Most of us have experienced the discomfort and itch of a skin rash. From poison oak to allergic reactions to bug bites, there are many reasons our skin may turn red and start to itch.
Rashes and skin irritation are called dermatitis in medicine. There are several types of dermatitis and many causes. Read on to get a general overview of dermatitis, remedies for itchiness, and when it's time to consult with a doctor.
Dermatitis is a general term that refers to several inflammatory skin conditions. Some of the most common types of dermatitis:
- Contact dermatitis is a skin rash that results from coming in contact with a substance. It is the most common type of dermatitis and includes poison ivy, skin allergies, and chemical substances.
- Atopic dermatitis, or eczema, is similar to contact dermatitis and results in itchy inflammation. However, atopic dermatitis is an internal skin condition, while contact dermatitis results from contact with an external substance.
- Diaper dermatitis is the diaper rash common in babies.
- Seborrheic dermatitis is mainly found on the scalp and results in scaly patches and red skin. It is the most common cause of dandruff and cradle cap.
- Dermatitis herpetiformis is a chronic, blistering, itchy rash found in about 10% of patients with celiac disease.
- Nummular dermatitis is coin-shaped rashes that sometimes occur after an injury and can last for months.
While uncomfortable, dermatitis will not seriously harm your body, is not contagious, and does not mean that your skin is infected or unclean. Anyone can get dermatitis at any point, but certain risk factors make some people more susceptible, such as:
- Exposure to certain chemicals and irritants
- Environmental factors
- Immune system
Certain other factors do not cause dermatitis but are often found with it, such as depression, sleep loss, asthma, anxiety, and allergies. Stress is also a common cause and aggravating factor in dermatitis.
Home Remedies for Dermatitis
Moisturizing your skin regularly can help control the symptoms of dermatitis. It is best done while your skin is still damp after a bath or shower to help seal in the moisture. Several products can help with dermatitis. Look for one that is affordable, unscented, effective, and safe.
Try to take shorter baths and showers, no longer than 10 minutes using warm (instead of hot) water. In some cases, an oatmeal bath can help with itching. Look for unscented and gentle nonsoap cleansers since harsher soaps can strip the skin of its natural oil. Pat your skin gently with a soft towel afterward instead of rubbing it.
There are certain over-the-counter medications to take depending on the cause of your dermatitis. For example, calamine lotion is helpful for contact dermatitis. Also, 1% hydrocortisone cream can help severe itching, especially in the case of eczema. However, do not use it in combination with a fungal rash cream. Oral histamines are also helpful in case of an allergic reaction.
When to See a Doctor
Most cases of dermatitis are not dangerous. However, there are cases when you should contact the doctor:
- You develop a rash after starting a new medication
- The rash lasts longer than 2 weeks
- The rash is on your face
- The rash is painful or uncomfortable
- The rash appears infected
If you are struggling with dermatitis or skin irritation, visit any Patient Plus Urgent Care location for treatment.
Patient Plus Urgent Care – Get in, Get better.
When you’re sick or injured, whether routine or urgent, quality medical care should be easy to find and available when you need it. That’s the idea behind Patient Plus Urgent Care, with convenient locations in Baton Rouge, Prairieville, & Brusly.
Patient Plus treats most common illnesses and injuries — the sniffles, rashes, fevers, aches, breaks, and other conditions that deserve prompt treatment but aren’t serious enough to require a trip to the nearest emergency room. The clinics provide complete diagnostic services, including X-rays, EKGs, and flu and strep tests. Other services include physicals, vaccinations, and more. Patient Plus clinics are open every day from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., and patients never need to call first or make an appointment.