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Contact Dermatitis

What is Contact Dermatitis?

Contact Dermatitis is an inflammation of the skin caused by external contact with any substance that acts as an irritant, produces an allergic response or sensitizes the skin when exposed to sunlight.

What does Dermatitis Looks Like?

In most cases of dermatitis, the skin is red, swollen, and has blisters. The blisters may form and break, leaving crusts and scales.

What are the Common Irritants?

The most common irritants are:

  • poison ivy
  • poison oak
  • turpentine
  • paint thinners
  • nickel
  • rubber
  • hair dye
  • fragrances

How is the cause determined?

Most often, a dermatologist will be able to determine the cause by talking with the patient examining the infected area. Sometimes the dermatologist will perform a patch test.

A patch test consist of small amounts of the possible allergens are applied to the skin on strips of tape and then removed after two days. An allergy shows up as a small red spot at the site of the patch. Patch tests are relatively safe.

Treatment Options for Contact Dermatitis

The easiest treatment is to avoid the substance that causes the reaction. Sometimes is difficult to determine the cause, but once a cause is determined, avoid it. Your doctor can also prescribe a medicinal cream to put on the infected area.

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