What are Skin Contact Allergies (Contact Dermatitis)?

A skin allergy, or what is correctly called contact dermatitis, occurs when your skin comes in contact with something its immune system has learned to be allergic to.

Usually the reaction occurs only after 24-48 hours after contact with the substance you are allergic to.

What do you see – and feel?

What you see and feel is an itchy, scaly, red, sometimes pimply rash that is localized (mostly) to the area of contact. There can be small or larger blisters developing.

The Contact (Skin) Allergy that is best known is the nickel allergy. This gets most often noticed when cheap earrings cause itching of the ears or the jeans button rubs on your belly or a nickel-containing watch sits on your wrist.

There are many other things that can cause contact dermatitis such as latex, hair dye, perfumes, make ups, bath powders and some household cleaning products as well as many occupational substances. Nearly every substance known (or maybe still unknown…)  to man, natural or man-made, can cause contact dermatitis.

Latex skin allergies are becoming more common as latex is used in many products such as condoms, rubber bands, band-aids, bathing suits and some toys as well in rubber gloves, medical products and more. Latex allergies can also be of the immediate type and as such be life-threatening.

It is extremely important if you are allergic to latex that you advise your physician, dentist or any other healthcare worker so they do not use any latex based products on you.

The most common plant-based skin allergens are poison ivy and poison oak. We all know someone who has come in contact with these in the garden at some point who have developed the painful and itching weeping blisters that accompany it.

There are also skin allergies that are called photo-allergic, that means you need to come in contact with a certain substance and then be exposed to sunlight or other light sources. Often the offending substance is part of the sunscreen you are using….

The likelihood of contact allergies (and other allergies) is increased when you have leaky skin. What is that?

What is Leaky Skin?

Check out my video below on this topic to learn more about it!


There is actually a wide overlap of immediate-type and delayed-type allergies. It can happen that you have an immediate reaction (e.g. itching all over, hives) within 30 min of contact or eating a certain food and then after 24-72 hours the rash and eczema starts to flare….

Want to learn more about how to heal your skin rash?

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