Q& A

Irish Independent - Health & Living - - MEDICAL ADVICE -

RED­NESS, dry­ness and ir­ri­ta­tion of the skin is called der­mati­tis. Eczema typ­i­cally causes skin to be­come dry red, scal­ing and itchy. It may be­come in­fected, lead­ing to bub­bles that can weep or ooze fluid and the skin can be­come bro­ken form re­peated scratch­ing.

Over time, skin can ul­ti­mately be­come thick­ened and chron­i­cally in­flamed. In ba­bies, the first area af­fected is usu­ally the face, then as they crawl it of­ten spreads to the front sur­face of the legs and outer el­bows. In older chil­dren, it usu­ally set­tles in the skin folds such as in­side el­bows and be­hind the knees.

Der­mati­tis of the face and mouth area may be due to other causes. An­gu­lar stom­ati­tis can cause un­com­fort­able crack­ing, red­ness, scal­ing, bleed­ing and ul­cer­a­tion of the cor­ners of the mouth. This may af­fect one or both sides of the mouth. An­gu­lar che­li­tis may be caused by bac­te­ria, can­dida in­fec­tion, and nu­tri­tional de­fi­ciency or due to other con­di­tions such as eczema, lo­cal al­lergy to nickel in metal braces, drool­ing or al­tered anatomy of the an­gles of the mouth.

Those who suf­fer with chronic der­mati­tis or dry skin may be prone to lick­ing their lips, caus­ing a lip lick der­mati­tis, which can per­pet­u­ate the ir­ri­ta­tion and in­flam­ma­tion of the­skin.

One of the more com­mon causes is in­fec­tion with sta­phy­lo­coc­cus. This is a bac­terium that nor­mally lives on the skin. When skin be­comes red or in­flamed, break­ing down this bac­te­ria may in­crease lead­ing to fur­ther in­flam­ma­tion and in­fec­tion.

Can­dida is another com­mon cause and if an­tibac­te­rial didn’t work, an anti fun­gal cream may also help. A cream with hy­dro­cor­ti­sone is of­ten more ef­fec­tive as the steroid will also help re­duce in­flam­ma­tion. These creams need to be ap­plied sev­eral times a day

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