Contact dermatitis happens when the skin comes in direct contact with substances that triggers an allergic reaction. Dermatitis involves inflammation of the skin.
Contact dermatitis is characterized as a red and itchy rash. The rash is not contagious or life-threatening but it causes discomfort to the individual. The rash can be triggered by cosmetics, soaps, jewelry, fragrances and plants such as poison ivy or poison oak.
Symptoms of contact dermatitis
- The skin becomes scaly, dry and cracked in chronic cases
- Red rashes or bumps
- Severe itchiness
- Development of blisters, oozing fluids and crusting
- Burning sensation or tenderness and swelling
If the rashes become uncomfortable, becomes painful and spreads all over the body including the face or genitals, medical care is needed.
Contact dermatitis can be triggered by irritants such as rubbing alcohol, solvents, bleach and personal care products such as cosmetics, deodorants and soaps. Sawdust or wool dust and burdock which is a plant used as an alternative medicine can also cause the skin rash.
Allergic contact dermatitis happens when the body is sensitive to allergens such as medications, formaldehyde, nickel in jewelry, tattoo and henna, plants such as poison ivy and mango as well as aromatherapy products and even insecticides.
Occupation contact dermatitis are rashes that manifest from exposure to allergens or irritants while at work.
- Avoid being directly exposed to the potential allergens that causes an allergic reaction.
- Apply an over-the-counter anti-itch cream or calamine lotion on the affected area such as 1% hydrocortisone cream which works by reducing the itchiness.
- Take over-the-counter anti-itch medications such as oral antihistamines which works by alleviating the severe itchiness.
- Apply a cool and wet compress by moistening a washcloth and applying on the rash for at least 15-30 minutes several times every day to reduce the symptoms.
- Avoid scratching the affected area and keep the nails trimmed regularly. Cover the rashes with a dressing or bandages to prevent unintentional scratching that can make the contact dermatitis rash worse.
- Take a cool bath by mixing in baking soda or an oatmeal-based product to reduce the itchiness of the area.
- Wear clothing that is made out of cotton to prevent irritation on the skin.
- Use mild soaps that do not contain dyes or perfumes. Always rinse properly and pat the skin dry and apply the suitable moisturizer on the skin.
- Protect the hands by applying moisturizers and gloves such as plastic gloves lined with cotton which are ideal for the hands that are always wet.