Symptoms vary depending on the cause and whether the dermatitis is due to an allergic reaction or an irritant. The same person may also have different symptoms over time.
Allergic reactions may occur suddenly, or develop after months of exposure.
Contact dermatitis often occurs on the hands. Hair products, cosmetics, and perfumes can lead to skin reactions on the face, head, and neck. Jewelry can also cause skin problems in the area under it.
Itching is a common symptom. In the case of an allergic dermatitis, itching can be severe.
Itching can be severe in the case of allergic dermatitis. You may have red, streaky, or patchy rash where the substance touched the skin. The allergic reaction is often delayed so that the rash may not appear until 24 - 48 hours after exposure.
The rash may:
- Have red bumps that may form moist, weeping blisters
- Feel warm and tender
- Ooze, drain, or crust
- Become scaly, raw, or thickened
Dermatitis caused by an irritant may also cause burning or pain as well as itching. Irritant dermatitis often shows as dry, red, and rough skin. Cuts (fissures) may form on the hands. Skin may become inflamed with long-term exposure.