Fast Five Quiz: Compare Your Knowledge of Contact Dermatitis

William James, MD


June 06, 2017

Acrylates and methacrylates have been recognized as emerging, important causes of contact allergy and allergic contact disease. A study that spanned 13 years determined that acrylic nail sources and wound dressings represent emerging sources of sensitization. A separate study found that acrylates and methacrylates were significantly associated with allergic contact dermatitis.

Poison ivy (Toxicodendron radicans) is the classic example of acute allergic contact dermatitis in North America. Nickel is the leading cause of allergic contact dermatitis around the world. The incidence of nickel-allergic contact dermatitis in North America is increasing; in contrast, new regulations in Europe have resulted in a decreasing prevalence of nickel allergy in young and middle-aged women.

Dry air renders the skin more susceptible to cutaneous irritants. Sufficiently dry air alone may provoke irritant contact dermatitis. Most cases of winter itch are a result of dry skin from the drier air found during sustained periods of cold weather.

Trauma can cause contact dermatitis. Fiberglass produces direct damage to the skin, usually manifested by pruritus that may result in excoriation and secondary skin damage. Many plant leaves and stems bear small spicules and barbs that produce direct skin trauma. Pressure produces callus formation. Pounding produces petechia or ecchymosis. Sudden trauma or friction produces blistering in the epidermis. Repeated rubbing or scratching produces lichenification. Sweating and friction appear to be the main cause of dermatitis that appears under soccer shin guards in children.

For more on the etiology of contact dermatitis, read here.


Comments on Medscape are moderated and should be professional in tone and on topic. You must declare any conflicts of interest related to your comments and responses. Please see our Commenting Guide for further information. We reserve the right to remove posts at our sole discretion.