Dermatitis: Types, Causes, Risk Factors, Symptoms and Treatment

It is an inflammation or rash on the skin.

Dermatitis is caused by infections, allergies, and contact with irritants.

These eruptions can vary from mild to severe causing different conditions such as itching , red spots, inflammation, blisters among others, depending on the cause.


Contact dermatitis and atopic dermatitis are the two most common types of dermatitis.

Contact dermatitis

Contact dermatitis is an inflammatory skin condition that is induced by contact with an irritating substance or an external allergen.

When the skin is in contact with a substance and causes a delayed allergic reaction, the dermatitis is called allergic contact dermatitis and when there is a lesion on the surface of the skin the dermatitis is called irritant contact dermatitis.

The most common causes of allergic contact dermatitis are cosmetics, rubber products, dyes, adhesives, nickel, and other metals.

The most common causes of irritant contact dermatitis include detergents, soaps, cleaners, waxes, and chemicals.

These substances wear down the oily layer that serves as protection on the skin’s surface and cause irritant contact dermatitis.

Symptoms of contact dermatitis

Symptoms vary, depending on the cause of the dermatitis.

Allergic contact dermatitis:

  • Redness of the skin.
  • Blisters that leak (The fluid from the blisters is not contagious. It will not spread the rash to other parts of the body or to other people.)
  • Itching that can become very severe.
  • Swelling in the eyes, face and genital areas (severe cases).

Irritant contact dermatitis:

  • Mild swelling
  • Stiff and tight skin.
  • Dry and cracked skin
  • Blisters
  • Painful ulcers

Diagnosis of contact dermatitis

If your doctor suspects allergic contact dermatitis, they may perform patch tests.

In this test, the doctor places small samples of chemicals on an area of ​​the skin to see if a rash develops.

The diagnosis of contact dermatitis cannot be made with blood tests.

All products that come into contact with the skin should be mentioned, even if certain products are used only once a month or if the product was used after the rash started.

There is no evidence for irritant contact dermatitis.

The physician should be informed of any irritating substances with which he or she is in regular contact, including cosmetics, lotions, and nail polishes.

With any type of contact dermatitis, avoid substances that are suspected of being irritating and watch for the rash to go away.

Treatment for contact dermatitis

The form of treatment will depend on the cause of your dermatitis. Common treatments include:

  • Cortisone
  • Antihistamines (medicines to relieve itching).
  • Dry skin care (lotions and creams).
  • Oatmeal baths (to relieve itching).

Atopic dermatitis

Atopic dermatitis (eczema) is a condition that causes red, itchy skin. It is very common in children, especially when they are babies.

But flare-ups can occur throughout life and can manifest at any age.

Atopic dermatitis has the characteristic that it is long-lasting (chronic) and is usually exacerbated.

It is very common in people who have a history of environmental allergies.

Symptoms of atopic dermatitis

In the childhood:

  • Dry patches of red skin with cigarillo.
  • Rash on the cheeks that often begins at 2 to 6 months of age.
  • The rash oozes when scratched. Symptoms may be worse when the rash is scratched.

In adolescence and early adulthood:

  • Rash on the folds of the hands, elbows, wrists, and knees, and sometimes on the feet, ankles, and neck.
  • Skin rash, scaly appearance, and brownish-gray color.
  • Thickened skin with marks.
  • The rash may bleed and crust over after scratching.

Treatment of atopic dermatitis

No cure has been found for atopic dermatitis. The doctor can prescribe lotions and oral medications.

These treatments include corticosteroid creams and antihistamines.

To help the condition, you can:

  • Avoid long, hot baths, which can dry out the skin.
  • Apply lotions and moisturizers several times a day. Especially after bathing when the skin is still damp. This conserves the moisture in the skin. And in babies, hydrate regularly, with each diaper change.
  • Maintain room temperature, sudden changes in temperature and humidity in the room can dry out the skin.
  • Dress in cotton. Wool, silk, and synthetic fabrics like polyester are skin irritants.
  • Use a mild soap to wash clothes and rinse them well, removing all detergent residues.
  • Be attentive to infections that may appear on the skin. And go to the doctor immediately if you notice an infection.

