A condition that makes the skin dry, red, itchy, and cracked is spongiotic dermatitis. Any swelling caused by excess fluid under the skin typically includes it.
An overview of spongiotic dermatitis will be given in this article, looking at the signs, causes , and treatments of this condition.
Symptoms of spongiotic dermatitis include:
- dry, scaly skin
- severe itching
- rashes, especially on the hands, inner elbows, and behind the knees
- blisters resulting from rashes, which may produce fluids in extreme cases
- red, inflamed skin from constant scratching
The most prevalent clinical cause of spongiotic dermatitis is atopic dermatitis. The exact cause is unclear, but a mixture of genetic and environmental factors seems to be linked to it.
A recent research in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology indicates that there could be a mutation of the gene responsible for producing a protein called filaggrin in individuals with this condition. This protein helps the top layer of the skin build a protective barrier.
The skin barrier is compromised without sufficient filaggrin, allowing moisture to escape and letting in more allergens and bacteria.
Possible triggers include:
- allergens, such as specific food, plants, dyes, and medication
- irritants, such as soaps, cosmetics, latex, and certain metals in jewelry
- increased stress levels
- changes in hormone levels
- dry or humid climates
- excessive sweating, which can also worsen itching
Risk factors for spongiotic dermatitis include:
- Age. Atopic dermatitis is more common in children than adults, with 10 to 20 percent of children and 1 to 3 percent of adults experiencing this condition.
- Allergies. A person prone to allergies is at a greater risk of developing spongiotic dermatitis.
- Irritants. Prolonged contact with irritating substances, such as detergents, chemicals, or metals can trigger the condition.
- Family history. A person with a family history of atopic dermatitis is more likely to develop spongiotic dermatitis.
By examining the skin of an individual, a doctor or dermatologist may diagnose spongiotic dermatitis. They can also inquire about particular symptoms, family history, lifestyle, and diet.
Sometimes, in order to help with a diagnosis, a doctor may recommend a biopsy. A biopsy requires taking a small sample of skin tissue and sending it to a research laboratory.
A patch examination can be done by the doctor as well. This test involves putting patches on the back of an individual that contain common allergens to see whether they cause the skin to have an allergic reaction.
Scratching an itchy rash can cause dry skin to crack or blisters to weep during extreme flare-ups, which can lead to skin infections.
Repeated scratching, which is a process called lichenification, can also lead to a thickening of the skin. And when the condition is not active, the thickened skin may be itchy all the time.
While there is no clear cure for spongiotic dermatitis, people with medication, skin care, and lifestyle changes can treat flare-ups.
A list of potential spongiotic dermatitis treatments is given below:
- Moisturizing daily and washing with a moisturizer instead of soap may also help.
- Avoiding soaps, shower gels, and detergents, as these can further irritate the skin.
- Applying topical steroid creams to ease redness and itching. Be sure to use the appropriate or prescribed medication, because using one that is too strong may cause thinning of the skin.
- Applying topical calcineurin inhibitors, such as tacrolimus ointments and pimecrolimus creams, to control inflammation during flare-ups. These medications block a chemical that triggers inflammation in the skin and causes redness and itching.
- Taking antihistamines to relieve the symptoms of allergies. Newer, non-drowsy antihistamines are less likely to cause tiredness.
- Wearing bandages, dressings, or wet wraps on top of creams to stop the ointment from rubbing off, and to prevent scratching. Wet wraps are not recommended for babies or children as they can become too cold.
- Having ultraviolet light treatment or phototherapy. This therapy is usually not recommended for children. Natural sunlight may ease some skin disorders by reducing inflammation.
- Taking oral steroids, such as prednisolone, can relieve symptoms during severe or widespread flare-ups. A doctor or dermatologist will need to prescribe steroids.
Some people also report that taking vitamin A or fish oil can relieve symptoms.
Ways to ease the discomfort of spongiotic dermatitis and to reduce the likelihood of future flare-ups include:
- Following a daily skincare routine. This includes regular moisturizing and using prescribed medications or treatments.
- Avoiding potential triggers. These may include certain foods, cosmetics, detergents, or types of animal.
- Wearing non-rubber gloves when doing manual tasks, such as housework, to protect the hands.
- Avoiding scratching the affected skin. Scratching can lead to further damage or infection.
- Wearing soft, breathable materials, such as cotton. Avoid itchy fabrics, including wool.
- Washing clothes with non-biological laundry powder. Use a double rinse cycle to get rid of detergent residues.
- Keeping the skin cool. Overheating and sweating can make itchiness worse.
- Treating symptoms as soon as they appear. When flare-ups become more severe, they are harder to control.
For those who have the condition, coping with spongiotic dermatitis may be a continuing struggle. In the United States alone, over 30 million people have some form of atopic dermatitis.
Symptoms can clear up very easily, or they can be a long-term disorder.
This condition is not infectious, so anyone else is at no risk of getting it.
Spongiotic dermatitis, while difficult, is also manageable. In order to alleviate the symptoms and minimize the likelihood of potential flare-ups, a recovery plan involving medicine, skin care, and lifestyle adjustments will do a lot.