What Is Contact Dermatitis?


Contact Dermatitis is an inflammation of a reddish itchy skin rash that results from direct contact with certain substances and irritates the skin, or is an allergic reaction to certain substances. The rash that arises from inflammation is not contagious or dangerous, but can cause discomfort for sufferers. For treatment to work effectively, sufferers must identify and avoid the cause of contact dermatitis on their skin. The rash can usually disappear within two to four weeks.


Symptoms of Contact Dermatitis
Symptoms of contact dermatitis appear on parts of the body that make direct contact with substances that trigger a reaction on the skin. These symptoms can appear within a few minutes to several hours after contact has occurred. The common symptoms of contact dermatitis in the patient's skin are:
  • Reddish rash.
  • Itching can be severe.
  • Dry.
  • Swelling.
  • Dry or scaly skin.
  • Blisters or blisters.
  • Thickened.
  • Broken.
  • Feels painful when touched or pain occurs.
The symptoms of contact dermatitis that arise depend on the cause and sensitivity of the skin to the substances that trigger the reaction. Contact dermatitis due to allergies can appear within a few days after contact. In addition to general symptoms, other symptoms of allergic contact dermatitis are shown by the skin appearing darker, burning, sensitive to sunlight, and swelling of the face, eyes, or groin. Whereas contact dermatitis due to irritation with certain substances is indicated by crusty or very dry skin, the skin feels stiff or hard, and open wounds appear that form a layer of hard skin.

Contact dermatitis can also cause secondary infections. Signs of infected skin include:
  • The symptoms are getting worse.
  • Exit pus from the skin.
  • Increasing pain.
  • Feeling unwell.
  • Fever .
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Contact Dermatitis Causes
The cause of contact dermatitis is the skin that is exposed to certain substances that cause irritation or allergic reactions. There are two types of contact dermatitis that are differentiated based on skin reactions to substances that cause dermatitis, namely:
  • Irritant contact dermatitis. Direct contact occurs on the outer layer of the skin with certain substances, thus damaging the protective layer of the skin. This type of dermatitis is more common. Some substances that can trigger irritant contact dermatitis are soap, detergent, shampoo, bleach, substances in the air (such as sawdust or woolen powder), plants, fertilizers, pesticides, acids, alkalis, engine oils, perfumes, and preservatives .
  • Allergic contact dermatitis. Appears when the skin comes in contact with an allergen that triggers the immune system to react, causing itchy and inflamed skin. Allergen substances that often trigger allergic reactions on the skin include drugs (such as antibiotic creams), substances in the air (such as pollen), plants, metal in jewelry, rubber), and cosmetic ingredients (eg nail polish and hair dye).
Some types of work related to substances that have been mentioned can increase a person's risk of contact dermatitis. The types of work include health workers, mine and construction workers, hairdressers, mechanics, divers or swimmers, janitors and gardeners, and chefs.


Diagnosis of Contact Dermatitis
To determine the diagnosis of contact dermatitis, the doctor will look for the source of the cause of contact dermatitis by asking the patient's personal health history and family, allergy history, and work. To ensure a diagnosis, the doctor will conduct a series of examinations which include:
  • Physical examination. The doctor will see the appearance of the skin suspected of contact dermatitis and study the pattern and intensity of the rash on the skin.
  • Allergy test through the skin. Skin allergy testing can be done by puncture or paste tests. In the patch test, the doctor will attach paper containing several allergen substances to identify the cause of allergic contact dermatitis. After two days, the paper is removed and the reaction on the skin is examined.
  • ROAT test or irritation test. On this examination, the patient will be asked to apply certain substances to the same part of the skin, twice a day, for 5 to 10 days, to see how the skin reacts.

Contact Dermatitis Treatment
Most contact dermatitis will disappear. There are several ways that can be done at home to relieve symptoms of contact dermatitis, namely:
  • Avoid exposure to irritating or allergic substances on the skin. Patients are encouraged to find out what substances cause contact dermatitis.
  • Stop using products that contain irritant or allergic substances.
  • Using skin moisturizer. This is done to reduce the risk of dry skin and protect the skin.
  • Compress the contact dermatitis area with cold compresses. Compress can be done with a damp cloth that can relieve itching.
  • Avoid scratching contact dermatitis areas. In addition, sufferers need to cut their nails if they can't stop scratching.
  • Protect hands. Rinse and dry hands when washing hands, and use gloves to protect them.
If efforts to relieve symptoms at home do not show results, the doctor can prescribe medication in the form of:
  • Corticosteroid creams or ointments. Drugs such as hydrocortisone are applied to the skin once a day to relieve the rash .
  • Corticosteroid tablets . This drug will be given if the patient has dermatitis in contact with the area of ​​the skin is quite extensive. Giving these tablets is usually for 5-7 days. Consumption of corticosteroid tablets for a long time has the risk of causing some side effects, such as growth disorders in children, hypertension, osteoporosis, and diabetes.
If the administration of the above drugs has not been able to relieve symptoms, then the doctor can take care in the form of:
  • Immunosuppressant therapy, which is the administration of drugs that can suppress the body's immune system to reduce inflammation.
  • Phototherapy. The affected skin area is exposed to UV light, to help restore its appearance. Usually, this technique is recommended by a dermatologist to improve the appearance of the skin affected by contact dermatitis.

Contact Dermatitis Complications
If not treated properly, contact dermatitis can cause complications, namely skin infections . Infection can occur if the patient constantly scratches the rash on the skin so that the rash gets wet. the condition of wet rashes is an ideal condition for the development of bacteria and fungi, which can cause infection.


Prevention of Contact Dermatitis
The best way to prevent contact dermatitis is to avoid contact with allergens and irritants, for example by replacing body care products that cause allergies or irritation. If you can't avoid it, there are several ways to reduce the risk of contact dermatitis, namely:
  • Cleanses the skin after exposure to substances that cause irritation or allergic reactions.
  • Wear protective clothing or gloves to reduce direct contact between the skin and allergens and irritants.
  • Use moisturizer. This aims to improve the condition of the outermost layer of the skin, so that the skin is protected from allergens or irritants.

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