Dermatoses And Dermatitis: What Is The Difference, And How To Understand When It Is Time To See A Doctor

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Dermatoses And Dermatitis: What Is The Difference, And How To Understand When It Is Time To See A Doctor
Dermatoses And Dermatitis: What Is The Difference, And How To Understand When It Is Time To See A Doctor

Video: Dermatoses And Dermatitis: What Is The Difference, And How To Understand When It Is Time To See A Doctor

Video: Dermatoses And Dermatitis: What Is The Difference, And How To Understand When It Is Time To See A Doctor
Video: Contact Dermatitis 2023, March

The skin is the largest organ in our body. It is unique in composition, and it is its structure that determines whether dermatosis appears on it in its pure form or it will be dermatosis with signs of dermatitis. How they differ and how to deal with them - we learned from the chief dermatologist of the Children-Butterflies Foundation, the author of a unique formulation of Hecht brand products, Margarita Hecht.

The skin consists of three layers: epidermis, dermis, and subcutaneous tissue. The terms you may hear to describe dermatosis and dermatitis include two main concepts: rash and lesion. A rash is a variety of elements on the skin that change its color and texture. A lesion is a localized area of skin that exhibits an abnormality.

A bit of theory

Dermatosis is a common term that refers to any skin condition, especially if it is not accompanied by inflammation. Dermatoses are diverse: each of them has its own specificity and classification. They affect everything on the surface of the body: skin, nails and hair. Any condition that affects the skin can be referred to as dermatosis. A striking example of dermatosis is acne.


But do not confuse the term with dermatitis, which is limited to inflammation of the skin exclusively. Dermatitis is a general term that describes skin irritation that is manifested by inflammation, possibly itching, dry skin, or a rash on the affected area. The most striking examples of this group of inflammations are atopic dermatitis or eczema, seborrheic dermatitis and contact dermatitis.

Atopic dermatitis

Atopic dermatitis usually begins in infancy. It can be chronic or prolonged, with stages of exacerbation. During this period, atopic dermatitis manifests itself as an inflamed, itchy, weeping rash. Most often, the disease affects the skin in the areas of the face, neck, hands - in isolation or with the involvement of the skin in the elbow and popliteal folds. But this course is typical for more severe cases.

Since this is a chronic process, inflammation on the skin is constantly present and does not go away without a trace. In places of folds, the background of the skin may become darker than healthy areas. Skin affected by atopic dermatitis may become rough, cracked, and pronounced skin lines.

Temporary improvement usually occurs during vacation and summer. It has been proven that the disease indirectly affects the functioning of the nervous system - making it more labile (unstable). The reason for this is that the skin is constantly experiencing discomfort, and this is reflected in the internal state of a person. There is also a relationship with vitamin D deficiency, due to which exacerbations of atopic dermatitis are especially pronounced in autumn and spring.


See a dermatologist if:

  • You feel so uncomfortable that your sleep is spoiled, or you become distracted from your daily activities too often.
  • The skin becomes sore to the touch.
  • You suspect that there are signs of inflammation: the skin is hot to the touch, the body temperature has risen, and yellow crusts appear on the itchy elements.
  • You tried to solve the problem yourself with "working" means, but you got no result.
  • If you have significant itchy rashes that cannot be controlled with moisturizers or over-the-counter hydrocortisone.

Contact dermatitis


This rash, which is accompanied by a burning and itching sensation, occurs where the skin has come into contact with irritating or allergenic substances. In severe cases, characteristic blisters may appear: this happens most often when in contact with plants, for example, hogweed, or chemical reagents (see also: "Allergy: where does it come from, what happens and can you get rid of it forever").

Such reactions can be caused by many substances, including soap, cosmetics, perfumery, metal from which decorative items of clothing and watch straps are made, jewelry and plants.

Contact dermatitis symptoms:

  • Elements of a rash on a red skin background;
  • Itching, which can be severe
  • Dry, chapped skin that may show signs of flaking - if exposure to irritation lasts more than two weeks
  • Swelling, burning, or soreness.

To successfully treat contact dermatitis, you need to figure out what exactly is causing it and stop contact with that object or substance. In the initial stages, you can use light cooling creams and foams with azulene, aloe vera, and also containing dexpanthenol, "talkers" or sprays with zinc oxide.

See your doctor if:

  • The rash is so unpleasant that you lose sleep or get distracted from your daily activities.

  • The rash is sudden, painful, profuse, or widespread on the skin - it affects not only one area, such as the hands, but also the body and face.
  • The rash does not go away within three weeks.
  • The rash affects the genitals.
  • If, in addition to changes in the skin, you notice damage to the mucous membranes of the eyes and mouth.

Seborrheic dermatitis

This is a chronic skin condition that affects seborrheic areas, that is, those places where there are many sebaceous glands: face, ears, scalp, chest, upper third of the back. Seborrheic dermatitis can be a long-term condition with periods of improvement and seasonal outbreaks. It can be aggravated during strong feelings or nervous strain.

This condition is characterized by the appearance of red itchy patches on the skin with flaking on the surface.


Signs and symptoms of seborrheic dermatitis:

  • Skin flakes (dandruff) on the scalp, hair, eyebrows, beard, or mustache;
  • Areas of oily skin with scaly white or yellow scales;
  • Red and inflamed local areas of the skin;
  • Itching.

See your doctor if:

  • You are so uncomfortable that you lose sleep or are greatly distracted from your daily activities.
  • Your condition is embarrassing and anxious.
  • You suspect there are signs of inflammation.
  • You have tried your daily skincare products, but to no avail: itching, scaly, and red skin only get worse.


Acne is a chronic condition of the sebaceous glands that is characterized by blockage and inflammation of the hair follicles.

Many people try to get rid of acne on their own with the help of pharmacy and cosmetic products. Properly selected home care can really help keep your skin in good condition, but in order to create the perfect combination of products, you need the help of a qualified specialist.

The fact is that there are never two exactly the same acne, and the task of the dermatologist is to give you individual recommendations and advise the most appropriate treatment options for acne problems (see also: Acne in adulthood: the real causes and how to deal with them ").


Here are some tips for handling acne prone skin:

  • Wash your face twice a day with a product that matches your skin type.

  • Leave the cleanser on the skin for a minute or two on the skin so that its active ingredients can penetrate the epidermis before you wash it off.
  • Keep your hands away from your face. Touching the skin during the day can cause flare-ups.
  • Do not use tanning beds or use sunscreen when going out into the sun.
  • Moisturize your skin daily. Even oily skin needs hydration, otherwise it will become dehydrated. Try not to overdry it with products that contain alcohol and high acid content.
  • Use local and targeted means.

Consult a dermatologist if:

  • You don't see improvement after six weeks of proper grooming;
  • Acne causes a feeling of tightness and internal discomfort;

  • The beauty products you've tried didn't work;
  • Pimples leave scars or darken the skin.
Margarita Hecht
Margarita Hecht

Margarita Hecht

Photo : Getty Images

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