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Top 10 Causes of Contact Dermatitis


Notice an itchy, red rash after wearing that new silver bracelet? Has that new summer perfume caused itchy skin around your wrists and neck? The reason could be as simple as contact dermatitis.

Contact dermatitis is the name given to the various rashes that result when the skin comes in contact with something it is allergic to. Symptoms of contact dermatitis include skin redness, itching that often becomes painful, skin thickening, and scaling.

Contact dermatitis is easily remedied with antihistamines, cortisone-type creams and dry-skin lotions. If symptoms persist, a physician may need to issue a prescription.

Following are the top 10 causes of contact dermatitis recently identified by Mayo Clinic physicians:

  • Nickel, commonly found on jewelry clasps or buttons.
  • Gold, usually worn as jewelry.
  • Balsam of Peru, a fragrance used in skin care products and perfume.
  • Thimerosal, a preservative used in vaccines.
  • Neomycin sulfate, a topical antibiotic.
  • Fragrance mix, which is comprised of eight of the most common flavorings found in various products.
  • Formaldehyde, a preservative that can be found in paper products, paints, building materials, medications, household cleaners and fabric finishes.
  • Cobalt chloride, a metal found in medical products, hair dye, antiperspirants, and in snaps, buttons and tools.
  • Bacitracin, a topical antibiotic.
  • Quaternium-15, a preservative found in skin care products and in industrial products such as pains, polishes and waxes.

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