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Dermatitis is a painful skin condition which can be prevented. It is caused by a reaction to a substance on your skin. The symptoms include red, swollen and tender skin, hot and itchy patches or in severe cases, blisters. Exposure over a long period of time can cause thickening of the skin. In extreme cases it may eventually lead to skin cancer.

Contact dermatitis is caused by direct contact with the substances. There are two different kinds of contact dermatitis. One is an irritant dermatitis - a simple case of irritation caused by contact with the substance. The other type is allergic dermatitis, when repeated exposures to the substance cause the body to develop an allergic reaction. This reaction can then be triggered by even very small quantities of the substance.

Acids, alkalis, mineral oils, solvents, bleaches, glues, pollen, wood dusts, nickel, some types of vegetables and fruits and even antibiotics are just a few examples of the substances which can cause dermatitis in some people.

Heat, friction and dirt can also cause and aggravate dermatitis. Sweating and repetitive friction on your skin, combined with dirt and bacteria, can be a sure-fire recipe for dermatitis.

Tomorrow, we’ll look at some ways of preventing dermatitis

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