Contact dermatitis is characterized by reddened, itchy skin after being exposed to an irritating substance. The condition arises if the skin is exposed to something that the individual is allergic to or highly sensitive to.
Allergic contact dermatitis
This type of contact dermatitis does not always trigger a skin reaction right away. The symptoms will only arise from 12-72 hours after exposure. The usual symptoms include:
- Dry, scaly areas of skin
- Blistered areas that might ooze
- Reddened skin that appears as patches
- Skin that feels as if burning but there are no evident skin sores
- Sensitivity to the sun
Irritant contact dermatitis
This type arises if irritation occur from exposure to toxic substances or after prolonged contact with less irritating substances.
The doctor might recommend treatment options for the allergic type based on the cause of the reaction such as:
- Oatmeal baths
- Antihistamine medications
- Soothing creams or lotions
- Topical corticosteroids
Remember that the affected area should not be scratched since this increases the risk for an infection.
Once the exact cause of contact dermatitis is determined, the substance must be avoided. If an individual was accidentally exposed to any substances that he/she is allergic to, cleanse the area using soap and water right away. Apply a damp, cool compress to alleviate the irritation and itchiness.
As for the irritant type, some of the preventive measures include:
- Applying a hydrating lotion after washing hands to prevent cracking and irritation.
- Apply petroleum jelly to the hands if regularly exposed to moisture in the workplace
- Only use mild soaps
- Use cotton gloves beneath latex or rubber gloves for protection