Skin irritation and causes
Contact dermatitis is an inflammatory reaction of the skin that occurs after exposure to certain substances. Our skin is the largest, and perhaps the most unique organ of the human body. Not only does the skin play an immutably functional role for our survival, it also contributes fundamentally to our looks and beauty. One of the primary functions of our skin it to provide a protective barrier from the environment. This means that the skin will be exposed to tens of thousands of substances over our lifetime. Of all of these substances, thousands may cause contact dermatitis. The ironic part is that even some of the most helpful products can cause contact dermatitis. For example, cosmetics, shampoos, clothing, and even protective gloves all contain potentially irritating components. On the other side of the conversation, there are agents that are designed to cause irritation in the skin such as pepper spray.
Identifying contact dermatitis
Contact dermatitis can affect you to varying degrees, anything from mild redness and itching to a severe allergic reaction known as anaphylaxis. In this article, we will focus on irritant contact dermatitis. As mentioned earlier, many substances can irritate our skin. Soaps, foods, and water are generally mild irritants. Extended exposure to these substances often cause mild contact dermatitis. The signs and symptoms of mild irritants take time, and you will gradually notice symptoms such as:
- Dry, chapped, and flaking skin.
- Patches of itchy, red, swollen, and scaly skin.
- Each time an irritant touches the affected skin, you feel stinging and/or burning.
- In advanced stages, the skin may crack and become excessive dry.
- Sores and blisters may develop and evolve into crusty and scaly skin.
Getting a strong irritant like battery acid or fiberglass on your skin can cause an acute and painful reaction after just one short exposure.
Diagnosis and treatment of contact dermatitis
With so many common substances possible, finding the cause of your contact dermatitis often requires a bit of detective work. Your dermatologist will take a comprehensive medical and family history, asking you questions about your job, hobbies, pets, diet, and skin care products. If your dermatologist suspects certain substances, patch testing may be recommended. This is a safe and effective way to find out if your skin has developed sensitivities to anything. Once the irritant is discovered, your dermatologist can make recommendations that will help you avoid what caused the rash. If it is determined that one or more of the substances is something that is common on your job, you can still avoid a rash. Your dermatologist can offer simple and effective solutions for ways to work and protect your skin. In fact, over 80% of patients who are diagnosed with work related dermatitis successfully manages the condition without any problems.
Treatment for contact dermatitis in Charlotte, NC
If you have a problem with itching or irritated skin, Dermatology Specialists of Charlotte can provide a safe, effective, and non-invasive treatment. Dr. Nixon and Dr. Haught are board certified dermatologists whose dedication, experience, and knowledge will provide the best possible treatment for your skin, hair, and cosmetic concerns.
Dermatology Specialists of Charlotte also offers medical, cosmetic, and surgical dermatology; including removal of skin cancer. In addition to chemical peels, they provide a full range of cosmetic offerings such as skin tightening, fat reduction, Botox treatments, microdermabrasion, and more. They are equipped for treatment of both adult and pediatric patients. Call their office today for a complementary consultation to determine your specific needs.