Start with patch testing in the Barrington area to curb infections, chronic conditions brought on by inflamed skin
It’s easy to see why contact dermatitis is assumed to be a type of allergy.
As with allergic reactions, this condition is triggered by exposure to certain substances. This type of skin inflammation is also characterized with red rashes, raised bumps, severe itching (sometimes), cracking and scales, blisters, swelling, and a burning sensation — symptoms often shared by those with allergies to mites, pollen, and mold, and those allergic to some foods, insects and drugs.
Only 20 percent of contact dermatitis cases are considered “allergic.” You may have this type of contact dermatitis should your skin become itchy, red, scaly, or raw, and blister when you encounter common allergens, such as:
- Topical antibiotics
- Metals containing nickel (jewelry, zippers, buttons, watch bands)
- Nail polish
- Hair dye + adhesives for false eyelashes, toupees
“Irritant” contact dermatitis makes up the vast majority of cases. This type isn’t caused by allergen that sets off a hyperactive immune response to a substance it perceives as “foreign.” Instead, this condition happens when the culprit substance actually injures the skin’s outermost layer. Sometimes, a strong irritant can cause symptoms after just one exposure. Other time, even a mild irritant can trigger symptoms after repeated exposures.
A few irritants include:
- Rubbing alcohol
- Detergents and bleach
- Solvents like kerosene
- Personal care products (makeup, deodorant, soaps)
- Airborne saw or wool dust
Patch testing is the go-to method associated with contact dermatitis. At Advanced Allergy & Asthma Associates and Food Allergy Center of Illinois, we can determine if your inflamed skin is caused by an actual allergy. From there, we can develop a customized treatment plan, which may involve avoiding the culprit substance(s) when possible.
With patch testing, we apply very small amounts of the suspected allergens to gentle, waterproof patches. These patches are then adhered to your skin, where they stay for two days. After 48 hours, you’ll return to our Lake Barrington office, conveniently located just five miles from Barrington, where we can check for a skin reaction. We’ll see you again after 72 hours.
Contact dermatitis can be very uncomfortable. It can lead to chronic itchy, scaly skin. The areas where you frequently scratch can harbor the bacteria that cause infection. The sooner we see you in the Barrington area for patch testing, the sooner you can feel comfortable in your skin again, free of potentially more serious complications.