Contact dermatitis is a skin condition in which the skin gets sore, red, itchy, or swollen after coming into contact with an allergen or irritant. These reactions are not dangerous or contagious but can be annoying or embarrassing. A lot of people get contact dermatitis. But it is also hard to figure out what is wrong because the symptoms don't appear immediately. It makes it harder to figure out what is causing them. Keep reading to learn more about the symptoms of contact dermatitis, treatment, and diagnosis of contact dermatitis.
Symptoms Of Contact Dermatitis
Contact dermatitis usually affects the parts of your skin that were in direct contact with the harmful substance. But not all reactions follow this pattern in one case. You put sunscreen on your whole body, but it may only cause a reaction on your face. Also, you can't tell what will happen if the offending substance is a pill, food, or flavouring taken by mouth.
It's important to keep in mind that reactions can happen right away, after a few hours or days, or even after years. Also, various types of contact dermatitis, allergens, and irritants that come in contact with the skin will cause different symptoms.
- Sometimes very bad itching
- Pain, soreness, or burning
- Rash only on the part of the skin where the irritant or allergen was.
- Rash that is warm, red, tender, seeping, crusty, scaly, raw, thickened, streaky, patchy, bumpy, and/or itchy.
- Red, rough, and dry skin
- Blisters that may bleed or get crusty redness looking like a burn
Causes Of Contact Dermatitis
- A contact allergy is an allergy that happens when an allergen touches the skin, instead of an allergy that happens when food or other substances are eaten.
- Only a small number of people are allergic to the particular allergen, and those who are not allergic to it don't need to worry about its effects.
- They might have been exposed to the allergen for a long time without getting dermatitis.
- Even exposure to a small amount of an allergen for a short time can cause dermatitis.
- Patients with leg ulcers, perianal dermatitis, or chronic irritant contact dermatitis are more likely to get allergic contact dermatitis. It is because people whose skin is damaged in a way that makes it less able to protect them from allergens are more likely to have an allergic reaction.
- Suppose a person has atopic dermatitis and a bad version of filaggrin, a structural protein in the stratum corneum. They are more likely to also have allergic contact dermatitis.
Types Of Contact Dermatitis
1. Irritant Contact Dermatitis
Irritant contact dermatitis, which makes up 80% of all contact dermatitis, does not involve the immune system having an allergic reaction. Instead, it happens when irritating substances, like solvents, detergents, soaps, bleach, or jewellery with nickel in it, damage the skin cells. Makeup, hair dye, scissors with nickel in them, belt buckles, or clothes with metal snaps or zippers can also cause reactions, as can washing your hands too much with hot water and soap or wearing itchy wool.
2. Allergic Contact Dermatitis
Allergic contact dermatitis is a deferred allergic reaction that shows up as a rash a day or two after the skin is exposed to an allergen. Poison ivy is a well-known example. After being exposed to the oils in the plant, the body has a strong inflammatory response that leads to an itchy rash in one to two days. Fragrances, nickel, and thimerosal, preservatives in some topical antibiotics, can also cause allergic contact dermatitis.
Diagnosis Of Contact Dermatitis
Irritant contact dermatitis is diagnosed by experienced doctors based on the person's history of exposure to irritants and a physical exam of the skin area that is affected. To find out if you have allergic contact dermatitis, a patch test will be done, and the affected area will also be looked at. This is done by putting small patches on the skin, usually on the back, leaving them there for a certain amount of time, usually about two days, and then looking for signs of dermatitis on the skin underneath the patches. The dermatologist will be able to figure out which allergen caused the reaction based on these details.
Medical Treatment Of Contact Dermatitis
Contact dermatitis can be treated by a dermatologist if the rash is severe, does not go away, or keeps coming back. If you have a large amount of swelling or a rash that covers a large part of your body, your doctor may suggest that you take the steroid medicine prednisone. A doctor can also give you steroid creams, corticosteroids, and antihistamines. These medicines can be taken by mouth or given as an injection. If you have a skin infection, you will almost certainly need antibiotics to treat it. Some doctors use phototherapy, another name for light treatment, to help you keep your immune system healthy and calm.
Home Treatment Of Contact Dermatitis
The best and most important thing you can do to treat contact dermatitis is to stay away from the thing that is irritating your skin. Even after you have done that, you may still have a rash that needs to be treated by a doctor. If your rash is not bad enough to make you need to see a dermatologist, you can do a few things to help calm the irritated skin.
To stop the itch, try calamine lotion, a steroid cream, or a cream with at least 1% hydrocortisone. These are some of the choices you can make. It is possible that rubbing moisturizer into the irritating skin will also help, especially if your symptoms include dry, flaky, or cracked skin. You could also try an antihistamine or an oral corticosteroid to help with your symptoms. You can stop the itching and burning by putting on cool, damp compresses and taking baths with oatmeal or baking soda.
Medical Attention For Contact Dermatitis
Contact dermatitis often goes away on its own after a short time. But there are times when you should see a doctor. See a doctor if your rash comes on quickly, spreads over a lot of your body, or hurts. Even if it doesn't hurt, a rash that bothers you or keeps you from doing normal things or sleeping is a reason to see a doctor.
You should also see a doctor if your rash doesn't go away in 3 weeks, is on your face or genitals, or makes you feel embarrassed. The Mayo Clinic says to see a doctor immediately if you have pus or fever on your skin, if your lungs, eyes, or nasal passages are inflamed, or if you think the mucous lining of your mouth or digestive tract is damaged.