If you have a history of any kind of allergy, you’re more likely to develop allergic contact dermatitis. For instance, children who have a food allergy are more likely to have a skin allergy, especially atopic dermatitis (eczema).
People who work with their skin submerged in water on a regular basis are more likely to develop contact dermatitis because the water strips the skin of protective oils. The same is true for people who work outdoors or with high levels of heat such as:
- Cooks and chefs
- Glass blowers
- Factory workers
- Hair stylists
- Construction workers
- Health care workers
Women are twice as likely to contract contact dermatitis. This is not because of any inherent gender characteristic; it is simply due to the fact that women disproportionately fill occupations where contact dermatitis is more prevalent: hairdressing, nursing, etc.
Repeated use of irritants can also increase sensitivity to contact dermatitis. While initial use of something like contact lens solution or wearing a watch containing nickel may not trigger an immediate response, repeated use can increase your risk for contact dermatitis symptoms.
Sunlight can also be a risk factor. Certain contact dermatitis allergens are photosensitizers; they only cause a skin reaction after they are subsequently exposed to sunlight. Common photosensitizers are perfumes and aftershave lotions that contain certain oils; soaps, detergents, and sunscreens; and some fruits and vegetables, including limes, celery, and figs. Some oral medications, including tetracycline and doxycycline, are photosensitizers as well.