Certain individuals can have so-called irritant contact dermatitis from soaps, detergents, and cleaning products. These reactions are similar to allergic contact dermatitis but the skin does not have an allergic reaction but rather is directly irritated, leading to loss of normal barrier skin function and painful rash. These reactions can be slightly less itchy that allergic dermatitis. A common situation is a new rash that comes up after changing or using unfamiliar bath or cleaning products. The treatment for irritant dermatitis is similar to allergic contact dermatitis, except that steroids are less often needed and antihistamine creams don’t typically help much.
For more information on the Allergen of the Month feature, see the overview , and check out the previous post on Poison Ivy (and less obvious ‘relatives’).
Definition Porphyrias are a group of rare disorders passed down through families, in which an important part of hemoglobin , called heme, is not made properly. Heme is also found in myoglobin, a protein found in certain muscles. Alternative Names Acute intermittent porphyria; Hereditary coproporphyria; Congenital erythropoietic porphyria; Erythropoietic protoporphyria Causes, incidence, and risk factors Normally, the body makes heme in a multi-step process. Porphyrins are made during several steps of this process. Patients with porphyria have a deficiency of certain enzymes needed for this process. This causes abnormal amounts of porphyrins or related chemicals to build up in the body. There are many different forms of porphyria. The most common type is porphyria cutanea tarda (PCT). Drugs, infection, alcohol, and hormones such as estrogen may trigger attacks of certain types of porphyria.
Did you know the largest internal organ of the body is the liver? But the overall largest organ of the body is the skin. It’s no wonder the skin is involved with so many aspects of diseases: rash, itching, fever, external bleeding, swelling, pallor (turning pale), and cyanosis (turning blue). Doctors look for signs of hundreds of diseases by examining the organ that is most accessible, the skin.
Often the skin is our first line of defense against adverse conditions such as hot and cold temperatures, external trauma (for example falling on hard ground) and harmful rays of the sun. We are protected from a myriad of germs (bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites) by having a finely woven coat of armor, our skin.
Unfortunately certain substances, after contacting the skin, may cause a break down in protective barrier forces. This may be followed by inflammation and a skin eruption (rash) that signals the development of contact dermatitis (CD) .
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