Contact Dermatitis is a type of eczema that can be triggered by the contact of certain substances. ‘Derm’ means skin and ‘itis’ means inflammation. So, it is a skin inflammation in contact with a substance. The Contact Dermatitis is sometimes called as contact eczema and it can be two types:
- Irritant Contact Dermatitis
- Allergic Contact Dermatitis
Irritant Contact Dermatitis:
The irritant dermatitis occurs when a chemical simply is too irritant to the skin. In Irritant Contact Dermatitis, the irritant can be either chemical or physical. Chemical such as soapy water, rubbing household cleaners, solvents, fertilizers, pesticides, shampoos, bleeds, detergents can be responsible. Physical such as plants (sometimes acts as an irritant), humidity (leads to a physical irritant). It may also occur by frequent handwashing with water too often. This reaction usually happens on the same day or the next day between the contact with the skin and the occurrence of the rash with the symptoms. In Irritant Contact Dermatitis the substance is irritating for everybody and no sensitization is required. For example, a pesticide is irritant to everybody and it takes just one time, the first time one gets the pesticide on his/her skin; he/she will have dermatitis. The irritant is most common dermatitis and occurs in 80 percent of the patients with Contact Dermatitis.
Allergic Contact Dermatitis:
The allergic contact dermatitis which is itchy usually a pink rash that occurs typically at least the day or two after exposure to the certain chemical. It can be some preservative or fragrance from skin care product. In comparison with Irritant Contact Dermatitis, the allergic does not occur to everybody. It occurs to people who are allergic and who have an allergy to this substance. It requires sensitization or previous exposure. It is type 4 hypersensitivity reaction which is also known as delayed type hypersensitivity. The patient has to be exposed then sensitize and in the second exposure, the problem begins to happen. These allergic substances are in the neckless, in the buckle, in certain cosmetics or in jewelry. The interesting thing about this contact dermatitis is that it will leave a pattern on the skin. For example, if any person is wearing a watch and he/she is having this allergy, so after he/she removes the watch, the rash will take the pattern or the shape of the watch. So, cosmetic and also some drugs lead to contact dermatitis.
The identification of the offending agent and its removal is important. In order to treat the symptoms the cool compresses, topical steroids and aluminum acetate dissolved in water can be used. If the condition is so severe then one can use systemic steroids. So, there are many things that cause this and there is a test that can figure out the particular chemical that one may be allergic to. There is a test dice nose contact dermatitis which is known as a patch test. In this test, the physician applies different patches to the back of the patient and calls the patient next time in order to see which one of these agents lead to the allergic reaction to knowing the substance that the patient is allergic to, for identifying the cause of allergic contact dermatitis.
For the treatment purpose there exist three major steps:
- Identify the agent
- Use topical steroids if it is small
- Use systemic steroids if it is severe
This is also called delayed-type hypersensitivity because of the action of care between 24-72 hours after exposure.
The factors which are responsible for high risk of contact dermatitis include the dental and health care employees, construction workers, metal workers, cosmetologists and hairdressers, cleaners, mechanics, agricultural workers, swimmers because of their masks or goggles and cooks. The general steps for the prevention from this hazard are as follows:
- Skin Wash
- Protective wears
- Avoid irritants and allergens
- Barrier Gel
- Take care around pets
- To avoid the symptoms various steroid tablets (oral corticosteroids) or creams (topical corticosteroids) can be applied.
- Moisturizers applied to the skin to avoid dryness.
So, several preventive measures can be used to avoid contact dermatitis along with proper medication.