Dermatitis is a groups of skin conditions with one common factor: inflammation. With common causes being dry skin, environmental factors, and allergic triggers, dermatitis is easy to treat and avoid, and rarely develops into a serious medical concern.
However, the scaly, red, and itchy patches are a major cause of concern and discomfort. Here are some of the best treatment and preventative measures to eliminate, or at least reduce, dermatitis. For a proper treatment plan, consult a dermatologist.
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Awareness is key to fully preventing dermatitis. If your skin condition is caused by certain chemical or natural substances (contact dermatitis), then avoiding these triggers may be the only thing required to prevent a recurrence. Eczema, on the other hand, may not be preventable as it is largely genetic in nature; in which case, flare-up prevention is the prime focus.
For Dryness and Eczema:
- Take warm, not hot, and limited showers of 10-15 minutes.
- Use mild, fragrance-free soaps or non-soap cleansers.
- Brush your skin rapidly with your palms or pat dry with a soft towel after bathing.
- Immediately apply moisturizer while the skin is still damp after showering to seal in the oil and moisture. Try using unscented, oil-based moisturizers with minimal chemicals/preservatives.
For Contact Dermatitis:
- Do a patch or spot test after buying any new product. Apply the product over a small area on the forearm, cover, and avoid exposing it to water and soap for 48-96 hours. In case of any redness or irritation during this time, avoid using the product.
- Opt for vinyl gloves over rubber ones if you have a latex allergy, or wear cotton gloves underneath.
- Wear long sleeved shirts and pants when outdoors, particularly when hiking
- Try to avoid scratching the rashes to keep from reopening the wounds and spreading the infection. Trim your nails and wear gloves at night if you are prone to scratching in your sleep.
- Use skin products labelled ‘hypoallergenic’ or ‘unscented’.
- Opt for mild laundry detergents to avoid accidental irritation.
- Apply a water-based moisturizer after washing hands, or oil-based for dry skin.
Dermatitis treatment varies depending upon the cause and severity, and often involves a trial-and-error approach to determine suitable medications and home remedies according to skin type and individual condition. In most cases, however, the infection clears up within 2-3 weeks following treatment.
The following medications can be taken along with making lifestyle adjustments for pain relief and symptom control:
- Antihistamines for relieving allergies and itching. However, they may induce drowsiness and interfere with urination.
- Topical corticosteroid creams and lotions to reduce inflammation and itchiness. Oral cortisones or injections may be prescribed for severe cases.
- Calcineurin creams and lotions for eczema to strengthen the immune system.
- Antibiotics or antifungal medications in case of infection.
- Phototherapy, i.e. exposure of affected areas to controlled amounts of natural or artificial light for Photocontact dermatitis.
Lifestyle adjustments and home treatment is usually the first-line treatment for most cases of dermatitis, with some of the most effective measures as follows:
- Apply cool, wet compresses to help soothe itching and burning as and when needed.
- Take warm baths mixed with 1-2 cups of uncooked or colloidal oatmeal, soak for 5-10 minutes and moisturize after patting dry.
- For severe atopic dermatitis (eczema), try adding ½ cup of diluted household bleach to warm bathwater and soak for a few minutes to decrease bacteria and soothe the skin.
- Wear smooth cotton clothing to avoid irritating the affected area.
- Neurodermatitis is largely caused by stress and depression, so practice stress management techniques like yoga, breathing techniques, biofeedback, and using stress balls to prevent flare-ups.
- Cover broken skin or open sores with a bandage or dressing to prevent irritation and further infection.
- Try taking vitamin D and probiotic supplements in case of eczema.
- For seborrheic dermatitis caused by a skin fungus over the scalp, try anti-dandruff shampoos containing either tar, salicylic acid, ketoconazole, sulfur, selenium, or zinc pyrithione.
- In case of stasis dermatitis (inadequate blood circulation to the legs), wear support stockings and keep your legs elevated above your heart as much as possible to improve blood flow and reduce swelling. Moreover, since stasis dermatitis is often a symptom of another condition, get examined and treated for the underlying condition.
Dermatitis may be permanent in most cases, but with proper care and prevention, future episodes can be kept from recurring. Consult with your doctor on your personal dermatitis treatment plan according to your health condition and skin type.
You can also book an appointment with a top Dermatologist in Peshawar, Karachi and Islamabad through oladoc.com, or call our helpline at 042-3890-0939 for assistance to find the RIGHT Doctor for your skin concerns.