Contact Dermatitis

Home   >   Allergies   >   Contact Dermatitis


What is Contact Dermatitis?

Contact dermatitis is a skin reaction that occurs when the surface of the skin comes in contact with an allergen or an irritant.

Symptoms of Contact Dermatitis

Contact dermatitis takes the form of a rash with redness and inflammation. Welts may form as well. This rash persists for days or until the allergen or irritant is removed and the wound can take up to several weeks to heal.

Causes of Contact Dermatitis

Contact dermatitis can be caused by either an allergen or an irritant. When it is caused by an irritant it is less itchy and more painful. Allergic contact dermatitis is more inflamed and itchy. Below are the most common types in each category.

Allergic Contact Dermatitis

Allergic contact dermatitis is most often caused by contact with the coating on poison oak, poison ivy, and poison sumac. Nickel, gold, and chromium can also trigger allergic contact dermatitis.

Irritant Contact Dermatitis

Irritant contact dermatitis is caused by common chemicals like solvents, latex, kerosene; surfactants in topical medications such as creams; and alkaline solutions like drain cleaners and strong soaps with lye residues.

Treatment of Contact Dermatitis

Wash the area with cold water and soap in order to remove the substance that caused the reaction. If the substance in contact was a base, lemon juice or vinegar can be used to counteract the reaction.

Antihistamine like Benadryl can be taken to alleviate the symptoms and hydrocortisone cream may be applied to the area if the area is not widespread throughout a large part of your body.

Cure for Contact Dermatitis

Contact dermatitis can be cured as long as you identify the substance that caused the reaction and try to avoid it from then on.