Contact dermatitis is probably one of the most common skin problems, affecting virtually everyone at least occasionally. It is a skin reaction to something you have touched. Some triggers are well known, and usually avoidable. For example, if you get a harsh chemical on your skin or handle poison ivy, you would expect to get a rash. However, it can also be caused by less expected and harder to identify substances.
Literally anything, even sunlight, can trigger contact dermatitis. Dr. Khrom and her team at Khrom Dermatology in Brooklyn, NY have helped countless patients find relief with comprehensive diagnostics and customized treatment.
This type of dermatitis occurs when you touch an allergen. Sometimes it is easy to identify the source, and other times it is not. For example, if you get a rash every time you wear a certain bracelet, you almost certainly have a metal allergy, most likely to nickel. However, if you react to nickel-free jewelry, then you have a less common metal allergy. The trigger could be any one or more of the ingredients in the alloy. Similarly, if you are allergic to certain cleaners, the trigger is probably a common ingredient, but you are left to guess what it may be.
Further complicating the process of identifying allergens is the fact that skin can take several hours to react. If you break out with a rash in the afternoon, it may have been caused by any number of things you handled that morning.
Allergies, which are a malfunction of the immune response, are not always to blame for contact dermatitis. It can also be triggered by skin irritation or injury, such as that caused by abrasive fabrics or harsh chemicals. Some of the most common triggers include solvents, detergents, abrasive fabrics, or even prolonged exposure to water. Sometimes, especially in the case of chemical triggers, it can be difficult to determine if you are allergic or simply sensitive to irritation, without consulting a dermatologist.
Diagnosis and treatment
The first step is finding out exactly what is causing your dermatitis and why. In many cases, an individual is allergic to multiple substances. At Khrom Dermatology, we use a panel that tests for more than 100 of the most common allergens to pinpoint the cause or causes. Once we have confirmed allergies or irritants and pinpointed to cause, we will help you implement lifestyle changes to avoid triggers, in addition to medical treatment for any current or future outbreaks.
If you frequently experience skin rashes of unknown cause, it could be contact dermatitis. Call Khrom Dermatology at 718-751-0674 for a consultation to learn how we can help.