What is Dermatitis?

dermatitis on handDermatitis is a very common condition seen by dermatologists. Dermatitis looks like a red rash, is often not well-defined and usually occurs on the elbows or behind the knees. It can be endogenous (meaning “from within”) or exogenous (“ from external”sources).

Endogenous Dermatitis: This includes atopic dermatitis and seborrhoeic dermatitis.

Exogenous Dermatitis: This is dermatitis caused by external factors and these include irritants and also allergens. These are products that the skin comes in contact with and this can cause a rash. Sometimes the rash does not occur immediately after the skin touches the product and can take some time to appear.


General skincare measures in the treatment of dermatitis are very important. Other options of treatment include topical therapies along with oral treatments.

General skincare measures

It is very important to keep the skin moist if you have dermatitis. This involves using a soap-free wash that does not dry-out the skin along with short quick tepid showers, bath oils and a moisturiser. Moisturisers should be creams or ointments, as these are thicker and can contain urea and lactic acid. Care must be taken however if the skin is broken, as sometimes moisturisers can sting.

Topical treatment options: These include anti-inflammatory creams and ointments containing a steroid such as hydrocortisone. Options include tacrolimus and pimecrolimus, although initially these can sting.

Oral treatments: If your dermatitis is very severe and is not able to come under control with topical therapy, then oral treatments can be considered. These include immunosuppressives such as azathioprine and are very effective.