Contact Dermatitis: What You Should Know

Have you ever worn a ring or bracelet for a special occasion and ended up scratching the area? Suddenly there is a scaly and itchy site where the jewelry was sitting. It burns and becomes dry and flakey. Most likely you have developed contact dermatitis from the metals in the jewelry. It can happen to anyone from all types of irritants. Let’s dive into what you should know about contact dermatitis.

What Are the Types of Contact Dermatitis?

There are two types of contact dermatitis; it can be classified as either irritant or allergic.

Allergic Contact Dermatitis

Allergic dermatitis occurs when your skin has an allergic reaction to some foreign substance. This causes your body to release inflammatory substances which makes your skin feel itchy and irritated.

woman with a rash on her face.

Common types of allergic contact dermatitis include:

  • Jewelry made from nickel or gold
  • Apple watch products
  • Latex
  • Perfume or chemicals in cosmetics and skin care
  • Poison ivy or oak

Irritant Contact Dermatitis

This is the most common type and its causes include the following:

  • Kerosene
  • Detergents
  • Battery acid
  • Bleach
  • Chlorinated water like in a pool
  • Drain cleaners
  • Paints and varnishes

If your skin frequently comes into contact with certain substances, this can cause a reaction. Someone who washes their hands many times a day, like a medical professional or a teacher, a florist, hair stylist, or a mechanic can become irritated by the soap.

What Are Common Symptoms of Contact Dermatitis?

Depending on which type of contact dermatitis you have, the symptoms may look a bit different. You may experience:

  • Flaky dry skin
  • Swelling
  • Blistering
  • Open sores that crust over
  • Cracking skin
  • Burning sensation
  • Swelling around the eyes, face, or groin

It will be uncomfortable and the symptoms can interfere with sleep and daily activities.

How Do Dermatologists Treat Dermatitis?

Trust our board-certified dermatologist, Dr. Dean Goodless to promptly rule out psoriasis, diagnose your contact dermatitis, and begin appropriate treatment. Contact our dermatology clinic in Orlando, FL by calling (407) 566-1616.

Hydrocortisone is commonly prescribed for contact dermatitis.

Topical steroids can help with any annoying itching symptoms.

If the rash is too widespread, your provider may prescribe a short-term oral or injectable corticosteroid.

How to Prevent Contact Dermatitis

It can take 2 to 4 weeks for allergic dermatitis to clear and go away, but irritant dermatitis can clear up more quickly.

Some tips to prevent an outbreak:

  • Purchase hypoallergenic products.
  • Wear fragrance free lotions.
  • Don’t wear latex gloves; use vinyl instead.
  • If you notice something is irritating your skin, stop using it immediately.

Tips to soothe contact dermatitis include:

  • Don’t scratch irritated skin as it can cause an infection.
  • Clean the area with mild soap and lukewarm water.
  • Use petroleum jelly like Vaseline to soothe your skin.
  • Try calamine lotion to reduce the itch.

Contact dermatitis may go away on its own using over-the-counter products, but contact our board-certified dermatologist, Dr. Dean Goodless for medical treatment if you develop a severe outbreak. Call (407) 566-1616. to schedule an appointment at our Orlando, FL office today.