Contact dermatitis

Other names: Dermatitis, contact


Contact dermatitis is a red, itchy rash caused by a substance that comes into contact with your skin. The rash isn't contagious or life-threatening, but it can be very uncomfortable. Possible causes include soaps, cosmetics, fragrances, jewelry, and plants like Poison Ivy or poison oak. To treat Contact dermatitis successfully, you need to identify and avoid the cause of your reaction.



Contact dermatitis can be caused by irritants like solvents, rubbing alcohol, and personal care products or allergens like nickel in jewelry or Poison Ivy. Occupational exposure is common in certain professions like healthcare workers or metalworkers.


Complications of Contact dermatitis include chronic itchy, scaly skin and infections due to scratching.


List your symptoms and substances you suspect may have caused the rash. Make note of new products used and medications taken. Prepare questions for your doctor.


  1. What are the common causes of Contact dermatitis?

Contact dermatitis can be caused by irritants like solvents and allergens like nickel in jewelry.

  1. How long does a Contact dermatitis rash typically last?

The rash usually lasts two to four weeks if the offending substance is avoided.

  1. When should I see a doctor for Contact dermatitis?

You should see a doctor if the rash is severe, painful, widespread, or doesn't improve within a few weeks.

  1. What are the complications of Contact dermatitis?

Complications include chronic itchy, scaly skin and infections from scratching.

  1. How is Contact dermatitis diagnosed?

Diagnosis is based on medical history, physical exam, and sometimes a patch test to identify allergens.

  1. What are the key treatments for Contact dermatitis?

Treatments include avoiding the irritant/allergen, using steroid creams, skin repair medications, and oral medications in severe cases.

  1. How can I prevent Contact dermatitis in the future?

Prevention involves avoiding irritants/allergens, washing skin promptly after contact, wearing protective gear, and using barrier creams.

  1. Can alternative medicine therapies cause Contact dermatitis?

Yes, some alternative therapies like Burdock or herbal creams containing certain ingredients can trigger Contact dermatitis.

  1. Who is at higher risk for Occupational Contact dermatitis?

Occupations like healthcare workers, metalworkers, hairdressers, and gardeners are at higher risk of developing Occupational Contact dermatitis.

  1. Are children also prone to developing allergic Contact dermatitis?

Yes, children can develop allergic Contact dermatitis from common allergens just like adults.

Remember to consult a healthcare professional for personalized advice on managing Contact dermatitis.