Dermatitis, Play this Pronunciation. «DUR muh TY tihs», is an inflammation of the skin that itches or burns. It may show redness, swelling, blisters, oozing, crusting, or scaling. It may be produced by friction, heat, cold, or the sun’s rays. But chemical agents most often cause dermatitis. Some substances, such as harsh soap, irritate everyone’s skin. Other substances, such as nickel in jewelry, affect only those people who are allergic to them. Plants, dyes, rubber, cosmetics, medications, and industrial chemicals are common causes of dermatitis.