Contact/ Irritant Dermatitis

Contact dermatitis is when something that touches your skin gives you an allergic itchy rash. In the majority of cases, the cause of the rash can be difficult to determine, as the rash doesn’t necessarily appear the first time you are exposed to it. More commonly, it is a rash from an item that you have used repeatedly. Irritant dermatitis is when the skin is injured by environmental factors such as water or chemicals faster than the skin can repair itself. Typically, irritants remove the natural moisturizing factor and oils from our skin, which decreases the barrier of the skin and allows chemicals to cause more damage and trigger more inflammation. Anyone can get irritant dermatitis or contact dermatitis, although if you have atopic dermatitis you are more likely.

The keys to healing contact/irritant dermatitis is avoiding the cause of the rash, using thick moisturizing creams to help seal the barrier of the skin and using gentle skin care techniques. Treatment modalities will depend on the part(s) of the body involved with the rash, the severity of the rash, the length of time you have had it and likelihood of re-exposure and recurrence of the rash. Sometimes it can be challenging to determine what item(s) triggered your rash and you may explore allergy testing.

If you are prone to contact/irritant dermatitis, keep your skin care products simple and as chemical-free as possible, eat healthy and remember gentle skin care. Discuss your comprehensive, individualized treatment plan with your integrative dermatologist.

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