Allergic contact dermatitis

Allergic contact dermatitis

Chris Schach

Author Bio -

Key Points
*Delayed hypersensitivity reaction from exposure to certain elements
*Consists of scaly, plaqued or blistered areas with pink to red color variation, clearly defined
*Thickening and secondary infection is possible in longstanding affected areas

Allergic contact dermatitis is delayed hypersensitivity reaction after exposure to certain elements. Reactions generally occur within 48-72 hours of exposure. Elements that may cause Allergic contact dermatitis include nickel (often found in jewelry or metal closures on clothing), chromates found in shoe leather, rubber chemicals, neomycin (commonly found in triple-antibiotic first aid ointments), and allergen containing products such as cosmetics, soaps and dyes.

Allergic contact dermatitis can develop in any person at any age.

Differential Diagnosis (Other conditions with similar appearance)
Atopic dermatitis
Burns (chemical and thermal)
Dyshidrotic Eczema
Insect bites

Key Points
*Diagnosis based on skin appearance
*Patch tests may be performed to identify the offending agent
*Skin biopsy may be used to confirm diagnosis

Allergic contact dermatitis is generally diagnosed based on appearance. Health care professionals may administer patch tests to identify the offending agent. A Skin biopsy may be performed to confirm diagnosis.

*Discontinuing contact with the offending agent, once identified, is key
*Avoiding common triggers is recommended
*Goal of treatment is to control and alleviate symptoms

OTC Options: Emollients/moisturizers

Once Allergic contact dermatitis is diagnosed and the offending agent is identified, discontinuing contact with the element causing the reaction is the first and best treatment. After that, the use of moisturizers on the affected area is recommended.

In severe cases, health care professionals may prescribe oral antihistamines to control itching, and topical steroids to control the rash itself. If the affected area is large, an oral steroid course may be prescribed.