You’ve had an annoying itchy patch on your arm for what seems like months; you know it’s dermatitis but will it ever go away?!
Well, it all depends on what’s causing it and what kind of dermatitis you’re dealing with!
Dermatitis is a bit of a generic term for skin inflammation; it covers a multitude of issues, sensitivities and flare-ups, from eczema to allergic reactions, so it can be hard to tell how long any one patch of dermatitis will take to go away. One of the main factors in how long dermatitis lasts is what type of dermatitis you’re dealing with!
Let’s look at two common kinds of dermatitis for some answers.
This kind of dermatitis is triggered by a specific substance or ingredient that has touched your skin, so if your dermatitis has been caused by, say, contact with a detergent or shampoo that has irritated your skin, it’s likely to go away after a week or so, once two conditions have been fulfilled:
- You’ve stopped using the irritating shampoo
- Your skin has repaired any damage done
If you’ve itched and scratched the area, and your skin is broken, the damage can take a while to heal completely; a full cycle of repair and regeneration takes about a month, with skin cells being replaced and renewed. Broken skin can allow more irritants through the skin barrier, and aggravate the inflammation, prolonging the process, but using protective emollients can help.
Eczema, also known as atopic dermatitis, is a bit of a different kettle of fish to contact dermatitis, as it’s a chronic skin condition that can’t be cured, only managed. Patches of eczema may come and go, sometimes in response to something you’ve touched, as in contact dermatitis, and sometimes in response to other, less easily avoided triggers, such as stress or the environment.
So the answer to whether atopic dermatitis will go away is a bit more complicated. Yes, flare-ups will likely ebb and flow, with your dermatitis improving under some conditions and worsening under others, but the condition won’t disappear entirely: once you’ve developed atopic dermatitis it’s likely to pop up again from time to time.
If you’ve identified your own specific triggers and are actively engaged in avoiding as many of them as you can, you’re likely to be able to keep dermatitis under control with skin-nourishing emollients and other management strategies. These might include adapting your diet, managing your stress levels, controlling your environment (as much as is possible, anyway!), and swapping irritant household cleaning products and toiletries for hypoallergenic ones.
Recommended products for managing skin prone to dermatitis:
Skin Salvation balm with beeswax, hemp & chamomile (from £7.99 for 30ml)
Balmonds Daily Moisturising Cream with shea butter, hemp & calendula (from £13.99 for 100ml)
Balmonds Intensive Hand Cream with sea buckthorn berry & hemp seed oil (from £10.99 for 50ml)
If you require medical advice we recommend you always contact your healthcare professional.
If you or someone you are caring for seems very unwell, is getting worse or you think there's something seriously wrong, call for emergency services straight away. For general medical advice, please contact your healthcare professional, this article does not contain or replace medical advice.
Do not delay getting help if you're worried. Trust your instincts.