While you might think you know your body, it can offer surprises from time to time like the development of dermatitis.

There are different types of dermatitis, one being contact dermatitis.

If you’re trying to work out if you have contact dermatitis or want to know more about it, look no further.

What is contact dermatitis?

Contact dermatitis is a type of eczema that develops when the skin comes into "contact with a particular substance", according to the NHS.

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Eczema is the umbrella term for a group of conditions that can make skin dry and irritated.

Contact dermatitis usually goes away if a person can identify the substance that's irritating the skin and stop using it.

Substances can include soap, detergents, solvents or regular contact with water.

However, treatments are available for those suffering from it.

What are the symptoms of contact dermatitis?

Skin can get itchy, dry, blistered and cracked if you have contact dermatitis.

Those with lighter skin might notice it becomes red while darker skin may become dark brown, purple or grey.

Contact dermatitis usually starts appearing within a few hours or days of the skin coming into contact with the irritant or allergen.

While the symptoms most commonly affect the hands and face, they can affect any part of the body.

Symptoms of irritant contact dermatitis:

  • Mild dryness
  • Redness
  • Burning or stinging skin
  • Very painful blisters that fill with fluid

Symptoms of allergic contact dermatitis

  • Mild redness or itchiness
  • Cracked skin
  • Skin filled with fluid
  • Extremely itchy skin
  • Stinging sensation

When should you see a doctor?

If you think you have contact dermatitis that is troubling you, the NHS advises that you ask a pharmacist about it as they can recommend emollients which are moisturisers that help stop your skin from getting dry.

Or you could be given steroid ointments or creams.

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The NHS website says: “See a GP if you have persistent, recurrent or severe symptoms of contact dermatitis. They can try to identify the cause and suggest appropriate treatments.”

If the thing causing your skin irritation can’t be identified or your symptoms aren’t getting better with treatment, your doctor may refer you to a dermatologist who specialises in treating skin conditions so you can have further tests.

Other types of eczema include atopic eczema, discoid eczema and varicose eczema - you can find out more via the NHS website.