Dermatitis refers to inflammation of the skin, and can be of different types like contact dermatitis, atopic dermatitis, seborrheic dermatitis, etc…
Symptoms of dermatitis include inflammation, swelling, itching, burning sensation, and redness, as well as blisters, crusting and scaling of skin for severe dermatitis
Some of the common causes of dermatitis are an allergic reaction, certain environmental conditions, irritants, accumulation of toxins in the body, nutritional deficiencies, and genetics, and people with thin or dry skin are more prone to dermatitis.
Treatment of Dermatitis
Treatments for dermatitis depend on the type, the cause, and severity of symptoms. Your skin may clear up on its own after one to three weeks, but if it doesn’t, then you should contact your doctor or an expert.
The treatment for dermatitis varies, depending on the cause and personal experience of the condition. In addition to the lifestyle and home remedies recommended below, most dermatitis treatment plans include one or more of the following:
- Applying corticosteroid creams or lotions
- Applying certain other creams or lotions that affect your immune system
- Using phototherapy, and exposing the affected area to controlled amounts of natural or artificial light.
Your doctor or dermatologist may recommend medications such as the antihistamine diphenhydramine, to reduce allergies and itching. Phototherapy or exposing affected areas to controlled amounts of light is also another option that could be recommended.
Topical creams with a steroid like hydrocortisone to relieve itchiness and inflammation can also be used, as well as creams or lotions for dry skin. Naturally, oatmeal baths can be used to relieve itching
Infections can occur when the skin is broken due to intense scratching, in which case, antibiotics or antifungal medications are usually given only if an infection has developed.
Home care remedies for dermatitis may include applying cool, wet cloths to the skin to reduce itching and discomfort, as well as adding baking soda to a cool bath to help reduce symptoms.
If your skin is broken, you can cover the wound with a dressing or bandage to prevent irritation and further infection. Taking dietary supplements, such as vitamin D and probiotics, may help you manage the symptoms of dermatitis (eczema).
Dermatitis can sometimes flare up when you’re stressed, and you may want to look into alternative therapies like acupuncture, massage, and yoga to reduce stress.
Many alternative therapies, including those listed below, have helped some people manage their dermatitis; however, evidence for their effectiveness is not conclusive.
- Dietary supplements, such as vitamin D and probiotics, can be used for atopic dermatitis
- Rice bran broth can be applied to the skin to manage atopic dermatitis
- Tea tree oil can be used, either alone or added to shampoo, for seborrheic dermatitis. Fish oil supplements, as well as Aloe vera, can be used for seborrheic dermatitis
If you’re considering dietary supplements or other alternative therapies, it is best to talk with your doctor about their benefits and side effects.
How Can I Prevent Dermatitis?
Some types of dermatitis are easier to prevent than others. Allergic and contact dermatitis can be prevented by avoiding skin contact with the irritant or agents that cause dermatitis.
Most other types of dermatitis develop in people with sensitive skin and can be prevented only by avoiding the causative agent or irritant.
Preventive measures against Dermatitis
If you feel you are at risk for dermatitis, consider these preventive steps:
- Use a humidifier at home and at the office to keep the air from getting too dry.
- Wear loose-fitting, natural-fiber clothing, and Avoid plated jewelry, especially in your ears, to prevent nickel-related rashes.
- Don’t wear a watchband that presses against your skin for long period, as the friction and sweat buildup can result in rashes.
- Take warm baths or showers and use mild soaps.
- Lubricate your skin using an unscented lotion or cream after a bath and a couple of times during the day when possible.
The doctor may diagnose dermatitis after talking to you about your signs and symptoms and examining your skin. Doing a skin biopsy or other tests to help rule out other skin conditions, may be required, and based on a doctor’s recommendation.
Furthermore, if your doctor thinks you have contact dermatitis, he or she might conduct patch testing on your skin. In undertaking this test, small amounts of various substances are applied to your skin under an adhesive covering, and during return visits over the next several days, your doctor will examine your skin to see if you’ve had a reaction to any of the substances.
