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Is Dermatitis The Same As Eczema

Final Thoughts And Summary

Dermatitis vs Eczema, are they same? Types of dermatitis, symptoms, prognosis and treatment

Eczema and dermatitis are often interchangeably used to describe the same conditions and specific types will require differing treatments.

If youre unsure or need help treating your stubborn dermatitis or eczema BOOK A CONSULTATION today with our friendly, experienced dermatologists at Linia Skin Clinic

Ways To Prevent Dermatitis And Eczema

Atopic dermatitis and eczema can be prevented by managing triggers that can cause skin inflammation. Aim to:

  • Avoid contact with irritating substances and known allergens.
  • Manage stress to decrease inflammation throughout the body.
  • Moisturize your skin regularly with thick emollients.
  • Avoid activities that dry and irritate your skin, such as using harsh soaps and cleansers, taking long hot showers, and wearing tight, restrictive clothing.

What Are The Differences Between Dermatitis And Eczema

Dermatitis is a general term used to refer to inflammation of the skin. It can refer to things like rashes, acne, and even dandruff. Skin redness, dryness, and itchiness are the most common symptoms of dermatitis, but scaling, flaking, and blisters can also occur.

Dermatitis can be temporary, but when it occurs on a more chronic and longer-lasting basis, it is usually referred to as eczema. While many forms of dermatitis are commonly referred to as different forms of eczema, the most common form of eczema is atopic dermatitis. According to the National Eczema Association, eczema affects more than 31 million Americans.

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Available Treatments And Medication


  • Topical corticosteroids are commonly prescribed medicine for dermatitis.
  • Non-steroidal topicals are also recommended.
  • Antihistamine drugs like diphenhydramine are used to reduce symptoms like allergic reactions.


  • Antifungal medications such as allylamines, the benzylamines, and the hydroxypyridone may be recommended by your doctor, based on the condition.
  • Antibiotic medicine metronidazole gel-based formulation is used for seborrheic dermatitis. Tea tree oil is also very effective for this condition.
  • Anti-itch medications like calamine lotion or hydrocortisone cream are good for contact dermatitis.
  • You can use petroleum jelly on the affected skin.

Q: What Is Dermatitis Is It The Same As Eczema


A: Dermatitis vs. Eczema. Lets take these words one at a time.


Dermatitis is a non-specific term. It refers to many inflammatory skin conditions, but especially to those diseases that affect the outer compartment of skin, the epidermis. One very common type of dermatitis is atopic dermatitis, which affects ~20% of infants and children and often occurs in otherwise allergic individuals, who have or later on develop asthma and/or hay fever.

Another common type of dermatitis is contact dermatitis. Contact dermatitis is a reaction to a substance that comes in direct contact with the skin. It can be allergic in nature for example, the rash from contact with poison ivy, poison oak or poison sumac, which occurs in people who have become allergic or sensitized to the antigen, urushiol, found in the plants leaves and stems. Or it can be an irritant response, meaning that the chemical is harsh itself, and its reaction doesnt rely on the immune systems recognition that it is a foreign chemical. Hydrochloric acid would be an example of a chemical capable of provoking an irritant dermatitis. With exposure to a sufficient quantity of the acid, it would cause a rash on virtually anyones skin. Not all irritant skin reactions, though, are caused by such harsh chemicals.

Soaps are a good example of irritants that only bother some people namely those with very sensitive skin.


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Other Forms Of Eczema Are:

Dyshidrotic eczema which causes itchy or painful blisters to come up on your hands or feet

Hand eczema typically caused by constant exposure to detergents or chemical through jobs such as cleaning or hairdressing

Stasis dermatitis caused by poor blood flow in the lower legs which can cause the legs to swell, varicose veins and dry itchy skin over those veins. You can also develop open sores in the area.

Nummular Eczema Vs Atopic Dermatitis

Also referred to as nummular dermatitis and discoid eczema, nummular eczema involves the development of scattered and circular shaped itchy patches that often ooze fluid.

