A 24-year-old woman presented to Primary Care with a rash on her face that occurred following use of an acne medication containing benzoyl peroxide. Her rash was diagnosed as irritant dermatitis, an inflammatory response to a physical or chemical irritant. Irritant dermatitis rashes are erythematous, pruritic, and can cause a burning sensation, especially when in contact with water. Irritant dermatitis is a common occupational injury, and is prevalent among health care workers, food handlers, hairdressers, and housekeepers. Common irritants include benzoyl peroxide, cosmetics, detergents, acids, and physical friction. Treatment should include identifying the offending irritant so that it may be avoided if possible. Irritant dermatitis is treated with topical corticosteroids in the acute phase. Emollients or moisturizers should be used in the long term in order to maintain skin integrity and ensure irritants are not able to penetrate the skin and cause inflammation.
KeywordsDermatitis Contact Irritant Allergy Topical steroid Corticosteroid Pruritus
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