Infectious dermatitis

Infectious dermatitis develops as a disease caused by a virus called HTLV-1, which is a retrovirus.

Infectious dermatitis manifests itself with the characteristics of chronic and severe eczema. It is also caused by bacteria such as staph and strep.

It is a difficult disease to control.

The mechanism by which microorganisms can cause eczema is not understood.

Bacterial antigens can promote a cytotoxic reaction on the skin.

Symptoms of infectious dermatitis

  • The distinction between any dermatitis and infected eczema is difficult.
  • Infectious dermatitis shows erythema with oozing. The exudation may be profuse with crusting, or slight, with the accumulation of layers of slightly greasy moist scales below the surface.
  • The margin is characteristically defined. There may be small pustules and fissures on the leading edge.
  • Infectious dermatitis usually presents as an area of ​​progressive erythema, sometimes with micro vesicles. It is seen predominantly around discharge from wounds or ulcers, or moist skin lesions of other types.
  • Infectious dermatitis is relatively common in patients with venous leg ulcers, but care must be taken to distinguish it from contact dermatitis due to topical preparations.
  • Staphylococci or streptococci can be cultured and the lesions respond to antiseptic and antibiotic therapy.
  • This condition seems to occur particularly in patients with poor hygiene standards. Hyperhidrosis and heavy footwear can be a major predisposing factor. Infectious dermatitis can also complicate chronic roundworm infestation, pediculosis, scabies, and excoriation of the skin due to repeated scratching.

Treatment of infectious dermatitis

  • Correction and treatment of predisposing factors.
  • Optical antibacterial agents are effective in mild forms of infectious eczema due to bacteria.
  • Systemic antibiotics The important line of treatment is treating the infection with an appropriate antibiotic.
  • In acute exudative lesions, potassium permanganate baths are helpful for the first 2 to 3 days, in combination with topical and systemic antibiotics.
  • Oral antihistamine preparations may be required to relieve itching, which is a major factor in causing abrasions and trauma to the skin, predisposing to infection of bacteria on the skin.

Dermatitis nummular o eczema discoide

Nummular dermatitis is a chronic eczematous lesion caused by different factors.

The condition may be preceded by atopic dermatitis.

The lesion may appear as a separate entity as annular, coin-like, or discoid lesions on the extensor surface of the extremities, trunk, and buttocks.

This type of eczema appears mainly in older age groups.

Factors predisponentes de la dermatitis numular

Insect bites

Papular and urticarial lesions can become chronic in untreated cases or due to recurrence of severe itching and excoriation.

Late manifestations of atopic dermatitis

Discoid eczema can appear in the final stage of chronic atopic eczema.


External irritants such as topical sensitizing creams, detergents, metals, or internal allergens can cause nummular dermatitis.

Dry skin

Dryness of the skin due to different factors, such as excessive bathing, use of strong alkaline soaps and medicated.

In older age groups, the skin tends to be drier.

Psychosomatic disorders

They can be considered an important predisposing factor.

  • Self-sensitization.
  • Reaction to drugs.

Reaction to medications due to different drugs such as sulfonamides and methyldopa, where the fixed lesion of the drug may appear in the previous eczematized site.

Nummular dermatitis symptoms

Sharp type

Skin lesions are coin-shaped or annular vesicular papule patches or plaques on an erythematous base.

The suppurating surface of the lesion may occur with excessive excoriation due to itching or rubbing followed by secondary bacterial infection.

One of the characteristics of nummular dermatitis is that patches that appear to be inactive can become active again, especially if treatment is stopped.

Chronic type

Atopic dermatitis in childhood can later develop into discoid eczema. Chronic discoid eczema cases generally have an atopic history.

In the chronic stage, the lesions are in the shape of a dry and chafed coin.

These are single or multiple lesions and can be accompanied by severe itching that is usually increased by different irritants such as emotional stress.

Secondary injuries may continue later to involve the extremities or trunk.

The course of this type of eczema is very chronic and has the characteristic of relapse and remission, where after the healing of the lesions, a new recurrent eruption occurs in the same older site.

