Contact dermatitis is a condition that occurs when chemicals or any object comes into contact with the skin. It can also be called as rashes. Skin becomes red and tender once it touches something. Most often, this condition is caused due to allergens, sometimes it could also be because the protective covering of the skin got damaged. If a person touches something, then body’s immune system thinks that it is an attack on the body. Body comes into action and prepares antibodies. This makes the body release chemicals such as histamine which causes allergic reaction. Usually rashes don’t appear in the first contact, they are seen once the person comes in contact with the object again. Person feels irritated with the allergen hence it is called as irritant contact dermatitis.
Symptoms related to contact dermatitis include dry skin, skin redness, inflammation, itching, sensitivity, and swelling mostly around eyes, face or groin areas. Contact dermatitis is of three types:
- Allergic contact dermatitis: This condition takes place when skin is exposed to a foreign substance multiple times for example, jewelry, perfumes or cosmetic products. It causes the skin to release certain chemicals due to which the body feels itchy and irritated.
- Irritant contact dermatitis: This condition takes place when the body comes in contact with a toxic material such as bleach, drain cleaners, detergent or pepper spray. Irritant contact dermatitis can be caused by less irritating agents for example soap or shampoo.
- Photo-contact dermatitis: It is a less common condition as compared to allergic contact dermatitis or irritant contact dermatitis. This condition takes place when the skin is exposed to sun rays, leading to irritating.
Contact dermatitis is caused due to allergens; hence once the person avoids contact with such ingredients the effect starts subsiding. Apart from avoiding the substances one should take care of the following things:
- Avoid scratching the rashes or the irritant area
- Clean your skin with lukewarm water and mild soap to gain relief from irritation
- Apply petroleum jelly to smoothen the area
- Using anti-irritant creams or lotions can help provide relief
- One should be cautious if the rashes appear near eyes or affect a larger body part or appear around hidden body parts
Depending on the severity of the condition, doctor prescribes steroid pills or ointment and anti-histamine for instant relief. Doctors also suggest an allergy test to better understand the substances that the person is allergic to. Based on the ingredients, the treatment options may differ.