Contact dermatitis: etiology, pathophysiology, clinical features and diagnostics

Ernesta Pranskaitytė1, Laura Malinauskienė1

1 Clinic of Chest Diseases, Immunology and Allergology, Faculty of Medicine, Vilnius University, Vilnius, Lithuania


Background. Contact dermatitis (CD) is a common skin disease with an increasing prevalence. It is a non-infectious skin inflammation that occurs after contact with an allergen or irritant. Based on pathophysiological mechanism, CD is divided into allergic CD (ACD) and irritant CD (ICD). ACD and ICD can co-exist due to the use of both the allergens and irritants, which leads to impaired skin barrier and promotes the development of CD. CD usually manifests as erythema, oedema, papules, pustules, and itchy skin. CD is diagnosed from a medical history, symptoms, and by performing patch testing. Dermatitis can be prevented by identifying and avoiding CD causing substances.

Aim: to review an aetiology, risk factors, pathophysiology, diagnostics, clinical features of CD, ACD and ICD comorbidity.

Methods: the review of literature was conducted using „PubMed“ and „UpToDate“ databases, using the keywords “Contact dermatitis”, “Allergic contact dermatitis”, “Contact allergy”, “Irritant contact dermatitis”, “Irritants”, “Allergens”.

Keywords: contact dermatitis, allergic contact dermatitis, irritant contact dermatitis, allergens, irritants.