Dermatitis, dry skin and how to live with it

atopinis dermatitas, dermatitas, egzema, kontaktinis dermatitas, seborėjinis dermatitas -

Dermatitis, dry skin and how to live with it

Dermatitis is a general term for skin inflammation that includes several different conditions that cause the skin to become swollen, red, itchy, and sometimes break out.

Types of dermatitis

Atopic dermatitis (eczema) is the most common chronic skin condition characterized by intense itching, dry, scaly skin and periodic inflammatory rashes. Atopic dermatitis usually occurs in childhood and may be linked to genetic factors and other allergic conditions, such as asthma or allergic rhinitis. Treatment includes moisturizing the skin, reducing inflammation with topical corticosteroids or other anti-inflammatory ointments, and avoiding factors that may cause or worsen symptoms.

Contact dermatitis occurs as a result of direct skin contact with irritating or allergenic substances. It can be divided into two main forms: allergic contact dermatitis, which is an immune system reaction to an allergen, and irritant contact dermatitis, which is caused by direct irritation of the skin. Treatment includes avoidance of irritants or allergens and symptomatic treatments such as skin hydration and topical corticosteroids.

Seborrheic dermatitis presents as an oily, scaly rash, usually on the scalp, face, and chest. Its cause is unclear, but oily skin secretions and microorganisms such as yeast are thought to play a role. Treatment includes mild skin cleansers, antifungals, and topical corticosteroids to help control inflammation and scaling.

In addition to these main types, there are other less common forms of dermatitis, such as nummular (discoid) dermatitis , which causes round, itchy patches on the skin, and stasis dermatitis, which is caused by poor blood circulation, usually in the legs. Treatment for each type of dermatitis depends on the specific symptoms, severity, and personal health history, and individual medical consultation is necessary.


Symptoms of dermatitis can range from mild to severe and often depend on the specific type. Common symptoms include:
  • Itching
  • Dry cracked skin
  • A rash
  • Blisters
  • Peeling and flaking of the skin
  • Thickened skin
  • Redness and swelling
  • Hyperpigmentation or hypopigmentation
The symptoms of dermatitis can change over time and depending on factors such as environmental conditions, stress or contact with irritants. It is important to see a doctor or dermatologist for an accurate diagnosis and proper management of symptoms.

What are the causes of dermatitis?

The causes of dermatitis are varied and may vary depending on the specific type. These causes include genetic, environmental and immunological factors.
  1. Genetics: Especially important in the case of atopic dermatitis, where heredity plays a significant role. Individuals with close relatives with atopic dermatitis, asthma, or allergies have a higher risk of developing the condition themselves.
  2. Environmental factors: Contact dermatitis occurs as a result of direct skin contact with irritating or allergenic substances. These can include chemicals, household cleaners, cosmetics, metals (such as nickel), some plants, and even some foods.
  3. Immune system dysfunction: In atopic dermatitis, it is not uncommon to see an overactive immune system that reacts inappropriately to harmless environmental elements, causing an inflammatory skin reaction.
  4. Infections: Bacterial, viral, or fungal infections can cause or worsen dermatitis symptoms.
  5. Damage to the skin barrier: A damaged or weak skin barrier makes it easier for allergens and irritants to penetrate, causing an inflammatory reaction.
  6. Hormonal changes: Some types of dermatitis, such as seborrheic dermatitis, can be related to fluctuations in hormone levels in the body.
  7. Psychological factors: Stress and emotional tension can also play a role in the exacerbation of dermatitis.
  8. Climatic and environmental conditions: Dry air, cold climates, and environmental irritants such as dust or smoke can cause or worsen dermatitis symptoms.
Given that the causes of dermatitis can be diverse and complex, an individual approach to each case is important in order to determine the most effective treatment strategy. Various preventive measures and treatment methods may include an external skin care regimen, avoidance of known irritants and allergens, and the use of systemic or topical medications to reduce inflammation.

What complications can dermatitis cause?

Dermatitis, regardless of its type, can cause several complications, especially if not properly treated. These complications can have long-term effects on patients' health and quality of life.

The itchiness and scratching of the skin due to dermatitis can lead to cracks in the skin, which become a perfect breeding ground for bacterial, viral or fungal infections. This can aggravate the condition and cause additional symptoms such as pus, pain, swelling or even fever.

Prolonged itching and scratching can lead to thickening and scarring of the skin, especially in frequently affected areas. This can have an aesthetic effect and reduce the patient's self-confidence.

Dermatitis can cause hyperpigmentation or hypopigmentation, especially in dark-skinned people, where dermatitis can cause changes in skin color in affected areas, causing darkening (hyperpigmentation) or lightening (hypopigmentation).

Severe or long-term dermatitis can have a negative impact on emotional and mental health. These include stress, low self-esteem and even depression, especially if the condition is visible and interferes with normal activities.

Some patients, especially those with long-term and intense dermatitis, may develop joint and muscle pain, especially if the condition involves large areas of the body.

Research shows that the long-term inflammation associated with some forms of dermatitis may increase the risk of other chronic conditions, such as cardiovascular disease or autoimmune disorders.

Because of these potential complications, it is important to regularly consult with healthcare professionals and follow a treatment plan to minimize the effects of dermatitis and prevent complications.

Living with dermatitis

Living with dermatitis can be challenging, but if managed properly, the disorder should not interfere with daily life. It is important to understand that managing dermatitis is a long-term process that requires a consistent and individualized treatment plan.
  • Skin care. The key to living with dermatitis is regular skin hydration , using hypoallergenic, fragrance-free, and other irritant-free moisturizers. It is also recommended to avoid hot showers and use mild cleansers.
  • Avoidance of stimuli. It is important to identify and avoid irritants such as certain fabrics (such as wool), chemicals, household cleaners, certain foods, or even weather conditions that can cause or worsen symptoms.
  • Nutrition and healthy lifestyle . Although the direct link between diet and dermatitis is not entirely clear, a healthy, balanced diet and adequate fluid intake can help maintain good skin condition. It is also important to avoid smoking and alcohol, as they can cause inflammation.
  • Stress management. Stress is a known trigger for dermatitis flare-ups, so it's important to find effective stress-reducing techniques such as exercise, meditation, yoga, or certain hobbies.
  • Safe sun exposure. Although sunlight can improve some cases of dermatitis, it is important to avoid excessive sun exposure and use sunscreen to prevent sunburn.
  • Medical care. Regular consultations with a dermatologist or other health care professional are important to monitor changes in the condition, apply appropriate treatment, and make necessary adjustments to the treatment plan.
  • Education and support. Understanding the condition and its management strategies is vital. It can also be helpful to connect with others who have dermatitis, participate in support groups, or seek information from trusted sources.
Remember that each person's experience with dermatitis is individual, and what works for one person may not work for another. That's why it's important to find a personal care strategy that fits your specific needs and lifestyle.

Sources of information:

  1. Mayo Clinic: "Dermatitis - Symptoms and causes."

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