“Dermatitis” means inflammation of the skin. “Contact” Dermatitis is a particular type of skin inflammation caused by contact with certain substances found in the environment.
The inflammation appears as redness, swelling, itching, and occasionally blisters. In severe cases, the condition may cause considerable discomfort, and can even interfere with a person’s ability to work. Contact Dermatitis is treated by Dr. Green for patients in the DC, Virginia, and Maryland regions.
Are some parts of the body more affected by Contact Dermatitis than others?
Yes. The hands are most prone to develop Contact Dermatitis, since they are routinely exposed to so many different types of irritants. However, the face, feet, and rest of the body are susceptible too. The face is often affected by cosmetic products including soaps, shampoos, creams, lipsticks, hair sprays, shaving creams, and aftershave lotions. The feet may be affected by materials used in the manufacture of shoes. Rashes on the body are usually caused by articles of clothing, bedding, or the chemicals used to wash them.
Sometimes air-borne substances may cause severe rashes involving the face and exposed parts. For example, Dermatitis may develop on people sensitive to poison ivy when they are exposed to the smoke of burning poison ivy leaves.
How will my Contact Dermatitis be treated?
If the cause of your rash is identified, you will be instructed to avoid further contact with it. If the specific cause cannot be found, all possible causes should be eliminated.
Dr. Green will select the appropriate treatment depending on the degree of inflammation of the skin. Topical treatments may range from wet dressings, lotions, to preparations containing cortisone-derivatives. If we feel that increased hydration of the skin may be beneficial, we may also prescribe a topical moisturizer or medication with a moisturizing base.
In selected cases, Dr. Green may also prescribe or administer by injection medications such as antihistamines or cortisone derivatives. These are aimed at reducing the itching and inflammation.
What can I expect from treatment for Contact Dermatitis?
If the cause of the rash is identified, and you avoid further contact with it, appropriate treatment will stop the itching and eventually cause the rash to disappear. In the case of “one time” exposure to strong irritants or sensitizers (like poison ivy), the rash will probably persist for about a week and then gradually subside. It will heal with peeling, and is not likely to leave any sort of scar.
Rashes resulting from repeated contact – usually appearing dry and thickened skin – tend to be more persistent. The rash heals more slowly, often leaving a patch of darker skin. This will eventually fade with time.
What can I do to help control my Contact Dermatitis?
1. Do not scratch the rash. Scratching can lead to a bacterial infection. If this does occur, immediately inform the office, and Dr. Green will probably prescribe an antibiotic which will rapidly control the infection.
2. Avoid contact with the causative substance or a chemically related one. Use the prescribed medication or medications. Follow instructions regarding hygiene and protection of the affected area.
3. Try to avoid contact with other chemicals that may be irritants. Inflamed skin is more susceptible to irritation by other agents. If contact with possibly troublesome substances is unavoidable, protect your hands with vinyl or plastic gloves, or with whatever other protective method we may recommend.
“Went to Dr. Green today for a rash. He was amazing. He thoroughly examined me, knew exactly what the problem was, and then initiated treatment while I was still in the office. Rarely do you find such a compassionate doctor as Dr. Green. I was better before I even left the office! I will recommend him to all of my friends!”