Contact dermatitis is a delayed allergic skin reaction caused by many different chemical and natural substances, the best-known being poison ivy. And, although not as common, reactions are sometimes triggered by something that enters your body through foods, flavorings, medicine, or medical procedures.
Some of the most common allergens know to trigger contact dermatitis include:
- Nickel commonly found in jewelry and buckles
- Medicinal creams
- Perfumes and colognes
- Cosmetics and personal care products
- Plants such as poison ivy and mango, which contain a highly allergenic substance called urushiol
- Some sunscreens also contain chemicals that can be aggravated by the sun
Contact dermatitis symptoms most often present as itchy rash but can also form blisters in more severe reactions. Rashes can develop within minutes to hours of exposure, and it can last up to four weeks. While not contagious, these rashes can be very uncomfortable and embarrassing for patients. Additional symptoms may include leathery patches, dry, cracked, or scaly skin, and swelling, burning or tenderness.
Patch testing is the most common test utilized to identify the allergens that cause contact dermatitis. In this test, a suspected allergen is applied to the skin in a small disc or well and monitored for any signs of reaction, such as redness or blistering, several days later. Patch tests are generally very accurate, and the results will be used to create a personalized treatment plan and help you avoid contact with the allergen in the future.
Four Steps to Relief
Planning Your First Visit
Schedule an appointment at your local office and fill out our pre-registration and medical history forms to help minimize any wait time when you arrive.
Your First Visit
Your initial visit will last between two and three hours and consist of an initial consultation, evaluation, and comprehensive exam. We’ll create a treatment plan tailored to your unique needs.
Diagnostics and Testing
We may complete one or more tests to better understand the cause of your symptoms. Common tests include skin testing, pulmonary testing, and blood testing.
Following the evaluation and testing, we’ll provide a comprehensive diagnosis and implement a personalized treatment plan that will deliver relief.
After identifying the allergens causing your contact dermatitis, the most effective treatment plans begin with avoidance to minimize your exposure. To treat the symptoms of rash and itchiness, corticosteroid creams often provide relief from inflammation, and in more persistent cases, oral steroids such as prednisone may also be prescribed.
Why Allergy Partners?
At Allergy Partners, our team has the training and experience necessary to diagnose, treat, and manage contact dermatitis. Your physician will gather a thorough medical history and perform a physical exam to better understand your condition.
From there, they will order the necessary testing to pinpoint what is causing the rash, provide detailed information on how to avoid future contact, and prescribe medications to treat the eruption. Together, you and your allergist will create a comprehensive and individualized treatment strategy to give you lasting relief.