Contact dermatitis is a rash that arises at the site of exposure to a material that inflames the skin.

Here’s what you need to know about contact dermatitis:

What are the types of contact dermatitis?

The two main types of contact dermatitis are:

1- Irritant contact dermatitis is the utmost common type. This non-allergic skin reaction happens when an element harms your skin’s outer protective layer.

Specific people react to strong irritants after a single contact. Others may cultivate signs and symptoms after repeated exposures to even unimportant irritants. And some people cultivate lenience to the substance over time.

2- Allergic contact dermatitis occurs when a material to which you’re sensitive (allergen) causes an immune reaction in your skin. It regularly affects only the area that came into contact with the allergen. But it may be activated by something that comes in your body through foods, flavorings, medicine, or medical or dental procedures.

You may grow into be alerted to a strong allergen such as poison ivy after a solitary exposure. Weaker allergens may need numerous exposures over some years to trigger an allergy. Once you develop an aversion to a substance, even a small amount of it can cause a reaction.

What are the symptoms of allergic contact dermatitis and irritant contact dermatitis?

Symptoms related with allergic contact dermatitis include:

  • desiccated, scaly, flaky skin
  • hives
  • oozing blisters
  • skin tenderness
  • skin that seems darkened or leathery
  • skin that burns
  • extreme itching
  • sun sensitivity
  • swelling, especially in the eyes, face, or groin areas

Irritant contact dermatitis may affect slightly different symptoms, such as:

  • blistering
  • cracking skin due to extreme dryness
  • inflammation
  • skin that feels stiff or tight
  • ulcerations
  • open sores that form crusts

Contact Dermatitis Symptoms

What are the causes of allergic contact dermatitis & irritant contact dermatitis?

This inciting skin condition is characteristically caused by irritants or allergens. Typical causes of contact dermatitis include:

Rubber and latex: Frequently found in balloons, gloves, mouse pads, condoms, goggles, and even in the elastic in clothing like underclothing, latex allergies are comparatively common. An aversion to latex is more normally related with people who have had extended exposure to latex which includes health care professionals, personalities who have had multiple surgeries, rubber industry workers, and people with seasonal or food allergies.

Cosmetics: Even renowned luxury brands of cosmetics can comprise chemicals and compounds that cause a rash. Lipstick, foundation, mascara, anti-aging eye creams, moisturizers and nail polish are all accepted for their likely to cause an inflammatory skin reaction.
Nickel and other metals: Certain coins, jewelry, snaps, zippers, and buckles can cause a prickly rash. For those who show sensitivity to metals, even tilting on a metal table, working on a laptop, talking on a mobile phone, carrying keys, or wearing eyeglasses can affect skin irritation.

Antibiotic creams: Two composites commonly found in antibiotic ointments, bacitracin, and neomycin, are known to affect a rash and symptoms connected with this skin condition in some people. While most responses to these medicines are minor, for some they can cause anaphylaxis, a dangerous fatal response. So take dangerous caution when using antibiotic or triple antibiotic ointments or creams.

Fabric detergents: Definite chemicals in laundry detergents and fabric softeners, as well as the solvents used in dry cleaning and to clean leather, can cause the signs and rash in some persons. As it can be hard without trial and error to recognize the exact substance causing the reaction, an allergist can test patients so appropriate products can be used.

Grooming products: Shampoos, conditioners, body washes, soaps, shaving creams, hair dyes and styling products develop a rash. Common ingredients that have existed shown to cause an allergic response include lanolin, sodium lauryl sulfate, formaldehyde, Balsam of Peru, parabens and certain synthetic fragrances.

Fertilizers and pesticides: If you work in the agricultural science field or are a household gardener, fertilizers and pesticides can affect irritant contact dermatitis. Use caution as these harsh chemicals are not safe for ingesting, nor are they safe for your skin.

Household cleaners: Window cleaners, dishwashing soap, dishwasher soap, usage of gloves or, better yet, switch products to shun harmful chemicals.

Musical instruments: Individuals who play certain musical instruments are at a delicate risk of developing contact dermatitis. Brass instruments counting the flute, trombone, trumpet, and tuba may contain public allergen metals like nickel, palladium, silver, gold, and cobalt. Woodwind instruments including the saxophone, oboe, clarinet, and bassoon also contain allergens like nickel and cobalt and organic compounds from exotic woods and cane reeds. String instruments, mainly violins, violas, and cellos, can include metals and exotic woods, as well as rosins, propolis and staining agents known to cause an inflammatory allergic response with continued use.

What factors increase the risk of contact dermatitis?

Generally identified risk factors for developing this skin condition include:

  • A history of eczema
  • Active in a dry climate
  • Repeated hand washing
  • Frequent exposure to water
  • Contact to chemicals and solvents like fiberglass, alkalis, and acids
  • Having fair skin
  • Wearing a diaper
  • Being a landscaper, laboratory worker, nurse, hairdresser, cosmetologist, health care worker, mechanic, machinist, chef or food service worker, metal worker or musician

How to diagnose contact dermatitis?

Health professionals usually diagnose contact dermatitis from your signs and physical examination. Blood tests and X-rays are not supportive. The evaluation of allergic contact dermatitis may entail the application of chemicals to the skin for 48-72 hours (patch testing) using distinct occlusive dressings in an effort to reproduce the eruption.

How to treat contact dermatitis?

A conclusive diagnosis requires a medical history and a physical examination. In most cases, a physician or dermatologist will be able to recognize this skin condition without further testing. Nevertheless, patch tests and allergy tests may be essential if the allergen or irritant isn’t readily recognizable. The most common contact dermatitis treatments include:

  • Hydrocortisone creams to reduce itching and redness
  • Antihistamines for allergens
  • Antibiotics if skin lesions or blisters become infected
  • Oral steroids

Dermatologist for Contact Dermatitis

What measures can be followed to prevent contact dermatitis?

Overall prevention steps include the following:

Wash your skin: You might be able to eliminate most of the rash-causing material if you wash your skin right away after impending into contact with it. Use a mild, fragrance-free soap and warm water. Rinse completely. Also rinse any clothing or other items that may have come into contact with a plant allergen, such as poison ivy.

Elude irritants and allergens: Try to isolate and avoid elements that aggravate your skin or cause an allergic reaction.

Wear protective clothing or gloves: Face masks, goggles, gloves and other protective items can shield you from irritating substances, including household cleaners.

Rub on a barrier cream or gel: These products can deliver a protective layer for your skin. For example, an over-the-counter skin cream covering bentoquatam (IvyBlock) may avoid or decrease your skin’s reaction to poison ivy.

Apply an iron-on patch to cover metal snaps next to your skin: This can help you evade a reaction to jean snaps, for example.

Use moisturizer: Repeatedly applying moisturizing lotions can help reestablish your skin’s outermost layer and keep your skin elastic.

Take care around pets: Allergens from plants, such as poison ivy, can stick to pets and then be extended to people.


***The information or advice given in this article doesn’t constitute any medical advice, it is solely available for the informational/educational purposes***