I am an avid gardener and often get ichy rashes or skin irritations that are easily taken care of with soap and water and then they go away. I have olive skin and I don't sunburn easily. This year after weeding my herb garden in short sleeves I got the usual itchiness on my lower arms from contact with the plants. After a shower it no longer itched and there was no noticeable redness or rash. The next day I noticed what looked like a brown scarring or rash like discoloration on both of my inner forearms and a couple spots on my hands. Still no itch. They are not raised or scaly but they have grown darker and will not go away. It's been two weeks since they appeared. The insides of my arms look scarred as though I have been scratched and bitten. It's embarrassing because the brown discoloration stands out so clearly against the whiter skin of my inner forearm. I look like I have track marks from intraveineous drug use. I suspect it is from some plant contact. Here are the plants I know I came in contact with that day: Yarrow, shasta daisies, honeysuckle vine, jewelweed, sumac, basil,oregano,sorrel, chamomile, crab grass, common everyday side of the road weeds.
This seems to be a case of Contact dermatitis.Contact dermatitis is an inflammation of the skin caused by direct contact with an irritating or allergy-causing substance (irritant or allergen). Reactions may vary in the same individual over time. A history of any type of allergies increases the risk for this condition.
The skin inflammation varies from mild irritation and redness to open sores, depending on the type of irritant, the body part affected, and the sensitivity of the individual.
Common allergens associated with contact dermatitis include:
Poison ivy, poison oak, poison sumac
Nickel or other metals etc.
Initial treatment includes thorough washing with lots of water to remove any trace of the irritant that may remain on the skin. Further exposure to known irritants or allergens should be avoided.
Topical corticosteroid medications may reduce inflammation. Carefully adhere to instructions when using topical steroids because overuse of these medications, even low-strength over-the-counter topical steroids, may cause a troublesome skin condition.
This may be an allergic reaction. You may need topical medications and oral antihistamines for this especially when itchiness is present. Applying fluocinonide cream 0.05% thinly over the area may help prevent redness and swelling of the area. If the skin rash does not respond after two days, have this assessed by your doctor. This may be contact dermatitis secondary to exposure to allergens.
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