Buckhead Office

3379 Peachtree Rd NE, Suite 500

Atlanta, GA 30326

Mon. - Fri.: 7:30 am - 4:30 pm

Roswell Office

11755 Pointe Place, Suite B-2

Roswell, GA 30076

Mon. - Fri.: 7:30 am - 4:30 pm

Contact Dermatitis: Allergic Vs. Irritant

Contact dermatitis refers to a skin irritation or rash that develops as a result of contact with a certain physical substance or chemical. There are two types of contact dermatitis: allergic and irritant. In both cases, you should follow up with a dermatologist to not only relieve your rash symptoms but to also learn how you can avoid a skin reaction in the future.

Do you know the difference between allergic and irritant contact dermatitis? Allergic contact dermatitis is caused when you come in direct contact with an allergen such as jewelry (nickel), fragrances, dyes, natural rubbers or plants (poison ivy). This typically presents as a delayed reaction on the skin, or about 12 to 72 hours after coming in contact with the substance. Remember that it is possible for your skin to develop a sensitivity or allergic reaction to something that has been well tolerated in the past. For example, a child can experience a reaction to nickel after wearing earrings for the first time or an adult may suddenly develop a nickel allergy after years of exposure.

Irritant contact dermatitis, on the other hand, involves a triggered skin reaction caused by repeated exposure to substances like harsh soaps or strong chemical solvents over a longer period of time. There are certain occupations that are more at risk, including dental care workers, florists, hairdressers, etc. Sufferers of irritant contact dermatitis commonly have skin rashes due to detergents, cleaners, waxes and other chemical sources. These irritants gradually weaken the oily or more protective layer of the skin and cause an uncomfortable reaction.

Symptoms of allergic contact dermatitis and irritant contact dermatitis can be very similar. However, Cleveland Clinic provides the following commonalities and distinctions between the two:

Allergic contact dermatitis symptoms include:

  • Reddening of skin (either in patches or all over the body)
  • Intermittent dry, scaly patches of skin
  • Blisters that ooze
  • Burning or itching that is usually intense without visible skin sores (lesions)
  • Swelling in the eyes, face, and genital areas (severe cases)
  • Hives
  • Sun sensitivity
  • Darkened, “leathery,” and cracked skin

Irritant contact dermatitis symptoms include:

  • Mild swelling of skin
  • Stiff, tight feeling skin
  • Dry, cracking skin
  • Blisters
  • Painful ulcers on the skin

If you are suffering from a skin rash of unknown origin, please schedule an appointment at Olansky Dermatology Associates. We specialize in diagnosing and treating skin rashes for patients of all ages.

Posted on behalf of Dr. Jodi E. Ganz, Olansky Dermatology Associates
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Olansky Dermatology Associates – Atlanta Dermatologist
3379 Peachtree Rd NE, Suite 500
Atlanta, GA 30326
Phone: (404) 355-5484
American College of Mohs Surgery Atlanta Association for Dermatology and Dermatologic Surgery The American Society for Dermatologic Surgery American Academy of Dermatology American Medical Association American Medical Association

Buckhead Office

3379 Peachtree Rd NE, Suite 500

Atlanta, GA 30326

Roswell Office

11755 Pointe Place, Suite B-2

Roswell, GA 30076

Our Happy Patients

Olansky Dermatology Associates

4.7/ 5.0

Based on 229 reviews

Jenny S.

The doctors and PA’s are great and very knowledgeable. I never have to wait to long and the office staff is always very nice. I also take my son there and they are great with him as well. I would highly recommend Olansky Dermatology.

Kristen R.

Olansky Dermatology is wonderful! Our whole family goes. My daughter has had terrible eczema through the years and both my kids had mollescum too. They always make things better and spend time explaining whats wrong and how to fix it.

Mike D.

I recently had a couple appointments at Olanksy Dermatology and was seen by Julia Lee. Julie was excellent and quickly took care of the issue I was having with my skin. I would highly recommend Olansky Dermatology and especially Julia Lee to anyone in need of a dermatologist.

Tamima D.

My husband is a patient of PA Sharon Doering I appreciate all she did for my spouse. She’s very down to earth & made him feel comfortable. Sharon communicated in a way that he can understand.
Thank You

Lisa H.

I see the physician assistant Sharon Doering and she has drastically improved my skin! I highly recommend this practice and their brilliant thourough doctors. I finally have glowing skin!

Betty G.

I have had excellent experience at Olansky Dermatology. Dr Burger is meticulous and thorough and has a most pleasant and calm manner. I have every confidence in her and this office.

Cheyenne G.

Very kind and understanding people. Dr. Bellamy and her nurse took the time to listen to all my concerns and never made me feel rushed.

Kishan P.

I was actually running a bit late, but they were very friendly and knowledgeable about what was going on with my skin. And also very timely.I will definitely stick with them!

Khol S.

Very professional and pleasant staff. When I arrived at my appointment this afternoon I was informed that my doctor called out sick and they tried calling to let me know but I just recently changed my number so they were unable to reach me. The receptionist was so sweet and helpful. Instead of leaving and making a new appointment they fit me in without an issue and without any waiting.

Susan H.

Dr. Ilyas was highly recommended to me so I decided to change dermatologists. I am so glad as I am pleased with his expertise and his highly professional manner. I am also delighted with Emily Raville, Aesthetician. She does a wonderful job and I am recommending her to my friends as well. I am completely satisfied – can’t get any better than that!

Lindsay S.

I have been going to Olansky Dematology for many years now, whether for a specific problem, or just for a really great deep facial, and I wouldn’t consider going anywhere else. Every single staff member is knowledgeable and professional. The customer service I receive every visit leaves a positive and lasting impression. I always feel comfortable and at ease while I am there. Great staff!

Janet R.

I seem to live at this place! Whether it’s for an appointment with a doctor or for an aesthetic treatment, I am there frequently. I cannot say enough good things. Efficient, friendly, the best doctors, and a new aesthetic center with the latest in procedures and products to keep us looking almost as young as we feel. It’s always fun to see Emily and she knows just what to recommend.