Contact Dermatitis: General Details You Need To Know

Has your practitioner suspected contact dermatitis?

This skin reaction usually occurs when you come into contact with substances you are sensitive to. As per the National Eczema Association, “dermatitis” refers to any rash over your body. It is an inflammation of the skin and can be used to define skin rashes that are caused by any irritating substance, infections, allergies, and much more. Now these rashes can range anywhere from mild to severe, and also lead to several skin conditions including:

Painful ulcers

However, contact dermatitis is different from the other types of dermatitis.

What is Contact Dermatitis?

This type of dermatitis basically occurs when your skin comes in contact with a substance which causes a delayed allergic reaction. The other case can be when there is an injury to the skin’s surface. If you are someone with highly sensitive skin, it can become allergic to several substances every time it is exposed to the same. For example, if your skin reacts to poison ivy, just one exposure would be enough to causes rashes over the surface. Similarly, there are can be other sources of contact dermatitis such as dyes, cosmetics, adhesives, rubber derivatives, nickel, and other metals. Also there are substances which cause irritation to your skin like cleaners, waxes, detergents, soaps, and chemicals.

So now when you know you have developed contact dermatitis, you must be seeking answer to the below stated question.

How to Treat Contact Dermatitis?

Firstly, it is important to know what triggered the reaction. The avoidance to same will be your key to treatment. Reason being, if the avoidance is not possible your rash would become chronic and might further lead to a major impairment. Once you are known to the causes, here are some simple things to soothe your skin condition:

  • If the symptoms are acute you can try cold compresses. It will help ease itching and scratching.
  • But in case you are dealing with an oozing lesion, you have to use a calamine or burrow’s solution. You can also go for oatmeal baths.
  • If the targeted area is of hands, make sure that you are not involved in excessive hand washing. Keep a non-irritating moisturizer ready. You can pick any mild soap for cleaning and avoid detergents for some days. In case, it becomes unavoidable to contact these chemicals, wear gloves to protect your hands from exposure.
  • Similarly for the foot dermatitis you can use socks as a barrier. This will be helpful in preventing condition becoming worse.

Besides, you can trust the following treatments:

Topical Antibiotics:

If there are open fissures or you find some secondary bacterial infection developing, these creams or ointments can be used. This will require recommendation of your allergist / immunologist.

Systemic Steroids:

When the rash is severe, such medications can be given either by mouth or injection. It is helpful in dealing with rashes and swelling. When prescribed for short periods, these are safe. But in the longer run, steroids can have significant side effects.

Topical Steroids:

You can go for anti-inflammatory medications which will help get the rash under control. These have to be applied 1-2 times a day. Being available in different formulations and strengths, these can be purchased over the counter.


These are given for the relief from itch associated with the contact dermatitis. The oral antihistamines will promote sleep, however, can lead to dryness, dizziness, difficulty urinating, and impaired coordination. Hence, these have to be used cautiously, as per the doctor’s advice.

Lastly, in case of extensive itching and rashes, don’t overlook the problem. These are common symptoms of different skin issues such as scabies. Get it diagnosed before it is too late.

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