In a world where we are exposed to various materials and substances that don’t always agree with us, the skin can be affected and become prone to problems. Dermatitis is a common skin condition which occurs when the skin has had contact with a substance or material, which causes one or more of the following reactions:
Dermatitis can occur quickly after initial contact with a strong substance. However, continuous contact to weaker substances or materials can also result in a dermatitis flare up.
Types of dermatitis
Irritant contact dermatitis
This is when the skin has been in contact with a substance known as an irritant, ranging from an acute to a chronic reaction. These can be biological, chemical, mechanical or physical, such as the following:
- Hair dyes
- UV cured printing inks
- Food substances (eg shellfish, flour)
- Wet cement
- Some plants (eg chrysanthemums)
Acute irritant contact dermatitis occurs from a mild reaction usually resulting in redness, pain and possible blister. Chronic irritant dermatitis often begins with a few patches of dry, slightly inflamed skin that become thickened with time.
Allergic contact dermatitis
This form of dermatitis occurs when an individual becomes allergic to a substance. If an individual becomes sensitised to an allergen substance, allergic contact dermatitis is likely to become permanent. Thus resulting in the individual suffering from a flare up each time they come in contact with the substance.
The following are examples of substances that can trigger allergic contact dermatitis:
- Soaps, shampoos and detergents
- Some food (eg onions)
- Oils and greases
- Acids and alkalis
An early sign of allergic contact dermatitis can be an itch around the site where a substance or material, such as an earring or elastic band, has been in contact with the skin. This itch can develop into redness, swelling and blistering. Prolonged exposure of an allergen can results in the skin becoming drier, thicker and scalier with possible change in colour (pigmentation).
Dermatitis can be a very painful and embarrassing condition. There are ways of treating and helping the symptoms and appearance of Dermatitis. Miravue Dermatologists can give you expert tailored advice and guidance to help you feel good about your skin again.