If you experience contact dermatitis, you know that it can be an unpleasant problem to have. Itchy, red, and often unsightly, contact dermatitis is a skin reaction that many people struggle with. Here, we’ll discuss how you can manage it and achieve clear, healthy skin.
What is Contact Dermatitis?
Contact dermatitis is a red rash that occurs when the skin comes into direct contact with an irritating substance. While the rash isn’t contagious or dangerous to your health, it’s generally quite itchy and uncomfortable.
There are two main types of contact dermatitis: irritant and allergic.
Irritant contact dermatitis is more common and occurs when a substance irritates the skin’s outer protective layer. Substances that often cause irritant contact dermatitis include shampoos, soaps, solvents, rubbing alcohol, bleach, detergents, certain plants, fertilizers, and pesticides. Airborne substances like wood dust or sawdust can even cause irritant contact dermatitis if they land on the skin.
Allergic contact dermatitis occurs when an allergen causes an immune reaction in the skin. Topical medications (like neomycin), spray insecticides, deodorants, body washes, cosmetics, nail polish, hair dye, poison ivy, and nickel are examples of common allergens that can cause allergic contact dermatitis.
Managing Contact Dermatitis
To manage an active case of contact dermatitis, your allergist can prescribe topical steroid creams, which help heal the rash. Oral corticosteroids may be prescribed to ease inflammation, as well as oral antihistamines to reduce itching.
There are other strategies that you can implement to prevent contact dermatitis. These include:
- Steer clear of the irritant or allergen that caused the rash. If you’re unsure, schedule an appointment with your allergist for patch testing to identify the cause.
- Wash your skin with warm water and a gentle soap immediately after coming into contact with an irritating substance.
- Moisturize regularly to keep the outermost layer of your skin hydrated and healthy.
- Wear protective clothing if you’re using an irritating substance (i.e. wear goggles and rubber gloves if you’re cleaning with bleach).
- Bathe pets regularly, as irritants like poison ivy can adhere to pets and end up on your skin.
For diagnosis and treatment for contact dermatitis, schedule an appointment at Allergy, Asthma & Immunology Associates of Tampa Bay today!