Contact dermatitis is a rash that develops after your skin reacts to touching a substance. That reaction can be due to your allergies or simply coming into contact with an irritating chemical.
Allergic contact dermatitis is due to an overreaction of your immune system to a substance called an allergen when it touches your skin. Your body senses the allergen as a foreign invader and springs into action by producing antibodies to that allergen. Then when you come into contact with the substance again, the antibodies attach to the substance leading to histamine released from your immune cells and your rash.
Causes of Allergic Contact Dermatitis
- Plants such as poison ivy and mango
- Metals like nickel
- Latex rubber
- Formaldehyde which is in preservatives and clothing
- Medications such as antibiotic creams
Irritant contact dermatitis has a straightforward mechanism. The irritating substance simply damages your protective skin layer, and you develop a rash.
Causes of Irritant Contact Dermatitis
Symptoms of Contact Dermatitis:
- Red rash with bumps and sometimes blisters
- Itching, may be severe
- Dry, scaly skin which may crack
- Skin swelling, tenderness and burning
- Skin pain more common with irritant contact dermatitis
- Steroid creams and ointments – can help reduce the inflammation and redness
- Oral Medications – in some case, oral steroids may be necessary to treat inflammation. Antihistamines can help reduce the itching. Antibiotics may be needed to treat any associated bacterial infections
Our specialists will work closely with you using allergy testing to help identify the culprits causing your rash. Simply avoiding substances that trigger your allergic or irritant contact dermatitis can help reduce your symptoms and need for medications.