Caused by superficial contact with foreign substances, contact dermatitis is an inflammation of the skin that is a reaction to an irritant or allergen. Some of the causes of contact dermatitis include soaps, detergents, household chemicals, plants, metals or fragrances and usually results in a skin rash or burn.
Contact dermatitis is different from other minor skin irritations, which appear and fade relatively quickly, in that it is usually identified by large itchy rashes or open sores that burn, can last for days or longer and usually require medical attention to remedy. Further, contact dermatitis typically worsens over time if exposure to the irritant or allergic material continues. Contact dermatitis varies in each person by the type of irritant, area affected and each person’s sensitivity to the substance.