You may know someone that has trouble wearing certain types of jewelry or develops an itchy rash when that person uses some type of lotion or shampoo. This kind of red, itchy rash is called contact dermatitis, and is usually caused by contact with a foreign substance. Since the irritant or allergen must come in contact with the skin, only most superficial layers of the skin are affected.
This type of rash can take days to weeks to heal and fade and it will only completely go away if the skin is no longer coming into contact with the offending irritant or allergen.
There are generally two types of contact dermatitis:
- Allergic Contact Dermatitis – Results from a delayed cellular reaction to some allergen, such as poison ivy or nickel. You may know of someone with a nickel allergy who has trouble wearing certain kinds of jewelry as this is a very common type of contact dermatitis.
- Irritant Contact Dermatitis – Results from a direct skin reaction to a chemical or detergent. Sodium lauryl sulfate, found in many shampoos, is one such chemical. Others include latex and some solvents found in hand sanitizers and lotions, making this type of contact dermatitis an occupational skin disease.
The main course of treatment is determining what substance is causing the reaction. For example, I developed contact dermatitis where a ring sits on my right hand (pictured above), but I don’t have a nickel allergy to jewelry. After some investigation, I discovered I was reacting to a certain brand of hand sanitizer that was getting caught under my ring. After thoroughly cleaning my ring and switching brands of hand sanitizer, my contact dermatitis went away after a couple weeks.
If you’re interested in learning more about allergy and sinus treatment options from Dr. Franzese and her team of specialists please call her office directly at (757) 889-5632.
About Dr. Christine Franzese
Christine Franzese, MD, FAAOA, is a board certified otolaryngologist. She completed a residency in Otolaryngology at University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson, Mississippi. Dr. Franzese’s specialties include: allergies and allergy shots, sinus problems (acute and chronic), mild asthma, obstructive sleep apnea, thyroid masses or nodules, salivary gland disorders and nodules, and pediatric ENT issues (ear infections, tonsillitis). She has surgical expertise with removing tonsils and adenoids, thyroidectomies, parathyroidectomies, parotidectomies, and has extensive experience with sinus surgeries. She offers functional endoscopic sinus surgery, image-guided sinus surgery, and balloon sinuplasty procedures.