Allergic Contact Dermatitis
Allergic contact dermatitis is a skin condition where the skin breaks out in a rash following direct contact with an allergen. While the exact cause of allergic contact dermatitis remains unknown, research has shown that the reaction is similar to that of other allergies. The body’s immune system inappropriately views a harmless substance as being harmful and develops an immune response against it. The rash of contact dermatitis appears within hours to days at the site where the skin came in contact with an allergen. The reaction typically resolves within a few days however it may last as long as two to four weeks.
Signs and Symptoms of Allergic Contact Dermatitis:
- Itching (pruritus)
- Rash or bumps on skin with varying degrees of redness
- Dry patches of skin
- Blistering of the skin (severe cases)
Common Allergens Causing Contact Dermatitis:
- Metals (nickel, cobalt, chromium)
- Plants (poison ivy, poison oak)
Treatment for allergic contact dermatitis centers on allergen avoidance. Allergen avoidance may be in the form of protective clothing, switching detergents/soaps/skincare products, and modifying daily routines to ensure known triggers are avoided.