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What are contact allergies?

Contact allergies, also known as allergic contact dermatitis is a reaction to substances such as metals, scents and latex. This can cause skin reactions including skin rashes, swelling, itching, and dry skin.

Contact dermatitis

What is contact dermatitis?

Contact dermatitis is a type of eczema that causes skin reactions such as dry skin, a rash, or bumps and blisters and is caused by direct contact with a substance or an allergic reaction. 

What causes it?

Contact dermatitis is caused by direct contact with a substance or an allergic reaction

How can it be treated?

Contact dermatitis is usually treated with emollients (moisturisers), which you rub on your skin to prevent it becoming dry and irritated.

Irritant contact dermatitis

What is irritant contact dermatitis?

Irritant contact dermatitis is a form of contact dermatitis, a skin reaction that can result in dryness, pain, swelling and blistering of the skin. People who have atopic eczema usually have an increased risk of irritant contact dermatitis. 

What causes it?

Irritant contact dermatitis can be caused by friction, environmental factors such as cold, over-exposure to water, or chemicals such as acids, alkalis, detergents and solvents. It is common in people whose professions involve daily use of chemicals, such as cleaners, mechanics, healthcare workers or hairstylists. 

How can it be treated?

It is advised to avoid any products that cause irritation and to remove any contacted irritants from the skin with mild soap and water. Petroleum jelly like Vaseline and anti-itch treatments such as calamine lotion or hydrocortisone cream can also be used to soothe the skin. 

Allergic contact dermatitis

What is allergic contact dermatitis?

Allergic contact dermatitis is an immune system response from allergy of a substance that makes the skin dry, itchy and irritated.

What causes it?

It can be caused by a variety of toxic or non toxic substances such as antibiotics, metals, rubber, lotions and dyes. 

How can it be treated?

Mild reactions are often treated with antihistamine medication, corticosteroids or soothing lotions and infections are usually treated with antibiotics.

Protein contact dermatitis

What is protein contact dermatitis?

Protein contact dermatitis is an allergic skin reaction induced principally by proteins of either animal or plant origin such as food, tree or plant products.

What causes it?

PCD is caused by contact with the proteins in plant, animal, flour, and proteolytic enzymes and is often diagnosed in patients that have an occupation or hobby involving exposure to one of these protein allergens. 

What are the treatment options available?

In protein contact dermatitis, avoidance of the particular allergen is of primary importance. Antihistamines, corticosteroids or immunomodulatory agents can be used to relieve symptoms, depending on the severity.  

Cosmetic allergy

What is cosmetic allergy?

A cosmetic allergy is a reaction to cosmetic or beauty products which can cause contact dermatitis. Mild to severe symptoms include hives, rashes, flaking or peeling skin, facial swelling or anaphylaxis. 

What causes it?

Cosmetic products used to beautify, cleanse or protect the hair, skin, teeth or complexion can cause cosmetic allergies. Common examples include fragrances, make-up, moisturisers, shampoos and para-phenylenediamine found in hair dye. 

How can it be treated?

Products with fewer ingredients or hypoallergenic products may decrease the chance of a reaction. Creams and ointments containing mild topical steroids, such as hydrocortisone cream, may be used to help control itching, swelling, and redness.