Two kinds of dermatitis are caused by substances coming in contact with the skin: primary irritant dermatitis and allergic contact dermatitis. The primary irritant dermatitis is due to a non-allergic reaction of the skin resulting from exposure to an irritating substance. Allergic contact dermatitis is the allergic sensitization to various substances.
People who work in areas where their feet are exposed to repeated or prolonged contact to chemicals, oils, or wet cement can develop primary irritant dermatitis. Some solutions are safe if used properly, but ironically, their improper use can cause a significant contact dermatitis. This is particularly dangerous with diabetics.
Hot water can cause damage to the skin and result in first or second-degree burns. Soaking your feet in such solutions as bleach, vinegar, salt water and Betadine can be beneficial, taking care to not use excessive amounts.
Allergic contact dermatitis is the result of exposure to substances that sensitize the skin, so that each time one becomes exposed to it again, an inflammatory reaction occurs. Some people are allergic to the substances in the dyes of socks or the materials used to make shoes. Adhesive tapes can cause an allergic reaction with blisters or a rash developing beneath the tape. Because of the heat and the accumulation of moisture beneath the tape, an acute Athlete’s foot infection may occur.
Treatments may include cool compresses, topical steroid compounds like hydrocortisone creams, and anti-fungal creams.