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What is the difference between eczema and dermatitis?

Many Melbourne dwellers will experience the symptoms of eczema or dermatitis at some point in their lives. After all, Melbourne has been deemed the “allergy capital of the world” on more than one occasion.  But what exactly is the difference between these two common conditions?

Eczema and dermatitis are terms used interchangeably for “inflammation of the skin”.  Whilst they can often be difficult to tell apart in both presentation and symptoms, they can vary greatly in their causes and treatments.

Eczema is a condition that can commonly affects children but can affect any age group.  Eczema is often referred to as the “itch that rashes” due to the extremely itchy nature of the condition. Eczema is often associated with other allergic conditions, including asthma and hay fever and can be triggered by common allergens such as dust, grasses, pollens, animal dander and certain foods.  To learn more about eczema, see here.

Dermatitis is a broader term which covers many different types of inflammatory skin conditions. Types of dermatitis can include seborrheic dermatitis, contact irritant dermatitis, contact allergic dermatitis, peri-oral dermatitis, stasis dermatitis and more. Whilst most dermatitis conditions can have similarities, they also have distinct differences in appearance, symptoms and triggers.

For instance, peri-oral dermatitis typically affects women aged 15-45 years and can present as acne-like bumps along with dry, red and flaky skin around the mouth and nostrils.  Perioral dermatitis is often triggered by topical steroid use, but can also be triggered by hormonal changes, medications and certain cosmetics.  On the other hand, stasis dermatitis or “venous eczema” typically affects middle aged-elderly patients and is associated with venous insufficiency, varicose veins and leg ulcers. It often presents as dry, fissured/cracked and scaly plaques on the lower legs.  

Dermatitis Treatment

If you suspect you have eczema or dermatitis, it is important to seek professional medical guidance so that you receive the correct diagnosis and treatment for your condition.

At the Psoriasis Eczema Clinic, we take a holistic approach to the treatment of dermatitis conditions, where your treatment is customised according to the type of dermatitis you have, as well as the presentation, age of patient, symptoms, sensitivity level, climate and much more.  

Our topical formulations are steroid free, and contain a variety of nutritional and herbal bio-active ingredients and are based on over 30 year’s research into natural dermatitis treatments.

Our thorough consultation process aims to identify and address your individual triggers and treat the symptoms and we utilize a combination of oral, topical, dietary and lifestyle medicines to achieve this.

If you would like to make a booking for your Dermatitis treatment in Melbourne or via our Telehealth appointment services, please contact the clinic today.

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