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Dermatitis: Symptoms, Causes and Natural Remedies

Updated: May 10

The word “dermatitis” comes from the Greek word for skin. Dermatitis is a skin condition in which there are red, itchy patches on the skin. These patches can become raw and sore if they’re scratched too much.

Dermatitis on a man's face
Dermatitis on a man's face

Dermatitis is a general term used to describe any type of inflammation or irritation of the skin. It's not just one condition, though; there are actually many types of dermatitis that can affect you and your family members. The most common types of dermatitis are atopic dermatitis, contact dermatitis (or irritant) and seborrhoeic dermatitis.

Dermatitis symptoms include redness, itching and inflammation, which may be accompanied by blisters or sores. The symptoms depend on what kind of dermatitis you have and where it occurs on your body. For example, atopic dermatitis usually affects the flexures—the creases on your hands or wrists—and causes scaly patches with intense itchiness (1). Acute contact dermatitis tends to cause a rash around areas where you've been exposed to an allergen (2). Irritant contact dermatitis often shows up as redness with no visible signs (3).

Causes of dermatitis

There are various causes of dermatitis that range from environmental factors to allergens and irritants.

  • Genetic: If you have family members with the same skin condition, there’s a possibility that you may also be prone to developing it as well.

  • Environmental: If you spend most of your time outdoors, this can increase the chance of developing dermatitis if you’re exposed to harsh UV rays (such as those during summer), wind, extreme temperatures and pollution along with other environmental factors such as chemicals found in car exhaust fumes or smoke

  • Allergens : Some people are allergic to certain substances such as latex, nickel, scents and perfumes. Irritants: These include soaps and detergents, cosmetics or make-up products that contain alcohol or perfume.

  • Irritants are substances that cause irritation of the skin, such as those found in soaps and detergents, cosmetics or shaving products that contain alcohol or perfume. You may also be allergic to certain ingredients used in these products.

Symptoms of Dermatitis

The symptoms of dermatitis can vary depending on the type of dermatitis you have.

  • Dry, itchy skin

  • Redness and inflammation

  • Blisters and rashes

  • Scaling and flaking

Diagnosis of Dermatitis

Diagnosis is made by physical examination of the rash, especially noting any involvement of the external ear canal, which may indicate atopic dermatitis. Patch testing and allergy testing may be helpful to identify specific triggers for contact dermatitis.

A naturopathic doctor (ND) can work with individuals with dermatitis to help manage the condition and potentially improve symptoms through a combination of natural therapies and lifestyle changes. Naturopathic doctors typically take a holistic approach to healthcare, focusing on addressing the underlying causes of a condition rather than just treating symptoms.

Naturopathic treatment options for dermatitis may include:

  • Topical herbal creams and lotions

  • Nutritional and dietary changes

  • Supplements such as omega-3 fatty acids, probiotics, and antioxidants

  • Allergy testing and elimination diets

  • Homeopathy and acupuncture

  • Stress management techniques

  • Lifestyle modifications such as avoiding known triggers and keeping the skin moisturized

It's important to note that naturopathic treatment should not replace conventional medical treatment, but it can be used in conjunction with it to enhance the treatment plan. It's recommended to consult with a licensed ND, as well as with a conventional medical doctor, to determine the best course of action.

Treatment of Dermatitis

There are many natural remedies and treatment options that can help you reduce your symptoms and get relief. In addition to avoiding triggers, one of the first things to do is use topical creams and ointments.

Topical creams, lotions, or gels containing steroids (e.g., hydrocortisone) are often prescribed by doctors to reduce inflammation and itching in acute cases of dermatitis. These medications should be used under a doctor's supervision because they may have side effects such as thinning skin if used for too long or at too high a dose.

Some people prefer using natural ointments instead of steroid creams because they're less likely than their synthetic counterparts to cause side effects like thinning skin over time. Some examples include Aloe Vera gel or calendula cream—which contains plant-derived oils such as rose hip seed oil—and colloidal silver cream (which can also irritate you if applied incorrectly).

Prevention of Dermatitis

  • Wear loose clothing. Tight clothing can be a primary cause of dermatitis due to its effect on moisture retention and friction between clothes and skin.

  • Use moisturizer daily. Moisturizer is helpful in soothing and protecting the skin from drying out and becoming irritated by irritants such as soap or other substances that come into contact with it every day.

  • Avoid harsh soaps, detergents, chemicals (such as household cleaners), fragrances or other allergens that may affect your skin's health if you are particularly sensitive or allergic to them (for example: perfumes).

  • Don't shave too close; use a sharp razor blade only once; rinse the blade after each use so no hair clippings get onto it; apply a natural after shave balm after shaving; don't share towels or wash-cloths with others because they could carry bacteria that could cause further infection.

In conclusion, Dermatitis is a common and treatable condition. If you suffer from chronic dermatitis, it’s important to understand the causes and triggers of flare-ups so you can manage them better. A combination of natural remedies and lifestyle changes can help prevent flare-ups in some cases.

In addition to these steps, you should always consult with your doctor before making any changes to your skin care regimen or diet. Your doctor will be able to provide personalized advice about how best to prevent flares for your particular case of dermatitis.

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