Contact Dermatitis Specialist

Advanced Allergy & Asthma Associates

Allergy, Asthma, & Immunology Specialists located in Alliance, Fort Worth, TX & Southlake, TX

Contact Dermatitis Q & A

What is contact dermatitis?

Contact dermatitis is an itchy red rash caused by contact with a substance that irritates your skin. While most instances of contact dermatitis aren’t severe, it can be extremely uncomfortable and itchy. To avoid complications, such as cracked or bleeding skin, it’s important to seek treatment at the first sign of contact dermatitis.

Are there different types of contact dermatitis?

There are three common instances of contact dermatitis:

Irritant contact dermatitis

Irritant contact dermatitis happens when your skin comes in direct contact with a certain chemical or irritant. It can also occur if you rub your skin too hard or come into contact with heat.

Allergic contact dermatitis

Allergic contact dermatitis typically occurs about 12 to 72 hours after your skin is exposed to a certain allergen. Unlike irritant contact dermatitis, it can develop in other areas of your body that haven’t touched the allergen.

Contact urticaria

Contact urticaria, or hives, is an immediate reaction to a substance that manifests as red, rash-like bumps. While hives don’t last long, they carry a risk of an anaphylactic reaction — a severe allergic reaction that causes a swollen throat and chest tightness.

What are the symptoms of contact dermatitis?

The most common symptoms of irritant contact dermatitis are:

  • Swollen skin
  • Tight skin
  • Redness
  • Cracked skin
  • Open sores
  • Ulcerations
  • Blisters

The main symptoms of allergic contact dermatitis include:

  • Redness
  • Dry, flaky skin
  • Itchy skin
  • Burning skin
  • Leathery skin
  • Blisters
  • Sensitivity to the sun
  • Swollen skin
  • Hives

Itchy skin is a telltale sign of contact dermatitis. To stop the condition from worsening, avoid scratching or rubbing the area that’s causing you discomfort.

How is allergic contact dermatitis diagnosed?

If you suspect that you have allergic contact dermatitis, the Advanced Allergy & Asthma Associates team can perform a patch test. This test involves placing small patches of certain substances onto your back to see if they cause a reaction.

Patch testing requires three separate visits. During the first, the team will place your patches. Forty-eight hours later, they remove the patches and record your preliminary results. The final reading is taken at your third and final appointment.

How is contact dermatitis treated?

The best way to prevent contact dermatitis is to avoid the substances causing your reaction. Treatments may include:

  • Steroid creams or ointments
  • Antihistamines
  • Oral corticosteroids
  • Antibiotics (if an overlying skin infection results)
  • Cool compress

Advanced Allergy & Asthma Associates has a team of allergists and immunologists that can diagnose and treat the various forms of contact dermatitis. To learn more, call the office or book an appointment online.