Irritant contact dermatitis is caused by the breakdown of the skin’s protective barrier by repeated exposure to damaging irritants. This can affect any part of the body that comes into direct contact with the offending substance.
Common chemical irritants include soaps, detergents, cosmetics, household cleaners, and latex. Environmental irritants such as dry, cold air may cause skin irritation (known as winter itch). Redness and swelling are common at the location of contact. The development of blisters is uncommon. Skin that is repeatedly affected by dermatitis may become dry and scaly.