Dr. Kellogg shares what contact irritant dermatitis is and what causes it.
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EmpowHer Asks: What is contact irritant dermatitis and what causes it? Susan Kellogg-Spadt, CRNP, PhD Director of Sexual Medicine Contact irritant dermatitis is a type of skin condition where the skin becomes very red, sometime swollen; itching, burning very, very uncomfortable and its in response to something that’s irritate of the skin and in come into contact with. There are very common things that cause contact irritant dermatitis probably the most common ones are things like perfume soaps and deodorant products that are used in the genitals. Other things are a little bit less obvious how about the adhesive on a mini pad now you're thinking the mini pad adhesive is not next to the skin, what are you talking about. But the truth is, is that the vapor that’s created when that adhesive is exposed to body heat comes out around the mini pad onto the vulva and then causing irritation. So if a woman has just changed her feminine hygiene product to a new product and all of the sudden has itching, swelling, redness she could actually have an allergy to the adhesive on that mini pad. Other things that people don’t even think about that can cause contact irritant dermatitis are fabric softening products. Whether they’ll be liquid products or small drier sheets, those things are known vulva irritants. Preservatives in vaginal creams like propylene glycol, methylpyridine these are things that are put in to preserve the cream so it doesn’t go bad on the shelf. But unfortunately, they're also known vulvar irritants. It would be who a women who’s having symptoms again at itching, swelling, burning in the vulva to checked for a contact irritant dermatitis. Or if it happens after you use a brand new product for the first time do a little test yourself and take the product away and see if the symptoms quite down. Quick note it might take up to three weeks for symptoms of contact irritant dermatitis to call on their own, so don’t make a snap judgment just take away a product if you think its irritating your—and see if you're skin make progress in three weeks time.

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