Essential guide to dermatitis

11/05/2020 — By Alexandra Julian

Essential guide to dermatitis

This guide provides information about the most common forms of dermatitis including allergic contact dermatitis, irritant contact dermatitis and seborrhoeic dermatitis.

We look at some tips and advice on how to avoid exposure to some of the most common causes of contact dermatitis and at some natural skin care tips.

What is dermatitis?

Dermatitis is one of the most common skin disorders which affects the body. Dermatitis is a broad term that covers a range of inflammatory skin disorders, including eczema.

There are two types of contact dermatitis that occur more commonly in adults: allergic contact dermatitis and irritant contact dermatitis.

Seborrhoeic dermatitis often affects babies but can affect adults as well and is more associated with a fungal infection that a contact reaction.

Allergic contact dermatitis

This type of dermatitis usually develops over a long period of time through regular contact with substances such as perfume, skin care products, make-up and metal alloys containing nickel. The best form of prevention is to identify the cause of the rash and avoid it.

Body care tip: To prevent allergic skin reactions to nickel, apply a thin coating of clear nail varnish to the surface of metal in jewellery, watch straps and studs on jeans.

If you suffer from allergic contact dermatitis from your skin care, you might like to see our Sensitive range. This ultra-gentle collection of skin care essentials contains soothing, natural plant actives that are kind to allergy-prone skin.

Scent Free Anti-Ageing 24-Hour Cream 50ml
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Irritant contact dermatitis

Contact with irritants such as household cleaners is the usual cause of this form of dermatitis, which more usually affects adults. As with the allergic form, the best prevention is to avoid contact with the problem chemical.

Always wear rubber gloves when handling chemical cleansers and household detergents, or better still clean your home with a micro-fibre cloth, hot water and natural cleansing agents such as lemon, vinegar and bicarbonate of soda. Keep your hands well moisturised with organic hand cream.

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Manuka & Lemon Tea Tree Hand Cream 50ml
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Hand wash and contact dermatitis

Many people find that soaps and hand wash can often cause skin irritation. Contact dermatitis on the hands is very common and it is frequently seen in those who use hand washes and sanitisers regularly as part of their job; perhaps in a hospital or kitchen, where cleanliness is vital.

Sodium lauryl sulphate (SLS), a foaming agent used in many personal care products, and triclosan, an antibacterial agent, are both known causes of contact dermatitis and are present in the many hand washes.

Many commercial hand sanitisers and sterilizers contain high levels of alcohol (ethanol or ethyl alcohol). Whilst this is very effective at killing pathogenic bacteria, it is also very drying to the skin and can aggravate many of the symptoms associated with dermatitis.

To avoid exposure to these chemicals, choose one of our natural hand washes. We use natural antibacterial ingredients such as Tea Tree and Manuka honey to effectively kill harmful bacteria.

Scent Free Everyday Hand Wash 300ml
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Seborrhoeic dermatitis

Seborrhoeic dermatitis can affect babies and adults. In babies it often known as cradle cap and can affect the scalp and nappy areas and quickly spread to the face, neck and armpits. It is not usually sore or itchy. Read more about cradle cap.

In adults it looks very much like dandruff and can spread from the scalp to the face where flakes of skin can be shed from the eyebrows.

This type of dermatitis is more common in men than in women and is often associated with a fungal infection.

Seborrhoeic dermatitis usually clears after a few months but natural salves and oils can speed up the process. Products containing Hemp oil and Calendula are ideal.

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Organic Babies Soothing Baby Salve 100ml

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Our customer care team are happy to help you identify which of our natural skin care products might be suitable for your skin. Please call us on 01403 740350.


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