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Skin Rashes

There are many causes for skin rashes. Allergic contact skin rashes can be caused by poison oak, nickel found in jewelry, topical antibiotics, rubber (latex), hair dyes and skin care products. Other types of skin rashes may be caused by medications, food or food additives.

In initial (acute) severe cases such as poison ivy, the skin gets red, itchy, swollen, and develops tiny blisters, which may break and leave crusts and scales. The skin becomes thick, red, and scaly with long-term (chronic) exposure to an allergen. Later the skin may darken and become leathery and cracked. Allergic contact dermatitis can be difficult to distinguish from other rashes.

A dermatologist will study the materials that your skin encounters at work and at play to try to identify the allergen. Most contact dermatitis is diagnosed by distribution of the rash. Sometimes the cause cannot be identified by history or physical examination and your dermatologist may perform patch testing.

Detective work by a dermatologist can lead to the elimination of the cause and treatment of skin rashes.