Contact Dermatitis

This younger patient presents with contact dermatitis and a watery eye. I have tried to exclude everything in her history, stopped all topical treatment, and the problem persists.

Turns out, she rubs this eye with her finger furiously, as she has watery eye!

For more information about Watery Eye visit –

Threatened amputation and the suggestion of DCR surgery will help remove the final contact trigger for dermatitis.

Take-home message: Remember that contact dermatitis is not just what is put on the area, but contact with hands. I have once inserted contact lenses into my eye following vigorous handwashing after touching chilli… experience I will never forget.

Do not touch your eyes after handling chilli.

Understanding and Managing Contact Dermatitis

Contact dermatitis, an itchy and uncomfortable skin condition, is a common concern for many individuals.

What is Contact Dermatitis?

Contact dermatitis manifests as an itchy rash and skin inflammation resulting from direct contact with certain substances. Understanding the triggers is crucial for effective management.


Common symptoms include:

  • Itching
  • Redness
  • Swelling
  • Blisters
  • Dry, cracked skin


Identifying the root causes is imperative. Contact dermatitis can be triggered by:

  1. Allergens: Substances like nickel, fragrances, and certain plants.
  2. Irritants: Harsh chemicals, soaps, or cleaning products.

Diagnosis and Assessment

Accurate diagnosis is the first step towards effective treatment. Dermatologists employ various methods, including:

  • Patch Testing: Identifying specific allergens through controlled exposure.
  • Skin Biopsy: Examining a small skin sample to determine the cause.

Treatment Options

Topical Treatments

  1. Corticosteroid Creams: Alleviate inflammation and itching.
  2. Calamine Lotion: Soothes irritated skin.

Oral Medications

  1. Antihistamines: Reduce itching.
  2. Corticosteroid Pills: Prescribed for severe cases.

Preventive Measures

Preventing contact dermatitis involves minimizing exposure to triggers.

Protective Clothing

Wearing gloves and long sleeves when handling potential irritants provides an effective barrier.

Allergen Avoidance

Identifying and avoiding allergens is key.

Lifestyle Adjustments

Simple lifestyle changes can significantly impact dermatitis management.

  • Switching to Fragrance-Free Products: Minimises exposure to potential irritants.
  • Regular Moisturisation: Maintains skin hydration, reducing the risk of flare-ups.

When to Seek Professional Help

Persistent symptoms or severe reactions require prompt medical attention. Dermatologists can offer personalised advice and treatment plans tailored to individual needs.

Understanding and effectively managing contact dermatitis involves a combination of awareness, preventive measures, and appropriate treatment. By prioritising skin health and making informed choices, individuals can minimise the impact of this condition on their daily lives.

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