Dermatitis is an annoying and painful skin condition that affects millions of people throughout the United States. It is an inflammation of the skin, and can occur almost anywhere on a person’s body. It most commonly affects a person’s face, chest, back, and joints, such as elbows, knees, and the front of the neck. While not contagious, dermatitis is very uncomfortable.
There are 3 main types of dermatitis:
- Atopic dermatitis (eczema)
- Seborrheic dermatitis
- Contact dermatitis
Atopic dermatitis is a red, itchy rash that usually occurs on a patient’s joints. This condition may develop at infancy, and patients may experience periods of improvement, followed by flare-ups.
Seborrheic dermatitis often results in dandruff, and scaly and red patches of skin. It occurs on a patient’s face, upper chest, back, and other oily areas of the body. When seen in infants, this condition is known as cradle cap. It can be a long-term condition that improves and reappears over time.
Causes & Symptoms of Contact Dermatitis
Contact dermatitis is characterized by a red rash that may burn, itch, or sting. Blisters may also develop in the affected area. The rash may occur on any part of the body that comes into contact with certain irritating substances.
- Poison ivy/poison oak
- Certain essential oils
- Harsh soaps
- Cleaning products
- Jewelry containing nickel
Coming into direct contact with any of these substances may cause dermatitis in particular areas of your body. If you are allergic to materials, such as animal fur or grass, this may also trigger an allergic reaction in your skin. Furthermore, certain workplace environments may put you at greater risk of developing contact dermatitis. These include jobs that require you to handle chemicals, metals, solvents, or cleaning supplies on a regular basis.
The symptoms of contact dermatitis generally focus on one section of the body, and they are often short-term. The affected area may be red and itchy, and blisters may appear. Since contact dermatitis is caused by contact with particular substances, the rash will typically fade in a matter of time after the harmful substance has been removed.
How to Treat Contact Dermatitis
Once you have suffered contact dermatitis, your doctor may diagnose it by using a patch test to determine the cause of the rash. After it has been diagnosed, there are a variety of treatment options available to help alleviate the symptoms. The treatment plan will vary, depending on your specific situation.
You may be able to treat contact dermatitis by applying corticosteroid creams to the affected area. You may also use lotions or certain creams that target your immune system, such as calcineurin inhibitors. In addition, phototherapy, which exposes the affected area to controlled amounts of artificial or natural light, may also provide a remedy.
In-Home Treatment Options
In addition to prescribed creams and lotions, there are several in-home treatment remedies you may use to soothe your discomfort. You can get anti-inflammatory and anti-itch creams to apply to your skin. Calamine lotion is also an effective and natural remedy for itching and burning skin, and you may be able to take oral antihistamines, such as Benadryl, if the rash and itching is severe.
Furthermore, you should apply a cool, wet compress to your skin. This will help decrease the irritation and soothe the itching. If you have been diagnosed with contact dermatitis, it is important to identify the source of your condition and avoid it. This means, if you wore a piece of jewelry or handled a substance that you are allergic to, it is best to avoid such irritation in the future. You will need to be aware of the materials that cause your reaction, and to change your lifestyle if necessary to prevent contact dermatitis in the future.
Knowledgeable Georgia Allergists – Call (404) 994-3574 Today!
At the Center for Allergy and Asthma of Georgia, we provide effective treatment options for patients suffering from contact dermatitis and other skin allergies. Our team will perform thorough testing to determine the cause of your dermatitis, and will use a customized treatment plan to help you experience relief from your symptoms. If you suffer from other allergy or asthma-related conditions, we are prepared to treat you quickly and efficiently. The spring season often results in allergy flare-ups, and our Georgia allergists are ready to help.