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What Are The Different Types of Dermatitis?

Medically reviewed by Martha Juco, MD · Aesthetics

Written by Lorraine Bunag, R.N. · Updated Aug 25, 2022

What Are The Different Types of Dermatitis?

Dermatitis is a general term for skin conditions that cause inflammation. The rashes associated with dermatitis can be mild or severe; but, generally, dermatitis does not result in serious harm and is not life-threatening. What are the different types of dermatitis?

Atopic Dermatitis or Eczema

One of the most common types of dermatitis is atopic dermatitis or eczema. It usually manifests in the first 6 months to 5 years of a child’s life, but anyone can have it at any age.

A patient develops atopic dermatitis because their immune system makes their skin more sensitive to external triggers such as stress, pollution, harsh skincare products, and heat.

People who suffer from eczema complain of red, itchy skin, scaly patches, or raised bumps that may crust over when scratched.

what are the different types of dermatitis

Seborrheic dermatitis

We cannot talk about the different types of dermatitis without discussing seborrheic dermatitis. People call seborrheic dermatitis dandruff in adults and cradle cap in newborns.

The exact cause of seborrheic dermatitis is not yet clear, but it is common among people with naturally oily skin. Besides dandruff, other symptoms include red skin, and scales or crust on oily areas of the face, scalp, and ears.

Seborrheic dermatitis can also be a sign that a patient’s immune system is weakened such as in those with autoimmune disorders, patients who are taking chemotherapeutic drugs or people suffering from AIDS.

Contact Dermatitis

As the name suggests, contact dermatitis happens when the skin comes in contact with a substance, either an allergen (latex, poison ivy) or irritant (harsh skin products).

If an irritant triggers dermatitis, we call it an irritant contact dermatitis.

Symptoms include dry, red patches, and burning or stinging sensation limited to the area of exposure. Some people develop dermatitis after just one contact; others suffer from it after repeated exposure.

On the other hand, when an allergen causes dermatitis, we call it allergic contact dermatitis.

The most common characteristics of allergic contact dermatitis are red rashes, swelling, itchiness, and blisters that crust or drain fluids.

what are the different types of dermatitis


Neurodermatitis is one of the different types of dermatitis, but it’s quite different from the other kinds we’ve already discussed.

The difference lies in the fact that the problem didn’t originate with the skin. Interestingly, the affected area was formerly normal and healthy; it just developed dermatitis after repeated rubbing and scratching.

Scientists do not know the exact cause of neurodermatitis. Still, reports indicate that the itchy sensation may begin with a simple irritation, such as tight clothing or an insect bite. When the patient starts rubbing the area, it becomes itchier, leading to more scratching.

Afterward, the area becomes irritated and scaly. Moreover, the skin will eventually look darker than the rest of the body.

Stasis Dermatitis

One of the different dermatitis types is venous eczema or stasis dermatitis. It commonly affects people over 50 or those with poor circulation.

Venous eczema happens due to poor blood circulation that causes fluid build-up in the lower legs. The build-up leaks out of the veins and into the skin, which may result in inflammation.

Patients with stasis dermatitis may observe itching, swelling, and sores, which might ooze or crust. Moreover, the affected area may also be thick and discolored.

Nummular Dermatitis

Also called discoid eczema, nummular eczema causes scattered coin-shaped rashes that itch and sometimes ooze.

Doctors do not know what exactly causes discoid eczema, but reports say that it usually happens after skin injuries such as burns and insect bites.

The coin-shaped sores of nummular dermatitis might crust over and have inflamed skin around them. They may also elicit a burning sensation.

what are the different types of dermatitis

Treatment for Dermatitis, an Overview

Now that you know about the different types of dermatitis let’s talk about how they are treated.

Naturally, the treatment depends on the type of dermatitis, its cause, and the severity of the rashes or lesions.

Some of the most common treatments for dermatitis include:

  • Corticosteroid ointments and creams for itching and swelling
  • Antibiotics to treat infection, if it’s present
  • Antihistamines, which helps with allergy and itching

When to Seek Medical Help

Whenever you experience skin problems, the best course of action is to consult a dermatologist.

Set an appointment, especially if your dermatitis symptoms cause:

  • Disruption in your daily activities, such as working and sleeping
  • Constant pain
  • Signs of skin infection, such as fever, warmth on the affected area, swelling, etc.

Finally, talk to your dermatologist if you’ve tried home remedies, and they didn’t work.

Learn more about Eczema and Dermatitis here


Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Medically reviewed by

Martha Juco, MD


Written by Lorraine Bunag, R.N. · Updated Aug 25, 2022

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