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Dermatitis is an inflammation of the dermis and epidermis (the skin). Symptoms include a rash, blisters, sores, lesions, itching or cracked skin. The term eczema is also used for this condition.
Do not confuse this term with dermatosis, which is a much broader term for skin disease.
Dermatitis is often broken into subcategories:
Failure to use proper skin protection (gloves, aprons etc.) can result in irritation or even poisoning by absorption of the material through the skin (see dermal toxicity). Even substances you might think that are rather harmless, such as sawdust, can dry and irritate your skin. Always use properly selected gloves (see the UCSD link in Further Reading, below) and appropriate protective clothing when working with hazardous materials.
See also: dermal, dermal toxicity, dermatosis, erythema, urticaria.
Additional definitions from Google and OneLook.
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