Dermatitis is a general term for inflammation of the skin. Dermatitis can have many causes and occurs in many forms. It usually involves an itchy rash on swollen, reddened skin.

Skin affected by dermatitis may blister, ooze, develop a crust, or flake off. Examples of dermatitis include atopic dermatitis (eczema), dandruff, and rashes caused by contact with any of a number of substances, such as poison ivy, soaps and jewelry with nickel in it.

Dermatitis is a common condition that's not contagious and usually isn't life-threatening. Even so, it can make you feel uncomfortable and self-conscious. A combination of self-care steps and medications can help you treat dermatitis.

Contact Dermatitis

Skin inflammation that results from exposure to an irritating agent is called contact dermatitis. Contact with certain plants, animals, and metals as well as chemicals can cause this irritative dermatitis.

Description of Condition

Extreme itching, skin inflammation, and clear, weeping drainage are all signs of dermatitis. 

Common Treatment Options

Treatment includes good cleansing, steroids to reduce inflammation and medication to reduce itching. Eliminating exposure to irritative substances is the best way to limit symptoms of contact dermatitis.

Cutaneous Drug Eruptions

Drug reactions may cause any type of skin lesion. This type of problem is very hard to diagnose. Your physician will examine your rash, and review your medication and exposure history before performing special tests to investigate the cause of the rash. Sometimes these reactions can be so severe that the inner lining of your mouth and esophagus can be damaged.

Common Treatment Options

A dermatologist can help evaluate this problem. Treatment involves helping you with your symptoms as well as stopping the offending medication or product.


Xerosis is the Greek word for abnormally dry skin. Overcleaning the skin, exposure to hot water, vigorous towel drying, and a dry environment all lead to dry skin.


Drying is worse during the winter months when there is low humidity.

Common Treatment Options

To treat dry skin, apply moisturizers while your skin is still wet. Topical steroids can be used to eliminate itching. It is also wise to diminish sun exposure and use good moisturizing sun screen products with an SPF of at least 50.