Contact Dermatitis

Dermatitis is another term for skin inflammation, or irritation. And contact dermatitis is an allergic or irritant reaction that appears as a painful, itchy skin rash anywhere on the bottle. As the name suggests, contact dermatitis occurs after you’ve come in contact with an allergen or irritant, such as poison ivy or a chemical. While most reactions aren’t severe, they can become quite unpleasant and overwhelming if not taken care of.

Types of Contact Dermatitis

There are two types of contact dermatitis that can occur – allergic contact dermatitis and irritant contact dermatitis. While both conditions can cause unpleasant reactions, they are caused by two different types of contact.

Allergic Contact Dermatitis

Allergic contact dermatitis occurs when the skin has been exposed to a foreign substance and experiences an allergic reaction. It causes the body to release certain inflammatory chemicals that make the skin irritated, causing it to itch. A few of the most common causes of allergic contact dermatitis include latex gloves, poison oak or ivy, new perfumes or colognes, or jewelry that has been made with nickel or coin.

Irritant Contact Dermatitis

Of the two, irritant contact dermatitis is the most common type to occur among people. It happens when your skin comes in contact with toxic material, or in some cases, an even less irritating material such as soap or water. People whose hands are constantly being exposed to water are susceptible to irritant contact dermatitis, such as hairdressers or healthcare workers. Some of the substances that cause this type of contact dermatitis include bleach, detergents, pepper spray, battery acid, kerosene, and other similar materials.

Possible Symptoms and Diagnosis of Contact Dermatitis

When it comes to identifying and diagnosing contact dermatitis, your doctor may be able to do so by simply talking to you about your symptoms, possible trigger points, and examining your skin. Some doctors may also recommend having a patch test done to see if there is something specific you are allergic to. During a patch test, a small amount of different allergens are applied to adhesive patches, which will then be placed onto your skin. These patches remain for several days; your doctor will keep a check on them to determine if further testing is necessary. If you have a skin rash with any of the following symptoms, you may need to speak with your doctor about having a skin examination or testing done.

  • Red
  • Blistering or Oozing
  • Flaky
  • Itchy
  • Swollen
  • Painful
  • Burning
  • Scaly 

Treatment Options for Contact Dermatitis

Some cases of contact dermatitis can go away on their own once your skin is no longer in contact with the substance that caused it. However, there are a few at-home tips you can try to ease the symptoms, including the following:

  • Avoid scratching the irritated area.
  • Use mild soap and lukewarm water to clean the skin.
  • Stop using any products that may be the cause of the problem.
  • Try using petroleum jelly, such as Vaseline, to soothe the irritation.
  • Try an anti-itch treatment – calamine lotion or hydrocortisone cream.

If these at-home steps don’t seem to ease your signs or symptoms, there are medications your doctor may prescribe for you. A steroid cream or ointment may help to soothe the rash of your contact dermatitis. These can be applied one to two times a day for several weeks to reach the results you desire. If your case is severe, your doctor may also try prescribing you an oral corticosteroid to reduce the inflammation, an antihistamine to relieve the itching, or antibiotics to fight off any infection.

Get the Help You Need with Winston Salem Dermatology

If you suffer from contact dermatitis and are interested in finding a treatment option that works, you’ve come to the right place. Here at Winston Salem Dermatology, we have one of the most professional and experienced teams to help you find the perfect solution to your condition. No matter how severe or how simple your skin condition may be, you can always trust us to take care of you.