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’).
I've developed a rash recently and I don't know if it's eczema or just a skin allergy. I changed detergents recently. Does this have anything to do with my rash?
In its most fundamental meaning, "eczema" is simply a type of skin inflammation. Collectively, skin inflammations resulting from allergies or physical contact are referred to as "dermatitis." While the name may sound serious, dermatitis can range from mild-a small patch of flaking, dry skin-to severe-rashes that can be painful and cause cracks in the skin.
When we use the term "eczema," we commonly conflate the condition with atopic dermatitis, which doctors believe is an autoimmune-related disorder that causes a chronic itchy rash. However, if your rash only appeared recently, it's highly unlikely that you are experiencing atopic eczema. Atopic eczema is a hereditary disorder that most often affects people in childhood and can either worsen or improve as they age.
A more recent, first-time rash is more ...
Education is a wonderful thing, but too much knowledge can be frightening. Back in the days when no one had heard of Inflammatory Breast Cancer (IBC), a red spot on the breast that looked like a bug bite didn't worry anyone. Of course, some women died because they didn't check with their doctors, but most of the time that bug bite cleared up in a few days.
Now many women have seen a TV news story about IBC in which two patients described their initial symptoms as looking like bug bites, and they write or call in panic afraid they have cancer. I talked to one frightened woman on a toll-free IBC line where I volunteer from time to time. As we talked, it turned out that she had just returned from a camping trip and had mosquito bites on her breast.
Others have Googled a description of their rash and gotten hits for breast cancer along with a world of panic. The breasts are subject to all kinds of rashes, most of which are not dangerous, so how can you tell what you have and when to c...
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