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Treatment of Allergic Contact Dermatitis

graphWhen you come in touch with an allergen or an irritant you get a skin reaction which is called Contact Dermatitis. The common causes ranging from chemicals to cosmetics, poison ivy, metals, soaps or merely water. The itchiness in the skin arises after a few hours of being in contact with the responsible material and goes down after a few days provided the skin has not been in touch with it. In severity of cases, allergic dermatitis leads to autoeczematisation or id reaction. When you swallow a contact allergen, it is more or less safe, unless it leads to the baboon syndrome or the generalised systematic contact dermatitis.

How is it different from similar syndromes?

  • It can be distinguished from Contact urticaria where is an appearance of rash that appears soon after exposure and fades away too. The reaction which is allergic to latex is probably the best example of the above.
  • It is also different from irritant contact dermatitis where there are rashes in the skin caused by water, soaps and detergents and it might affect anyone in contact dermatitis. Hand dermatitis happens due to the contact with any kind of irritant.
  • Contact dermatitis normally occurs from the allergen itself and not from any food or internal source. There is no allergy after the first contact; it develops over a period of time after many years without any undesirable effect.

The medical features:

The affected areas of the skin become swollen, red and blistered. Normally confined locally to that area of the skin that is in contact with the allergen, in few cases, it does spread to unexpected places like genitals and eyelids through fingers

A few very common examples of the type:

  • When there is an allergy to nickel, you develop eczema in the wrist underneath the strap.
  • A contact allergy to rosin present in the adhesive plaster leads to eczema in the lower leg after the ankle strap is removed.
  • When you wear rubber gloves, you might get hand dermatitis caused by certain chemicals in the rubber accelerator.
  • A preservative called methylisothiazolinone in baby wipes or hair wash products causes itchiness and redness in the facial areas.


  • First and foremost is the recognition of the substance that is responsible for this allergy, so that if possible, it can be avoided.
  • Do patch tests to find out the substance that you are allergic to.
  • Find out where is the allergen located.
  • Study your immediate environment carefully to discover the allergen.
  • Use suitable gloves when touching materials that you suspect could be allergic and sometimes these gloves are also fragile to certain chemicals so seek expert advice.
  • Take help from your dermatologist at every stage.
  • Numerous types of seborrheic dermatitis natural treatment you can find in your own home are also available

Treatment of Contact dermatitis when it is beyond the mild stage:

  • Use of emollients, which will help to soften and moisturise the skin. It is often used to rectify dryness and scaling and even mild irritant contact dermatitis.
  • To control dermatitis and other skin conditions topical steroids are effective as they are anti-inflammatory preparations. They work by reducing the inflammation. Apply only at the affected areas, using twice daily for a couple of weeks at least and a combination with an emollient if there is a dry skin issue. This is because incorrect usage might result in adverse effects too.
  • Taking oral pills like systemic steroids only when the situation is very severe because the cortisteroids, glucocorticoids or cortisones have very serious side effects. They regulate the protein, lipid, carbohydrate and nucleic acid metabolism and the inflammation and the immune responses of the body. But once you are doing a course of this steroid it is not recommended to stop suddenly, but with the help of medical help, gradual reduction is advisable.
  • PUVA or photo chemotherapy is an ultraviolet radiation treatment which is again used when the severity increases. It is used to treat various skin orders like psoriasis, dermatitis, vitiligo, polymorphic light eruption and cutaneous T-cell lymphoma. There could be certain side-effects like burning, temporary itching, nausea, tanning and eye damage and in some cases skin aging or cancer too.
  • Use of the drug Azathioprine and mercaptopurine which curbs the immune system by changing the white blood cell function. When you have skin disorders like atopic dermatitis, bullous pemphiqoid, pemphiqus vulgaris etc this thiopurine analogue drug is used.
  • Tacrolimus affects the immune system and directly on the skin cells. It has been clinically proved that oral or topical application effectively treats this inflammatory skin disease.
  • Hospital admission is generally not a requirement for Allergic Contact Dermititis (ACD) but when patients can’t take care of themselves, it might be good idea to get yourself examined and improve on the situation.