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Contact dermatitis

Inflammation of the skin is commonly termed 'eczema' or 'dermatitis'. Contact dermatitis occurs when your skin comes into contact with something that causes it to become red and inflamed (known as an inflammatory reaction).

There are two different types of contact dermatitis:

  • allergic contact dermatitis – this is caused by an allergen and it will continue to cause inflammation of your skin each time you come into contact with it
  • irritant contact dermatitis – this is when an irritant causes damage to your skin, resulting in inflammation. It can happen when you are exposed to irritants for long periods of time.

Both types of contact dermatitis can cause the skin to become:

  • cracked
  • red
  • blistered
  • thickened
  • dry.

The symptoms of contact dermatitis can be effectively managed with treatment.

Your pharmacist may be able to recommend some products which can help with dry, sore or itchy skin.

Not sure what to do next?

If you are still concerned about your contact dermatitis, why not use healthdirect’s online Symptom Checker to get advice on when to seek medical attention.

The Symptom Checker guides you to the next appropriate healthcare steps, whether it’s self care, talking to a health professional, going to a hospital or calling triple zero (000).

Last reviewed: July 2015

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Atopic Dermatitis (Eczema) | myVMC

Atopic dermatitis, or eczema, is a chronic skin disease which runs in families. It is an allergy which causes the skin becomes red, dry and itchy.

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Eczema is a common skin disorder that affects all ages but most commonly babies and children.

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Discoid eczema - ACD

Discoid eczema is a common type of eczema or dermatitis with coin-shaped areas of inflammation on the limbs or torso. It is usually very itchy.

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Eczema: Q and A -

Eczema (atopic dermatitis) is an itchy, scaly red or pink rash, often found in association with dry skin. Eczema often gets better with age, but problems with dry, sensitive skin often persist.

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Eczema: prevention and treatment -

Eczema (atopic dermatitis) is treated by protecting your skin barrier with moisturisers, avoiding irritants and allergens, and treating flare-ups with medicated ointments or creams.

Read more on myDr website

Eczema in children

Eczema can cause an uncomfortable rash in children, but symptoms can be managed. Learn more about the causes, triggers, symptoms and treatment options.

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Eczema - Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy (ASCIA)

Eczema occurs in around 1 in 5 infants, but usually improves during the teenage years. Most patients either have or will develop other allergies with age.

Read more on ASCIA – Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy website

Dermatitis (eczema) - Farmer Health | Farmer Health

Dermatitis (also called eczema) is a skin condition which is common among farmers. It is very uncomfortable and can be caused by contact with a range of things on the farm including: Farm chemicals Solvents and cleaners Disinfectants Pesticides &...

Read more on The National Centre for Farmer Health website

Irritant contact dermatitis (ICD) - ACD

Dermatitis is a very common, itchy red skin rash with a variety of types and causes (some types are also called eczema).

Read more on Australasian College of Dermatologists website

Eczema in babies, children and teenagers | Raising Children Network

Children with eczema get itchy, red, scaly patches on their skin. You should see your GP if you think your child might have eczema also called dermatitis.

Read more on Raising Children Network website

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