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Contact Dermatitis

Contact dermatitis is an unwanted reaction against certain substances that come into contact with the skin and/or mucous membranes (mouth, genitals). It can lead to many symptoms such as itching, scaling, redness, watering and thickening of the skin.

Contact dermatitis occurs in two forms as allergic and irritant. Allergens enter our skin slowly and affect the immune system in allergic contact dermatitis. A certain period of time is required for the reaction to start and allergic contact dermatitis develops when the skin is exposed to the same substance again afterwards. Nickel, cobalt, potassium dichromate, cosmetic products, hair dyes, perfumes and the preservatives in topical drugs are the most common causes of allergic contact dermatitis. A rash can be seen at the contact site as well as other parts of the body.

The constant contact of irritating substances that disrupt the skin structure is the cause of irritant contact dermatitis.  It is especially seen in housewives. The most common causes are soap, detergent and other cleaning products. Rash is only observed at the contact sites.

Contact dermatitis is mainly diagnosed on examination. However, skin biopsy can be performed in suspicious cases. A patch test is recommended to detect the causative factor in allergic contact dermatitis patients.

Finding the triggering factor and avoiding it is essential in the treatment of contact dermatitis but it is not always possible to find the triggering factor. Various topical and systemic treatments, moisturizers and phototherapy (ultraviolet rays) are recommended in this case.