Allergic and irritant contact dermatitis can be one of the most frustrating forms of eczema. Every person is unique, which means the allergens or irritants causing contact dermatitis are specific to each person.
However, if you better understand the difference between allergic contact dermatitis and irritant contact dermatitis then you will know more about how to control and treat your specific condition.
Controlling Irritant Contact Dermatitis
Irritant Contact Dermatitis is easy to understand, an irritant touches the skin causing the skin to become bothered and inflamed. This type of eczema, also called excema, is typically worse the longer you have been exposed to the irritant.
For example, if you are allergic to your laundry detergent or bleach then you will typically have a reaction after spending the day in your clothes. Also, areas of your body not touching your clothing, such as your face, should not have a reaction.
In another example, if you are allergic to your bedding, you will typically have a reaction in the morning when you awake. Obviously, removing an irritant is the easiest way to control the condition as long as the irritant can be identified and avoided.
Some of the more common irritants are smoke, smog, wool, rough fabric, and perfumes. However, sometimes your reaction may be the result of your activity.
Heat, sweating, stress during exercise and overexposure are just as likely to cause a flare-up as in a smoky room. This type of irritant can be more difficult to control because it is also healthy to want to be outdoors and active.
The best way to control these irritants is to stay hydrated, wear loose clothing that breathes, and make an effort to cool down as much as possible.
You will not always be able to avoid this irritant and maintain a healthy lifestyle, so you will also have to look into effective treatment for contact dermatitis.
If you have young children, you should know that irritants are the most common cause of contact dermatitis in infants and toddlers. Prolonged exposure to wet or soiled diapers and sweat often causes rashes in the diaper area, stomach, and back.
However, if your child seems to be having the condition all over his or her body then the irritant is probably soap, bubble bath, lotion, or even a substance in your water.
In these cases, it may be easier to identify the irritant and avoid it. However, if your child has very sensitive skin it may easily react to several irritants.
Irritant contact dermatitis in infants and toddlers is best controlled through good hygiene with regular diaper changes and hypoallergenic and dye-free cleansers, and gentle lotions.
Controlling Allergic Contact Dermatitis
Allergic contact dermatitis, where a chemical reaction to a substance takes place within the skin, is a bit more complicated than irritant contact dermatitis for several reasons.
First of all, you are exposed to thousands of potential triggers each day and it can be harder to pinpoint the allergen.
Secondly, the allergen may only trigger a reaction when there is another trigger, such as stress or hormone fluctuations, present in your system. Finally, it can be more difficult to control allergens.
Some of the main triggers of allergens are outdoor contaminants like pollen, grass, and dust. While you cannot avoid these allergens altogether, you can control your exposure indoors.
If these outdoor allergens are your triggers, the first thing you should invest in is a quality HEPA air filter. If possible, have one in both your home and workplace.
Make sure that you check the package to ensure your filter can purify the air throughout your home. If you have a larger home and it cannot purify enough square footage, then you may want to buy an additional filter or whole house filtering system.
Also, make sure you regularly clean your filters to make sure that you are getting adequate filtration.
Some allergens are much easier to control. For example, pet dander and saliva can be controlled through air filtration, regular cleaning, and vacuuming at least twice a week with a powerful vacuum cleaner.
This is also true for dust mites, mold, and mildew. Soaps, makeup, lotions, laundry detergents, and related substances can typically be substituted for another brand through trial and error.
Some people have allergies to drugs like pain relievers and prescriptions. These reactions are typically severe but happen quickly so you should be able to identify the allergen and your doctor can recommend a substitute.
Food, like dairy, nuts, and shellfish, is often the cause of an allergy. Logically, not eating the food will control this form of contact dermatitis. However, it can be difficult to identify your specific food allergen.
This typically requires an extended period of food journaling and possibly allergy testing. Once you have identified the food you should always try to avoid it, but that can be difficult when you dine out or do not prepare the food yourself.
You can control the irritants and allergens that cause your eczema to flare up. However, sometimes you cannot control the world around you and, sooner or later, you may be exposed.
Contact dermatitis treatment includes more than just controlling your triggers. It is equally important that you know which therapies are available to heal you when and if you have a recurrence.
There are different forms of treatment for contact dermatitis. One form is the “standard” medical treatments which include prescription ointments, bandages, pills, and light therapy.
On the other hand, there are also significant natural remedies that can relieve and even prevent your symptoms.
Perhaps the best form of treatment is “complimentary” therapy. This kind of therapy is a collection of natural remedies and techniques that work with and promote the standard treatments offered by medical professionals.
This type of natural treatment compliments your existing treatments to give you faster and better relief.
While there are countless sources of questionable information available on natural, complimentary therapies, Eczema Free is a fantastic e-book offering proven, quality advice on the subject.
The book covers a wide range of complementary therapies including natural ointments, extracts, and balms.
Also, it teaches diet and food preparation techniques that have been shown to substantially improve and sometimes prevent occurrences of contact dermatitis. In the book, you will also learn more about safe ways to detoxify your body.
Controlling the irritants and allergens that cause your contact dermatitis from eczema is a very important part of your total treatment.
Your quality of life will improve if you are able to lessen or prevent your exposure to the substances that cause your condition. However, if you do have a flare up make sure you arm yourself with the best treatments out there.
If you find the right combination of standard and complementary therapies, you will find that your contact dermatitis no longer affects your quality of life.