Contact Dermatitis

 

Allergic contact dermatitis results in red, hot, extremely itchy swollen skin sometimes with blistering and peeling. Typically contact dermatitis, as the term infers, is due to allergens directly contacting the skin. However diffuse involvement of the skin may stem from ingested allergens. The reaction is termed "delayed" as they develop between 12-48 hours after the exposure. The classic example for this reaction is the rash of poison ivy or poison oak.  

Determining what is causing the reaction is sometimes difficult.  Allergy patch testing maybe helpful in indentifying about 2/3 of triggers.  For the rest, some rules of thumb are helpful to decrease the amount of reactions. 

  1. Try to identify any new vitamins, supplements, medications that you started in the recent months
  2. Avoid all organic oils or “natural” products as these are very sensitizing and may make your skin worse
  3. Avoid any scents or dyes in products used on skin
  4. Avoid dryer sheets
  5. Use only physical sun screens containing zinc oxide or titanium oxide as the major ingredient
  6. Keep skin well moisturized
  7. Avoid scratchy or rough materials on the skin such as wool
  8. Suspect products that you have used for many years without issue

For diagnosis and treatment seek out the care of a board certified allergist. 

 

Photo by Vilseskogen on Foter.com / CC BY-NC-SA

Author
Sandra A. Ho, MD

You Might Also Enjoy...

What is an allergist/immunologist?

An allergist/immunologist is a physician that is specially trained to diagnose and treat specific disorders of the immune system including: asthma, seasonal allergies, eczema, medication allergy, food allergies and contact skin allergies.

Eczema

Atopic dermatitis is a chronic disease characterized by extremely itchy dry skin. Core treatment of eczema may surprise you. Keep reading for more information.

Gluten and Your Health

Gluten-free has become a frequently seen buzz-word on packaged foods, restaurant menus and popular among those interested in health and fitness. Keep reading for the allergist's take on gluten.

Can you be allergic to your own hormones?

Autoimmune progesterone-induced dermatitis can lead to cyclic patterns of rash, swelling of the face and flushing of the skin in women. It represents a form of hormone allergy.