Are eczema and dermatitis the same thing?

Dermatitis means inflammation of the skin.


is a term used to describe a group of skin conditions in which the skin itches, becomes dry, and inflamed. The terms eczema and seborrheic dermatitis are often used interchangeably. But “dermatitis” is a broader term that encompasses more than eczema rashes.

Eczema is a general term for skin conditions similar to skin rashes. The most common type of eczema is called atopic dermatitis. When scratched, the skin becomes red and inflamed (swollen). Eczema is more common in infants, but it also affects children and adults.

Atopic dermatitis and eczema 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. Eczema is actually a type of dermatitis.

It is also known as atopic dermatitis. This type of eczema is better known as dandruff. Other symptoms of atopic dermatitis include blisters (vesicles), cracking of the skin, crusting, suppuration, and peeling. Treatment of atopic dermatitis involves the use of moisturizers such as petroleum jelly and topical steroids to reduce inflammation and itching.

Because the symptoms are practically the same, they are also treated quite similarly, says New York City dermatologist Joshua Zeichner. If you have atopic dermatitis that doesn't improve with any of these treatment options, your doctor may recommend phototherapy or avoid food if the condition is related to a food allergy. This type of eczema is often more common in older adults, probably due to skin changes associated with aging. It is possible to have more than one type of eczema at a time, especially since dyshidrotic dermatitis and neurodermatitis often result from other forms of eczema such as atopic dermatitis.

Atopic dermatitis can be triggered by skin care products such as soaps, cleansers, detergents, and lotions with harsh chemicals; extremely hot or cold temperatures; irritating fabrics such as wool; fragrances and stress. Treatment of acute eczema in which there is significant suppuration and suppuration requires repeated cycles of application of diluted solutions of vinegar or tap water, often in the form of a compress followed by evaporation. Dermatitis may be temporary, but when it occurs in a more chronic and lasting form, it is usually referred to as eczema. On the other hand, Sadick says that contact dermatitis is stimulated by direct exposure to a particular allergen or irritant, such as poison ivy, nickel or perfumes.

Have your health care provider check your skin to determine if your condition is dermatitis, rosacea, or something else. For example, many people are unaware that eczema is actually a general term, as is dermatitis used to describe a range of skin inflammations. Chronic eczema can be improved by applying water followed by an emollient (moisturizing cream or lotion). A primary care physician or dermatologist can usually diagnose both conditions through a physical exam.

Riya Hutchings
Riya Hutchings

On a quest to combat Contact Dermatitis!