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Kristin B. Smucker, PA-C
Alisha Varner, PA-C
Gavin Blake Vincent, PA-C
Dominick Woofter, MD
Isha Woofter, MD
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Contact Dermatitis

An itchy, swollen rash caused by direct contact with a substance or an allergic reaction to the substance.

What is it?

Contact dermatitis is a skin ailment that arises when you encounter certain substances that trigger an inflammation in your skin. The culprits can vary from cleaning products and soaps to specific plants, like poison ivy or poison oak. This reaction results in inflamed, itchy, and frequently painful rashes on the skin areas that came into contact with the irritants. The condition isn't infectious, but it can be extremely uncomfortable.


There are two kinds of contact dermatitis - allergic contact dermatitis and irritant contact dermatitis. Irritant contact dermatitis is commonly caused soaps, detergents and fabric softeners, hand sanitizers, disinfectants and cleaning chemicals. The other type is allergic contact dermatitis, which occurs when the skin encounters a substance that provokes an allergic response. Substances like adhesives, topical antibiotics, dyes present in clothing, towels, washcloths, or hair dyes, nail polish, plants such as poison ivy, poison oak, and sumac, and rubber or latex gloves can generate allergic contact dermatitis. It's crucial to understand that determining the exact cause of allergic contact dermatitis can be challenging due to the delay between exposure to the allergen and the rash's appearance.


While contact dermatitis can affect anyone, certain individuals face a heightened risk, particularly those with pre-existing skin conditions such as eczema, which compromises the skin's protective barrier. Symptoms can vary depending on the cause or type of dermatitis and typically improve once the allergen or irritant is removed. 


How is it treated?

The first step in the treatment process is an accurate diagnosis. Our board-certified providers will conduct an exam and discuss what substances have come in contact with your skin. Once the type of contact dermatitis is identified, the Mountain State team will help you manage symptoms and create a treatment plan to avoid future flare-ups.


Symptom-relieving treatments may include topical creams or oral medications to alleviate inflammation and discomfort. Based on the substance causing your dermatitis, our providers will work with you on lifestyle changes to prevent future reactions.


If your rash persists and fails to resolve, our team of board-certified dermatologists at Mountain State Dermatology with local offices in Bridgeport, Clarksburg, Elkins, Hurricane, Morgantown, Parkersburg, South Charleston and Wheeling, West Virginia; in Waynesburg and Uniontown, Pennsylvania and in Marietta, Ohio, can aid in identifying the cause and devising an appropriate treatment plan.

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