Eczema rash: The one surprising irritant you may be wearing
Eczema may ruin your spring and summer wardrobe – the itchy, red inflamed skin can ruin any outfit, no matter how wonderful the clothes look. There’s one surprising irritant you may not know about.
The National Eczema Association (NEA) states: “There are several distinct types of eczema.
“[And] it’s possible to have more than one type at a time.”
Contact dermatitis occurs when the skin comes into contact with irritating substances or allergens.
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As a result, the exposed area of skin may burn, itch and become red.
Symptoms of contact dermatitis include: redness and rash, burning or swelling, or blisters that may weep or crust.
And the surprising irritant is fragrances – did you know that trying to smell good could lead to such an adverse reaction?
The NEA confirms that “fragrance sensitivity” is seen in “eight to 15 percent of people with contact dermatitis”.
And fragrances aren’t restricted to perfumes and aftershaves – fragrant cosmetics are just as bad.
In fact, the organisation adds: “Fragrances are most likely to cause allergic contact dermatitis – accounting for up to 45 percent of reactions in cosmetic products.”
Other common irritants include solvents, detergents, fumes, paints, bleach and wool.
Additionally, some people may experience contact dermatitis after coming into contact with tobacco smoke, some soaps and astringents.
The NHS comments that the skin reaction typically takes place within a few hours or days after exposure to the irritant.
The best way to manage contact dermatitis is to avoid the irritant.
However, this may not always be possible, and so the NHS advises to use emollients and topical corticosteroids.
Emollients are moisturisers that are applied to the skin to stop it from becoming dry.
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The NHS adds: “These keep your skin hydrated and help protect it from irritants.”
Topical corticosteroids are ointments and creams that can be applied to the skin to relieve severe symptoms.
As a rule of thumb, you should use the mildest form of topical steroids that works for you.
Mild steroid creams are available without a prescription, but stronger ones can’t be ordered unless they’ve been prescribed to you.
This is because side effects may develop with prolonged use of steroid treatment.
Fortunately, most people with contact dermatitis would only need a short course.
Should the inflammation become infected at any stage, a doctor may prescribe an antibiotic.
However, infections are rare for those with contact dermatitis.
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