b. Contact Dermatitis.
(1) Definition/characteristics. Contact dermatitis is an acute or chronic
inflammation often sharply marked. This abnormality is produced by substances
coming into contact with the skin. People most susceptible are blondes, redheads, and
light-skinned individuals. Contact dermatitis is a toxic, allergic, photoallergic (reaction-
increased-by-light) condition, and may or may not be limited to the point of contact.
Contact dermatitis can be caused by touching these common items: plants (poison ivy,
oak, sumac), chemicals, cosmetics, fabrics, and such household items as detergents,
waxes, and polish. The effects of touching any of these substances may be immediate
or delayed according to how sensitive a person is to the particular substance. The skin
area that the offending substance has touched will be itching and red and will have
burning blisters. In later stages, oozing or crusty areas are common.
(2) Treatment. No treatment is effective unless the offending agent is
removed. Use cool soaks. Apply bland compresses and a drying corticosteroid
medication during the period when skin lesions are acute. Be careful not to use
hydrocortisone medication for a long period; this drug can cause disabling conditions.
(1) Definition/characteristics. Psoriasis is a common skin disease caused
by gene combination. Skin lesions are discrete- pink or dull-red. Patches of thick skin
with a red base and white-silvery scales or flakes are present. Psoriasis usually occurs
at the elbows, knees, scalp, back, or penis. The condition is worse if the area is
exposed to sunshine too long; however, a small amount of sunlight is helpful.
(2) Treatment. There is no known cure for psoriasis, but the following
treatment can be administered to provide temporary relief. Apply hydrocortisone cream
(one to two percent) four times daily. Mild sunlight and a warm climate have a favorable
effect, but humidity makes the condition worse. Kenalog spray and vitamin E are also
(1) Definition/characteristics. Acne is a chronic inflammatory disease of the
sebaceous glands and hair follicles. It is caused by excessive oils due to hormone
stimulations, bacteria, and family history. Commonly affected areas are the face, back,
and chest. Skin lesions are multiple spreading pimples, cysts, and painful nodules. In
many cases, pus develops.
(2) Treatment. There are pros and cons about a number of foods
contributing to acne. Since acne is usually chronic for a number of years (ranging from
1 to 15), certain foods may be eliminated from the diet. Eliminate one or two foods for
not less than three weeks and notice whether the skin condition has improved.