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Seborrheic dermatitis is a red, scaly, itchy Rash on the face, or on the scalp (i.e., the most common cause of dandruff). Contact dermatitis (including allergic contact dermatitis and contact photodermatitis) is an Allergy to specific substances that touch the Skin. A classic example is a poison ivy Rash.
Dermatitis, while unattractive, is not usually life threatening. These skin conditions may become infected by scratching and bacterial invasion. The best treatment is removing the irritant, but may also include bathing with soap and water, applying unscented creams and wearing gloves to avoid irritating chemicals on the skin. The term Eczema, a specific form of dermatitis involving internally provoked Inflammation of the skin, is often incorrectly used interchangeably with dermatitis.
1. Biagi PL, et al. The effect of gamma-linolenic acid on clinical status, red cell fatty acid composition and membrane microviscosity in infants with atopic dermatitis. Drugs Exp Clin Res 20(2): 77-84, 1994.