The name comes from the Latin for coin, as it is thought the spots resemble coins.

Although anyone can get it at any age, there are more cases in males than females.

While we are not completely sure what causes it, specialists have noted that sensitive or dry skin and trauma causes it, as does trauma to the skin from chemical burns, scrapes, and insect bites.

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What Is Atopic Dermatitis

Atopic dermatitis is the most common type of eczema, affecting more than 9.6 million children and about 16.5 million adults in the United States. Its a chronic condition that can come and go for years or throughout life, and can overlap with other types of eczema.

In people with AD, for complex reasons science hasnt fully sorted out, the immune system becomes disordered and overactive. This triggers inflammation that damages the skin barrier, leaving it dry and prone to itching and rashes that may appear purple, brown or grayish hue in darker skin tones and red in lighter skin tones.

Research shows that some people with eczema, especially atopic dermatitis, have a mutation of the gene responsible for creating filaggrin. Filaggrin is a protein that helps our bodies maintain a healthy, protective barrier on the very top layer of the skin. Without enough filaggrin to build a strong skin barrier, moisture can escape and bacteria, viruses and more can enter. This is why many people with AD have very dry and infection-prone skin.

Use A Moisturizer On Your Skin Every Day

What CAUSES Eczema / Dermatitis and what to do about it?

Moisturizers help keep your skin soft and flexible. They prevent skin cracks. A plain moisturizer is best. Avoid moisturizers with fragrances and a lot of extra ingredients. A good, cheap moisturizer is plain petroleum jelly . Use moisturizers that are more greasy than creamy because creams usually have more preservatives in them.

Regular use of a moisturizer can help prevent the dry skin that is common in winter.

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Difference Between Eczema And Dermatitis

Eczema vs Dermatitis

Eczema is also known as dermatitis. It is the same thing. Sometimes eczema refers to chronic skin inflammation while dermatitis refers to an acute attack. But then, chronic dermatitis would be synonymous with eczema. Therefore, it is important to remember that clinically both are the same, and they are classified together. This article will discuss dermatitis or eczema in detail, highlighting different types of eczema, their clinical features, symptoms, causes, diagnosis, and treatment.

Dermatitis or eczema is of unknown origin. However, research suggests both genetic and environmental links. Dermatitis or eczema presents as redness, swelling, blistering, oozing, itching and exfoliation. There are many causes of eczema and all types of eczema are thus far classified haphazardly. Current eczema classification differs according to the site, cause and appearance. Sometimes eczema and atopic dermatitis mean the same. A new classification introduced by The European Academy of Allergology and Clinical Immunology resolves this confusion. This classification includes only allergic related dermatitis.

Many clinicians use the word eczema or dermatitis indiscriminately. Even though these two words cause confusion, it is important to remember that no matter which word your doctor uses, you have the same thing.

Care For Your Skin In The Bath Or Shower

Bathe only with a mild unscented soap, such as Dove, Basis, or Olay. Use a small amount of soap. Keep the water temperature cool or warm, not hot. Soaking in the tub for a short time can be good for your skin. Doing so allows your skins outer layer to absorb water and become less dry. Soak for 15 to 20 minutes. Then use a soft towel to pat your skin dry without rubbing. Immediately after drying, apply a moisturizer to your skin. This helps seal in the moisture.

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Atopic Dermatitis Vs Contact Dermatitis

Contact dermatitis is another common type of dermatitis that is caused by external irritants or allergens that touch the skin. This means that contact dermatitis occurs exclusively because of an external process. Atopic dermatitis can be external, but usually it is caused by food allergies.

Contact dermatitis often has a more direct treatment route which may be as easy as removing an environmental trigger from a daily routine. Atopic dermatitis often requires a more holistic approach that combines a controlled diet, monitoring environmental trigger, and symptom management.

Unfortunately, atopic dermatitis can lead to a few secondary issues that complicate matters. This makes it all the more essential to monitor affected areas, so any changes or developments can be caught early on.

