ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Identifying Contact Dermatitis, Causes and Cures

Updated on February 8, 2018
Blond Logic profile image

Living on a farm in Brazil, I've gained local in-depth knowledge of food, plants, and traditions, which I share through my articles.

How do you Know if it is Contact Dermatitis?

Determining if you have contact dermatitis isn't always easy. Sometimes you need to eliminate other potential causes. It took me quite a while to pinpoint the root cause of my skin problem. Here in the tropics, there are other things that can cause skin irritations such as insects, the sun and the salt in the air. It was only after eliminating these and looking for the signs of contact dermatitis that I began to know it when I saw it.

As the name implies, contact dermatitis means you have touched something or come into contact with it, possibly without even being aware until later when an irritation begins. It can be plants, animals, chemicals or even metals such as nickel.

What Contact Dermatitis Looks Like

contact dermatitis
contact dermatitis | Source

Contact Dermatitis

As you can see from the photo, the two lines are where an irritant has come into contact with the skin. Following that, the surrounding area can become inflamed as well.

Welts and blisters can form around the area making it itch.

Often, without thinking about it, we scratch the affected area causing more irritation.

Poison oak, poison ivy and other plants can cause a reaction when touched. Often other plants that affect one person might not affect another.

With dermatitis, your skin will be sensitive to the sun. It is best to keep it covered if you are going to be outside. Applying sun block may aggravate the condition. Avoid the sun but if that isn't possible wear clothing that will cover.

Gauntlet Gardening Gloves

Professional Rose Pruning Thornproof Gardening Gloves with Extra Long Forearm Protection for Women (TE195T) - Puncture Resistant, Medium (1 Pair)
Professional Rose Pruning Thornproof Gardening Gloves with Extra Long Forearm Protection for Women (TE195T) - Puncture Resistant, Medium (1 Pair)

I can't begin to imagine how much pain these gloves have saved me from. I live on a farm and because we have year round sun, the plants grow like crazy. We are continually chopping, hacking, and pulling various weeds. Some would call it gardening, I call it jungle management.

Before I lived here I was reluctant to wear gloves, now I always wear them and would never think of subjecting my hands and forearms to the potential problems which could occur.

 

Potential Irritants in the Garden

Here in the tropics, most people wear flip flops year round. I try to remember to wear either running shoes or work boots if I am going to be working in the garden. It is too easy to come into contact with something that may cause an irritation.This could be a plant, insect or chemical.

The use of gloves and boots is a good habit to get into because the irritation it can save is immense. The gauntlet style gloves are a good option because they allow you to reach right into thick undergrowth without the risk of getting spiked, bitten, or stung.



Soaps and Detergents may Cause Dermatitis

I have found the laundry detergent here in Brazil is very strong. There are brands I recognize such as OMO, Ariel, or Ace (Tide in the USA). My skin has never had a problem before with any of these but here, they do. I tend to get a rash where my waistband sits, or where my clothes are close fitting such as the armholes and around the neck.

I now wash my clothes in a gentle coconut based laundry detergent designed for babies or delicate clothes. I also put the washing machine through an extra rinse cycle. This seems to help rinse any extra residue away. I tend not to use a fabric softener because that leaves more chemicals on the clothes and may cause another reaction.

If you find detergents too strong, try ones designed for babies. Or use coconut soap and wash by hand. Another option is boiling the clothes clean.

Coconut Laundry Soap
Coconut Laundry Soap

Because of the potential irritation which can be caused by soap powders I now only use coconut soap. It is considered a neutral PH and is used here as a more gentle option.

I have known people who visit Brazil and take loads of various coconut soaps back home with them.

 

Causes of Skin Irritation

Sometimes it is difficult to know what has caused the irritation. It is necessary to try and pin it down so that you can stop using a product if that is what is causing the reaction. For example changing your soap or laundry detergent can trigger a skin problem.

If you have been doing household cleaning without wearing gloves, this also could have caused a rash or skin complaint from coming into contact with the cleaning product.

It is important to discontinue the use of anything you think may have caused the reaction. Let the skin calm down before trying something different.

How to Treat Contact Dermatitis at Home

It is possible to alleviate many of the effects if you come into contact with something that may be an irritant.

The first thing to remember is don't scratch

Quickly wash the area with a gentle soap and cool water.

Often a dilute solution of lemon juice or vinegar will ease the pain.

Applying calamine lotion can calm the area as well.

Taking an antihistamine can help relieve the itching. This is important because if scratched, this can lead to an infection.

Here in the tropics, it is necessary to aggressively treat wounds and any open sores as bacteria thrives in a warm climate.

© 2011 Mary Wickison

I hope you've found this page helpful.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Blond Logic profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Wickison 

      5 years ago from Brazil

      Hello Amy,

      I am pleased you found it useful.

      Sometimes a little more thought on prevention can keep us from suffering the misery of contact dermatitis.

      Thank you for your advice regarding Cortisone.

    • Amy Becherer profile image

      Amy Becherer 

      6 years ago from St. Louis, MO

      Very informative. It is important to be able to differentiate skin diseases as treatment is dependent on the cause. Cortisone, for example, will worsen a bacterial infection, but be very beneficial for an allergic reaction. Sometimes only a dermatologist can distinguish in the early stages. Great topic that is applicable for everyone!

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)