Contagious dermatitis? What can it be?

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My partner and I both got really itchy and flaky scalp skin about 6months ago. We visited the doctor and said it was dermatitis, for which she prescribed topical cortisoids. The treatment worked, atleast it did for 2-3 weeks following the treatment.

It now just keeps coming and going . The strange thing is that my partner and i got it at the same time, and it seems very much like we are infecting eachother with it. E.g. i dont have issues, but she still does. Just a few days after im also suffering from it again, and so on the cycle.

I know dermatitis is not contagious, So we went to a different doctor, just to see her opininion, and she didn't think that could be anything else, and that the contagion was just coincidence.

So i definately need advice on this. I am almost entirely sure we are infecting eachother, or atleast one of us is.

Does anybody know what it can be? Can anybody offer any advice?


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6 Replies

  • Posted

    Simply in regards to the steroids, please Google TSW (topical steroid withdrawal/red skin syndrome)

    did you try changing detergents, etc?

    God bless

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  • Posted


    You can't  catch dermatitis from your partner.  You may be both using a product that for some reason you have reacted to.  It would be worth while investigating the products you are using and seeing what is similar.  Read the ingredients on the bottles and if there is anything that says sulphates or parabens on it, throw it away.  This inflames the condition.

    I have seborrheic dermatitis on my scalp.  I have found over the years that the only thing to help ease the condition, is once a week to apply a mix of the following oils:

    1 teaspoon olive oil

    1 teaspoon coconut oil

    1 teaspoon sweet almond oil

    1 teaspoon castor oil (helps the hair to thicken and give a shine).

    Apply to scalp and gently massage in.  I then place a bathcap over my head and leave for as long as possible.  When washing out, I apply the shampoo FIRST and massage in and then add water. If you don't do it this way, you will not be able to remove the oils.

    For any skin that suffers with eczema, psorasis, rosacae and dermatitis, you need to apply oils that moisturise the skin - that is the secret.

    Unfortunately, this is not a cure, as I have been doing this now for 4 years.  However, it is much better than before and I do not want to use any medicated shampoos or prescriptions.

    Hope this helps.

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  • Posted

    Please tell me if you found any answers. My partner and I have been going through something similar for a year.  We’ve been to several derm appointments with no answer
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    • Posted

      My partner and I had similar problems. This has worked for us: We stopped using shampoo containing sulfonated fatty acids (Laureth Sulphate, Lauryl Sulphate, etc). We use Head and Shoulders conditioner. (We do not use H&S shampoo since it is harsh and contains SLS). 

      Applying a generous amount of conditioner, we leave it on for about 3-5min. The conditioner contains Zinc Phyritione that acts as an anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial agent. 

      If your hair is particularly oily then you can try to apply the conditioner first, and then wash your hair using the mildest shampoo you can get. 

      Btw, we found that our liquid laundry detergent was based on sulfonated compounds. So we switched to a different detergent and also set the washing machine to perform an additional rinse cycle. After all, we spend about 8 hours a day with our heads resting on a pillowcase.   

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    • Posted

      Thanks for the advice.  I already use shampoo and soaps free of sls and so does he other than h&s shampoo.  We also spent a horrible month away from each other and did not improve.   We have had this issue for over a year, 3 derms, 1 infectious disease doctor,  1 allergist and no one knows what’s up.  Some symptoms resemble seb derm or perioral dermatitis and no treatments have worked.  We got it around the same time and have never had histories of skin issues or family skin issues.  We have knkwn each other for years and dated a year before this began and it gets worse around each other.

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  • Posted

    Hi Erik,

    The problem with Atopic Dermatitis at this stage is that there are 2 schools of thought:

    1) The Classic school of thought which is currently driving the bulk of the medical community in believing AD is an immune and/or stress related disorder. In this case, AD is due to some form of genetic impairment so it is incurable, non-contagious, and only the symptoms of the disease can be addressed (suppression of the inflammatory response through steroids etc.). You will therefore live with the disease for the rest of your life.

    2) The New school of thought, which is the fruit of modern research, demonstrates with growing evidence that AD is caused by damage to the protective layers of the skin (environmental or genetic) that then become colonized by external pathogens, causing the onset of the disease. More specifically, researchers now believe AD is caused by the common bacteria Staphylococcus Aureus - just type Atopic Dermatitis and Staph in your search engine to read more about this fairly recent discovery. If these new researchers are correct, then yes, AD may be contagious because Staph and other pathogens can be passed on through ordinary skin contact, and the bacteria is very widespread in the environment, including in everyone's own nose cavity!

    I can't prove anything, but I do know that I have cured myself from AD by taking St. John's Wort Extract, which has scientifically-proven anti-Staph properties, and has been in use for over 2,000 years in folk-medicine to help repair damaged skin. Also, if you read enough posts from various patients who have AD, you will find out that many have found considerable relief by applying creams containing Aloe Vera, Calendula, Coconut oil, Comfrey Turmeric etc. - all plant extracts that also have documented anti-Staph properties, particularly against the antibiotic-resistant strains of the bacteria. There is no question that if the majority of patients do respond favorably to these treatments, the new school of thought may provide better hope in understanding and finding a cure to AD.

    Happy New Year!


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