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Contact dermatitis: symptoms and treatment, causes

What it is? Contact dermatitis is an inflammation of certain areas of the skin in response to exposure to stimuli. Allergic reactions can be triggered by laundry detergents, shampoos, gels, soaps, creams, ointments, plant pollen, synthetic fabric — anything that comes in direct contact with the surface of the skin (see photo).

Contact dermatitis has two stages of development:

  1. The stage of sensitization - at this stage, the patient's immune system produces antibodies that later come to grips with the allergen;
  2. Stage of clinical manifestations - skin rashes appear.

The first stage of development passes without any clinical signs and often goes unnoticed by the patient. The duration of this period takes an average of about 2 weeks.

manifestations of contact dermatitis, photo

manifestations of contact dermatitis, photo

Upon the expiration of the specified period, when the patient's skin interacts with the allergen again, contact dermatitis develops, which is caused by the release of a special substance by the skin cells, which acts as a mediator (provoker) of the inflammatory process.

Most often, allergic contact dermatitis develops in children or those whose work is associated with constant interaction with irritants - powders, alkalis, chemicals and other things.

Depending on the causes of dermatitis, there are 2 types of the disease:

  • Contact - develops as a result of the influence on certain areas of the skin irritating factors. The reaction to the irritant develops in the patient immediately on a limited area of ​​the skin (on that which is in contact with the irritant substance);
  • Allergic - the clinical picture develops gradually, in particular during the secondary contact of the skin with the allergen. The affected area is not limited to only the area of ​​the skin that is in contact with the irritating substance, the inflammatory process often extends to other areas of the skin. (more on allergic dermatitis ).



The causes of contact dermatitis are the following factors:

  • Hereditary predisposition;
  • Contact of the skin with metals (with a nickel alloy belt plaque);
  • Wearing synthetic clothes;
  • Hypersensitivity of the skin to detergents (washing gel, washing powder, fabric rinse);
  • Intolerance of natural materials (wool, latex and others).

Dry sensitive skin is most affected by various irritants.

The symptoms of contact dermatitis on the hands are sometimes difficult to differentiate from other skin diseases, since the clinical signs are similar, therefore it is important to immediately consult a doctor and not self-medicate.

Symptoms of contact dermatitis, photo

Armpit Contact Dermatitis

Armpit contact dermatitis, photo 2

Peeling and dryness of the inflamed areas

Peeling, dryness photo 3

Regardless of the cause of the disease, the clinical signs of dermatitis are always the same:

  1. Redness of individual areas of the skin (contact dermatitis on the face, hands or other parts of the body);
  2. Severe itching of inflamed skin;
  3. Peeling and dryness of the inflamed areas;
  4. Puffiness of the skin;
  5. The appearance of small bubbles filled with liquid;
  6. The appearance of microscopic cracks, which, when combed, become the entry gate for infectious pathogens;
  7. Soaking the skin and attaching a secondary bacterial infection.

In most cases, an allergic form is found on the hands, since this part of the body is daily exposed to various detergents and aggressive environmental factors.

Contact dermatitis on the face is most often caused by the use of low-quality cosmetics or by prolonged exposure of the skin to ultraviolet rays (tanning beds).

Common symptoms of the disease can be added to the symptoms of contact dermatitis:

  • Irritability;
  • Insomnia;
  • Anxiety;
  • The development of neurosis.
  • Diagnostics, analyzes

If clinical signs of dermatitis are found, the patient should consult a dermatologist and allergist for advice. In order to identify the cause of the development of an allergic reaction, the specialist conducts application tests to the patient.

contact dermatitis on the face photo

contact dermatitis on the face photo

The essence of the study consists in applying various allergic agents to the skin, after which they observe the reaction. If after 15-30 minutes at the site of application, redness and itching appear, then the probability of a negative reaction to this allergen is high.

Determination and exclusion of interaction with the allergen, which causes the patient's clinical picture of the disease, helps to achieve stable remission in the treatment of contact dermatitis.

In addition to allergic tests, the patient must be prescribed a comprehensive biochemical blood test, which helps determine the presence of antibodies in the body.

Contact dermatitis treatment

Contact dermatitis treatment

Treatment of contact dermatitis is carried out comprehensively and is aimed at eliminating the clinical symptoms of the disease, normalizing the skin condition and further eliminating the interaction of the patient's skin with an irritating agent.

  • Glucocorticosteroids are usually prescribed for the rapid removal of puffiness, itching and inflammation of the skin, usually in the form of a cream or ointment locally, but in severe cases, when oozing the damaged areas, injection of drugs is advisable.
  • To eliminate itching, antihistamines are prescribed for oral administration (tablets or drops), for example, Diazolin, Claritin, Suprastin, Loratodin.

When joining a bacterial infection as a result of strong scratching of the skin, the treatment of dermatitis must be adjusted by prescribing antibiotics and physiotherapy.

In the period of remission, the patient is prescribed treatment and health procedures, spa treatment.

Features of the course of dermatitis in children

The skin of children differs from the skin of an adult in high sensitivity, subtlety and tenderness, therefore, dermatitis is most common and occurs in young patients. Unlike “adult” causes, contact allergic dermatitis in a child can develop as a result of:

  • Long stay in a wet diaper;
  • Friction folds and seams of clothes on the delicate skin;
  • Non-compliance with the rules of hygiene;

Daily bathing with soap or detergent (the child’s skin should be washed with a soap no more than once a week).

The most common manifestations of dermatitis in a child are most noticeable in the area of ​​the inguinal folds, cervical folds, underarms, skin of the buttocks, on the knee and elbow folds.

For young patients, it is especially important to promptly identify the cause of the disease and limit contact with the allergen, since the transition of dermatitis to the chronic form of flow is fraught with the subsequent formation of asthma and the body's tendency to anaphylaxis and angioedema.

Prevention of contact dermatitis

Persons with a hereditary predisposition to allergic dermatitis, as well as those people whose work is connected with constant contact with direct allergens, to prevent the development of dermatitis, it is necessary to observe preventive measures:

  • With aggressive agents that irritate the skin, work only with gloves, then wash hands thoroughly;
  • Use hypoallergenic cosmetics;
  • Wash things with phosphate-free powders, necessarily rinsing the laundry;
  • Do not use different fabric softeners;
  • Before going out in the sun or visiting a tanning salon, apply a cream on your skin with the optimum UV protection spectrum for you;
  • Wear clothes from natural fabrics.

To prevent the development of atopic dermatitis in children with hereditary predisposition:

  • Introduce complementary foods to the child not earlier than 6 months;
  • Wash things only with baby or household soap;
  • Boil water before bathing to soften it a little;
  • Use soap to wash the body no more than 1 time per week (not taking into account leaching);
  • Do not leave the baby for a long time in a disposable diaper;
  • Take more air baths.

Contact dermatitis: ICD code 10

According to ICD 10 cd of contact allergic dermatitis - L23.


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