Contact dermatitis is inflammation of the skin caused by contact with a substance that causes an allergic reaction. Or it can occur from contact with a substance that irritates the skin. A minor case of contact dermatitis may cause mild redness of the skin or a rash of small red bumps, while a more severe reaction may cause swelling, redness, and larger blisters.
A rash usually starts about 48 hours after exposure to the irritating substance. Common causes of contact dermatitis include:
- Poisonous plants, such as poison ivy, oak, or sumac.
- Soaps, detergents, shampoos, perfumes, cosmetics, or lotions.
- Jewelry or fabrics.
- New tools, toys, appliances, or other objects.
- Latex gloves.
The location of the rash may provide a clue about the cause.
Current as of: March 22, 2023
Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine & Martin J. Gabica MD - Family Medicine & Amy McMichael MD - Dermatology & William H. Blahd Jr. MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine