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Irritant Contact Dermatitis

The simple meaning of dermatitis is inflammation of your skin. However, dermatitis is a large, inclusive medical term that is used to refer to a wide range of conditions.  Here, we write about irritant contact dermatitis.

Contact dermatitis is one of the forms of this condition. Contact dermatitis is a localized rash or irritation of your skin that comes about because of a reaction to, contact with or exposure to allergens or irritants.

Contact dermatitis is marked by a red, itchy rash. Contact dermatitis is not contagious or life-threatening, but this condition can be extremely uncomfortable, irritating and unpleasant.

3 Types of Contact Dermatitis

There are three common forms of contact dermatitis. They are allergic contact dermatitis, overtreatment contact dermatitis and irritant contact dermatitis.

Allergic contact dermatitis is the second most common form of contact dermatitis. Allergic contact dermatitis is a type of contact dermatitis that comes about when you are exposed to some kind of substance or material that you have become allergic to or extra sensitive to.

Another type of contact dermatitis is overtreatment contact dermatitis. This kind of contact dermatitis results from being treated for some other type of skin problem, and the treatment that you receive causes the irritation.

Irritant contact dermatitis is the most common form of contact dermatitis. Irritant contact dermatitis is evidenced by inflammation of your skin that is usually seen and demonstrated by scaling, mild edema and erythema.

Irritant contact dermatitis involves a nonspecific response by your skin to direct chemical damage that releases agents of inflammation that come mainly from your epidermal cells. Whatever the corrosive irritant is leads to the immediate death of epidermal cells, which is revealed by cutaneous ulcers and chemical burns.

Where does Irritant Contact Dermatitis Usually Show Up?

Your hands are the primary place where irritant contact dermatitis takes place. This is due to the repeated workplace exposure of your hands to solvents, cleansers and soaps.

The specific cause of irritant contact dermatitis is usually hard to determine. What is known is that irritant contact dermatitis results from direct contact with some type of irritant, such as acids, solvents or other chemicals. Some examples of things that may be possible irritants include:

  • Skin cleaning products
  • Latex, rubber or chemicals
  • Household cleaning products, such as strong detergents or soaps
  • Metals like nickel
  • Clothing or shoes
  • Perfumes, fragrances, cosmetics, makeup or deodorant.

The signs of Contact Dermatitis

There are several different signs and symptoms that you may experience, which may be an indication that you have irritant contact dermatitis. Some of the possible signs and symptoms are:

  • Warmth of the area of your skin that is affected
  • Localized swelling of the affected part of your skin
  • Redness or inflammation of the area of your skin that is affected
  • A pink or red rash or skin lesion that develops at the affected place that may become thickened, crusted, scaly, raw, ooze or drain
  • Tenderness or pain in the part of your skin that is affected
  • Itching that may be intense and severe at the affected area of your skin
  • Dry, red patches that may appear as if they were a burn.

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