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Contact Dermatitis Defined

Contact dermatitis refers to an inflammation of the skin resulting from direct contact of a substance with the surface of the skin. Unlike atopic dermatitis, there is not necessarily a pre-disposition to allergic disease.

Symptoms of contact dermatitis include: 
• Red rash, bumps or a burn-like rash on the skin
• Itchy, painful or burning skin
• Blisters and draining fluid

There are two types of contact dermatitis:

Irritant contact dermatitis is the most common form and is caused when substances such as solvents or other chemicals irritate the skin. The exposure produces red, often more painful than itchy, patches on the involved skin areas.

Allergic contact dermatitis occurs when a substance triggers an immune response. Nickel, perfumes, dyes, rubber (latex) products, topical medications and cosmetics frequently cause allergic contact dermatitis. 

Learn more about skin allergy symptoms, diagnosis, treatment and management.

Learn more about contact dermatitis.

Take our Skin Allergy Quiz

If contact dermatitis symptoms are making you miserable, an allergist / immunologist, often referred to as an allergist, can help. An allergist has advanced training and experience to determine what is causing your symptoms and develop a treatment plan to help you feel better and live better.

The AAAAI's Find an Allergist / Immunologist service is a trusted resource to help you find a specialist close to home.