oa SA Pharmacist's Assistant - Understanding contact dermatitis : skin care

Volume 15, Issue 3
  • ISSN : 1608-9634
  • E-ISSN: 2220-1068



Contact dermatitis is characterised by a red, itchy rash caused by a substance which comes into contact with the skin. Although the rash is not contagious or life threatening, it can cause a great degree of discomfort. Soaps, cosmetics, fragrances, jewellery and certain plants can cause contact dermatitis. It is diagnosed by its clinical appearance, together with a compatible history taken from the patient. It is necessary to identify and avoid the substance which causes such a reaction in order to treat contact dermatitis. These substances are either an allergen (a substance which provokes an allergic reaction) or an irritant (a substance which damages the skin). Symptoms vary depending on the cause and type of contact dermatitis present. The symptoms may be severe in certain patients, and may warrant referral to a doctor.

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