This type of testing is best done at least two weeks after your dermatitis has cleared up, and it’s most useful for determining if you have specific contact allergies.
Lifestyle and Home Remedies
There are many home remedies that can give you relief from dermatitis symptoms, and make these natural remedies, you just need some common home ingredients.
The amazing antimicrobial and moisturizing properties of coconut oil can greatly help deal with the problem of dermatitis, as it can significantly reduce redness, scaling, and dryness within a few days.
To use, gently apply some warm coconut oil on the affected area to soften the skin. For best results, use virgin coconut oil daily before going to bed.
As mentioned earlier, an oatmeal bath can help treat skin irritation, itching, and rashes, and also help keep your skin moisturized.
To prepare and use, mix one cup of finely powdered oatmeal in lukewarm bath water, then soak in this bath water for 15 to 20 minutes daily. Do this daily for one month.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is another effective ingredient that can be used for treating dermatitis, as it is known to relieve inflammation and itchiness.
To prepare and use, mix equal parts of apple cider vinegar and water, then use a cotton ball to apply this solution on the affected skin. Allow it to sit for about half an hour, and then clean the area with a damp cotton cloth. Repeat this homemade remedy daily for a few weeks to see positive results.
Alternatively, you can consume two teaspoons of apple cider vinegar mixed in a glass of water two or three times daily.
Aloe vera is widely used in the treatment of inflammatory skin conditions and is known to help restore the pH balance of the skin. It can relieve the itching sensation and skin irritation, and also has moisturizing and antimicrobial properties.
To use aloe vera for dermatitis, apply fresh aloe vera gel several times a day for a few months to get rid of dermatitis. For those who can, you can also drink a few ounces of aloe vera juice to enjoy healthy and glowing skin.
Honey can help reduce the inflammatory condition of the skin, as it also has antiseptic and antibacterial properties.
To prepare, mix equal parts of raw honey, beeswax and olive oil, and heat the mixture in a double-boiler to make an ointment. Apply it to your skin and leave it on for several hours after it cooled. Do this daily for a couple of weeks to notice a positive improvement in your skin condition, and when dealing with radiation-induced dermatitis, applying manuka honey twice daily, as that has been found to be beneficial.
The following lifestyle and home remedies steps can help you manage dermatitis:
- Use non-prescription anti-inflammation and anti-itch products. Over-the-counter hydrocortisone cream or calamine lotion can temporarily relieve inflammation and itching, and oral antihistamines, such as diphenhydramine may be helpful if itching is severe.
- Apply cool, wet compresses, as that can help soothe your skin.
- Take a comfortably warm bath, and sprinkle your bath water with uncooked oatmeal or colloidal oatmeal. A finely ground oatmeal that’s made for the bathtub, which you will soak for 5 to 10 minutes, then pat dry and apply moisturizer.
- Take a bleach bath, as this may help people with severe atopic dermatitis by decreasing the bacteria on the skin. To do this, add about 118 milliliters of household bleach (not concentrated bleach), to about 151-liter bathtub filled with warm water.
- Avoid rubbing and scratching, and cover the itchy area with a dressing if you can’t keep from scratching it. Alternatively, you can trim nails and wear gloves at night.
- As mentioned earlier, wear cotton clothing, as smooth-textured cotton clothing can help you avoid irritating the affected area.
- Choose mild laundry detergent, because your clothes, sheets, and towels touch your skin.
- Moisturize your skin routinely using moisturizers. This can reduce the severity of atopic dermatitis, and as for mild forms of dermatitis, moisturizer may be the main form of treatment.
- Avoid irritants, especially for contact dermatitis. Try to minimize contact with the substance that caused your rash.
- Use stress management techniques like yoga and meditation to manage stress. Emotional stressors can cause some types of dermatitis to flare up, and techniques such as relaxation, biofeedback etc…may help.