WHAT IS CONTACT DERMATITIS?
Contact dermatitis is a condition in which the skin becomes red, itchy, and inflamed after direct contact with a substance. The best known example of a contact dermatitis is poison ivy but the same type of rash can occur from exposure to compounds that we come in contact with every day.
WHAT CAUSES CONTACT DERMATITIS?
Contact dermatitis can be caused by plant compounds or other ingredients that are common in cosmetics, skin care products, topical medications in addition to other products that we come in daily contact. The most common of these are:
- metals such as nickel (found in jewelry, buttons, bra hooks, belt buckles)
- topical antibiotics such as neomycin or bacitracin
- fragrances found in perfumes, cosmetics, soaps and skin care products
- nail polish or hair dye ingedients
- preservatives found in cosmetics and skin care products
- rubber or latex found in gloves and shoes
HOW IS CONTACT DERMATITIS DIAGNOSED?
Many times it can be difficult to determine what you may be reacting to. The doctors at Natural Image are experienced in diagnosing and treating contact dermatitis and will help identify your allergy. They may recommend a test called a patch test to determine which allergen or allergens are causing the reaction. It requires three office visits. On the first visit, small patches of possible allergens are applied to the skin. These patches are removed 48 hours later to see if a reaction has occurred. A third visit is required about 2 days later to look for any delayed reaction.
HOW IS CONTACT DERMATITIS TREATED?
Treatment may include topical moisturizers to maintain the barrier of the skin and corticosteroids to reduce inflammation. In severe cases, a corticosteroid shot may be given or pill may be prescribed to calm the symptoms.