|The lungs and spleen have a powerful influence in contact dermatitis as they are the main organs that promote and support skin function. In TCM, skin and hair are the barriers of exogenous evils invasion, the protective qi that enhances its integrity is regulated by the lungs. Therefore skin diseases are always viewed as indicating a lung disharmony. The spleen is responsible for extracting nutrients from food and for transporting fluids throughout the body, and impaired function can contribute to unhealthy skin and swelling. In TCM, it is considered that contact dermatitis can be caused by both endogenous (originating from inside the body) and exogenous (originating from outside the body) factors.
Inborn susceptibility (endogenous causes)
The incidence of contact dermatitis is influenced by body constitution and is more likely to occur in individuals with a congenital/inherited predisposition to the disorder. In cases of congenital deficiency, the skin and tissues beneath are loosely bonded. This means that the protective qi is weak and that the body is more prone to a flare-up of fire evil or to the development of internal wind evil . Contact with certain substances, such as lacquer, drugs, plastic, rubber products, dyes or plants, facilitates transformation of heat evil internally in the body. The conflict between blood and qi against the heat evil triggers the skin disease.
Environmental pathogen invasion (exogenous causes)
In situations where external pathogens are allowed to invade the body directly, excessive fire evil will develop and accumulate. Circulation of blood and qi in the surface areas of the body becomes disturbed and does not flow smoothly. This in turn damages the integrity and function of the skin causing dermatitis.
Click here to see the causes of contact dermatitis from a TCM perspective