Have you ever had a mystery rash on your face? Nothing could be more frustrating than suddenly breaking out in hives. On your face, no less. Chances are your skin was exposed to something it really, really didn’t like. These types of irritations, including blisters, stinging, itchiness, redness, and flaking, are likely due to contact dermatitis. It sounds scary, but it’s really just an allergic reaction or a skin irritation gone bad.
How Did I Get Contact Dermatitis?
Well, there are plenty of ways to make your skin mad. Skin contact with almost any chemical can cause a negative reaction, it just depends on the substance and your susceptibility to it. You’ll know it’s contact dermatitis because the symptoms are localized in a specific area and will show up right away or within a few hours. Some of the more common causes of allergic contact dermatitis are:
- Scented lotions or perfumes
- Nail products
- Poison ivy
- Animal dander
- Clothing dyes
- Certain cosmetic preservatives
- And Rubber
Contact Dermatitis as an Occupational Hazard
Allergens aren’t the only causes of rashes or skin irritations. If you work in a field where you are regularly exposed to certain chemicals, you are likely at a higher risk for what is called occupational contact dermatitis. Which jobs put you at risk? Sorry to say it, but quite a few. Janitors, chefs and other who work with food, mechanics, plumbers, construction workers, bartenders, beauticians, florists, and health care workers are most likely to have contact with skin irritants. It’s an occupational hazard and one that is hard to avoid.
Take precautions where you can. Avoid wearing latex gloves, but do protect your hands. Wear a mask and ventilate spaces when using chemicals. All that to say that just because you work in these fields, does not mean you will be affected. You will have a greater risk of developing contact dermatitis if you have or have had asthma, hay fever, or eczema.
Patch Testing for Contact Dermatitis
There are literally thousands of causes of this uncomfortable skin condition and each person reacts in his or her own way. Your best bet is to reach out to a dermatologist to help find out your triggers and how to best avoid them.
At The Derm Group, we can perform patch testing to diagnose chronic allergies. By applying a collection of common substances to your skin, we can pin down the allergens that are giving you a reaction and then provide guidance on life changes to avoid them.