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Irritant contact dermatitis in adults

Ronald Goldner, MD
Papapit Tuchinda, MD
Section Editor
Joseph Fowler, MD
Deputy Editor
Rosamaria Corona, MD, DSc


Irritant contact dermatitis (ICD) is a localized inflammatory skin response to a wide range of chemical or physical agents. ICD results from direct cytotoxic effect of irritants; unlike allergic contact dermatitis, it is not immune mediated. ICD is a multifactorial disorder influenced by the physical and chemical properties of the irritating substance, host-related susceptibility factors, and environmental factors.

The clinical manifestations of ICD are similar to those of other acute or chronic eczematous dermatitides, including atopic dermatitis and allergic contact dermatitis.

This topic will discuss the pathogenesis, clinical manifestations, diagnosis, and management of ICD in adults. Atopic dermatitis and allergic contact dermatitis are discussed separately. Diaper dermatitis, the prototype of irritant contact dermatitis in infants and young children, is discussed separately.

(See "Treatment of atopic dermatitis (eczema)".)

(See "Basic mechanisms and pathophysiology of allergic contact dermatitis".)

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Literature review current through: Nov 2017. | This topic last updated: Jun 25, 2015.
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