Exfoliative dermatitis involves redness and peeling of the skin covering large areas of the body. It is important to note that the evident peeling of the skin might occur with pre-existing health conditions or medications in some individuals. In some individuals, the cause for the condition is unknown.
Exfoliative dermatitis is considered as serious but fairly uncommon condition. The complications that might arise include dehydration, infection, loss of nutrients, heart failure and rarely death.
Causes of exfoliative dermatitis
The main cause of exfoliative dermatitis is a disorder affecting the skin cells. It is important to note that the cells expire and cast off rapidly in a process known as “turning over”.
The swift turnover of the skin cells can lead to substantial peeling and scaling of the skin. The scaling and peeling is also called as sloughing.
What are the underlying conditions?
Many individuals who already suffer from chronic skin issues including psoriasis, autoimmune diseases, eczema and seborrheic dermatitis are likely to develop exfoliative dermatitis.
What are the drug reactions?
The undesirable reactions to various drugs can also add up to the significant peeling of the skin. The medications that can trigger this condition include the following:
- Sulfa drugs
- Phenytoin and other seizure medications
- Calcium channel blockers
- Blood pressure medications
What are the indications?
Exfoliative dermatitis starts in most individuals with intense reddening that spreads over large areas of the body. The extensive skin peeling occurs after the reddening and tenderness.
The skin might appear coarse and crusty. The aridity and skin peeling can trigger pain and itchiness. As for the nails, they also become thicker and highly ridged.
Individuals with the condition might also have flu-like symptoms such as fever and chills. This is due to the widespread peeling of the skin that can affect the internal thermometer and lead to heat loss from the damaged skin.
Remember that the body could not control the temperature properly. Many individuals with exfoliative dermatitis also feel generally sick.
Possible complications from skin shedding
Among those who have the condition, they also have a low blood volume. This is due to the loss of fluid via the skin that was shed.
Remember that shedding of the skin can start out as small-sized patches. Over time, it spreads to most of the body. The skin is mainly protein and supplies nutrients to the other organs. The continuous shedding of the skin prevents the body from absorbing the essential nutrients. Fluids and proteins are also lost from the sloughing, thus malnutrition and dehydration are the usual complications.