What is Perivascular Dermatitis?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: Kristen Osborne
  • Last Modified Date: 23 May 2020
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Perivascular dermatitis is skin irritation associated with inflammation around the blood vessels. People with this condition develop rashes, flaking, and dry skin in areas where the irritated blood vessels run. This dermatological problem can be experienced anywhere on the body, but the face, hands, feet, and arms are common locations for this condition. Treatment options are variable and include fairly conservative choices, as well as more invasive techniques for managing the skin irritation.

There appears to be a genetic predisposition for perivascular dermatitis, although not all patients have a family history of the disease. It occurs when the area around the blood vessels becomes inflamed as a result of an allergic response, infection, or irritation like being exposed to coarse fabrics. The skin develops redness, swelling, and itching, and it may take days or weeks to resolve, especially if the patient continues to be exposed to the irritant.

Some measures for treating perivascular dermatitis can include changing the diet, wearing different clothing, and being especially alert to skin irritation in the heat and during exercise sessions. Topical and oral medications can be prescribed to reduce inflammation and swelling. Some patients find that lotion to soothe the skin helps, along with cool compresses to address the heat of the inflammation. If the problem persists, scrapings may be taken to look for infection and patients can consider options like allergy testing and an elimination diet to find out what, exactly, they are reacting to.

Patients with perivascular dermatitis may find that their skin irritation attracts unwanted attention from people around them. It can be helpful to remind people that dermatitis is not contagious, and it's not dangerous to touch someone who has this condition. Soothing creams can minimize the appearance of inflammation to keep patients more comfortable in social settings and some people may also use makeup, although makeup can increase the irritation and prolong healing times.

Patients who experience recurrent perivascular dermatitis despite taking reasonable precautions like avoiding allergens may want to see a dermatologist, as well as an immunologist, for further evaluation. There may be another underlying problem that has not been addressed, and treating that could be necessary to resolve the skin irritation. Patients with this condition should also make sure it's noted in their charts so care providers know to watch out for it and if they experience skin irritation in reaction to medications, it is important to confirm that prescriptions and over-the-counter medications do not contain any reactive ingredients.

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Post 4

I just found out that my 9 year old daughter has it. So this is all new to us.

Post 3

@nony - I’ve never had anything like this condition. I did, however, spend a day at the beach once without applying lotion to my scalp. I applied it to the rest of my body, but not to my scalp, and I am half bald.

I got burned so bad that it appeared I had all the conditions of scalp dermatitis. There was the redness, peeling and flaking skin, and that petulant itch. Some people actually thought I had the disease when I returned back to work but I had to explain that it was sunburn.

It’s hard to cover that stuff up when it’s on your scalp, so I understand how these people must feel.

Post 2

@MrMoody - Well, it’s certainly not leprosy, but if you are afflicted with the condition in a part of the body that is plainly visible for others to see, I think you would certainly feel like an outcast.

It’s good to know that at least the condition is not contagious, so that you can continue to interact with other people without fear of spreading the disease.

Post 1

I’ve seen dermatitis pictures before and they are horrifying to look at, for me anyway. People who suffer from this condition have what appears to be an almost leprous condition in some cases.

I know it’s not that bad, but the breakout and redness is awful. I can’t imagine what it must be like to have that condition and try to cover it up with cream and stuff like that.

I think the hardest part, in addition to the discomfort you would feel in public, is to continually resist the temptation to scratch the affected area. If you keep scratching it, the condition will only get worse and the infected area would spread I think.

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