What is contact dermatitis?
Contact dermatitis is a reaction of the skin, which some people develop on contact with substances usually harmless to others. Irritant contact dermatitis is caused by exposure to soaps, detergents, bleach or engine oils. Allergic contact dermatitis is a hypersensitivity reaction to substances such as nickel (in costume jewellry), rubber, perfumes, dyes, cosmetics and metals.
How does allergic contact dermatitis occur?
When an allergen comes in contact with skin, certain chemicals are produced that lead to itchy rashes. This occurs after repeated exposure to the offending agents. Usually the offending agent can be identified. In some cases, skin tests to different materials may lead to the offending allergen.
What is the treatment of contact dermatitis?
The treatment consists of removing the precipitating cause. Allergic contact dermatitis is a life long condition. Treatment in the form of wet dressings, creams, tablets and medications can help to relieve symptoms. In case of irritant contact dermatitis, the hands should be protected with rubber or plastic gloves when working with solvents and greases.