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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:
Dermatitis typically appears as a symptom of exposure or potential hazard in Section 11 (toxicological information) of a material's Safety Data Sheet
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. Section 8 (exposure controls/personal protection) of the SDS should provide proper guidance.
See also: dermal, dermal toxicity, dermatosis, erythema, urticaria.
Additional definitions from Google and OneLook.
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