What Is Contact Dermatitis, and How Is It Treated?

Contact dermatitis is a general diagnosis for a rash that comes up as a reaction to contact with a substance. There are a lot of different things that can cause contact dermatitis. Treatments for contact dermatitis vary, and allergy testing may be needed to ensure that it doesn’t happen again. Here’s what you need to know.

Causes of Contact Dermatitis

Contact dermatitis usually takes the form of a red, bumpy, very itchy rash. This rash is actually an allergic reaction to a substance. There are many potential causes of contact dermatitis, including soaps, laundry or dish detergents, cosmetics, lotions, fragrances, jewelry, and plants. Some other common irritants that can cause contact dermatitis include:

  • Solvents
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Bleach
  • Shampoos and hair treatments
  • Airborne substances such as sawdust
  • Fertilizers and pesticides

Determining the cause of contact dermatitis is not always easy. It is important that you see an allergist so that you can get patch testing done to determine what you may be allergic to. To determine what allergens to test, the allergist may ask you questions about your lifestyle, such as what products you use in your home.

Treatments for Contact Dermatitis

There are several potential treatments for contact dermatitis. Your doctor may prescribe steroid creams or ointments that will reduce the irritation on the skin. For severe cases, or if the topical medications are not effective on their own, you may be prescribed oral medications such as corticosteroids or antihistamines, or both. 

After the initial symptoms have passed, it is important that you determine the cause of your contact dermatitis so that it can be avoided in the future. Do not put off seeing an allergist to determine what caused the allergic reaction.

If you have been struggling with contact dermatitis, don’t wait to get diagnosis and treatment. Contact us today for more information or to schedule your appointment.