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Contact dermatitis symptoms, treatment and prevention


The skin, which is a body organ formed by the epidermis, dermis, and subcutaneous fat layer, has various functions, such as temperature regulation and a function as a barrier against the external environment. Inflammation of the skin that plays such an important role is called dermatitis, and it is divided into several types, such as atopic dermatitis and seborrheic dermatitis, depending on the type of occurrence. Contact dermatitis is one of these types of dermatitis, and refers to inflammation of the skin that causes irritation and allergic reactions when a substance that causes skin comes into contact with it. Such contact dermatitis is largely divided into irritant contact dermatitis, which is caused by irritation of the contact substance itself, and allergic contact dermatitis, which occurs when there is an allergic reaction to the contact substance.

It is known that irritant contact dermatitis and allergic contact dermatitis, which correspond to contact dermatitis, have different causes. The incidence of irritant contact dermatitis is much higher than that of allergic dermatitis, and it is known that chemicals, cosmetics, soaps, and substances contained in diapers damage the protective layer of the skin. In particular, it is known to occur well when there is atopic disease or when the barrier function of the stratum corneum of the skin is deteriorated. In the case of allergic dermatitis, it is reported that metals such as chromium and nickel, jewelry, cosmetics, perfume, hair dye, and plants act as allergens and trigger an immune response in the skin. Now, let’s take a look at the various symptoms that appear when contact dermatitis occurs, as well as various information about treatment and prevention.

Main symptoms of contact dermatitis

The symptoms of contact dermatitis are red, round erythema and eczema-type lesions accompanied by swelling along with inflammation at the site that has been in contact with the causative substance. And when you touch it, you may feel a stinging sensation and at the same time redness, pain, hives, etc. of the skin may occur. The symptoms of contact dermatitis are similar to both irritation and allergy. The difference is that in general contact dermatitis, symptoms appear immediately after the use of the relevant substance, whereas allergic contact dermatitis symptoms appear 12 to 24 hours after contact with antigenic substances.

In most cases, such contact dermatitis is easily improved if it is not exposed to the causative agent, but it is said that recurrence occurs easily in the state of repeated contact. In addition, if contact dermatitis is not treated properly, scarring or pigmentation may occur, and secondary infection by viruses or bacteria may accompany it. And prolonged exposure to allergens and harmful chemicals can lead to chronic contact dermatitis lasting for years. Therefore, it is important to receive prompt treatment when various signs of suspected symptoms appear, and it is important to continue to perform continuous management after treatment.

Treatment and prevention of contact dermatitis

1. Diagnosis and examination

For the diagnosis of contact dermatitis, it is important to accurately find the substances suspected of causing the disease through the process of checking the individual and family’s allergy history, exposure history to irritant exposure, and contact with toxic substances depending on the type of skin symptoms. In addition, several tests are conducted, such as a patch test that attaches a substance suspected of causing the problem to the skin to check the reaction, and a trigger test that rubs the substance suspected of causing the occurrence several times a day.

2. Appropriate treatment

The treatment of contact dermatitis involves identifying the causative agent and firstly avoiding contact with the substance. And if a reaction occurs after exposure, use a moisturizing cream or lotion, or apply a cold compress to dry the bullous lesion. And for contact dermatitis that has progressed to chronicity, it is effective to apply an oily cream or ointment, etc. And if it does not improve despite these various treatments, or if the lesion has spread throughout the body, antihistamines and ointments are used to relieve inflammation, and steroids are sometimes taken.

3. Limit contact with the causative agent

In preventing and treating contact dermatitis, the most important thing is to find the causative substance and avoid contact. In particular, the sensitive condition of allergic contact dermatitis is known to last for a very long time, so care must be taken to avoid exposure to the causative agent.

Also, dressing with wet gauze can be helpful for sore lesions, and if you wrap a towel soaked in cold water in a plastic bag and apply it to the affected area, or use refrigerated saline to improve symptoms such as itching. They say they can help. However, it is recommended not to apply ice directly to the lesion area.

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