If you’ve ever gotten a rash after accidentally touching poison ivy somewhere like the Sonoran Preserve, you’ve experienced contact dermatitis.
- Itchy, discolored rash
- Dry, cracked and flaky skin
- Burning skin
- Feeling generally unwell
Types of Contact Dermatitis
There are three types of contact dermatitis. The symptoms are the same for each type. The difference is what causes the reaction.
Irritant Contact Dermatitis
Irritant contact dermatitis is the most common type of this condition, which accounts for 80% of all cases. Common causes include:
The rash will appear at the site of exposure. Its severity will depend on several different factors such as length of exposure, the strength of the irritant, as well as what part of the skin came into contact with the irritant.
Allergic Contact Dermatitis
This type of contact dermatitis occurs when your immune system produces an allergic response to a substance. People who regularly work with chemicals and other irritants like healthcare workers and hairstylists are more at risk for developing the condition. Some causes include:
- Poison ivy, oak or sumac
- Nickel or gold jewelry
- Substances in hair dye and cosmetics
- Rubber and latex
Sunlight is an essential part of photocontact dermatitis. It’s caused when a person comes into contact with an irritating substance and sunlight at the same time. Causes include:
- Shaving creams
- Certain medications
Treatment and Prevention Tips
Thankfully, most cases of contact dermatitis are relatively mild, and the reaction will go away shortly after exposure to the substance has ended. Topical anti-itch creams and antihistamines should help with any discomfort until the rash heals.
Avoiding contact with known triggers is the best treatment and prevention for contact dermatitis. Occasionally, some people run into problems when they are unsure what is causing their reaction.
If you regularly experience symptoms, but can’t pinpoint a trigger, make an appointment with an allergist. They can run allergy tests that will help you properly identify what is causing your contact dermatitis, so you know what to avoid.
For more questions or to find relief from your symptoms, contact the experts at Arizona Desert ENT Specialists today.