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Our Health Library information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Please be advised that this information is made available to assist our patients to learn more about their health. Our providers may not see and/or treat all topics found herein.

Contact dermatitis

Contact dermatitis on an arm, with close-up of rash

Contact dermatitis is a skin rash that results from contact with a substance that causes an allergic reaction. The rash usually starts within 48 hours of contact with the irritating substance. A minor reaction may cause mild redness of the skin or a rash of small red bumps. A more severe reaction may cause swelling, redness, and larger blisters.

Many things can cause contact dermatitis, including soaps, lotions, latex gloves, and plants such as poison ivy. The location of the rash may provide a clue about the cause.

Current as of: July 2, 2020

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:
William H. Blahd Jr. MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine
Martin J. Gabica MD - Family Medicine
H. Michael O'Connor MD - Emergency Medicine

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World Health Organization
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