Dr. Hina Altaf Dermatologist

Contact Dermatitis

Contact Dermatitis

Contact dermatitis is a skin condition that occurs when the skin comes into contact with an irritating or allergic substance; by exposure to a substance that irritates the skin or triggers an allergic reaction.

Common irritants include soaps, detergents, solvents, and chemicals. Common allergens include nickel, fragrances, and certain plants, such as poison ivy and poison oak.

It can cause a range of symptoms, including itching, redness, swelling, and blisters. The dermatologist and patient will discuss the materials that touch the person’s skin at work and home, and try to identify the allergen. The dermatologist may also perform patch tests. Patch testing is a safe and quick way to diagnose contact allergies.

A small amount of the suspected allergen is applied to the skin for a fixed time, usually two days, then removed. After removal, your back is examined for any reactions. Around two days after removing the patches, you will return to the office again for your second reading. At this time, your provider will determine if it is necessary to perform additional readings after your second reading.

Note that patch testing is not the same as prick testing, which is a different allergy test that is used to diagnose other kinds of allergies, such as hay fever, and is not helpful in diagnosing allergic contact dermatitis.

Symptoms of contact dermatitis can vary depending on the severity of the reaction and the type of substance that caused it.

Common symptoms include:

  • Redness and rash on the skin
  • Itching or burning sensation
  • Swelling or blistering
  • Crusting or scaling of the skin
  • Dry, cracked skin

Treatment options

Treatment for contact dermatitis depends on the severity of the reaction and the type of substance that caused it. Mild cases may be treated with over-the-counter creams or ointments, such as hydrocortisone or calamine lotion. More severe cases may require prescription-strength medications, such as corticosteroids or oral antihistamines. In addition, it is important to avoid further exposure to the irritant or allergens.

Prevention tips

There are several steps you can take to prevent contact dermatitis, including:

  • Wearing protective clothing, such as gloves or long sleeves, when handling irritants or allergens
  • Using mild, fragrance-free soaps and detergents
  • Avoiding products that contain known allergens, such as nickel or certain plants
  • Using moisturizers to keep the skin hydrated and healthy
  • Taking steps to reduce stress, as stress can exacerbate symptoms of contact dermatitis

When to see a healthcare provider

If you have persistent or severe symptoms of contact dermatitis, it is important to see a healthcare provider. They can help determine the underlying cause of your symptoms and recommend appropriate treatment options. In addition, if you notice any unusual symptoms, such as fever, pus or drainage from blisters, or signs of infection, it is important to seek medical attention.

Contact dermatitis can be a frustrating and uncomfortable skin condition, but with proper treatment and prevention strategies, it can be managed effectively. If you are experiencing symptoms of contact dermatitis, talk to your healthcare provider to determine the best course of treatment for your individual needs.

Minimal Downtime

You can return to your daily routine immediately after

Immediate Results

Results within 24 to 48 hours, with full results in 30 days

Painless Procedure

Brief period of discomfort during the injection, similar to a pinch

Results That Last

Effects typically last for several months

Contact dermatitis is a skin condition characterized by inflammation of the skin caused by direct contact with an irritant or allergen. It can result in redness, itching, rash, and sometimes blisters or swelling. There are two types of contact dermatitis: irritant contact dermatitis, which occurs when the skin comes into contact with a substance that damages or irritates it, and allergic contact dermatitis, which develops when the immune system reacts to an allergen.
Contact dermatitis can be caused by a wide range of substances. Some common triggers include:
Irritants: Harsh chemicals, detergents, soaps, solvents, certain metals (like nickel), and prolonged exposure to water.
Allergens: Cosmetics, fragrances, latex, certain plants (like poison ivy or poison oak), medications, and metals (such as nickel or cobalt).
Diagnosing contact dermatitis typically involves a thorough evaluation by a dermatologist. The doctor will examine the affected skin, review your medical history, and inquire about potential exposure to irritants or allergens. In some cases, patch testing may be performed to identify specific allergens causing allergic contact dermatitis.
The treatment of contact dermatitis involves both avoiding the triggering substances and managing the symptoms.
Preventing contact dermatitis involves minimizing exposure to irritants and allergens.
Wear protective gloves or clothing when working with irritants or allergens.
Wash skin promptly and thoroughly after contact with potential triggers.
Use hypoallergenic and fragrance-free products.
Conduct patch testing to identify allergens if you have a history of allergic contact dermatitis.
Keep the skin well-moisturized to maintain its barrier function.
Be cautious when trying new products, and perform a patch test before full application.

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Dr. Hinah Altaf’s clinic is currently at Gargash Hospital, 145 Umm Suqeim Street – Umm Al Sheif -Dubai.