In most cases, contact dermatitis occurs because your skin has been exposed to a substance that irritated it or caused an allergic reaction.
Irritant dermatitis is the most common form of this condition. It usually occurs after you’ve been in contact with a harsh substance that damages the outer layer of your skin, such as bleach, rubbing alcohol, or a solvent. Allergic dermatitis, which is a less common form of contact dermatitis, occurs after you’ve been in contact with an allergen that causes your immune system to react, such as certain cosmetics, medications, or metals.
Some of the symptoms of contact dermatitis include:
The severity of these symptoms varies based on the type of reaction and the sensitivity of your skin.
If you know what’s causing your symptoms and the symptoms aren’t severe, you may be able to treat contact dermatitis at home with over-the-counter remedies, such as anti-itch cream. However, you should consider making an appointment with Dr. Piantanida if your rash is distracting you from daily activities or causing you to lose sleep. You should also make an appointment if your rash fails to disappear in three weeks.
Before recommending any treatment for contact dermatitis, Dr. Piantanida begins by examining the affected area of your skin carefully. Based on this exam, she rules out any other possible causes of your symptoms and confirms the diagnosis.
Dr. Piantanida then tries to determine what irritant or allergen caused your symptoms. Identifying this substance and instructing you to avoid it is often the only treatment needed.
In cases where simply avoiding the irritant and waiting for the skin to heal isn’t enough to get rid of the symptoms, Dr. Piantanida may recommend prescription medications. Medications that may help with contact dermatitis include:
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