What is Dermatitis? What are its causes & types


Dermatitis is a type of disease where the skin becomes red, inflamed, rough, and eventually cracks. One may also notice blisters and tiny red bumps on the affected skin. Dermatitis is a term used to define many types of skin conditions. However, there are two familiar forms namely contact dermatitis and atopic dermatitis. Contact dermatitis happens when the skin comes in direct contact with substances that may cause an allergic reaction or injure the skin. In the case of atopic dermatitis, it is inherited and generally happens to children when they are infants.

Types of Dermatitis

There are different types of dermatitis, and hence the causes vary. The types include;

  • Seborrheic Eczema: The seborrheic eczema is a condition which causes red, scaly patches and persistent dandruff. It occurs on the oily parts of the body such as scalp, face or upper back or chest. It can be a long-term condition which could relapse at any time without any warning.
  • Allergic contact dermatitis: This condition occurs when a person’s immunity system reacts to a foreign allergen or substance.
  • Stasis dermatitis: Stasis dermatitis is a skin condition in the lower leg caused by the buildup of fluids.
  • Nummular eczema: In this condition, patches in circular form are visible on the skin which is often itchy, scaly and crusty.
  • Neurodermatitis: This skin condition is caused mainly by an insect bite which results in scaly patches on skin sites such as wrists, legs, and head.
  • Dyshidrotic eczema: Dyshidrotic eczema causes blisters on the soles of the feet or palms of the hands.

Causes of Dermatitis

The rashes are caused due to a number of factors such as allergies and infections. The key to finding the best solution for your dermatitis is to recognise the cause. Here are some of the causes explained.

  • Microbes and Allergens: Microorganism such as Staphylococcus aureus and fungi, and allergens such as pollens, dust mites, and dandruff can cause eczema.
  • Irritants: Irritants include many substances such as shampoos, detergents, disinfectants and soaps.
  • Extreme Weather Condition: Very cold or very hot temperature, low and high humidity and sweating from physical activity can result in eczema.
  • Hormones: Hormonal imbalance during pregnancy or menstrual cycle can increase eczema symptoms in women. 

Risk factors

Some factors can induce your risk of developing certain types of dermatitis such as:

  • Health Conditions: One may be at more risk of getting seborrheic dermatitis if they have conditions such as Parkinson’s disease, heart problems or HIV.
  • Asthma and Allergies: Genetics play an important role in eczema because people who have a family history of allergies such as asthma or hay fever are more prone to get atopic dermatitis.
  • Age: Atopic dermatitis usually occurs at the time of infancy, but dermatitis can happen at any age.
  • Occupation: Certain jobs wherein you have to travel outside or get in contact with metals, cleaning supplies or solvents may increase your risk of getting dermatitis. 

Dermatitis has its timeline, but if your skin rash doesn’t seem to vanish, visit your doctor right away and let them help you find the best course of action for your allergic reaction. You must inform the doctor of all the products and substances you’ve been in contact with to help determine the cause of your rash and how to treat it.


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