Contact dermatitis is a common type of skin rash that occurs when direct contact is made with an allergic or irritating substance. Most often, contact dermatitis is characterized by red, swollen or scaling (sometimes blistering) patches of skin that are very itchy. While this type of rash isn’t life-threatening or cause much danger to the patient’s overall health – it is a source of discomfort and embarrassment.
Contact dermatitis generally occurs on areas of your body that have been directly exposed to the reaction-causing substance — for example some part of your arm that might have rubbed against poison ivy or your wrist from wearing a rubber/metal watchband all day long.
Specific symptoms usually include:
- A red rash
- Itching, which may be severe
- Dry, cracked, scaly skin
- Bumps and blisters, sometimes with oozing and crusting
- Swelling, burning or tenderness
The two main forms of contact dermatitis are allergic and irritant contact dermatitis.
Common allergic contact dermatitis causes are:
- Nickel, Cobalt, or Gold in jewelry/metals
- Fragrances or preservatives in personal care products
- Plant oils (poison ivy, oak, sumac)
- Topical antibiotics such as neomycin/bacitracin
Common irritants are:
- Rubbing alcohol
- Bleach and detergents
- Shampoos, permanent wave solutions
While treatment is important, prevention is just as vital. Patients are advised to undergo patch testing and other screening methods to identify any possible triggers if not obvious. Once you have found out the source of your issues, it is important to avoid them as much as you can. If a flare occurs, certain creams or other treatments are available to decrease the inflammation.
For more information on these types of skin irritations or to schedule an appointment for Patch testing, be sure to contact Nova Dermatology today.