What is allergic contact dermatitis?

What is allergic contact dermatitis?

Dermatitis is an overarching term for a skin disorder, which is characterised by a local inflammatory response, generally associated with allergies.


When a specific substance, after repeated and prolonged contact, causes a reaction, or sensitises the immune system, it triggers an allergic response. The immune system is the body’s defence system, and it is made up of a lot of biological structures, organs and processes which combined provide resistance to infection and toxins, protecting us against disease.


The resulting local inflammation is Allergic Contact Dermatitis (ACD) - more commonly known as a ‘Skin Allergy’. The substance that causes the reaction is called the allergen. 


Nickel is the most common cause of Allergic Contact Dermatitis (ACD). Typical examples of skin reactions caused by Nickel exposure include redness, rashes or broken skin on earlobes from earrings, on the wrist from wearing a watch or bracelet, and on the belly from metal zips or buttons on jeans. Reactions can be painful and can last for weeks.