Contact dermatitis is inflammation of the outer layers of the skin caused by contact with a particular substance. It usually presents as a rash that is confined to the specific area of the body where the contact occurred.

Contact Dermatitis
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Contact dermatitis is usually caused by either an irritant or an allergen. An irritant is a substance that irritates the skin. An allergen is a substance that causes an allergic reaction. People may be exposed to certain substances for years and never have a problem, and then suddenly develop contact dermatitis.

Some common causes of contact dermatitis include:

  • Acids
  • Alkalis
  • Solvents
  • Acetone
  • Soaps
  • Detergents
  • Metals, such as nickel—common in jewelry allergy
  • Rubber
  • Latex
  • Cosmetics and toiletries
  • Deodorants
  • Sunlight or artificial light
  • Preservatives
  • Plants, such as poison ivy
  • Medications