Allergic contact dermatitis is a type of skin inflammation that occurs when the skin comes in contact with certain chemicals. This reaction causes a rash to form on the skin.

Causes of Allergic Contact Dermatitis

Allergic contact dermatitis can be caused by irritants and allergens. Even though some individuals may have been exposed to these substances for years without any symptoms, an allergic reaction may develop at any time and have immediate effects.

Common causes of this condition include exposure to acids, alkalis, acetone, soaps, detergents, metals (such as nickel, which is often found in jewellery), rubber, latex, cosmetics, antiperspirant deodorants, plants (such as poison ivy), and medications.

Symptoms of Allergic Contact Dermatitis

Symptoms of irritant and allergic contact dermatitis may differ from person to person. Typically, such symptoms occur in areas of the body that have been exposed to the substance. However, they may also spread to other areas.

Possible symptoms include itching, redness, swelling, blisters, seepage of fluid, or dry and scaly skin. Rubbing or scratching the affected area may worsen the symptoms and cause an infection. It is important to seek medical attention if symptoms persist or worsen.

Diagnosis of Allergic Contact Dermatitis

The doctor will ask about your exposure to chemicals, perform a physical examination, and may refer the patient to a dermatologist for additional testing if needed.

Treatment for Allergic Contact Dermatitis

Treatment focuses on relieving the symptoms through various means of skin care, including:

  • Wash the area with water and a mild soap. Dry the area. Avoid squeezing or opening any blisters because this may cause infection. Cover blisters with a clean dressing.
  • Use medications
    • Corticosteroid cream or ointment
    • In severe cases, oral prednisolone and antihistamines may be required for relief.

The treatments mentioned above are intended to alleviate the symptoms. However, it is important to identify the root cause of the rashes and other symptoms in order to achieve effective treatment. In some cases, a patch test may be recommended by a doctor.

This test involves applying small amounts of potential allergens to adhesive patches, which are then placed on the skin for 2-3 days. After this period, the doctor checks for any redness or swelling under each of the patches to identify any allergens that should be avoided.

Prevention for Allergic Contact Dermatitis

The best way to prevent contact dermatitis is to identify and avoid any substances that irritate the skin or cause an allergic reaction.