What is contact allergy?

Contact allergy, or contact dermatitis, is a type of eczema in which a rash is caused by something that comes into contact with the skin. Some rashes happen immediately but most will take time to appear.

What are the causes?

Contact allergy, like other allergies, can develop at any age. Allergic skin reactions and rashes can be caused by things like:

  • Nickel
  • Skincare products
  • Haircare products
  • Jewelry

Once you develop a contact allergy, you will likely have it forever. Identifying triggers for contact allergy can be done with painless testing called patch testing, which can be done in our office. At DermPhysicians, we can evaluate which testing is appropriate for which patient.

Some people are highly allergic to nickel and get a rash from even brief contact with nickel-containing metals, while others break out only after a long period of skin contact with nickel. Most jewelry contains nickel; there’s less nickel in 14 or 18 karat gold jewelry than in costume jewelry. As a result, many people are able to wear high quality gold jewelry but break out when they wear costume jewelry.

People who are allergic to nickel can touch stainless steel without trouble—unless it’s nickel plated. Therefore, you don’t have to worry about contact with stainless steel instruments, tools, sinks, cutlery, or cooking utensils.

Treating contact allergy

Rashes from contact allergy usually clear up once the contact exposure is stopped and a cortisone medicine is applied to the rash. Preventing contact rashes means avoiding skin contact with the material that causes your rash. DermPhysicians can help you identify possible triggers and develop strategies to avoid those triggers.

Request an appointment

If you suffer from allergic contact dermatitis, schedule an appointment at our office in Burlington, Massachusetts. Our board-certified dermatologists will discuss steps for identifying triggers and preventing rashes, and can provide you with the appropriate prescription medication. If you’d like to schedule an appointment with DermPhysicians of New England, request one online or give us a call at (781) 272-7022.

* Individual results may vary; not a guarantee.

Call us at (781) 272-7022 or request below.

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