What Is Dermatitis and What Causes It?


Dermatitis is a general term that describes an inflammation of the skin usually involving an itchy rash on swollen, reddened skin. Examples of dermatitis include atopic dermatitis (eczema), dandruff and rashes caused by contact with any of a number of substances, such as poison ivy, soaps and jewelry with nickel in it. It is not contagious, but it can make you feel uncomfortable and self-conscious.


There are different types of dermatitis. The causes of dermatitia depend on the type of it:

  • Atopic dermatitis (eczema). Mix of factors, including dry skin, a gene variation, an immune system dysfunction, bacteria on the skin and environmental conditions causes it.
  • Contact dermatitis. Direct contact with one of many irritants or allergens such as poison ivy, jewelry containing nickel, cleaning products, perfumes, cosmetics, and even the preservatives in many creams and lotions can cause it.
  • Seborrheic dermatitis. It may be caused by a yeast (fungus) that is in the oil secretion on the skin. The condition tends to come and go depending on the season.

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