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Skin Allergies (Contact Dermatitis)

What Are Skin Allergies?

Contact dermatitis is a condition marked by an itchy or swollen rash after the skin touches something a person is sensitive or allergic to. Common allergens include:

  • Poison ivy and other plants

  • Gold or nickel jewelry

  • Latex

  • Sunscreen

  • Fragrant soaps and perfumes

  • Makeup

  • Rubber

  • Bleach

  • Certain deodorants

  • Hand sanitizers


Symptoms range from mild to severe and may appear within several days.

  • Rash – Skin allergies often cause a red irritated area or areas.

  • Itch – The rash may cause intense itching.

  • Swelling – The rash may become inflamed.

  • Blisters – The rash may be filled with clear fluid.

  • Hot or tender skin – Some rashes develop a burning sensation.

  • Dry skin – The skin may become dry, scaly and cracked.

Treatment Options

Many skin allergies clear on their own within a few weeks as long as the skin is not repeatedly exposed to the allergen. Others require treatment from a dermatologist. Treatment options include:

  • Avoidance – The best remedy is to avoid contact with the allergen. Talk to your dermatologist about ways to protect your skin if your job requires you to come in contact with the irritant.

  • Topical remedies – Your dermatologist may recommend a moisturizer, steroid cream or oatmeal baths to relieve discomfort.

  • Oral medications – Antihistamines relieve mild itching. A steroid such as Prednisone is recommended for severe swelling and a widespread rash. Antibiotics are prescribed for skin infections caused from scratching.

Ready for an Appointment?

If you're experiencing signs or symptoms of skin allergies, schedule an appointment or call 800-TEMPLE-MED (800-836-7536) today.

Learn more about our doctors & care team who diagnose and treat skin allergies.