Treatment of nummular dermatitis

The use of a mild topical steroid alone or in combination with an antibiotic or salicylic acid (Locosalene, diprosalic, salidecoderm) in an ointment base, especially on dry lesions.

Antihistamine preparation such as Citrizine is given for a few days, preferably at bedtime, where the itching is most severe at night and to combat the possibility of sedation, especially with older sedative antihistamines.

Oral or parenteral corticosteroids are rarely indicated in nummular eczema.

Eczema disidiótico

Dyshidrotic eczema is a deep vesicular skin reaction that affects the fingers, interdigital spaces, and feet.

The vesicles have a characteristic morphological appearance like that of sago grains.

The condition is rare in youth groups and more common in adults.

Predisposing factors for dyshidrotic eczema

  • Excessive sweating
  • Hormonal imbalance
  • Psychosomatic factors.
  • Occlusion of the areas for a long time keeping the feet not ventilated by socks and shoes most of the day, as in athletes.
  • Drugs like penicillin, aspirin.
  • Primary irritants due to nickel, dichromate, perfumes, and strong detergents can be considered precipitating factors.
  • Bacterial or fungal infection is also a triggering factor.
  • Meanwhile, bacterial and fungal infections usually secondarily infect the dyshidrotic areas.

Symptoms of dyshidrotic eczema

The lesions are vesicular and generally symmetrical accompanied by mild or severe itching.

Excoriation of lesions is not uncommon.

Dyshidrotic eczema vesicles regress spontaneously and do not rupture as in other vesicular skin lesions.

Dyshidrotic eczema treatment

Most cases resolve spontaneously.

Treatment and correction of predisposing factors such as hyperhidrosis help cure it.

Severe eczema cases require antihistamines and topical steroid cream.

Creams are preferable to ointments in these cases, as the cream is less occlusive than ointments.

Using powder between your fingers can help keep your skin dry.

Oh juvenile plantar dermatosis dermatitis, dry plantar

Juvenile dermatosis is an inflammatory process on the soles of the feet and to a lesser extent on the palms of the hands, which mainly affect children between 3 to 14 years of age.

Predisposing factors

Its cause is associated with the permanent friction of the feet, which causes dehydration due to excessive sweating and humidity.

This retention of sweat and foot occlusion are produced by the use of plastic sports shoes, with wool or polyester socks or nylon stockings.

Keeping the foot for a long time without aeration is a major trigger.

Walking barefoot on wool or polyester rugs can lead to static electrical charges.

This can also play a role in dry skin and the onset of the problem.

Symptoms of plantaris dermatitis sicca

The interdigital spaces are cracked and the weight-bearing areas are spared.

Treatment of plantaris dermatitis sicca

  • Avoid walking barefoot.
  • Avoid occlusions of the areas.
  • Mild topical corticosteroid alone or in combination with salicylic acid used for a short time may work well.
  • Fluorouracil can be tested in older children.
  • Rhetonic acid
  • Vitamin A taken by mouth for a short period.

Dermatitis for ecstasy

Stasis dermatitis is an inflammation of the skin of the lower limbs due to chronic venous insufficiency. The diagnosis is clinical.

Treatment is mainly aimed at venous insufficiency and preventing the occurrence or progression of associated ulcers.

Causes of stasis dermatitis

Stasis dermatitis is related to varicose veins (dilated and sinuous veins) and swelling (edema) of the lower legs.

It usually appears on the ankles, but it can also extend to the knees.

Stasis dermatitis is a type of exogenous dermatitis, common in geriatric groups.

Symptoms of stasis dermatitis

The skin manifestation appears cyanotic, erythematous, and edematous due to local congestion.

The condition can be accompanied by mild itching, lichenifecation, ulceration, and hyperpigmentation.

Treatment of stasis dermatitis

  • Elastic stockings (compression stockings).
  • Elevation of the legs above the level of the heart.
  • Use of gauze cloths soaked in water or aluminum acetate (Burow’s solution).
  • Corticosteroid creams or ointments.
  • Use of antibiotics when there is a skin infection.
  • Skin grafts can be done to cover large ulcers.