Each type of dermatitis may look a little different and may tend to occur on different parts of your body. The most common types of dermatitis include:

  • Atopic dermatitis (eczema). Usually beginning in infancy, this red, itchy rash most commonly occurs where the skin flexes — inside the elbows, behind the knees and the front of the neck. When scratched, the rash can leak fluid and crust over.
  • Contact dermatitis. This rash occurs on areas of the body that have come into contact with substances that either irritate the skin or cause an allergic reaction, such as poison ivy. The rash may burn, sting or itch. Blisters may develop.
  • Seborrheic dermatitis. This condition causes a red rash with yellowish and somewhat "oily" scales, usually on the scalp and sometimes on the face, especially around the ears and nose. It's a common cause of dandruff. In infants, this disorder is known as cradle cap.

When to see a doctor

See your doctor if:

  • You're so uncomfortable that you're losing sleep or are distracted from your daily routines
  • Your skin becomes painful
  • You suspect your skin is infected
  • You've tried self-care steps without success
Jun. 29, 2013