West Houston Dermatology

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Contact Dermatitis and Sports Equipment

Allergic Contact Dermatitis & Sports Gear

Contact dermatitis is a relatively common skin condition.  It is an inflammatory response by the skin caused by direct contact with an irritant or allergen.  In the US, there are approximately 14.5 million cases of allergic contact dermatitis each year.  One of the things patients should know is that allergic contact dermatitis may not present immediately following exposure; rather, it may have delayed presentation due to immune response.  Allergic contact dermatitis can also occur following exposure to a substance the patient has been exposed to for a long time, during intermittent exposure, or during a first time exposure.  Professional athletes, children participating in sports activities, and adult sports league members are susceptible to allergic contact dermatitis through sports equipment and protective gear.  Sometimes contact dermatitis can be more prevalent in athletes because of stress to the body such as mechanical stress, increased body temperature, increased sweating, and/or skin abrasions.  Because athletes have repeat exposure to the same allergens, it can be a bit easier to identify the offending substance rather than an exposure that occurs in passing.  The top sports allergens are associated with gear and include, but are not limited to: rubber, metals such as nickel, formaldehyde, and epoxy resins.  Dealing with allergic contact dermatitis is frustrating, but help is available.  West Houston Dermatology treats allergic contact dermatitis and other skin irritants on a regular basis with success.  In order to identify the cause, a thorough patient interview is required, and possibly skin patch testing.  For more information on treating this condition, contact us for an appointment.