Contact dermatitis is a rash that is often red and itchy. It’s caused by coming into contact with something that is irritating to your skin. While it can be discomforting, this form of skin problem isn’t contagious. There are some things that can cause your dermatitis, and it’s important to determine just what that cause is in order to successfully treat it.
Symptoms of Contact Dermatitis
Contact dermatitis can show up anywhere on your body that has been in contact with the specific irritant that causes it. Within minutes to hours of exposure, a rash that can last up to a month will develop. Some symptoms you may experience include a red rash that may be bumpy, itching, blisters, crusting or even drainage.
Chronic contact dermatitis can lead to cracked, scaly and extremely dry skin. Sometimes there is swelling, along with tenderness or slight burning.
How severe your symptoms become depend on a number of factors like the potency of the offending substance, length of your exposure, genetics and factors in the environment.
Contact Dermatitis Causes
Contact dermatitis occurs if your skin becomes irritated through contact with an allergen. Irritant contact dermatitis is when a substance is irritating to the skin, mucous membranes, lungs or digestive track. These can be caustic materials like bleach, personal care products, solvents, airborne substances or rubbing alcohol.
Allergic contact dermatitis is when a reaction is triggered by contact with a substance you are sensitive or allergic to. Medications, metals, plants or products whose reactions are intensified through sun exposure are all examples that can cause allergic reactions.
Signs You Should Seek Medical Attention
Sometimes contact dermatitis can be treated at home. However, you should see a physician if symptoms are severe enough to hinder your sleep or adversely affect your daily activities. If your pain is intense or widespread, if you are experiencing symptoms that affect your physical appearance in a way that makes you feel self-conscious, or if sensitive areas such as the genitals or face are affected, it’s important to get medical attention. Finally, should symptoms not decrease within three weeks or so, it’s time to seek help.
Contact Dermatitis Treatments
Sometimes symptoms can be treated on your own with over the counter remedies and other forms of self-care. No matter what the cause of your skin irritation, it’s important to identify and avoid the irritant in the future.
If you are experiencing symptoms of contact dermatitis that won’t subside no matter what you try, contact Pinnacle Dermatology today to schedule an appointment. Diagnostic tests can be performed to identify causes, and the right treatment can then be determined.