Exfoliative dermatitis is another name for dry and scaly skin. It is a condition which tends to spread on the body and can lead to various problems including itchiness, redness, and shedding. This HealthHearty article gives a brief explanation of this skin condition.
Exfoliative dermatitis is also known as Dermatitis exfoliativa or Erythroderma. It is a condition wherein the skin becomes dry and scaly all over the body along with redness and itchiness. The problem can usually be severe if the person has eczema or psoriasis, and therefore, the need to admit the person in a hospital arises. This dermatitis can spread to almost 90% or more of the cutaneous surface, wherein the skin becomes dry and red because of the itchiness, therefore, this condition is also called Red Man Syndrome.
Erythroderma can develop either suddenly, or very slowly, and will not be confined to specific areas, but spread to the entire body. This is a very rare disease and accounts for only 2% of the patients admitted for dermatological reasons. As mentioned earlier, the itchiness and the spreading of this disease mostly requires medical attention. Mentioned below are some symptoms of this condition.
- Redness of the skin
- Severe itching
- Dry skin, sometimes with a red shine
- Experiencing fever at the same time
- In spite of having fever, the patient tends to feel cold due to the heat escaping through the damaged skin
- Shedding of nails
- Hair loss
- Because the skin is damaged, you might experience excretion of fluids and proteins through the skin
- Some patients may also develop swelling in glands
- The skin appears to be crusted or thickened
- This disease usually affects the neck first, followed by the skull, and then the genitals, before spreading to the whole body
- The only area left unaffected would be the soles of the hands and feet
The causes are unknown in some cases, however, most of the time, it is related to an allergy, or some underlying skin disorder. Once the cause is determined, the treatment also follows accordingly. As for now, have a look at some of the possible causes of this skin problem.
- Reaction from drugs such as barbiturate, penicillin, or sulfonamide
- Underlying skin disorders such as psoriasis, Devergie’s disease, lichen planus, contact dermatitis, or seborrheic dermatitis
- This condition can also be a result of cutaneous lymphoma, leukemia, stasis dermatitis, sarcoidosis, pemphigoid, atopic dermatitis, and spongiotic dermatitis
The treatment depends upon the cause that is diagnosed. The earlier the condition is diagnosed the better it would be to control its complications. Also, exfoliative dermatitis leads to a lot of protein and fluid loss which can be avoided by early diagnosis. Usually, doctors take help of antibiotics and cool baths to give some relief to the patients. Application of petroleum jelly over the affected areas and wrapping them up with a gauze, helps reduce further dryness. These patients can also suffer from skin dehydration due to loss of fluids from the damaged skin, which is compensated by supplying electrolytes. If an allergic reaction to a specific drug is the cause, doctors immediately withdraw the consumption of that drug.
Mostly men aged over 55 years suffer from this disease, however, that does not make the chances for women any lesser. It can prove to be very risky because of the loss of fluid involved, which can lead to dehydration. The patient may also suffer from heart failure because the blood tends to go to the blood vessels in the skin in a large amount. Therefore, as soon as you feel even the slightest of symptoms, kindly get in touch with your healthcare provider. Take care.
Disclaimer: This HealthHearty article is meant for informational purposes only and should not be considered as a replacement for expert medical advice.