Contact dermatitis is a common ailment that comes with chronic wound care. It’s a major issue that patients and caregivers should take seriously. Without proper care, contact dermatitis can result in prolonged wound care needs and permanent healing issues.
Contact dermatitis occurs when the skin near a wound becomes damaged or irritated due to its environment, mainly through wound dressings and tapings. The skin around a wound can appear red or scratched, much like a sunburn, a scrape, or an allergic reaction. This skin irritation can slow down the process of healing for the main wound or cause new wounds to develop over time.
Types of contact dermatitis
There are two main types of contact dermatitis (CD). The types are allergic contact dermatitis (ACD) and irritant contact dermatitis (ICD). ACD occurs when the skin is experiencing an allergic reaction, typically due to allergens within the wound dressing. ICD occurs when the skin is reacting to an irritant but not producing an allergic reaction.
The majority of contact dermatitis incidents, up to 80% according to a recent study, are due to irritants rather than allergens. Both forms of contact dermatitis tend to occur due to wound dressing issues. CD can occur for patients with ostomy, infusion, and diabetic wounds, among others.
Recent studies have shown that incidents of contact dermatitis have increased over the past decade. Proper wound dressing tape can be a major factor in decreasing these situations. Hy-Tape is a strong wound dressing tape that is made to hold firm while also protecting the skin and can help in reducing the chances of CD.
Causes of contact dermatitis
Wound dressings of all kinds are comprised of a variety of chemicals and ingredients. Any wound care patient could have an allergy to any of these ingredients, or have an issue with the amount of a chemical being applied to their skin. Wound dressings keep close contact with the skin for long periods of time, providing plenty of opportunity for the skin to react negatively.
Contact dermatitis can occur within minutes or hours after a wound dressing is applied. If a caregiver notices skin irritation, they should change out the wound dressing for another type as soon as possible. Prolonged exposure to a skin irritant or allergen could cause more issues for the patient.
The severity of contact dermatitis depends on a variety of factors. Some of these include:
- Chemicals and ingredients in the wound dressing and dressing tape
- Strength of the chemicals and ingredients
- Type of wound dressing
- Whether there is an occlusion
- Temperature and moisture near the wound
Proper taping over the wound dressing can be helpful, especially if the tape does not feature skin irritants. Hy-Tape is a strong-holding wound dressing tape that has been proven to be safe and effective for many patients. Hy-Tape is sensitive for the skin and ensures a tight hold to help control moisture and temperature around the wound.
Why contact dermatitis happens (and why it may not)
Patients who require chronic wound care can have a variety of skin issues depending on their skin, the area that needs care, and their overall health. When a major wound needs long-term care, the skin over the wound is typically weaker and thinner than usual. This creates a great opportunity for skin irritation and disease to form.
Improper wound dressing for the patient’s specific situation can cause more harm than good. If the skin is allergic to or irritated by an ingredient in the wound dressing, there will be problems. Noticing a CD outbreak early is essential to the patient’s comfort and long-term skincare.
Some patients may not experience any contact dermatitis issues at all. If the ostomy, infusion, or diabetic wound is dressed properly and their body doesn’t reject the ingredients of the dressing, the skin should heal on schedule.
The future of chronic wound care
With increasing cases of contact dermatitis in the past decade, changes to wound care are likely to occur. Companies that develop wound dressings and tapes will be re-evaluating their product’s ingredients to remove potential irritants and allergens.
Many wound dressings feature allergens such as lanolin, colophony, fragrances, and topical antibiotics. Replacing these ingredients can help reduce the number of CD cases in future wound care patients.
Companies like Hy-Tape have already developed wound dressing tape that results in fewer cases of CD. Hy-Tape prides itself on providing a strong-holding tape that will not irritate the skin for a majority of patients.
If you are a wound care patient or caregiver, consider Hy-Tape as your go-to wound dressing tape. Our tape is designed to help reduce skin irritation. Hy-Tape is made to hold tightly to the skin while also allowing flexibility. It’s also designed to be removed easily, causing little to no issues for the surrounding skin.
Contact us today to learn more about how Hy-Tape can improve the quality of your chronic wound healing or click here to try a sample of Hy-Tape.