Contributor: Gordon K. Klintworth
Contact dermatitis (allergic contact dermatitis, allergic dermatitis, dermatitis venenata) is a form of dermatitis caused by an allergic reaction to an allergen. This type of dermatitis is a hypersensitivity - type IV reaction and the patient has been previously sensitized to the substance that has initiated the inflammation. It needs to be differentiated from irritant dermatitis [dermatitis - irritant].The inflammation may involve the eyelids and cause edema [edema - eyelid] as well as erythema. The numerous allergens that are known to cause allergic contact dermatitis of the eyelids include contact lens solutions (benzalkonium chloride), mascara (colophony), nail polish (toluene sulfonamide, sulfonamide-formaldehyde, and quaternium-15), hair dye (paraphenylenediamine, fragrance, acrylics, parabens, resorcinol, ammonia, and henna), sunscreen (PABA,cinnamates, benzophenones, salicylates and anthranilates), topical medications (clotrimazole, neomycin, ethylenediamine hydrochloride and vitamin E), and plants (mango and and other fruits, weeds and poison ivy/oak/sumac) . The cause of allergic contact dermatitis in specific cases can be determined using patch tests with suspected allergens.