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Important Info on Contact Dermatitis

What Causes It?

The cause of contact dermatitis is exposure to substances in the environment that come in contact with the skin.
For irritant contact dermatitis, causes might include:
  • Strong alkaline soaps
  • Industrial solvents
  • Pesticides
  • Artificial fertilizers
  • Shampoos
  • Gasoline
  • Clay or plaster
  • Paint.
For allergic contact dermatitis, causes may include:
  • Poison ivy
  • Poison oak
  • Poison sumac
  • Cosmetics, such as hair sprays, shampoos, makeup, sunscreens, perfumes, shaving cream, nail polish, lipstick, deodorants, and acne medications
  • Dyes or fabric finishes.
(Click Causes of Contact Dermatitis to learn more.)

Symptoms of Contact Dermatitis

Symptoms of contact dermatitis usually occur in the area where the substance came in contact with the skin. However, it is possible for other areas to be affected. Spreading is more likely with allergic contact dermatitis.
Cases of irritant contact dermatitis caused by a mild irritant may cause the affected skin to become red, dry, and cracked. Exposure to a strong irritant may result in immediate pain, blistering, and swelling.
Allergic contact dermatitis may cause small or large blisters over the affected area. The skin may also be red and swollen, and may become itchy. Other cases of allergic contact dermatitis may result in the skin becoming dry and leathery. The condition affects people differently; therefore, symptoms will vary.
(Click Contact Dermatitis Symptoms for more information.)

Contact Dermatitis Information

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