Contact dermatitis can be either irritant or allergic. Irritant dermatitis is usually mild. Micro-vesiculation of tiny blisters can be seen although this is not as prominent as an allergic dermatitis. Chronic exposure can lead to thickening of the skin with scaling and cracking.
Sometimes distinguishing the more acute irritant reaction may be difficult as similar features can sometimes also be seen in allergic reactions. Common abrasives such as cleansing agents, solvents, detergents, soaps and cutting oils are responsible, as is frequent contact with water as well as chemicals with either oxidizing or reducing agents. Contact with animal saliva can also produce irritant dermatitis.
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