Contact Dermatitis

When certain substances come into contact with your skin, they may cause a rash called contact dermatitis. There are two kinds of contact dermatitis: irritant and allergic.

Contact dermatitis refers to an inflammation of the skin resulting from direct contact of a substance with the surface of the skin. Unlike allergic (atopic) dermatitis, there is not necessarily a pre-disposition to allergic disease.

Common symptoms of contact dermatitis may include itchy bumps, burn-like rash, blisters or weeping rash where allergen has been in direct contact with the skin.

There are two types of contact dermatitis:

Irritant contact dermatitis is the most common form and is caused when substances such as solvents or other chemicals irritate the skin. The exposure produces red, often more painful than itchy, patches on the involved skin areas.

Allergic contact dermatitis occurs when a substance triggers an immune response. Nickel, perfumes, dyes, rubber (latex) products, topical medications and cosmetics frequently cause allergic contact dermatitis.

Causes

Nickel, perfumes, dyes, rubber (latex) products and cosmetics also frequently cause allergic contact dermatitis.

Treatment

Treatment depends on the severity of the symptoms. Cold soaks and compresses can offer relief for the early, itchy blistered stage of a rash. Topical corticosteroid creams may be prescribed. For severe reactions such as poison ivy, oral prednisone may be prescribed as well.

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