Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

Overview Incidence Risk Factors Symptoms Evaluation Treatment questions for doctor specialist Home Care itching warning signs Prevention Outlook Underlying Cause Types Anatomy

Contact Dermatitis Home Care

Home care for contact dermatitis includes:

  • Avoid contact with substances that cause contact dermatitis.
    • Jewelry
    • Perfume
    • Cleaning products
    • Cosmetics
  • Where smooth-textured cotton clothing
  • Wash your skin gently with mild soap twice a day.
    • Select hypoallergenic soaps
  • Apply 1% hydrocortisone cream:
    • Apply to the skin, 4 times a day.
  • Avoid scratching:
    • This can cause an infection such as impetigo
  • Apply a cold compress:
    • Compress may reduce swelling
    • A cool bath may also work
    • Apply for 20-30 minutes, every 1-2 hours.
  • Apply a moisturizer for dry skin:
    • Lubriderm
    • Eucerin
  • Oral antihistamines for itching:
  • Take prescribed medications as directed:
    • Don't skip doses of your medication. This makes them less effective.
    • Be aware of the common side effects that may be caused by your medication.

Contact Dermatitis Itching

Home treatment for itching in someone with contact dermatitis includes:

  • Cleanse itching skin with soap and water to remove any potential allergens.
  • Massage itchy areas with an ice cube or cold compress. Don't use warm or hot compresses on any areas of allergic swelling. This can make the swelling even worse!
  • Mild hives often go away without treatment in 3-4 days.
  • Restrict exposure to all potential allergic substances such as foods, and non-prescription supplements.
  • Take a cool bath or shower to reduce itching. Consider using colloidal oatmeal (Aveeno).

Medications for itching include:

Oral antihistamines can be sedating. Use with caution and do not mix with alcohol or other sedatives. Follow directions on product packaging

Contact Dermatitis Warning Signs

Notify your doctor if you have contact dermatitis and any of the following:

Seek medical care right away for:

Continue to Contact Dermatitis Prevention

Last Updated: Feb 15, 2011 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Contact Dermatitis References
  1. Cahill J, Keegel T, Nixon R. The prognosis of occupational contact dermatitis in 2004. Contact Dermatitis. 2004 Nov-Dec;51(5-6):219-26. [15606644]
  2. Cohen DE, Heidary N. Treatment of irritant and allergic contact dermatitis. Dermatol Ther. 2004;17(4):334-40. [15327479]
  3. Mowad CM. Contact allergens of the year. Adv Dermatol. 2004;20:237-55. [15544203]
  4. Reunala T, Alenius H, Turjanmaa K, Palosuo T. Latex allergy and skin. Curr Opin Allergy Clin Immunol. 2004 Oct;4(5):397-401. [15349039]
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