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Contact Dermatitis

Medikoe Wellness Expert

Medikoe Wellness Expert

  80 feet road indira nagar, Bengaluru     Jul 31, 2019

   3 min     


Contact dermatitis, also known as contact eczema, is a skin rash caused due to contact with a certain substance or object. Some objects like soap, cosmetics, jewelry, fragrances, plants, etc. cause an allergic reaction when they come in contact with the skin and cause contact dermatitis. Contact dermatitis is usually not severe but causes uneasiness and irritation until the itching goes away.

Symptoms of contact dermatitis:

The condition develops on areas of the body that have been directly exposed to the allergen. Once the skin is exposed to the allergen, rashes start developing within minutes to hours after and the condition may last anywhere between two to four weeks. Some of the most common symptoms of contact dermatitis are:

  • Development of a red rash after contact with the allergen
  • Dryness and cracking of the skin
  • Scaly screen
  • Itching that can become severe
  • Formation of bumps and blisters
  • Burning sensation accompanying the rash
  • Tenderness in the affected area

What causes dermatitis?

Contact dermatitis occurs when the skin comes in contact with an allergen or an irritant that triggers the reaction. Irritant contact dermatitis is more common than allergic contact dermatitis and it occurs when a substance damages the outer protective layer of the skin. Even a single exposure to an irritant may lead to the development of contact dermatitis. While allergic contact dermatitis occurs when the body comes in contact with an allergen that triggers an immune response, leading to dermatitis.

Some common skin irritants that may cause contact dermatitis are:

  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Solvents
  • Detergents and bleach
  • Shampoos
  • Plants
  • Sawdust or other airborne substances
  • Pesticides and fertilizers
  • Some common allergens that usually cause contact dermatitis are:
  • Medications like oral antihistamines and creams
  • Nickel present in jewelry
  • Formaldehyde found in clothes, disinfectants, etc.
  • Plants like mango or poison ivy
  • Deodorants, nail polish, hair dye, and other cosmetics

Some people have a higher risk of developing contact dermatitis as they are more exposed to various irritants and allergens that cause contact dermatitis. Health care employees, construction workers, metal workers, cosmetologists, cleaners, gardeners, and agricultural workers are at a higher risk of the condition.

Contact dermatitis treatment:

Contact dermatitis, though mostly harmless, requires treatment as it can cause extreme itching and irritation. Moreover, repeated scratching may make the affected area prone to bacterial or fungal infection. Some common treatment methods for contact dermatitis are:

In most cases, home remedies are sufficient to treat contact dermatitis. Home remedies for contact dermatitis include:

  • Application of nonprescription anti-itch cream or lotion can help in alleviating the symptoms of contact dermatitis.
  • Takin oral medications like antihistamines or oral corticosteroids can also help in reducing the itching caused due to contact dermatitis.
  • Repeatedly applying a cool and wet compress to the area for periods of fifteen to thirty minutes can also help in treatment.
  • Taking a cold bath and using baking soda in bathwater can further aid in the treatment.
  • It is also important to avoid scratching the affected area to prevent the condition from worsening. If you find it difficult to resist scratching, consider trimming your nails to minimize the damage.

If the above-mentioned home remedies do not cure the condition, the doctor may prescribe steroid creams or ointments which can help in treating the rashes caused due to contact dermatitis. Steroid cream is applied once or twice a day for a period of up to two to four weeks. 

The doctor may also prescribe oral medications like corticosteroids to reduce inflammation, or antihistamines to alleviate itching and irritation caused due to the condition.

In some very rare cases, a bacterial or fungal infection may develop at the site due to constant scratching. In such cases, additional treatment for fighting the infection might be required.

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Tags:  Skin,Skin conditions,Healthy skin,

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