Weakened Immune System

Atopic dermatitis keeps your body on high alert due to flare ups and ongoing symptoms. This seems as though it would improve your immune system, but in reality, it distracts it. If someone is suffering a flare up and a virus enters their system, the immune system will be concentrated on the dermatitis, and as a result, miss the outside invader.

Diet is also important for those suffering from atopic dermatitis not only because food sensitivities or allergies can be triggers, but a strong diet can also help boost the immune system.

Secondary Infection

Scratching skin excessively can cause further infection, such as a staph infection.

What Causes Atopic Dermatitis Vs Eczema

Xerotic Eczema

Atopic dermatitis

The cause of atopic dermatitis is not known, but the disease seems to result from a combination of genetic and environmental factors. There seems to be a basic cutaneous hypersensitivity and an increased tendency toward itching. Evidence suggests that the disease is associated with other so-called atopic disorders such as hay fever and asthma, which many people with atopic dermatitis also have.

In addition, many children who outgrow the symptoms of atopic dermatitis go on to develop hay fever or asthma.

Although one disorder does not necessarily cause another, they may be related, thereby giving researchers clues to understanding atopic dermatitis.

Many of those affected seem to have either a decreased quantity of or a defective form of a protein called filaggrin in their skin. This protein seem to be important in maintaining normal cutaneous hydration.

It is important to understand that food sensitivities do not seem to be a major inciting factor for most cases of atopic dermatitis.

This is an area of active research. Patients with atopic dermatitis seem to have mild immune system weakness.

They are predisposed to develop fungal foot disease and cutaneous staphylococcal infections, and they can disseminate herpes simplex lip infections and smallpox vaccination to large areas of skin.

While emotional factors and stress may sometimes exacerbate the condition, they do not seem to be a primary or underlying cause for the disorder.


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What Is Atopic Dermatitis What Is Eczema

Atopic dermatitis and eczema both refer to skin conditions. Atopic dermatitis is a cause of eczema, which refers to skin conditions that cause inflammation and irritation. The terms are sometimes used interchangeably.

Atopic dermatitis is a common chronic skin condition that results in red, inflamed, dry, and itchy skin. Other symptoms of atopic dermatitis include blisters , skin cracking, crusting, weeping, and scaling. Atopic dermatitis can affect adults, but it is most commonly seen in babies and young children. Triggers that may cause or worsen atopic dermatitis include low humidity, cold weather, seasonal allergies, and exposure to harsh soaps and detergents. Atopic dermatitis treatment involves use of moisturizers such as petroleum jelly and topical steroids to reduce inflammation and itching.

Eczema is not a condition in itself, but a description for a group of skin diseases that cause skin inflammation and irritation. Eczema itself is not contagious however, if the blisters become infected, that infection may spread. Atopic dermatitis is the most common type of eczema. Symptoms of eczema include itching along with blisters that ooze and eventually produce crusted, thickened plaques of skin. A rash may appear on the face, wrists, hands, feet, scalp, or the back of the knees. Use of creams, lotions, and other moisturizers to keep the skin hydrated can help manage symptoms.

Diagnosis And Treatment Methods

Atopic dermatitis can be diagnosed by a primary care physician or dermatologist by examining your skin and assessing your medical history.

Skin patch testing may be needed to determine if your condition is caused by an allergy. With a skin patch test, patches that contain small amounts of common allergens are applied to the surface of your skin. These patches are typically applied to your back or arm and left in place for 48 hours. During this time, you should avoid bathing, showering, swimming, and activities that cause a lot of sweating.

Redness and swelling of the skin at the site of application may indicate an allergy to a particular substance. If your patch test comes back positive for a specific allergy, you should avoid contact with this substance.

For all forms of eczema, topical treatment with steroid medication can be used to help relieve pain, redness, and itching. Topically applying coal tar, crisaborole ointment, or pimecrolimus cream can also help soothe symptoms. If more than 20% of your skin has been affected by contact dermatitis, oral steroid medications like prednisone are often required to reduce pain and inflammation within 12 to 24 hours.

