Have You Experienced Contact Dermatitis?


You notice you have a red, bumpy, itchy rash on your arm. You visit the doctor. He says you have contact dermatitis. Do you know what that is?


Contact dermatitis is the name for any skin inflammation that occurs when the skin’s surface reacts to coming in contact with a substance originating outside the body. It is not contagious, and the severity of the reaction can vary from person to person.


Contact dermatitis can be caused by skin irritants such as harsh soaps, cosmetics, chemical cleaning products and deodorant. It can also be caused by an allergic reaction to plants or items such as costume jewelry, dyes, poison ivy and oak, cashews, perfumes and medications.


What to do if you have contact dermatitis?


First you need to identify what substance your body is reacting to. Some substances, like the oil that causes poison ivy or oak rash, are not visible and you may not even know you came in contact with it.


Once identifying the source of your contact dermatitis, prevent coming in contact with that substance again to help prevent another reaction.


Over-the-counter anti-itch medications can help relieve the symptoms and reduce inflammation. These may include hydrocortisone products, such as Corticool, or an antihistamine, such as Calagel. If over-the-counter solutions are not giving you any relief, or if you are unsure what the rash is caused from, be sure to consult a physician. You will also want to consult a physician if your rash is hot, painful, swollen, or if the symptoms appear to get worse.


Lisa Leverich
TecLabs, Inc.


The International Academy of Neuromusculoskeletal Medicine