| Contact Dermatitis
Allergic Contact Dermatitis, Contact Eczema, Irritant Contact Dermatitis
Contact dermatitis is a reaction, which occurs when skin comes in
contact with certain substances. Two mechanisms exist by which substances
can cause skin inflammation - Irriatation (Irritant contact
dermatitis) or Allergic reaction (Allergic contact dermatitis).
Common irritants include soap, detergents, acids, alkalis and organic
solvents (as are present in nail varnish remover). Contact dermatitis
is most often seen around the hands or areas that touched or were
exposed to the irritant/ . Contact
dermatitis of the feet also exists but differs in that it is due to
the warm, moist conditions in the shoes and socks.
An allergic reaction does not generally occur the first time one is
exposed to a particular substance but on subsequent exposures , which
can cause dermatitis in 4 to 24 hours.
Treatment includes removal or avoidance of the substance causing the
irritation, cleansing the area with water and mild soap (to avoid
infection). A recent recommendation for mild cases is to use a manganese
sulfate solution to reduce the itching.
are generally not very helpful. The most common treatment for severe
contact dermatitis is with
tablets, ointments or creams, which diminish the immune attack and
When people get urushiol, the oil present in , and on their skin, it causes another form of allergic contact
dermatitis (see above). This is a -mediated
immune response, also called ,
in which the body's
recognizes as foreign, and attacks, the complex of urushiol-derivatives
with skin proteins. The irony is that urushiol, in the absence of
the immune attack, would be harmless.
Atopic dermatitis is a chronic, itchy inflammation of the upper
layers of the skin. Often develops in people who have hay fever
or asthma or that have family members with these conditions. Most
commonly displayed during infanthood, usually disappering by the
age of 3 or 4. Recent medical study suggest that Staphylococcus
aureus (a ) contributes to
exacerbations of atopic dermatitis.
Treatment is similar to that of contact dermatitis. See also .
An inflammation of the upper layers of the skin where scales appear
on the scalp, face and sometimes in other areas. Usually more common
in cold weather and often runs in families.
A chronic redness, scaling, warmth and swelling on the lower legs.
Often results in dark brown skin due to a pooling of blood and fluid
under the skin, thus usually displayed by those with varicose veins