Contact Dermatitis is a type of skin inflammation characterized by red, itchy rash caused due to exposure to allergens or irritable substances. As the outer epidermal layer gets damaged, it leads to irritation and skin allergy.

Contact dermatitis is not contagious or untreatable but can cause severe irritation and pain.

When the body comes in contact with some specific items, or substances or environmental changes, the body mistakes it as some kind of attack or foreign particle invasion and shields the body by developing antibodies in its response. In this confusion, it triggers a chain of bodily reactions which leads to the secretion of a chemical called histamine which in turn causes the allergic reactions.

Contact dermatitis causes

Contact dermatitis mostly happens due to foreign particles and allergens and are of three types. Also Read: Allergies That Affect Us Inside Out

Allergic Contact Dermatitis

Mostly happens when the skin develops allergic reactions after being exposed to allergens like are poison oak or poison ivy, mango latex, jewellery, latex gloves, medications, metals like gold or nickel, dyes, hair colourants, shampoos, lotions, creams and perfumes.

Photo Contact Dermatitis

Occurs when the irritants get activated due to over exposure to sunlight, dust, exhaust fumes etc.

Irritant Contact Dermatitis

Occurs when the outer protective layer of the skin gets damaged. It is mostly caused due to soaps, deodorants, wool dust or saw dust, bleach, battery acid, pepper spray, solvents and rubbing of alcohol.


Signs and symptoms of contact dermatitis mostly happens on the parts exposed to the allergens, which includes:

  • Severe itching
  • Skin Rashes
  • Dry, cracked, scaly or flaky skin
  • Bumps or blisters, sometimes with oozing and crusting
  • Swelling or tenderness
  • Hives
  • Ulcers
  • Burning sensation
  • Swelling in the face, eyes or some areas of the groin
  • Sensitivity towards sun

Diagnosis and Treatment

It is suggested to consult a doctor when you visualize the above given symptoms. It is usually diagnosed by a skin specialist or a medical practioner by knowing the patient’s past medical history and carrying out a thorough medical examination. The doctor may also perform a patch test to understand the type of allergen that caused it.

A mild form of contact dermatitis usually disappears on its own but a more viable potent form requires application of skin repair medications, steroids and other oral medications.

As contact dermatitis has a chance of recurrence, it is strongly advised to undertake preventive measures before coming in contact with certain kind of allergens like, wearing gloves, washing your hands and skin every time you come in contact to some irritants, applying iron patches to cover metal fasteners next to the skin or putting some cream or gel on the hands before touching some allergens.