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Clinical Features of Contact Dermatitis

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Clinical features of contact dermatitis include the symptoms: pruritus, stinging, smarting, and pain. The typical clinical finding is dermatitis at the site of contact with the offending object. Physical findings can vary from discreet erythema to severe, widespread dermatitis and erythema multiforme-like eruptions.

There are significant differences in the exposures of contact allergens and irritants to different areas of the body.

It is not possible on clinical grounds alone to distinguish between irritant and allergic contact dermatitis. Allergy testing, primarily patch testing, is necessary to confirm a diagnosis of allergic contact dermatitis and to support a diagnosis of irritant contact dermatitis.


  • Contact dermatitis
  • Allergic contact dermatitis
  • Irritant contact dermatitis
  • Protein contact dermatitis
  • Contact urticaria
  • Preservatives
  • Fragrance
  • Topical drugs
  • Nickel
  • Potassium dichromate
  • Rubber additives
  • Latex

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Correspondence to Niels K. Veien MD, PhD .

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Veien, N.K. (2016). Clinical Features of Contact Dermatitis. In: Johansen, J., Lepoittevin, JP., Thyssen, J. (eds) Quick Guide to Contact Dermatitis. Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg.

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