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:
Jun. 29, 2013
- 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
- Wolff K, et al. Fitzpatrick's Color Atlas and Synopsis of Clinical Dermatology. 6th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2009. http://www.accessmedicine.com/resourceTOC.aspx?resourceID=45. Accessed March 20, 2013.
- Dermatitis. The Merck Manuals: The Merck Manual for Healthcare Professionals. http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/dermatologic_disorders/dermatitis/definition_of_dermatitis.html?qt=dermatitis&alt=sh. Accessed March 20, 2013.
- Weston WL, et al. Overview of dermatitis. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed March 20, 2013.
- Atopic dermatitis. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Disorders. http://www.niams.nih.gov/Health_Info/Atopic_Dermatitis/default.asp. Accessed March 20, 2013.
- Gibson LE (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. April 5, 2013.
- AskMayoExpert. Atopic dermatitis. Rochester, Minn.: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; 2012.
- Habif TP. Clinical Dermatology: A Color Guide to Diagnosis and Therapy. 5th ed. Edinburgh, U.K.; New York, N.Y.: Mosby Elsevier; 2010. http://www.mdconsult.com/books/about.do?about=true&eid=4-u1.0-B978-0-7234-3541-9..X0001-6--TOP&isbn=978-0-7234-3541-9&uniqId=230100505-57. Accessed March 22, 2013.
- Dermatitis. Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database. http://www.naturaldatabase.com. Accessed March 22, 2013.
- Golden AK. Decision Support System. Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. April 10, 2013.
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