What is it?

When the skin comes into contact with a particular substance and shows signs of inflammation, it is known as contact dermatitis. Inflammation of the skin can be caused either by:

- an irritant substance that damages the outer layer of the skin directly
- an allergen a substance affecting the immune system causing the body to respond in a way that affects the skin

Contact Dermatitis is a form of Eczema causing the skin to become irritated, red, blistered, dry and cracked. This kind of reaction usually takes place within a few hours or days exposure to an irritant substance or an allergen. Such symptoms can affect all areas of the body although most commonly the face and hands.

If you are experiencing severe systems that are either recurrent or persistent it is recommended that you contact your GP in order to pursue a form of treatment.

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Signs and Symptoms:

If you are experiencing severe systems that are either recurrent or persistent it is recommended that you contact your GP in order to pursue a form of treatment.

How can it be treated?

If it is possible to avoid the allergens and irritants that trigger these symptoms, eventually your skin will clear up. Unfortunately it is not always possible to avoid the substance that triggers this reaction you may also be advised to use:

- oral corticosteriods – these are tablets that can remove widespread symptoms
- topical corticosteriods – ointments and creams that can be applied to the affected areas of skin helping to releive symptoms
- emollients – creams that can be applied to the skin and stopping it from becoming dry.

With treatments such as these it is know that most patients symptoms will improve and in some cases clear up completely.

Other types of Eczema:

- discoid eczema – occurring in circular shapes on the skin
varicose eczema ­ a type of eczema affecting the lower leg, this is due to lack of blood flow through the veins in the legs.
- atopic eczema – (atopic dermatitis) this is the most common form of eczema it is normally inherited and it linked to other medical conditions such as hayfever or asthma.

Facts and figures

"More than half of all eczema sufferers show signs within their first 12 months of life and 20 per cent of people develop eczema before the age of five."
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