There are many different types of dermatitis but generally it can be divided into 2 sub-groups. The words eczema and dermatitis are synonymous i.e. they can be used interchangeably.
The endogenous type of eczema would include atopic eczema and seborrhoeic dermatitis. Atopic eczema is generally the most troublesome but most children do eventually outgrow it. It is a hereditary type of eczema where other family members may have asthma, hay-fever and/or eczema.
This is usually where a person develops an allergic contact dermatitis to some external substance, for example, nickel found in cheaper costume jewellery. The treatment of this type of contact dermatitis is to identify the offending allergen and to avoid it. It is sometimes necessary to do patch tests to identify the allergen.
Other types of exogenous eczema would include a photo-allergic dermatitis, for example, a person may be taking a drug that could make them more sensitive to the sun and they could develop a dermatitis in the sun-exposed areas. An example of this would include thiazide diuretics.
Treatment of eczema is dependent on the type and severity of the eczema and this can only be decided upon once a Dermatologist has seen the patient.