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Eczema, Dermatitis and everything in between

Everything you need to know …


Itchy skin


Ok so WHAT is Dermatitis?


Dermatitis is a general term that describes a common itchy inflammatory condition characterised by epidermal changes.

It has many causes and forms - which is why we have many different types, the classification of the condition can come about from the cause e.g;


  • allergic contact dermatitis,

  • photosensitive dermatitis, clinical appearance eg; discoid (round, disc-like shapes),

  • hyperkeratotic (thickening of the top layer of the epidermis),

  • pompholyx and site of predilection eg; hands, eyelids, lower legs etc.


In most cases, various factors can act as the underlying triggers together not just individually.


As mentioned dermatitis is a common term for skin conditions that involve itchy inflammation and epidermal changes, we commonly hear the term eczema when we hear dermatitis - these two terms are commonly used interchangeably.

It is important to note that ALL eczema is dermatitis however, NOT ALL dermatitis is eczema.
  • Dermatitis, strictly speaking, involves any cause of skin inflammation and irritation affecting solely the epidermis. (Top layer of the skin)

  • Eczema, more commonly referred to in the skin world as Atopic Dermatitis (as it is a form of dermatitis), is derived from the free word for “to boil or bubble over”, which pathologically manifests as oedema within the epidermis called spongiosis (a histological term for intercellular swelling of the epidermis resembling a sponge)



Who can get Dermatitis?

Dermatitis is very common, affecting about one in five persons at some stage of their life. The different types of dermatitis are more frequent at different stages of life.

It is important to note that there are no consistent radical factors influencing disease frequency.


What should I look for?

It can be either acute or chronic, and whilst the mechanisms by which it develops may be the same, the appearance may be completely different.


Acute dermatitis will show

  • redness or swelling,

  • population,

  • vesiculation,

  • oozing and weeping and

  • even blistering.


Chronic eczema will show

skin thickening with accentuation of the skin creases,

  • hyperkeratosis,

  • scaling,

  • fissuring,

  • excoriation, and

  • hyperpigmentation


Subacute dermatitis will show features of both.


What are the types of dermatitis?

Dermatitis is the result of an external factor or insult that induces skin inflammation. Common causes include;

  • Allergic contact dermatitis; is due to the immune sensitisation of an individual to an allergen

  • Irritant contact dermatitis; will occur in anyone exposed to an irritant at sufficient concentration for long enough

  • Photosensitive dermatitis; triggered by light or UV radiation

  • Post-traumatic dermatitis; due to physical injuries such as abrasions, burns, or surgery

  • Dermatitis induced by local skin infections such as bacterial, fungal, and viral

  • Drug-induced dermatitis



Endogenous dermatitis occurs because of often ill-understood internal factors. Common types induce:

  • Atopic dermatitis (eczema) - a common form of dermatitis occurring in children and adults, and often occurring in families with a background of asthma and hay fever

  • Seborrhoeic dermatitis - common chronic eczema affecting the face, scalp, ears and major flexures, due to a reaction to zests that colonise on the skin

  • Discoid (nummular) dermatitis - coin-shaped patchers of dermatitis usually affecting the limbs

  • Lichen simplex - chronic dermatitis that thickens due to perpetual scratching

  • Pityriasis alba - pale patches of dermatitis affecting the cheeks

  • Hand dermatitis - internal, external irritants and allergic factors may all play a part even in a single individual

  • Eyelid dermatitis - again, often mixed cause

  • Otitis externa - dermatitis affecting the ear canal and the pinna

  • Venous or gravitational dermatitis - dermatitis due to malfunction of the lower leg vein valves

  • Juvenile plantar dermatitis - a glazed and fissured forefoot eczema occurring in children

  • Metabolic dermatitis - is seen in some nutritional and endocrine disorders

  • Chronic superficial clay dermatitis - finger-shaped dermatitis due to degreasing of the skin from excessive bathing and soap use on the legs in the elderly

  • Asteatoic dermatitis crazy-paving shaped dermatitis due to degreasing of the skin from excessive bathing and soap used on the legs in the elderly

  • Halo dermatitis or Meyerson naevus - this can surround a benign mole

  • Erythrodermic dermatitis - sever dermatitis when more than 80% of the skin is affected


How to treat Dermatitis?

Similar to our blog about Rosacea, unfortunately here is no cure, however, symptoms can be effectively controlled and managed - The team at Sana skin clinic can certainly help.

The focus is on education, keeping the skin calm, strengthening the skins barrier with targeted in clinic treatments, correct skincare prescription, internal naturopathic support and avoiding any aggravating factors.


Sana skin clinic offers tailored skin programs to address and combine all levels of care in their HEAL Program and complimentary consultations are available for bookings online


Using the custom compounded dermatological ranges of Dermaviduals, we are able to provide a unique customized routine for each skin that comes to see us, this allows us to treat rosacea through the use of specialty products whilst also customizing to what each specific rosacea skin needs.

Most important when treating any kind of dermatitits is avoiding ingredients that are leading causes of irritations and contributing to severe skin conditions. This is why Dermaviduals is the perfect range for us to treat our clients as the products contain..​

  • NO fragrances

  • NO preservatives

  • NO emulsifiers

  • NO colours

  • NO mineral oils

  • NO silicones

Internally (which is why we include our in clinic Naturopath in treatment pathways), there is also lots to discover and get support with for each individual but generally speaking, when it comes to any atopic condition, this includes eczema, asthma & hay fever we need to consider the role of histamine & the immune system.


There are so many common foods that are high in histamine so lets dive into easy options for food swaps!


High Histamine

  • Cows milk dairy & cheese

  • Strawberries & raspberries

  • Canned, smoked or pickled fish

  • Smoked or cured meats

  • chickpeas, lentils, bean & soy

Low Histamine

  • Goat/sheep milk & yogurt

  • Blackberries & blueberries

  • Fresh or frozen fish

  • Fresh cooked meats

  • Rice, quinoa & buckwheat


In summary..

There are many different types and subtypes of Dermatitis. In most cases it can be managed well but there is no cure.

Diagnosis, knowledge, the right tailored skincare & treatment regime and internal health support are key to get on top of these Skin conditions.


Feel free to reach out of book a consultation at Sana skin clinic if you are ready for our team to help you.


Your team @ SANA Skin Clinic

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