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Dermatitis is a general term for any inflammation of the skin.

The term eczema, a specific form of dermatitis involving internally provoked inflammation of the skin, is often incorrectly used interchangeably with dermatitis.

Contact dermatitis, including allergic contact dermatitis and contact photodermatitis, is an allergy to specific substances which touch the skin. Inflammation spreads in this case if unaffected body parts touch affected body parts. A classic example is a rash due to poison ivy. Contact dermatitis is uncommon in the early or late years of life but may affect any age group.

Other forms of dermatitis are seborrheic eczema, housewife's hand eczema, irritant eczema, dyshidrosis and discoid eczema. These conditions are not usually life threatening, but are unattractive nuisances which may become infected due to scratching and subsequent invasion of bacteria. The best treatment is to remove the primary irritant. Treatment may also include bathing with soap and water, applying unscented creams and wearing gloves to avoid irritating chemicals such as those present in dishwashing detergents.

Seborrheic dermatitis

This is a red, scaly, itchy rash on the face, or on the scalp (i.e. the most common cause of dandruff).


Primary Factors
Dermatitis is caused by any irritating substance which may cause an allergic reaction. Some irritants only become active in the presence of sunlight; this type of dermatitis is called photoallergic contact dermatitis.

Predisposing Factors
There are many irritants, some of which are:

Exogenous irritants

Topical medicationsVarnishes
Plants, especially poison ivyLacquers
Industrial chemicalsPlastics

Edogenous irritants
Medications, especially:


Immune deficiency disorders

X-linked agammaglobulinemiaWiskott-Aldrich syndrome

Inborn metabolic errors

AhistidinemiaPhenylketonuria (PKU)

Nutritional deficiency disorders

Signs & Symptoms

Itchy skin
Oozing or crusting of skin
Dry, scaly skin, especially during healing stages

Nutritional Supplements

Structure & Function: Hair, Skin and Nail Support

General Supplements

Biotin400 - 800 mcg 200 - 400 mcg
EPO 1 - 3 g 1 - 2 g
Folic acid*
Green barley*
Lecithin 4 - 6 g 2 - 3 g
Vitamin B-6 25 - 50 mg 5 - 10 mg
Vitamin B12*
Vitamin E*
Zinc 20 - 30 mg 5 - 10 mg

* Please refer to the respective topic for specific nutrient amounts.


Several supplements may also be used topically: vitamin B6 ointment, lithium ointment and selenium oxide or lithium succinate.

Vitamin B12 is often given intra-muscularly, although self care may require sublingual versions.

Note: All amounts are in addition to those supplements having a Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA). Due to individual needs, one must always be aware of a possible undetermined effect when taking nutritional supplements. If any disturbances from the use of a particular supplement should occur, stop its use immediately and seek the care of a qualified health care professional.

Dietary Considerations

If the dermatitis is due to a food allergy, the individual should be placed on an Elimination Diet to determine the offending food or groups of foods.

Herpetiformic dermatitis and eczema are frequently due to a gluten intolerance. These skin conditions often disappear after the individual is placed on a Gluten Restricted Diet.

Dermatitis and other dermatological conditions are often treated with megadoses of vitamin A, although these doses can be toxic if used for a prolonged period of time, resulting in hair loss, anorexia, hepatomegaly, anemia and leukopenia.

Persons who use prescribed therapeutic doses, or who self-treat with megadoses of vitamin A, should be closely monitored for toxicity.

Homeopathic Remedy

Dermatitis (Urticaria, Eczema)

1. Erythema

Sulphur15C to 1M
Hepar sulphuris calcareum30C
*Rhus venenata15C
*Rhus Toxicodendron15 - 30C

2. Urticaria

*Antipyrinum                15C
*Anacardium occidentale tinct.        30C
Psorinum                30C to 50M
Natrum Muriaticum                30C to 10M
Rhus Toxicodendron                30C
Antimonium crudum                30C

3. Eczema

Anacardium occidentale tinct.        30C
Psorinum                        30C use LM if chronic/severe
Rhus Toxicodendron                30C

Treatment Schedule

Doses cited are to be administered on a 3X daily schedule, unless otherwise indicated. Dose usually continued for 2 weeks. Liquid preparations usually use 8-10 drops per dose. Solid preps are usually 3 pellets per dose. Children use 1/2 dose.


X = 1 to 10 dilution - weak (triturition)
C = 1 to 100 dilution - weak (potency)
M = 1 to 1 million dilution (very strong)
X or C underlined means it is most useful potency

Asterisk (*) = Primary remedy. Means most necessary remedy. There may be more than one remedy - if so, use all of them.


Boericke, D.E., 1988. Homeopathic Materia Medica.

Coulter, C.R., 1986. Portraits of Homeopathic Medicines.

Kent, J.T., 1989. Repertory of the Homeopathic Materia Medica.

Koehler, G., 1989. Handbook of Homeopathy.

Shingale, J.N., 1992. Bedside Prescriber.

Smith, Trevor, 1989. Homeopathic Medicine.

Ullman, Dana, 1991. The One Minute (or so) Healer.

Herbal Approaches



Note: The misdirected use of an herb can produce severely adverse effects, especially in combination with prescription drugs. This Herbal information is for educational purposes and is not intended as a replacement for medical advice.

Aromatherapy - Essential Oils

Chamomile Essence,Cypress Essence,
Fennel Essence,Frankincense Essence,
Geranium Essence,Hyssop Essence,
Juniper Essence,Lavender Essence,
Patchouli Essence,Sandalwood Essence.

Related Health Conditions

Nutritional deficiency
Phenylketonuria (pku)
Wiskott-aldrich syndrome
X-linked agammaglobulinemia



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