Contact dermatitis is a physiological reaction that occurs when skin comes in contact with certain substances. Irritants to the skin cause 80 percent of these reactions, while the remaining 20 percent are caused by allergens, which trigger an allergic response.
Adults are affected by allergic contact dermatitis more than young children or the elderly.
The most common causes of irritants to children include the following:
Plants, as well as metals, cosmetics, and certain medications, may also cause contact dermatitis. These include:
The most severe reaction is usually at the contact site. The following are some of the other symptoms associated with contact dermatitis. However, each child may experience symptoms differently.
The symptoms of contact dermatitis can resemble other skin conditions, so always consult a physician for the correct diagnosis.
The best treatment is to identify and avoid the substances that may have caused the allergic contact dermatitis. The following recommendations from the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology are geared for mild to moderate reactions:
The Division of Dermatology at Children's National Health System continues to expand services as more families seek our expertise in the diagnosis and treatment of disorders of the skin, hair and nails.
Invest in future cures for some of life's most devastating diseases
Sometimes a mom’s intuition is all it takes to get her child to the right physician. When 8-year-old Xavion Chisley developed a fungal infection on his toe, his mother, Nikki, immediately took him to see a dermatologist who removed his toenail to treat the infection. However, when Xavion’s toenail grew back, the infection had not diminished but actually appeared to be spreading to his foot.
Read More of Xavion's Story
Impetigo is a superficial infection of the skin caused by bacteria. The lesions are often grouped together, have a red base, and are open but close over to form a honey-colored crust.
Ticks are small insects that live in grass, bushes, wooded areas, and seashores. They attach their bodies onto a human or animal host and prefer hairy areas such as the scalp, behind the ear, in the armpit and groin, and also between fingers and toes.
A laceration is tear or opening in the skin caused by an injury.
Toxic epidermal necrolysis is a life-threatening skin disorder characterized by blistering and peeling of the skin.