Resource Center

Learn more about Contact and Irritant Dermatitis

If the surface of your skin has a rash or itchy area, then you may be suffering from contact dermatitis. The following information will discuss what contact dermatitis is, what causes it, what symptoms are associated with it, and how you can treat it.


Contact dermatitis is a skin inflammation that results from direct contact with a trigger substance. If you experience contact dermatitis, that does not necessarily mean that you have a predisposition to allergic disease.

There are two basic types of contact dermatitis:

  • Irritant contact dermatitis. This condition is caused when your body comes into direct contact with solvents, chemicals, or other substances that irritate the skin.
  • Allergic contact dermatitis. This occurs when your skin comes into contact with an allergen that triggers an immune system response. Substances like latex, perfumes, topical medications, and cosmetic items often cause this type of dermatitis.


Common symptoms of contact dermatitis include:

  • A reddish rash
  • Moderate to severe itching
  • Dry or scaly skin
  • Oozing bumps and blisters
  • Inflammation or tenderness

There are several treatment options for contact dermatitis. Certain medications may prove helpful in controlling symptoms, such as topically applied steroid creams or ointments, and corticosteroids, antihistamines, and/or antibiotics taken orally. Over the counter anti-itch creams and drugs may also prove effective.

In addition, complete avoidance of the irritant or allergen is usually a viable option to prevent future outbreaks. If you need to handle potential irritants like cleaning agents, make sure that your skin is well-protected by gloves or a solid barrier material when doing so.

If you suffer from contact dermatitis, then a trained allergist can help you determine what is triggering your symptoms. At Allergy and Asthma Care of Waco, our helpful and knowledgeable staff can provide you with an accurate diagnosis, and then guide you towards the best treatment options for your situation.

You might also look for

Learn more about Allergies and Asthma

See all articles

Skin Care: part two

Last time, we discussed the importance of eliminating the likely triggers to flare you and your little’s skin and the most crucial step to treating your sensitive skin. So, it’s time for a pop quiz! What ARE those 2 biggest triggers to flare sensitive skin? And what is the first step to treating your sensitive skin? (Don’t worry, answers will be below!)

Read more

Skin Care: part one

As promised, I wanted to take a few moments to address something we see in the Allergy clinic on a daily basis — sensitive skin. Almost all our patients, especially those who also have asthma and allergies, have some degree of sensitive skin. The severity of each patient’s skin sensitivity varies, and many of our patients struggle with the most severe form of sensitive skin — eczema.

Read more

Indoor Allergens

The most clinically relevant indoor allergens are cat, dog, and dust mites. For purposes of this post, I’m going to group cat and dog together and then provide 3 highlights for each one.

Read more

Food Allergy Key Concepts

Even as the prevalence of food allergy is increasing (up to 8% of kids in the US have a food allergy), it seems that the myths surrounding food allergy are also increasing. One of the things I love about my job as an allergy fellow is helping patients and their families work through these myths and establish true allergy versus intolerance.

Read more

Teal Pumpkin Project (Food Allergy Reasearch and Education - FARE)

Check out Dr. Gharfeh's segment with KCEN earlier this week on the importance of spreading food allergy awareness this Halloween.

Read more

6 Skin Allergy Conditions and Their Treatments

Allergies come in many different forms, ranging from mild reactions treatable with some quick over-the-counter medications, to others that can be severe and even lethal. While the worst case scenario is scary, there are ways to monitor and prevent potentially life-threatening reactions. Most commonly, you'll be facing much lighter, more treatable allergens. These can often be painful to deal with but won't necessarily result in risking your life.

Read more

Environmental Allergies in Children

Many children are excited because the school year is about to start up again and these next few weeks will be their best days of summer. With the free time coming to a close, families are eager to spend time outside, away from computers and other electronics. But for anyone dealing with seasonal environmental allergies, being outdoors can lead to sneezing, asthma attacks, and even rashes.

Read more

The Difference Between Food Allergies and Food Intolerances

Being uncomfortable is never a good feeling, regardless of what it's caused by. When you feel that type of unease, your body may feel tired or itchy, or a million other ways. If it's caused by allergies or intolerances, it's something you can pinpoint and avoid as needed. Additionally and fortunately, those uncomfortable feelings are acting as little alerts to let you know that something isn't right.

Read more

Ready to go home healthier and happier?

Our experienced and caring staff will work with you to determine the best course of action to reduce your symptoms and improve your quality of life. In addition, we offer a variety of services to meet your individual needs, including allergy testing, immunotherapy, and education about allergen avoidance.

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.