Contact Dermatitis Treatment at Johns Creek Dermatology
Contact dermatitis is a red, itchy rash caused by direct contact with or an allergic reaction to a substance such as soaps, cosmetics, cleaning solutions, fragrances, jewelry, and plants. The rash isn’t contagious or life-threatening, but it can be very uncomfortable. To treat contact dermatitis successfully, you need to identify and avoid the cause of the reaction. If you can avoid the offending substance, the rash usually clears up in two to four weeks. In some cases, symptoms manifest as pain rather than itching. If that happens to you make an appointment with Shereen Timani, M.D. at Johns Creek Dermatology in Johns Creek, GA, to diagnose the cause of your reaction and create a contact dermatitis treatment plan.
Types of Contact Dermatitis
Shereen Timani, M.D., treats two of the three kinds of contact dermatitis which typically have similar symptoms but different triggers:
- Irritant Dermatitis: usually resembles a burn and is initiated by contact with acids; alkaline materials such as soaps and household cleaning products; shampoo and detergents; fabric softeners; solvents; hair dye; latex or rubber gloves; cement; lawn and garden products; or other chemicals. The skin reaction usually appears immediately upon contact and evolves into dry, rough, red skin, sometimes splitting. However, in some cases, you may not have an immediate reaction to a substance, and regular use over time can eventually cause sensitivity and a reaction to the product. The hands, face, head, and neck are most commonly affected.
- Allergic Contact Dermatitis: often results from an immune response to a small, structurally simple, nonprotein molecule, caused by exposure to a substance or material to which you have become extra sensitive or allergic. Allergic-type reactions may occur suddenly, a few days after exposure, or months after exposure to a substance. Where contact occurred with the substance, a red, streaky or patchy rash may occur, often with bumps that form moist, weepy blisters that ooze, drain and crust. Or, the skin may be scaly, raw or thickened and feel warm. Common allergens may include adhesives; fragrances in perfumes and personal care products; antibiotics; clothing materials, such as wool or spandex; nail polish; hair products and dyes; nickel or other metals; poison ivy, oak sumac and other plants; and rubber or latex.
Symptoms and Diagnosis of Contact Dermatitis
Symptoms vary depending on the cause and the type of dermatitis. Distinguishing allergic contact dermatitis from irritant contact dermatitis and other forms of eczematous dermatitis can be challenging. Johns Creek Dermatology will document the history of exposure to the irritant or allergen, and conduct an evaluation of the skin’s appearance. When necessary for diagnosis, we may conduct tests, including skin lesion biopsy or culture of the skin lesion. Patch testing, the application of chemicals to the skin for 48-72 hours, may be required in association with allergic dermatitis, particularly for patients with repetitive dermatitis.
Upon diagnosis, Johns Creek Dermatology will develop a contact dermatitis treatment plan comprised of medications to relieve the symptoms, and the avoidance of the suspected irritant. Emollients or moisturizers are used to maintain skin moisture and help the skin repair itself. In some cases, corticosteroid skin creams or ointments may be prescribed to reduce inflammation. In severe cases, an oral steroid, or an injection, may be required. An OTC or prescription antihistamine regimen may also supplement the other treatments. Cases of allergic dermatitis require a maintenance plan because, even though your symptoms may be cleared within weeks, the immune system will recall the substance to which you are allergic.
Each patient is unique; therefore, results will vary.
If you are suffering from symptoms of contact dermatitis, schedule a consultation with Dr. Timani at Johns Creek Dermatology today. Our practice in Johns Creek, GA, takes exceptional pride in professionalism, personalized care and over 15 years of experience. Johns Creek Dermatology serves patients in the Atlanta Metro area as well as Roswell, Cumming, Alpharetta, Suwanee, Milton, and Duluth, GA.