Allergic Contact Dermatitis

Immunol Allergy Clin North Am. 2017 Feb;37(1):141-152. doi: 10.1016/j.iac.2016.08.014.


Allergic contact dermatitis (ACD) is a common skin disease caused by a T cell-mediated immune reaction to usually innocuous allergens. ACD can have grave medical and socioeconomic consequences. ACD and irritant contact dermatitis often occur together. A detailed history and clinical examination are crucial and guide patch testing, which is the gold standard to diagnose ACD. T-cell clones persisting in the skin may explain the tendency of ACD to relapse even after years of allergen avoidance. Traditional treatments for ACD are topical steroids, calcineurin inhibitors, phototherapy, retinoids (including the recent alitretinoin), and immunosuppressants. Targeted therapies are lacking.

Keywords: Allergen; Contact; Dermatitis; Patch; T cell; Work related.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Allergens / immunology
  • Dermatitis, Allergic Contact / diagnosis*
  • Dermatitis, Irritant / diagnosis*
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Humans
  • Occupational Exposure / adverse effects
  • Patch Tests
  • Skin / immunology*
  • Skin / pathology


  • Allergens