Contact Dermatitis

Contact dermatitis around woundContact dermatitis is one of the most common forms of dermatitis. It comes under the heading ‘eczema’. As you may have guessed from the name, this condition occurs when your skin comes into contact with a certain substance.

Symptoms of Contact Dermatitis

When you suffer from contact dermatitis, your skin will become blistered, cracked, and red. This will happen within a couple of hours (although, at a push days), of you coming into contact with the irritant. This is a condition which can occur anywhere on the body i.e. anywhere the irritant comes into contact.

When should you visit the doctor?

It is unlikely you will need to visit the doctor right away if you are suffering from contact dermatitis. If it is just a single flare-up that disappears, then it is fine. However, if it is something which seems to continue to occur, or the symptoms just appear to be getting worse, then you will need to talk to your doctor.

Causes of Contact Dermatitis

Unlike other forms of dermatitis, we actually know what causes contact dermatitis. It is likely to be one of the following:

  • An irritant: this means that the outside layer of the skin has been damaged.
  • An allergen: an allergen will cause the immune system to be ‘triggered’ which can have an impact on the skin.

In most cases, contact dermatitis is going to be caused by the soaps or detergents that you are using. The second you stop using them, your symptoms are going to disappear. Some people may also find that the symptoms occur due to regular contact with water. If you are working with chemicals, then that likely can also be a factor.

Treating Contact Dermatitis

The easiest way to treat contact dermatitis is to not come into contact with the irritants and allergens which are causing the symptoms in the first place. If this stops happening, then it may take a couple of days for the symptoms to disappear, but they will disappear. If you are unsure as to what may be causing the symptoms, then you can talk to your doctor who will be able to provide you with advice.

Make sure that you keep your skin clean if you come into contact with an allergen. If you are going to be working with chemicals, then use gloves. This should stop the vast majority of flare-ups, which means that you will never need to use prescribed medication.

In some cases, your doctor may suggest that you use moisturizers on your skin. This will stop it from dying out and should eliminate most of the symptoms. If the symptoms are particularly bad, then corticosteroids are an option. They will be a ‘last resort’ sort-of option, though. This is because you really should not be using steroids for too long on your skin.

Remember; contact dermatitis can be an incredibly uncomfortable condition. I know it is tempting, but try not to scratch the area. Luckily for you, this is the easiest form of dermatitis to treat.

Read more about types of eczema