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Back to Dermatology Diseases

Contact dermatitis

Allergic contact dermatitis, as the name implies, is the result of direct contact with an irritant. One of the most common causes of this form are buttons and rivets in jeans, which contain nickel. Irritant contact dermatitis is similar but is caused by a reaction to some chemical substance, often unrinsed detergents left on clothing or various household chemicals being handled. Stress and anxiety often make otherwise minor outbreaks spread.

Symptoms and clinical manifestations

It presents as eczema. Primary lesions (the disease appearance at the very start) may include papules, erythematous macules, and vesicles, which can coalesce to form patches and plaques. In severe eczema, secondary lesions (the disease appearance later on) from infection or excoriation, marked by weeping and crusting, may predominate. Long-standing dermatitis is often dry and is characterized by thickened, scaling skin (lichenification).

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It is important to identify any possible contact allergens. Treatment of coexistent infection, and application of topical glucocorticoids (preferrably combined with a topical antibiotic) are usually sufficient.

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