contact-dermatitis
Skin Health

A New Treatment for Allergic Contact Dermatitis

Researchers have found a promising new treatment for allergic contact dermatitis that offers an alternative to corticosteroids and their possible side effects.

The investigators were led by Nicolas Bazan, MD, PhD, Boyd Professor and Director of the Neuroscience Center of Excellence at Louisiana State University Health New Orleans School of Medicine, and the findings were published in Dermatology and Therapy.

Working in an experimental model of allergic contact dermatitis, the research team developed a mixture of antioxidants and moisturizers, combined with potent free radical scavengers and inhibitors, which suppressed an inflammatory response to the irritant. The cream relieved itch, reduced swelling and protected peripheral nerves in the affected area.

Allergic contact dermatitis (ACD) is caused by exposure to an allergen in sensitive people. Sensitizing allergens include nickel and gold, perfumes, soaps or organic compounds. Although removal of the allergen reduces symptoms, recovery can take weeks. The authors also noted that allergic contact dermatitis represents 5-10% of doctor visits.

One of the current primary treatments for severe allergic contact dermatitis is the use of corticosteroids. Long-term use of corticosteroids can result in skin atrophy, spider veins, loss of skin color or corticosteroid acne. They can disrupt the skin’s barrier and lead to adrenal suppression, altered growth, hypertension, hyperglycemia, insulin resistance and cataracts, and they may increase the risk for certain cancers.

The experimental cream, on the other hand, successfully treated allergic contact dermatitis in mice, without the side effects of corticosteroids. The new cream works in a different way by preventing or stopping the process that initiates inflammation.

“While our results are very promising, additional studies are needed to determine the ideal duration of treatment and the most efficacious concentrations of the active components in the test formulations that will best alleviate ACD,” Bazan said.