What is Contact Dermatitis?
Contact dermatitis is a wide range of skin conditions experienced when a person’s skin comes into contact with various allergens that trigger allergic reactions on the skin characterized by irritation and redness of the skin.
What Causes Contact Dermatitis?
There are three causes of Contact Dermatitis:
- Photocontact dermatitis occurs due to a reaction of the active ingredients in skin product when exposed to the sun and trigger irritation
- Allergic contact dermatitis develops when the skin is exposed to a foreign substance such as chemicals or perfumes in cosmetics, jewelry made from gold or nickel, latex products; thus, causing an allergic reaction characterized by signs of inflammation.
- Irritant contact dermatitis occurs when the skin comes into contact with a toxic material such as detergents, bleaches, battery acid, pepper spray, among others
Who are at Risk?
High risks of contact dermatitis include:
- People who regularly use cosmetic bleaching products on their skin such as perfumes, bleaches, latex products, and among others
- Individuals with sensitive skin to the sun, chemicals, and other irritants
- People with low immune system
- Individuals suffering from other types of allergies including pollen, certain drugs, pollen, certain foods, insect stings, and among others
Contact dermatitis manifests many symptoms which include:
- Redness, dry, scaly, and flaky skin
- Oozing blisters
- Burning/extremely itching skin
- Sun sensitivity
- Swelling especially in the groin areas, face or eyes
- A feeling of tightness in the skin
- Ulcerations/sores that are open and that form crusts on the skin
Diagnosis and Prevention
When you experience at least one of the above symptoms, it is important that you seek immediate medical attention from a qualified dermatologist or allergist. The dermatologist will perform an allergy testing known as patch test to determine the most likely cause of contact dermatitis. Depending on the severity of symptoms, your dermatologist may recommend an antihistamine drug, like diphenhydramine, to lessen the allergic response and itching, or anti-itch treatments to soothe the skin using calamine lotion or hydrocortisone cream. Prevention measures may be recommended to help you avoid and prevent the severity of symptoms related to contact dermatitis such as:
- Discontinue using skin care/cosmetic or cleaning products containing bleaching agents or irritants such as perfumes, deodorants, detergents, latex, hair dyes, and among other toxic products.
- Avoid scratching your irritated skin as much as possible
- Gently clean the affected area with a lot of clean water and mild soap to remove traces of irritants on the skin
Purchase and use only allergic-free products from reliable manufacturers by confirming from their labels tagged in various products
American Contact Dermatitis Society (ACDS). (2017).Contact Dermatitis and Patch Testing. Retrieved on 3rd August, 2017 from http://www.acderm.com/Patchtesting.pdf
Healthline. (2017). What is contact dermatitis? Retrieved on 3rd August, 2017 fromhttp://www.healthline.com/health/contact-dermatitis#overview1
WebMD. (2017). Contact Dermatitis: Facts About Skin Rashes. Retrieved on 3rd August, 2017 from ttp://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/contact-dermatitis#1