What is contact dermatitis?

There are a variety of skin disorders that individuals are faced with daily. If you’re someone who’s been diagnosed with contact dermatitis, we can help! But what it is? Dermatitis is a fairly common skin condition which is caused by inflammation of the skin. Although there are a few different kinds of dermatitis, contact dermatitis is the most common. Each type of dermatitis is caused by a skin reaction to certain irritants or allergies. With contact dermatitis, you are likely to experience a red and itchy rash. This rash is not contagious or life-threatening, but it can be uncomfortable.

At Azeal Dermatology Institute in Boulder, we can help you determine the cause of your contact dermatitis, how you can best prevent symptoms, and what treatment options are best for you. Our dermatologists are skilled and knowledgeable and ready to help!

What Causes Contact Dermatitis?

It’s important to understand that each type of dermatitis has different causes. Contact dermatitis is caused only when an irritant or allergen comes in contact with the skin. If someone is allergic or irritated by a perfume, metal, disinfectant, detergent, soap, or anything along those lines, the body’s immune system will respond and defend itself by causing a skin reaction. This reaction has been known to be itchy, red, and in some cases, even blistery or weepy.

There are two types of contact dermatitis — irritant and allergic contact dermatitis. There are thousands of different substances that are known irritants and allergens.

Irritant contact dermatitis is the most common type and is a nonallergic reaction to different substances. Some common irritants include:

  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Bleach and detergents
  • Plants
  • Fertilizers and pesticides
  • And more

Allergic contact dermatitis occurs when your skin comes in contact with something you are allergic to sensitive to, which causes a reaction. Common allergens include:

  • Medications
  • Personal care products
  • Plants
  • Nickel
  • Balsam of Peru
  • And more

What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Contact Dermatitis?

Each dermatitis is different but many of them have the same signs and symptoms. Contact dermatitis can happen anywhere on your body (wherever the allergy or irritation occurs). However, it will be limited to that area and will not spread to other parts of your body. Signs and symptoms may include:

  • Redness of the skin
  • Itchy rash
  • Small and red raised bumps
  • Blisters
  • Dry and/or scaly skin
  • Weepy skin
  • Tenderness of the affected area
  • Sores – If you have sores that are oozing or have honey-yellow crusting, call our dermatologists immediately.

Is It Contagious?

Luckily, contact dermatitis only affects the person who has had the reaction, therefore, anyone who comes in contact with an individual who has contact dermatitis will not be given the rash. The rash that contact dermatitis may cause is uncomfortable but is not contagious.

What Are Treatments for Contact Dermatitis?

There are many different treatment options for individuals suffering from common occurrences of contact dermatitis. By avoiding the things that are causing your contact dermatitis reactions, you will be able to reduce symptoms and the likelihood of developing a rash. However, this is not always the easiest thing to do, which is why seeking a dermatologist for treatment options is beneficial.

If your rash has been worrying you, lasted longer than usual, or is painful, it’s important to come visit a dermatologist at Azeal Dermatology Institute in Boulder. Depending on the severity of your case of contact dermatitis, we’ll be able to prescribe you a topical ointment, antihistamine, or steroid pills. To learn more about your treatment options we recommend you reach out! Contact us online by filling out the short form to the right of the screen, or give us a call for immediate assistance.