Contact Dermatitis

All Physician Practice | ALLERGY AND ASTHMA SPECIALISTS & IMMUNOLOGISTS LOCATED IN BOULDER, LAKEWOOD, WESTMINSTER, DENVER, LITTLETON AND ARVADA, CO and serving patients from Denver, Boulder, Arvada, Westminster, Lakewood, Littleton, CO

Contact Dermatitis

If you notice itchy red bumps on your skin after coming into contact with a certain substance, you might have contact dermatitis. The Denver Allergy & Asthma Associates team offers patch testing and treatment strategies to address a wide range of allergic reactions. If you have symptoms of contact dermatitis, call the office nearest you in Boulder, Lakewood, Westminster, Denver, Littleton, or Arvada, Colorado. You can also book an appointment online at any time.

Contact Dermatitis Q & A

What is contact dermatitis?

Contact dermatitis is a type of skin inflammation that occurs when the skin comes into direct contact with an irritating substance or allergen. It is a common condition that affects people of all ages and can occur anywhere on your body. 

The two types of contact dermatitis are:

Irritant contact dermatitis

Irritant contact dermatitis is the most common form and is caused by direct damage to your skin by an irritating substance like detergents, soaps, chemicals, or solvents.

Allergic contact dermatitis

Allergic contact dermatitis, on the other hand, is an immune system reaction to an allergen, such as certain metals (e.g., nickel), cosmetics, fragrances, latex, or plants like poison ivy or poison oak.

Your Denver Allergy & Asthma Associates provider can determine the root cause of your condition.

What are the symptoms of contact dermatitis?

Symptoms of contact dermatitis can vary depending on the type and severity of your reaction. Common symptoms include:

  • Redness
  • Itching
  • Swelling
  • Rash
  • Dry or cracked skin
  • Blisters
  • Pain or tenderness

In severe cases, your skin may become raw or even develop open sores.

How is contact dermatitis tested?

To diagnose contact dermatitis, your Denver Allergy & Asthma Associates professional performs a thorough physical examination and reviews your medical history. They also ask about the substances or materials you’ve been in contact with. 

The team performs patch testing to identify specific allergens causing allergic contact dermatitis. During the test, your provider applies small patches containing various allergens to your skin, usually on your back. 

You leave the patches in place for about 48 hours. During this time, avoid getting them wet or engaging in activities that may cause excessive sweating. 

After this period, your provider removes the patches and examines your skin for signs of allergic reactions. You then follow up for a final patch test read of the skin 48 hours later. In certain instances, we will have patients return to clinic for a third read. 

How is contact dermatitis treated?

Treatment options include:

  • Washing the affected area with mild soap and water
  • Applying over-the-counter or prescription corticosteroid creams or ointments
  • Taking oral antihistamines
  • Using moisturizers

In severe cases, your allergist may prescribe stronger corticosteroids. If an infection develops, antibiotics may be necessary. 

Seek medical attention if your symptoms persist or worsen or if there are signs of infection, such as increased pain, redness, swelling, or pus. Your Denver Allergy & Asthma Associates provider can provide the immediate care you need.

To learn more, call or use the online scheduler today to book an appointment.