keep a diary of what you ate for a week or so. On days where the rash worsens, consult your diary to spot anything unusual you might have eaten that day. On the other hand, it could be the new detergent being used to wash your clothes or the fur from that new kitten. Try to pinpoint anything out of the ordinary that might be triggering your reactions!
  • Be happy! Stress is one of the main causes of more than half the diseases affecting humans today. Take time off to relax.
  • Use gloves when handling irritants.

Diet and Dermatitis

Adapting certain eating habits or taking extra supplements could help improve your dermatitis.

  • Omega 3 Fatty Acids: Omega-3 fatty acids cut down the itchiness of dermatitis significantly. It is found in flaxseed, corn, and olive oil
  • Lactobacillus acidophilus: Accumulation of toxins in the digestive system can worsen the symptoms of atopic dermatitis. Therefore, it is recommended that you follow a simple detox diet. Lactobacillus is a good bacterium that improves digestion.
  • Detox Diet: Such diets can be of 3-10 days, and the most basic one just involves eating lots of raw vegetables and fruits.
  • Vitamin B: Lack of Vitamin B in the diet can affect your body’s metabolism mechanism and develop dermatitis. Taking Vitamin B complex with your diet will help the function of your nervous system as well. This will reduce stress and, thus, your dermatitis. Yeasts, Whole grains, and pumpkin seeds are amongst the foods that contain Vitamin B.
  • Folic Acid: Folic acid intake tends to improve eczema and dermatitis. It can be found in green leafy vegetables and in pill-form as well.
  • Gluten Free Diet: Gluten is the muggy protein found in wheat, rye, and bread products. Cutting down on gluten is likely to show huge improvements in dermatitis rashes. Rice is a food that is low in gluten.

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