Applying a cool compress to the affected areas and taking oral antihistamines may also help relieve the pain and itching caused by atopic dermatitis.

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What Are The At

There some treatments you can do at home, but you should only do them with instructions and permission from your healthcare provider:

  • Ultraviolet light. Ultraviolet A or B light waves can help your skin.
  • Wet wrap therapy. This therapy increases moisture in your skin.
  • Bleach baths. The amount of bleach is diluted. You shouldnt do this more than twice a week. Check with your healthcare provider before you try this therapy.

There are some other treatments you can do at home with no supervision:

  • Use moisturizer. Right after you shower or bathe, apply moisturizer to your skin. This helps keep your skin hydrated.
  • Dont overheat. Keep your space at a cool temperature and avoid high humidity.
  • Protect your skin. Stay away from anything that could irritate it. This includes rough clothing like wool.
  • Take steps to keep your stress levels down. If you need to, see a therapist for counseling and a psychiatrist for medication.
  • Bathe in lukewarm water. Be sure to use lukewarm water instead of hot. Take no more than one bath or shower per day.
  • Use a mild soap. Use soap or cleanser that is unscented.
  • Avoid scratching. Scratching at your dermatitis irritates it. You could break the skin, risking infection.

Your healthcare provider may prescribe one or more of the following medications:

Is There A Difference Between Eczema And Dermatitis

Dr. Dana V. Wallace, MD – Difference between Atopic Dermatitis & Eczema, AD Complications

Although the terms dermatitis and eczema may overlap in how theyre used, specific types of skin conditions are better known by just one of the names. For example, many doctors use the terms atopic dermatitis and eczema interchangeably but wouldnt use the term contact dermatitis in place of eczema.

There are also a number of distinct types of eczema and dermatitis, and, to complicate matters, its possible to have more than one type at the same time.

While both eczema and dermatitis typically cause redness and itching, some types also cause blistering and peeling.

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How Can I Prevent Or Reduce My Risk Of Dermatitis

Do your best to avoid what triggers your dermatitis. That might be foods youre sensitive or allergic to, chemicals that irritate your skin and/or soaps that do the same. Moisturize your skin regularly. Dont overheat. Use a humidifier to keep the air from getting too dry. Try not to scratch. Reduce your stress.

What Is Atopic Dermatitis And Is It Different From Eczema

Dr. David Hauswirth answers the question: ‘Atopic Dermatitis Versus Eczema?’

Question: What is atopic dermatitis and is it different from eczema?

Answer: Atopic dermatitis is a very common skin disease found in both adults and children. In fact, up to 10 to 20 percent of the population at some point suffers from atopic dermatitis.

Atopic dermatitis is often used interchangeably with the term ‘eczema.’ Technically eczema is slightly different and is a more general term, but many physicians and patients will refer to atopic dermatitis and eczema as the same thing.

Eczema and atopic dermatitis are skin diseases where you have rough, red, dry, itchy skin. These diseases are not contagious. They are caused by a variety of factors. Genetics or allergic families tend to have more problems with eczema.

Other factors can be allergens, things that come into contact with your body such as pollens and dust. Also foods in small infants and children — up to one-third of eczema is caused by food allergies.

Furthermore, things that irritate your skin can cause symptoms. And finally, there’s been in some research that has show that the bacteria on your skin produce chemicals or byproducts that can cause an allergic reaction and lead to symptoms of eczema or atopic dermatitis.

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So How Would You Explain Dermatitis

First of it, if youâre looking for an answer to what is dermatitis, think of it as a medical term to describe extremely dry, itchy skin.

Although itâs important to point out that not all dry skin is dermatitis. There are times when we can all expect our skin to show signs of lacking moisture. This applies whether we suffer from eczema or not. For example, cold weather, harsh chemicals and excessive hand washing can all cause dry skin.


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