What is dermatitis?
Dermatitis is the umbrella term given to describe red, inflamed skin. It can have a number of causes and can present itself in various ways – but usually involves an itchy rash and swollen, red skin.
Skin affected by dermatitis may blister, ooze, develop a crust or flake off. The types of dermatitis include:
- Seborrheic dermatitis – characterised by scaly patches, red skin and flakiness (such as dandruff). It is usually present in the oilier parts of the body such as the face, chest and back.
- Atopic dermatitis (eczema) – often starts to show symptoms from a young age (infancy). This red, itchy rash is usually present around where the skin flexes — inside elbows, behind knees and the neck area. Because the rash causes itchiness – it is common for the affected areas to experience oozing/crusting, and quite common for there to be a pattern of calm, followed by flare-ups.
- Contact dermatitis – is when a red rash forms after skin has made contact with a substance/surface that sets off an allergic reaction in the skin – such as jewellery, personal care or cleaning products.
Although it may feel uncomfortable and be potentially embarrassing, dermatitis is common, not contagious, and can usually be managed by employing the correct self-care routine along with avoidance of substances that set it off.
What causes / triggers dermatitis?
Depending on the type of dermatitis you have (see above), there are different causes. For contact dermatitis, it is worth noting any patterns you notice in order to pinpoint the substances your skin might be allergic to. This way, you can avoid/minimise contact with it and prevent dermatitis from occurring (or displaying symptoms as severe).
For all other types of dermatitis, it may simply be a case of a long-term condition that just needs to be managed with a healthy lifestyle and the right self-care routine.
Tips to help manage dermatitis naturally
- Avoid synthetic perfumes in your fragrances, personal care and cleaning products
- Look for clothing that has breathable, natural fabrics such as organic cotton, hemp, linen and bamboo (these allow your skin to breathe and have less chemicals than synthetic alternatives)
- If possible, look for clothing that has not been dyed with synthetic colouring. You can find clothing companies that use fruit and vegetable pigments. This helps to manage your toxic load (your body’s total chemical exposure)
- If you’re prone to Seborrheic dermatitis on the scalp, experiment with different shampoos and conditioners and see what works. You generally want to avoid fragranced (parfum) products and any SLS (and its derivatives) ingredients.
- Experiment with different plant oils and natural skincare products to see what your skin responds to better.
- Include plenty of essential fatty acids in your diet – have a chat to your naturopath about supplementation and a diet plan that works well for you
Recommended 3-step skincare routine for dermatitis
- Olive Soothing Cream Cleanser Use this nourishing creamy formula both day and night to cleanse the skin of daily impurities, pollution and water-based makeup. Contains moisturising and anti-inflammatory actives to keep skin feeling hydrated and soft.
- Olive Skin Serum Intensely nourishes the skin and reinforces the skin’s protective barrier. Use both day and night on damp skin.
- Your moisturiser will depend on your skin type:
For dry skin – use Olive Repair Day and Night Cream
Use both day and night over the top of the Olive Skin Serum. An intensely nourishing yet gentle moisturiser, this anti-irritant formula enriched with Olive Squalane and Betaine to soothe dry, irritated skin.
For normal to combination or oily skin – use Boost Balancing Moisturiser
A lightweight lotion that can be used both day and night, Boost contains a clever blend of soothing Chamomile, Calendula, Echinacea, hydrating Betaine and antibacterial Lemon Scented Tea Tree are all botanicals that keep your skin hydrated with a matte look and feel.
- PhytoBody Wash A pH balanced, multipurpose liquid soap that is gentle enough for the whole family. Can be used as a gentle shampoo, body wash, hand wash and shaving gel for skin prone to sensitivities.
- Olivene Repair Balm A rich, hydrating, barrier balm made from Olive Wax and Olive Butter. Petroleum-free and beeswax free, this is ideal to use on dry, red patches anywhere on the body.
- Olive Hand and Body Cream A gentle moisturising cream to help repair, soften and nourish irritated, itchy skin.