Contact dermatitis is a type of eczema where the skin has come into contact with either an allergen or irritant. An allergen is a substance that affects the immune system, causing an allergic reaction, and an irritant is a substance that irritates the skin. Contact dermatitis occurs more often in women and is not contagious.
There are two types:
When someone is allergic to an allergen, he or she develops a rash on the skin after one or many exposures. Common sources of allergic contact dermatitis are:
There are many substances that can irritate the skin. Common irritants include:
Some occupations have more exposure to substances that can result in sensitization or allergy. These include healthcare workers, dental workers, hairdressers, florists, photographers, and machinists.
Occupational contact dermatitis can occur when someone is exposed to irritants or allergens on the job. These include water, chemicals, oils, dyes, cleaning products, wet cement, industrial solvents, cement dust, paper dust, sawdust, and fuel products.
The signs and symptoms of contact eczema result in inflammation (redness) of the skin, itching, burning, a stinging sensation, and scaly patches on the skin. Contact dermatitis can occur on any part of the body, but more often occurs on the hands.
Allergic Contact Dermatitis Symptoms
Irritant Contact Dermatitis Symptoms
The treatment of this type of eczema is based on soothing the current symptoms and preventing reoccurrence of the condition. The key to prevention involves avoidance of the irritant or allergen. Anti-itch creams and ointments can offer some relief to symptoms. Also, corticosteroids reduce inflammation.
Speak with your doctor. For severe cases, the doctor may prescribe oral corticosteroids, such as prednisone pills, or give you an injectable form of steroids, such as dexamethasone.
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