Contact dermatitis is a red, itchy rash caused by direct contact with a substance or an allergic reaction to it. The rash isn't contagious or life-threatening, but it can be very uncomfortable, and in some instances life altering.
Many substances can cause such reactions, including soaps, cosmetics, fragrances, jewelry, plants, and work exposures.
To treat contact dermatitis successfully, you need to identify and avoid the cause of your reaction. If you can avoid the offending substance, the rash usually clears up in two to four weeks.
Allergic contact dermatitis occurs when a substance to which you're sensitive (allergen) triggers an immune reaction in your skin. It usually affects only the area that came into contact with the allergen. But it may be triggered by something that enters your body through foods, flavorings, medicine, or medical or dental procedures (systemic contact dermatitis).
You may become sensitized to a strong allergen such as poison ivy after a single exposure. Weaker allergens may require multiple exposures over several years to trigger an allergy. Once you develop an allergy to a substance, even a small amount of it can cause a reaction lasting several weeks.
Sometimes the cause is an esoteric and rare, but common allergens do occur commonly. Some common allergens include:
Contact Allergy Testing is for chemicals (both naturally occurring or synthetic) that our skin comes into contact with.
At Highlander we offer Screening and Extended Patch Testing. We have 17 years of experience managing contact dermatitis. Sometimes Patch Testing is just one step to clearing your skin. The counseling and follow-up care is critical, especially when an allergen cannot be avoided.
We test the standard North American Screening tests along with trays of allergens covering Preservatives, Botanicals, Cosmetics, Metals (Jewelry and Orthopedic), Dental products, Industrial chemicals, Medications and Textile Dyes.
After assessing your dermatitis, the proper tests necessary to asses the potential causes are scheduled.
The Contact Allergic Management App for your smart phone can be invaluable to shuffle through all the allergens and cross-reactors. Just plug in your allergies and find your 'safe' products!
Click CAMP APP to see more information on how to use the resource.
Patch testing is a three stage process from application to final reading. We typically use anywhere from 80 to 220 allergens depending on the potential cause or complexity of the dermatitis.