Dermatitis is a blanket term meaning any “inflammation of the skin” (e.g. rashes, etc.). There are several different types of dermatitis but they are all characterized by allergic reaction to specific allergens. The term might possibly be used to refer to eczema, which may also be called dermatitis eczema or eczematous dermatitis. A diagnosis of eczema often implies childhood or atopic dermatitis, but without proper context, it refers to a “rash”.
Contact dermatitis is skin inflammation resulting from contact with an allergen. Rashes from contact dermatitis are typically decently large in size, and can last from several days to weeks, and can be acute or chronic. Babies, infants, and the elderly might be severely affected by contact dermatitis. Diaper dermatitis is inflammation of the skin under a diaper often caused by urine and feces. In the elderly, topical medications are a common cause of allergic contact dermatitis.
Contact dermatitis can be classified as any of the following types:
- Allergic contact dermatitis (ACD)
- Contact urticaria
- Irritant contact dermatitis (ICD)
- Photodermatitis (photoallergic dermatitis and phototoxic dermatitis)
Causes and risk factors:
Contact dermatitis is caused by exposure to certain allergens. The following are some exposures that can cause this condition:
- Highly alkaline products
- Poison ivy
- Poison oak
- Poison sumac
- Potassium dichromate
- Toxicodendron plants