Is Dermatitis Genetic?

Or is it caused by something else? Or could it be a combination of both?

Doctor Answers 1

Dermatitis and genetics

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Dermatitis is a rather generic term that describes inflammation of the skin. A common dermatitis called atopic dermatitis has a huge genetic component. Individuals with this condition and their family members have a greater incidence of atopic dermatitis, asthma and hay fever. Other factors such as environmental exposures and foods, as well as stress can trigger flares of this condition. There is another huge category of dermatitis called allergic/contact dermatitis in which a dermatitis develops as a reaction to a specific allergen or irritant in the environment, for example nickel allergy. The distinction is not totally cut and dry, however, since a person's tendency to develop a rash to a specific environmental allergen is also attributable to genetics. Hope I have not confused you.

San Diego Dermatologist

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