Contact Dermatitis: Brief Version

What is contact dermatitis?

You have contact dermatitis when your skin gets a rash after something irritating touches it.

What is the cause?

The skin may touch something that irritates it, like:

  • Soaps or detergents
  • Cleaning products

You may be allergic to something that touches your skin, like:

  • Hair dyes
  • Fingernail polish
  • Deodorants

Examples of other things that may cause a rash are:

  • Rubber
  • Nickel (a metal used in some jewelry and belt buckles)
  • Poison ivy

What are the symptoms?

Your skin may itch, swell or look red. You may have blisters that may break open and ooze, crust, or scale

How is it treated?

Your healthcare provider may give you:

  • Medicine to stop the itching
  • Medicine to stop the redness or oozing
  • Medicine if the rash is infected

How can I take care of myself?

Follow your healthcare provider’s advice. It can help if you:

  • Put cool, moist cloths on the rash.
  • Don’t scratch your skin even though it itches.
  • Stay away from what caused the rash.

How can I help prevent it?

  • Learn what poison oak, poison ivy, and ragweed look like. Stay away from these plants.
  • Buy makeup with the word “hypoallergenic” on the label.
  • Wear safe gloves when you have to use chemicals.
  • Wear gloves when you wash dishes, garden, or do chores.
Developed by RelayHealth.
Adult Advisor 2015.1 published by RelayHealth.
Last modified: 2014-07-31
Last reviewed: 2014-07-31
This content is reviewed periodically and is subject to change as new health information becomes available. The information is intended to inform and educate and is not a replacement for medical evaluation, advice, diagnosis or treatment by a healthcare professional.
Copyright ©1986-2015 McKesson Corporation and/or one of its subsidiaries. All rights reserved.

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