Dermatitis is a condition where the skin or epidermis becomes inflamed. Numerous types of dermatitis exist and affect people differently. Contact dermatitis and atopic dermatitis are some of the examples of dermatitis. Contact dermatitis occurs when you come into contact with chemicals or your skin reacts to allergens. Atopic dermatitis occurs due to the problems in the immune system of the patient1, 4.
What is Spongiotic Dermatitis?
Spongiotic dermatitis is a type of dermatitis where fluids accumulate in the patient’s skin especially in the epidermis. This causes cells in the patient’s skin to swell. This condition is characterized with itchy and red areas of the patient’s skin and it can occur anywhere on the body as one spot or widespread. This condition is linked with eczema which refers to conditions that cause the skin to be inflamed and other forms of dermatitis. Spongiotic dermatitis affects mostly men2, 3.
Studies have shown that allergy to any material or substance is the most common cause of spongiotic dermatitis. People react differently when exposed to certain substances; those who are sensitive towards it may develop spongiotic dermatitis while others may not react to it. An individual can be sensitive to perfumes, soaps, certain medicines, certain chemicals, some foods, smokes, dust, etc. When an individual comes into contact with substances he/she is sensitive to; a reaction occurs which causes spongiotic dermatitis.
Factors in the environment such as high temperatures can affect your skin causing spongiotic dermatitis. Exposure to some pollutants in the environment especially certain types of chemicals can also cause you to develop this condition. Exposure to ultraviolet rays of the sun can damage your skin leading to spongiotic dermatitis.
Candida species are known to cause fungal infections. These microorganisms are found in the environment especially on plants, in the soil, etc. When you come in contact with surfaces that have these microorganisms, they will attack your skin and cause infections and they can also travel and reach other parts of your body.
Certain diseases can also cause spongiotic dermatitis. They include HIV/AIDS, congestive heart failure and Parkinson’s disease. People suffering from the aforementioned illnesses are more vulnerable to spongiotic dermatitis.
Other causes of spongiotic dermatitis include:
- Changes in hormones
- Insect bites
- Taking a shower or bathing in hot water
- Stress and depression
- Putting on clothes that are made of irritable materials such as wool.1,2,4
Spongiotic dermatitis can appear as a rash on your skin and resemble many other skin conditions. Symptoms of spongiotic dermatitis can be distinguished from other skin conditions by a professional. The following are symptoms of spongiotic dermatitis1:
- Patients experience painful itching at night. The skin becomes inflamed because histamine is released which is a compound that control inflammatory responses to infections, damage and allergic reactions.
- The patient’s skin usually has red patches which may turn into black or brownish-gray when left untreated. The skin has small projecting bumps that have fluids. The patient’s skin can appear thick, dry, scaly and cracked. The skin may appear swollen and sensitive especially when scratched.
The above symptoms usually affect the patient’s buttocks, chest and stomach. It is very rare for these symptoms to occur on the patient’s head or scalp. Spongiotic dermatitis is not contagious and therefore another person cannot get it when he/she comes in contact with a person with this condition.
Spongiotic dermatitis can be diagnosed through a physical examination. Your doctor examines the patient’s skin symptoms so as to confirm that the condition is spongiotic dermatitis. Your doctor must take several steps to distinguish this condition from other dermatitis3, 4.
Your doctor will conduct a skin biopsy so as to accurately diagnose the condition. In this procedure, your doctor removes a sample of the affected skin and analyses it in the laboratory. A skin biopsy can be done using any of the three methods below:
- Punch biopsy: Your health professional uses a skin punch to extract a sample of the affected skin.
- Shave biopsy: Your health professional uses a razor to remove a sample of the affected skin.
- Excision biopsy: Your health professional uses a scalpel to remove a sample of the affected tissue below your skin.
The samples taken will be examined using a microscope. You can get lab results after few days, weeks or more as this depends on the laboratory conducting the analysis. The results can take even a month if your health professional decides to conduct special analysis on the skin sample.
If your health professional suspects that you have contact dermatitis, he/she will conduct a patch test. Patch test involves placing a substance that you react to below an adhesive patch on your skin for a certain period. When you come for the next medical checkup, your health professional will check the skin below the patch to determine if there was a reaction. This test is useful because it helps your health professional to determine whether the substance is the cause of dermatitis. Your health professional can perform several tests using different substances you are allergic to.
Treatment of Spongiotic Dermatitis
Spongiotic dermatitis is treated basing on its causes and symptoms. Your health professional may recommend medications and home remedies to successful treat and manage this condition4, 5. The following are some of the treatment options you can use:
Creams are effective in relieving the symptoms and treating dermatitis. Your health professional may recommend corticosteroid creams to be applied on the affected skin to reduce irritation. Another cream you can use to boost your immune system is calcineurin inhibitor.
In case the topical medications are not reducing the symptoms properly, your doctor may prescribe anti-histamine drugs that prevent histamine from accelerating inflammation.
Self Care Tips
The following self-care tips can help you reduce the symptoms of dermatitis:
- Identify all the irritants. Make sure you have a list of all substances you are allergic to and avoid them completely. This will help prevent allergic reaction that causes dermatitis.
- Do not scratch the bumps on your skin because this may cause serious health complications.
- Perform a cold compress on your skin to lower inflammation. Put ice packs on a clean cloth and apply it on the affected skin for about fifteen minutes. Wait for two hours before applying the ice pack again.
- Spongiotic dermatitis. Available at http://www.wikihow.com/Ease-the-Symptoms-of-Spongiotic-Dermatiti