Dermatitis is the medical term for a variety of skin conditions that typically cause swelling, itching, and sometimes flaking or scaling of the skin. Skin papules are small, raised bumps on the skin. Therefore, papular dermatitis is any skin condition that involves swollen, itchy bumps on the skin. There are several such skin conditions, including chicken pox, eczema, and inflammatory acne. While treatment always begins with identifying the root cause of the dermatitis, medications such as anti-itch ointments or oral antibiotics are frequently used.
Chicken pox is a common form of papular dermatitis that is most common in children, although it can appear at any age. Symptoms of chicken pox include small red bumps that typically begin on the abdomen, back, or face. These bumps may then spread all over the body, causing intense itching. These bumps, or papules, sometimes burst open, excreting a clear liquid before drying up and crusting over. Chicken pox is usually a mild disease and tends to resolve on its own without medical treatment, although anti-itch creams often help to keep the patient more comfortable for the duration of the illness.
Eczema is another type of papular dermatitis. Eczema causes a red, swollen rash that may cause crusting of the skin or papules, which may ooze fluid once they break open. The exact cause of eczema is unknown, but it is believed to have a genetic component in some patients or be related to allergies to food or other substances in others. Topical steroid ointments are often used to treat this form of papular dermatitis. Skin infection is common with this disorder, so oral antibiotics are often prescribed as well.
Another type of papular dermatitis is a type of acne known as inflammatory acne. In this type of acne, large papules can appear that sometimes cause permanent scarring. Topical antibiotic and steroid ointments are often prescribed to help to ease these symptoms and prevent severe scarring. Oral medications, frequently including hormone therapy in female patients, may also be used.
A dermatologist is a doctor who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of skin disorders. This type of doctor is experienced in diagnosing the various types of papular dermatitis. Once an accurate diagnosis has been made and any underlying medical conditions have been identified, an individualized treatment plan can be created to treat the root cause as well as the individual symptoms caused by the dermatitis.