Contact Dermatitis Specialist

South Bay Allergy and Asthma Group -  - Allergy, Asthma, & Immunology Specialist

South Bay Allergy and Asthma Group

Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology Physicians located in San Jose, Los Gatos, Mountain View, and Redwood City

If you find you develop a rash after coming in contact with a particular substance, you could well have contact dermatitis. South Bay Allergy and Asthma Group has allergy experts that use the most up to date treatments to relieve your symptoms and help you avoid the problems contact dermatitis can cause. Call one of their convenient branches in San Jose, Los Gatos, Mountain View, and Redwood City, California, to find out more or book an appointment online.

Contact Dermatitis Q & A

What is contact dermatitis?

Contact dermatitis (CD) is a skin condition that affects many people, causing symptoms that include a burning or stinging sensation, redness, swelling, and peeling. You could also develop skin lesions, and your skin might thicken and crack, leaving you vulnerable to infection.

There are two types of contact dermatitis:

Irritant contact dermatitis (ICD)

Around 80% of contact dermatitis cases are irritant rather than allergic. ICD can affect anyone and appears after repeated exposure to substances such as:

  • Soaps
  • Detergents
  • Acids
  • Bases
  • Solvents
  • Saliva
  • Urine
  • Stool

Anything you put on your skin is a potential irritant.

Allergic contact dermatitis (ACD)

ACD affects people who have a genetic predisposition or have been sensitized by previous exposure. It only takes a low concentration of the allergen to cause symptoms. Typical ACD allergens include:

  • Cosmetics
  • Medicines
  • Clothes dyes
  • Food
  • Rubber
  • Poison ivy

The symptoms of contact dermatitis affect the area of skin where you touch the irritant or allergen. For example, a latex allergy would cause your hands to develop contact dermatitis if you wore gloves containing latex.

How is contact dermatitis diagnosed?

Your provider at South Bay Allergy and Asthma Group can make an initial diagnosis of the cause of your contact dermatitis by reviewing your medical history and lifestyle, looking at the potential exposure you have to irritants and allergens, and carrying out a physical exam.

They also run a patch test to determine the cause of your contact dermatitis. Your provider applies a small quantity of a selection of diluted allergens to the skin on your back and covers them with paper tape. 

After 48 hours, they remove the tape and score the reactions. Further assessments take place after 72-96 hours.

How is contact dermatitis treated?

After patch testing and confirmation of the trigger for your contact dermatitis, you can avoid the relevant substance and prevent further attacks. Unless you avoid the substance you’re allergic to, the dermatitis could develop into a chronic, disabling condition.

If you’re experiencing an outbreak of contact dermatitis, cold compresses can help with the itching. If you have oozing lesions, Burrow’s solution (aluminum triacetate), calamine lotion, and oatmeal baths can soothe your skin and aid healing.

If you have a severe rash, your provider at South Bay Allergy and Asthma Group might prescribe other medications, such as:

  • Topical steroids
  • Antihistamines
  • Topical immunomodulators
  • Topical antibiotics
  • Systemic steroids
  • Cyclosporine
  • Methotrexate
  • Azathioprine
  • Mycophenolate mofetil

South Bay Allergy and Asthma Group doctors have considerable expertise in both diagnosing and treating contact dermatitis. If you’re experiencing symptoms that could be due to contact dermatitis, call today to schedule a consultation or book an appointment online.