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Allergic contact dermatitis is skin inflammation which occurs when certain substances that come into contact with the skin cause irritation or an allergic reaction. The result is a red, itchy rash that can be uncomfortable and itchy. This reaction differs from hives or urticaria which may be associated with swelling of the lips and mouth and may affect breathing. Contact dermatitis only affects the skin.

Contact dermatitis may occur in locations which come into direct contact with an allergen such as on the ears of patients with metal allergies or even on the eyelids from contact with fingers painted with nail polish! Hand dermatitis is a common complaint which we see and which can be very challenging. Although in many cases, childhood atopic eczema which resolves can rear its head again in adult life in the form of hand eczema, in the majority of cases, there is also an allergen involved. This is where we have to swap our dermatoscopes for detective caps and really spend the time to figure out what could be triggering the reaction. This may take the form of detailed patient histories, patch testing or even a visit to the home or work environment of the patient.

Allergic contact dermatitis

Patient resource:-

Allergy foundation of South Africa


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