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Contact dermatitis occurs when the skin comes in contact with irritating substances or allergens. These irritants cause the skin to become inflamed, causing it to burn, itch and redden.
There are two kinds of contact dermatitis: irritant and allergic.

Contact dermatitis usually develops on areas of the body that are most likely to come in contact with irritants, such as the hands, and legs.

The most common irritants include:

  • Industrial chemicals
  • Detergents
  • Fumes/fragrance
  • Solvents
  • Tobacco smoke
  • Paints
  • Bleach
  • Wool
  • Acidic Foods
  • Astringents
  • Skin care products that contain alcohol (but not cetyl alcohol)
  • Some soaps and fragrances
  • Allergens (usually animal dander or pollens)

Symptoms of contact dermatitis include:

  • Redness and rash
  • Burning or swelling
  • Blisters that weep or crust

What can you do to help control contact dermatitis?
The best way to treat contact dermatitis is by avoiding all irritants. There are many organisations setup to assist sufferers, such as the Contact Allergen Management Program (CAMP) and the Contact Allergen Replacement Database (CARD).


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