Dermatitis is an umbrella term that is used to cover several skin conditions that have the same or at least similar symptoms. Inflammation, swelling, itching, scaling, red, irritated, and dry are all used to characterize the signs and symptoms of dermatitis. Poison ivy rashes, atopic dermatitis, dandruff and any other type of allergic reaction to the skin can be classified as a form of dermatitis. The inflammation that affects the skin can look unsightly but it is not contagious. Each of the signs and symptoms can be treated on their own or as a group. Many symptoms of dermatitis can lead to other health conditions and a doctor should closely evaluate the patient's entire symptomatology before making a diagnosis.
Although there is no known cure for dermatitis, using both topical and systemic medications can help to control the symptoms and reduce the discomfort. Corticosteroid creams and lotions that help to boost the immune system will work to protect the skin from further damage. Doctors also encourage patients to expose their skin to both natural and artificial light sources as a form of phototherapy. This type of therapy stimulates the production of Vitamin D within the body. The skin needs Vitamin D to remain healthy and vibrant. Laser treatments may also be used to help rejuvenate and strengthen the skin and soft tissues.
Atopic dermatitis is another term for eczema. When a person has atopic dermatitis, the skin is extremely sensitive and often becomes red and irritated. Most people who have allergies will also end up developing dermatitis at some point. Harsh soaps, contaminants, and stress can aggravate dermatitis. One of the main characteristics of atopic dermatitis is that it affects how well the skin and soft tissues hold onto moisture. Atopic dermatitis tends to affect people of different ages at different areas of the body. Small children, for example, will commonly have eczema on their faces and heads, while older people will see it more on their arms or legs.
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