You notice you have a red, bumpy,
itchy rash on your arm. You visit the doctor. He says you have
contact dermatitis. Do you know what that is?
Contact dermatitis is the name for any skin inflammation that
occurs when the skin's surface reacts to coming in contact with a
substance originating outside the body. It is not contagious, and
the severity of the reaction can vary from person to person.
Contact dermatitis can be caused by skin irritants such as harsh
soaps, cosmetics, chemical cleaning products and deodorant. It can
also be caused by an allergic reaction to plants or items such as
costume jewelry, dyes, poison ivy and oak, cashews, perfumes and
What to do if you have contact dermatitis?
First you need to identify what substance your body is reacting
to. Some substances, like the oil that causes poison ivy or oak
rash, are not visible and you may not even know you came in contact
Once identifying the source of your contact dermatitis, prevent
coming in contact with that substance again to help prevent another
Over-the-counter anti-itch medications can help relieve the
symptoms and reduce inflammation. These may include hydrocortisone
products or an antihistamine, such as Calagel. If over-the-counter solutions are not
giving you any relief, or if you are unsure what the rash is caused
from, be sure to consult a physician. You will also want to consult
a physician if your rash is hot, painful, swollen, or if the
symptoms appear to get worse.