Contact dermatitis is a skin condition resulting from an allergic reaction. It comes in the form of a rash after direct contact with a substance. Thankfully, contact dermatitis isn’t contagious or severe and may be effectively treated within weeks. The expert staff at Kratz Allergy & Asthma in Florida can help you identify contact dermatitis and begin an effective treatment plan.
Causes of Contact Dermatitis
When your skin has an allergic reaction to a substance, inflammatory chemicals are sent to the skin, making it red, itchy, and uncomfortable. Substances of all kinds can trigger contact dermatitis, and you may not realize that you’re allergic to a substance until you have a reaction.
Examples of substances that may cause contact dermatitis include:
- Plants such as poison ivy or poison oak
- Cosmetics and beauty products, namely those that include chemicals or fragrances
- Jewelry, namely pieces made from gold or nickel
- Soaps and laundry detergents
- Latex gloves
Symptoms of Contact Dermatitis
Symptoms of contact dermatitis generally appear in the area that was directly exposed to the substance. The skin reaction may appear after a few minutes or hours of exposure and typically goes away after two to four weeks.
Symptoms of contact dermatitis may include:
- A skin rash that’s red and inflamed
- Itchiness and a burning sensation
- Blisters which may ooze
- Bumps or hives
- Dry or cracked skin
- Heightened sensitivity to sun exposure
The intensity of contact dermatitis depends on how allergic you are to the substance. A minor reaction may not lead to oozing blisters or severe swelling, for example.
Depending on the severity of a case of contact dermatitis, it may be effectively treated with at-home solutions or doctor-prescribed medications. When you first experience a skin reaction, you can try these at-home solutions to ease discomfort:
- Refrain from scratching or touching the affected area, as doing so will make the reaction worse.
- Avoid the allergy-causing substance and thoroughly clean the skin with a gentle soap to remove all traces of the substance.
- Soothe the skin by applying a non-prescription anti-itch cream, ideally with a minimum of 1% hydrocortisone.
- For extreme itching, take an over-the-counter, oral, anti-itch medication, such as a corticosteroid or antihistamine.
- Soak the affected area in a lukewarm bath.
- Use a cold pack wrapped in a wet towel to temporarily relieve burning and discomfort.
Doctor prescribed solutions may be needed for severe cases of contact dermatitis. Your doctor can prescribe a topical steroid cream or ointment to bring down the skin rash. You may also receive a prescription for an oral corticosteroid medication to manage itching, or antibiotics if the rash becomes a bacterial infection.
Contact dermatitis is an entirely manageable skin reaction. Contact us at Kratz Allergy & Asthma to schedule an appointment and learn about our full range of allergy and immunology services.