Dermatitis is the most common type of inflammation of the skin. If it persists for undue length of time, it is often referred to as eczema.
Usually the course of the disorder follows a clear-cut pattern that may extend over a number of days or weeks. It starts with general reddening of the affected (termed erythema), with swelling present. Within the next 24-48 hours there is blister formation (called vesicles). These are usually small and are filled with clear fluid. Sometimes they become very large, and are then called bullae. The area becomes extremely itchy. This is then followed by oozing of the blisters. Within a few days, the fluid that comes from the blisters turns hard, and crusts develop. After a few days, these start to come away, and scaling occurs. As the scales flake off, the skin underneath is often healed and takes on a normal appearance once more.
It usually takes about a fortnight for the entire process to go through these stages. However, it can frequently be prolonged by indiscreet interference. This includes scratching (often unconsciously) by the patient; germs infiltrating and causing pus-filled infections; irritation from clothing or footwear; applying medication that irritates rather than heals; and blockage of the tiny sweat gland ducts in the skin, so producing a secondary heat rash.
Long-standing dermatitis is common. It often persists for months or even years. It is called chronic dermatitis or eczema. In these cases, the skin becomes thickened and greyish or brown in coloration. Redness is not so common, but scaling is often present. Scratching to relieve the persisting itch occurs.
In recent years, the widespread use of the fluorinated steroid preparations (le those containing cortisone like ingredients) has revolutionized the treatment of dermatitis. Due to the potent nature of these products, they should be given only under medical supervision.
There are many subdivisions of dermatitis. Only the more important and common ones will be considered. These are: Contact Dermatitis, Seborrhoeic Dermatitis, Drug Dermatitis, Napkin Dermatitis (Nappy Rash), Solar Dermatitis (Sunburn), and Varicose Eczema.
Contact Dermatitis (also known as Dermatitis venenata). A large number of unrelated products may cause this extremely common and troublesome disorder. The symptoms are as already outlined. They may commence within Contact with a wide range of substances may cause acute skin irritation and inflammation after hours of contact with an external irritation with the skin.
It may also be due to an allergy the has acquired over a period of time for small previous contacts with the same item. This may extend over a period weeks, months or years. The skin may react within hours.
There seems no end to the items are capable of irritating or sensitizing 7 skin to produce this form of dermatia They include acids and alkali de-fatting and cleaning agents (petrol, detergents), industrial agents (many commercial salts used industry), naturally occurring plants trees, flowers, vegetables and foods. Citrus fruits, onions, celery, fruit and vegetables handled by cooks are common. Many drugs are notorious for producing skin problems. Pharmacists are often faced with a problem when dispensing products such as penicillin, and certain antihistamines.
Cosmetics are also notorious: Hair dyes, sprays detergent shampoos, soaps, hair tonic: deodorants, antiperspirants and depilatory products are often the starting points for trouble. So is clothing and components. The actual material, dyes used, synthetic fibers, elastic supportive material, or the products used in washing clothing and undergarments have all been incriminated.
Included are items contacted during working hours in the office or factory or place of employment and a host possibilities in the home, such as paint waxes, polishes, metals, dyes and personal applications.
Skin Inflammation Treatment
It is essential that no further exposure to the product occur. Frequently the cause is obvious. For example, reaction in the armpits following use of an underarm antiperspirant preparation or depilatory cream; skin rash after use of vaginal deodorant spray; facial eruption following use of a new cosmetic; a dermatitis following use of a new soap or exposure to a detergent on the hands; or an eruption underneath jewelry such as a ring or watch, or following the wearing of new underwear will readily identify the cause. Although every effort should be made to discover .ne cause, this is often not possible. Soak the affected part in cool water. Repeat this two to three times a continue for 20 minutes. This will, soothe and cleanse the affected area If the area is small, use a wet, compress using same product.
Cy for 30 minutes every few hours. blisters are present, carefully puncture them. Do not cut away the tops, for this can increase the risk of infection and cause added discomfort. Continue bathing, but do not cover permanently.
Calamine and similar lotions (often with an “antipruritic” or “anti-itch” item added) may be used, but these have lost their popularity in recent times. hydrophilic cream is applied as the rash settles, and becomes drier. This absorbs moisture, and promotes healing.
If the simple home remedies do not bring swift relief, or if the condition shows signs of worsening, prompt medical attention from the physician is advisable. Among the additional lines of therapy available are:
Corticosteroid creams. These have revolutionized the treatment of dermatitis, and arc often the first line of choice, There are many different commercial preparations available on prescription, arid the “fluorinated steroid” creams give excellent and prompt relief from symptoms in most cases. However, recent observations have shown that careful medical supervision is essential. Used indiscriminately for prolonged periods
Antibiotics given orally may be required if bacterial infection is present and this is common. Pustules are present on the skin surface. Antibiotics are not recommended for local use on the skin surface.
“Patch tests” may be carried out by the physician (or a specialist) to discover the cause of the dermatitis. This is a delicate procedure and must be done by a specialist in this field. Sometimes “desensitization” courses (orally or by injection) are advised, but these are often unsuccessful and are not widely used.
In chronic, long-standing cases, greasy ointments and creams containing tar are still sometimes used.