Irritant contact dermatitis from friction.
Irritant contact dermatitis from friction.

Graphic content

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This image displays irritant dermatitis caused by a direct chemical reaction or friction on the skin.
This image displays irritant dermatitis caused by a direct chemical reaction or friction on the skin.
This image displays scale and redness typical of dermatitis (inflammation of the skin).
This image displays scale and redness typical of dermatitis (inflammation of the skin).
In people with darker skin, the inflammation of skin can cause darker skin color (pigmentation).
In people with darker skin, the inflammation of skin can cause darker skin color (pigmentation).
This image displays severe inflammation and blistering from an irritating chemical.
This image displays severe inflammation and blistering from an irritating chemical.
This image displays scaly, red, cracked skin typical of irritant dermatitis.
This image displays scaly, red, cracked skin typical of irritant dermatitis.
Contact dermatitis is typically displayed as areas of redness that are not well-defined with small scabs from scratching.
Contact dermatitis is typically displayed as areas of redness that are not well-defined with small scabs from scratching.
This image displays a child that has an allergic reaction to a plant (see red areas on the thigh) with staining from the plant berries still on the hands.
This image displays a child that has an allergic reaction to a plant (see red areas on the thigh) with staining from the plant berries still on the hands.
This image displays severe irritant dermatitis.
This image displays severe irritant dermatitis.
This image displays irritant dermatitis from tobacco and handling cigarettes.
This image displays irritant dermatitis from tobacco and handling cigarettes.

Graphic content

Please click to view.

Excessive friction can cause a breakdown (irritant contact dermatitis) of the fragile genital skin.
Excessive friction can cause a breakdown (irritant contact dermatitis) of the fragile genital skin.
This image displays irritant dermatitis on a young man from ?mustard? plaster.
This image displays irritant dermatitis on a young man from ?mustard? plaster.
This image displays a patient with irritant dermatitis caused by application of ?mustard? plaster.
This image displays a patient with irritant dermatitis caused by application of ?mustard? plaster.
This image displays irritant dermatitis on the hand.
This image displays irritant dermatitis on the hand.
This women had irritation of the scalp, ear and cheek from a
This women had irritation of the scalp, ear and cheek from a "permanent wave" solution.

Images of Irritant Contact Dermatitis (15)

Irritant contact dermatitis from friction.

Graphic content

This image displays irritant dermatitis caused by a direct chemical reaction or friction on the skin.
This image displays scale and redness typical of dermatitis (inflammation of the skin).
In people with darker skin, the inflammation of skin can cause darker skin color (pigmentation).
This image displays severe inflammation and blistering from an irritating chemical.
This image displays scaly, red, cracked skin typical of irritant dermatitis.
Contact dermatitis is typically displayed as areas of redness that are not well-defined with small scabs from scratching.
This image displays a child that has an allergic reaction to a plant (see red areas on the thigh) with staining from the plant berries still on the hands.
This image displays severe irritant dermatitis.
This image displays irritant dermatitis from tobacco and handling cigarettes.

Graphic content

Excessive friction can cause a breakdown (irritant contact dermatitis) of the fragile genital skin.
This image displays irritant dermatitis on a young man from ?mustard? plaster.
This image displays a patient with irritant dermatitis caused by application of ?mustard? plaster.
This image displays irritant dermatitis on the hand.
This women had irritation of the scalp, ear and cheek from a

Irritant Contact Dermatitis

Irritant contact dermatitis is the name given to the rash that develops when the skin is exposed to an irritant or substance or surface that bothers it. It is similar to allergic contact dermatitis except that in irritant contact dermatitis the rash typically appears very quickly (within hours) of exposure. This makes it slightly easier to diagnose as it can be easier to identify the irritant. The skin tends to burn or tingle at first and then become red and itchy. Treatment involves identifying and avoiding the offending irritant and perhaps cleansing the irritant from the skin when appropriate.

Who's At Risk?

Anyone of any age can develop irritant contact dermatitis. In babies and children who have very sensitive skin, even very common substances such as baby foods and lotions can produce an irritant contact dermatitis. In teens and adults, offending agents often include soaps, cleaners (solvents), and chemicals. People with eczema (atopic dermatitis) or sensitive skin are more likely to develop an irritant contact dermatitis.

Signs & Symptoms

The most common location for irritant contact dermatitis is the hands, though any body surface can be involved, including the genitals.

  • Affected areas can appear pink to red.
  • In long-term cases, affected areas may develop scale and cracks.
  • In short-term cases, areas may have a sharp border corresponding to the areas of chemical exposure.
  • On the fingertips, peeling of the skin, cracks, and scaling may be noted.

Take a picture of your skin condition with Aysa

Symptom checkers like Aysa can help narrow down possible skin conditions by analyzing a skin photo.

Self-Care Guidelines

  • Remove the offending exposure and protect the skin from re-exposure.
  • For irritated skin in body folds, consider a barrier cream with zinc oxide paste, such as Desitin®.
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Treatments

  • Your physician may recommend that you use petroleum jelly or a thick moisturizing cream applied directly to wet skin after bathing. Apply frequently (at least twice daily) to moisturize and protect the skin.
  • Mild- to moderate-potency topical steroids may be prescribed if inflammation is pronounced.

Visit Urgency

Seek medical evaluation for a rash that does not resolve with self-care measures.

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References

Bolognia, Jean L., ed. Dermatology, pp.227, 241-249. New York: Mosby, 2003.

Freedberg, Irwin M., ed. Fitzpatrick’s Dermatology in General Medicine. 6th ed, pp.1309-1314, 2370. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2003.