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Contact dermatitis:Treatment, symptoms, advice and help

About contact dermatitis

Contact dermatitis is an inflammatory or allergic skin reaction in response to either irritants or allergens. There are two types of contact dermatitis namely, irritant contact dermatitis and allergic contact dermatitis which are classified according to the causative agents. Irritant contact dermatitis can be caused by irritants like acids, soaps and is more common as compared with allergic contact dermatitis.

Contact dermatitis: Incidence, age and sex

Contact dermatitis is a fairly common skin condition encountered in general population. It can be seen in any age group.

Signs and symptoms of contact dermatitis: Diagnosis

Contact dermatitis may manifest as a localised skin lesion which usually has a sudden onset. In case of irritant contact dermatitis lesion may occur a few minutes to hours after exposure in case of allergic contact dermatitis. The uppermost layer of skin gets affected and exhibits as an itchy rash. The skin lesion may be a papule formation or blister or scaling or even crusts. Redness of skin or swelling of affected area may be noticed in many cases. The rashes of contact dermatitis are at times long standing and may take days to heal. The individual may go in for a patch test wherein the sensitivity to specific allergens may be detected.

Causes and prevention of contact dermatitis

Several irritants like soaps, detergents or other chemicals may result in irritant contact dermatitis whereas allergic contact dermatitis usually result from pollens, metals like nickel, cosmetic products, rubber and perfumes.

Some individuals are more prone to contact dermatitis. Thus, it is essential for them to detect specific irritants or allergens which they may be sensitive to and avoid being in their proximity. Furthermore protective gear is advisable when exposure to such offending agents is inevitable.

Contact dermatitis: Complications

The chief serious complication of contact dermatitis is superimposed bacterial infection of skin lesions which may occur especially in children due to repeated scratching. Moreover this skin condition has been documented to have frequent relapses.

Contact dermatitis: Treatment

The first step in treatment of contact dermatitis is to completely wash away the irritant or allergen from the skin. Use calamine lotion to soothe the itchy skin. Oral medications like anti allergic may help in alleviating the skin lesions. Moreover, topical medicines like steroidal creams may also be of benefit in some individuals. Furthermore, it advisable to avoid further exposure to suspected allergens and irritant to prevent relapse. Antibiotic medication may be needed in instances of secondary bacterial infection of the skin lesion.