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5 Triggers Of Contact Dermatitis That You’re Overlooking

5 Triggers Of Contact Dermatitis

Contact dermatitis is a form of eczema that occurs when some part of your body makes contact with a substance that it has a sensitivity to or because of some sort of irritant. For example, irritant dermatitis is frequently experienced by people who work in positions that require their hands remain wet throughout most of the day (e.g., beauticians and housekeepers, etc.) and allergic dermatitis results from sensitivity to a particular substance (e.g., latex, etc.). If you have any other type of eczema, the likelihood that you will experience contact dermatitis may be increased.

Types of Contact Dermatitis: Irritant and Allergic

Irritant dermatitis occurs after a certain chemical/ingredient/metal comes into contact with your skin, resulting in skin irritation. Common irritants include hair dyes, makeup, and items that contain nickel (e.g., belt buckles and scissors, etc.). According to the National Eczema Association, irritant contact dermatitis accounts for 80 percent of all contact dermatitis.

Allergic dermatitis occurs when your body recognizes a certain protein as a foreign body, causing an allergic response.

Consider that you come into contact with a plant that you are allergic to. As your body addresses the foreign body an allergic reaction occurs. This allergic reaction could be an itchy or painful rash. The rash could become evident in a few hours or in a few days.

5 Contact Dermatitis Triggers

1. Shampoo

If you are repeatedly experiencing an itchy scalp, your shampoo may be responsible for your ongoing problem.

Two of its ingredients may be to blame:

  • Cocamidopropyl betaine – used as a thickener.
  • Isothiazolinones – keeps bacteria from making your shampoo bottle their new home.

2. A Long, Hot Shower

Although a nice hot shower feels great at the time, if you have contact dermatitis, you could experience quite a bit of discomfort later: This discomfort occurs because hot water actually pulls the natural oils and moisture out of the skin, which can lead to dry, itchy skin later. Instead of using hot water, try a cool shower and see if that helps ward off the symptoms associated with this skin disorder. Remember to moisturize after your shower with a lotion that is either hypoallergenic or that you have used before without a problem.

3. Wrinkle-Resistant Fabrics

Many wrinkle-resistant fabrics contain formaldehyde, which is known to cause skin irritation, redness, and, for some, chemical burns.

Although wrinkle-resistant clothing may be convenient, if you tend to develop contact dermatitis, you should avoid purchasing clothes made using this chemical.

4. Latex Gloves

Latex gloves can also trigger Contact Dermatitis. Typically, it is individuals who frequently wear latex gloves who develop an allergy to them (e.g., doctors and nurses, etc.). The symptoms of contact dermatitis caused by an allergy to latex gloves include: itchy, inflamed hands. Developing an allergy to latex can take years or it may come on suddenly.

5. Artificial Nails

The application of acrylic or gel nails can result in contact dermatitis as well as swollen, blistering skin on the fingertips. Symptoms usually begin with irritation and itchiness in the nail bed. Prevent the onset of this skin disorder by letting your nails grow out naturally.

Treating Contact Dermatitis

Wash the affected area with soap and water (avoid using a harsh soap) and use cool compresses to ease the symptoms.


Making even the smallest change in your daily routine and/or the products you use can be very helpful in preventing this skin disorder.

Seeking Treatment

Your Valley Skin Institute dermatologist can ensure that the symptoms you or your child are experiencing are being caused by contact dermatitis and not some other skin condition. Furthermore, once your dermatologist determines the cause for the irritation, the rash can be addressed with the appropriate medication.

Valley Skin Institute is located at 7777 North Ingram Avenue in Fresno, California. Call (559) 472-SKIN or (559) 551-0864. If you prefer, you can click here to request an appointment with an experienced dermatologist.



Dr. Leslie Storey | Valley Skin Institute

Dr. Leslie Storey is a board-certified physician specializing in medical and surgical dermatology. Her mission is to find and remove skin cancer, which she does more than 2,000 times a year. An expert in Mohs Surgery, Dr. Storey’s patients often comment that they are amazed at how minimal their scar is after they have healed from surgery. If you notice anything suspicious on your skin, request an appointment with Dr. Storey to have it checked out.

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