Contact dermatitis

Nat Rev Dis Primers. 2021 May 27;7(1):38. doi: 10.1038/s41572-021-00271-4.


Contact dermatitis (CD) is among the most common inflammatory dermatological conditions and includes allergic CD, photoallergic CD, irritant CD, photoirritant CD (also called phototoxic CD) and protein CD. Occupational CD can be of any type and is the most prevalent occupational skin disease. Each CD type is characterized by different immunological mechanisms and/or requisite exposures. Clinical manifestations of CD vary widely and multiple subtypes may occur simultaneously. The diagnosis relies on clinical presentation, thorough exposure assessment and evaluation with techniques such as patch testing and skin-prick testing. Management is based on patient education, avoidance strategies of specific substances, and topical treatments; in severe or recalcitrant cases, which can negatively affect the quality of life of patients, systemic medications may be needed.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Allergens
  • Dermatitis, Allergic Contact* / diagnosis
  • Dermatitis, Allergic Contact* / epidemiology
  • Dermatitis, Allergic Contact* / etiology
  • Dermatitis, Irritant* / diagnosis
  • Dermatitis, Irritant* / epidemiology
  • Dermatitis, Irritant* / etiology
  • Humans
  • Patch Tests
  • Quality of Life


  • Allergens