Contact dermatitis is a skin reaction that occurs after you have been exposed to a substance that either irritates your skin or triggers an allergic response. If your skin condition is caused by contact with an irritating or harsh substance, you have primary irritant contact dermatitis. Irritant contact dermatitis results from toxic irritation of the skin usually resulting from exposure to generous amounts of an offending agent. Allergic contact dermatitis, on the other hand, is an immunologic response usually requiring only minimal amounts of the offending agent to illicit a response. The symptoms and treatment of both types of contact dermatitis are similar.
Fluid-filled bumps or blisters, tenderness and redness of the skin often occur with contact dermatitis. You may also notice oozing cracks or fissures in the reddened, irritated skin areas. Usually, these symptoms will occur only in the areas that actually came into contact with the irritant or allergen. This condition is not contagious.