Contact Dermatitis

Contact dermatitis is a very common skin condition caused by exposure to substances in the environment. These substances act as either irritants or allergens.

Contact dermatitis is controlled with effective medicines and avoidance of the offending agent. Patients can be patch-tested to a variety of agents known to cause contact dermatitis for confirmation of their disease.

In cases of primary irritant contact dermatitis, skin inflammation is brought on by exposure to a harsh irritant, such as acid, alkali, solvent, strong soap or detergent. Such irritants may produce a reaction in anyone, making this the most common type of contact dermatitis.

In cases of allergic contact dermatitis, a material that is usually harmless for most people brings on a reaction in an individual that has had prior exposure to this material without incident. Why an individual becomes sensitized to a material is not clear, but it appears to involve the person's immune system.

In addition to redness and swelling, contact dermatitis may be accompanied by burning, itching and blistering. The areas of the body most often affected are the forearms, face, neck, and the top of the feet, however, other areas can be affected.

Nickel, rubber, and hair dyes, as well as poison ivy, oak and sumac are familiar antigens (offending agents). In addition, materials that contain chromates, such as leather, matches, paints, disinfectants, bleaches and glues, may act as allergens

T.R.U.E. TEST® Patch Test System

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