Have you started using a new skin care product, shampoo, or fragrance and notice that you have broken out into a rash? If so, you may have been experiencing contact dermatitis, a common condition that occurs when certain chemicals cause an allergic reaction. Dr. Gray offers a selection of treatment options to help you diminish your allergic reaction for a more comfortable you.
Contact dermatitis is a skin rash that is caused by contact with a specific substance. While it is not contagious or life-threatening, it can be very uncomfortable and negatively impact your daily life. Anyone of any age can experience contact dermatitis.
Common symptoms of contact dermatitis include:
- A red rash.
- Dry, scaly skin.
- Bumps or blisters.
- Swelling or tenderness.
- A burning sensation.
Contact dermatitis can be further broken down into two different categories, including:
- Irritant Contact Dermatitis: This is the most common form of contact dermatitis, and happens when a substance causes damage to the protective layer of your skin. This may occur after a single exposure or over time. Common examples of irritants include rubbing alcohol, bleach, detergents, plants, shampoos, pesticides, or solvents.
- Allergic Contact Dermatitis: Occurs when an allergen triggers an immune response in your skin. It usually only affects the area that has come into contact with the allergen. Common allergens include nickel in jewelry, medications, preservatives, deodorants, cosmetics, certain plants, and more.
The first step toward treatment is to diagnose your contact dermatitis. You will speak with Dr. Gray during your appointment regarding the symptoms you are experiencing best determine what is triggering your skin irritation. A skin patch test may be recommended to find out if you are allergic to something you are regularly coming into contact with. Once we have determined the substance that is causing irritation, we can take the steps to treat it.
There are a number of different lifestyle remedies and medications that can be used to control your symptoms. These include:
Avoiding the Irritant: This is key to minimizing your uncomfortable symptoms. Ask your doctor for a list of products that contain the substance that you are allergic to in order to best avoid it.
Avoid Scratching: Avoid scratching the affected area, as this will only irritate it further. If you cannot stop scratching, cover the area will a bandage or wear clothing that covers the area.
Apply Compresses: Cool, wet washcloths can be used to soothe your rash. Repeat several times a day for 15-30 minutes at a time.
Steroid Creams: These creams can be applied topically to help soothe a contact dermatitis rash.
Oral Medications: For more severe cases of contact dermatitis, oral corticosteroids may be prescribed to help reduce inflammation. Antibiotics may also be prescribed if a bacterial infection is present from scratching.