What is Contact Dermatitis?
Contact dermatitis, also known as a rash, could occur due to an allergy or because the skin’s protective layer got damaged. The immune system is involved if it’s caused by an allergy. After touching something, your immune system wrongly thinks that your body is being attacked. It makes antibodies to fight the assailant. Chemicals such as histamine are released and cause an allergic reaction. An itchy rash sometimes occurs and in this case, the condition is called allergic contact dermatitis.
Some of the most common triggers for contact dermatitis are latex rubber, poison sumac, poison ivy, hair dyes, poison oak, leather, nickel, some medications, citrus fruit and fragrances in cosmetics, soaps, perfumes, shampoos and lotions. You will not get a rash the first time you touch something you are allergic to. That touch, however, sensitizes the skin and an allergic reaction could occur the next time. Learning how to heal contact dermatitis is important to prevent the condition from getting worse or to avoid it altogether.
How to Cure Contact Dermatitis at Home
Don’t touch the trigger of the rash if you know what it is. Wash your skin with cool water and mild soap immediately. This can eliminate most or all of the problem substance. A hydrocortisone cream can be used if only a small area is affected. A cold moist compress can be applied to blisters for thirty minutes. Do this three times daily. Apply moisturizer on the skin if it’s damaged to restore its protective layer. Itching can be relieved by taking oral antihistamines.
Other ways to cure contact dermatitis include:
Avoid the cause
Know and avoid the irritants or allergens that affect you. Your dermatologist or doctor can find ways to lessen your contact with them. Wear proper protective clothing to minimize contact if you’re exposed to irritants or allergens due to your job. Inform your employer about your problem so that they can help you avoid the cause as much as possible.
Oral corticosteroids may be prescribed by the doctor if there’s a severe case of contact dermatitis and it affects a large part of the skin. Corticosteroid tablets may be taken for 5 to 7 days. Your dose may be slowly reduced over 2 to 3 weeks depending on how effective it is. Corticosteroid tablets can cause various side effects if taken for a long time or frequently such as high blood pressure, diabetes, reduced rate of growth in children and osteoporosis. Your doctor will most likely not recommend repeat courses of oral corticosteroids without referring you to an expert.
If the skin is inflamed, extremely red and sore, a topical corticosteroid may be prescribed by your doctor to reduce the inflammation. Corticosteroids are an effective and safe treatment for contact dermatitis when used as told by your doctor or pharmacist. Various strengths of corticosteroids can be given depending on the severity of your condition and the affected area. A stronger topical corticosteroid may be prescribed for short-term use when you’re suffering from severe contact dermatitis.
If it’s just mild, a weaker topical corticosteroid may be given. A weaker corticosteroid may be prescribed for use on the face, in the creases of the joints or genitals as the skin is thinner in these parts. A stronger corticosteroid may be used on the soles of the feet and on the palms as your skin is thicker in these areas.
When using topical corticosteroids, apply it on all the affected parts of the body in a thin layer. Unless told otherwise by your GP or doctor, you should follow the directions on the information pamphlet that comes with the medication. Don’t apply the topical corticosteroid more than two times a day if you’re suffering from severe contact dermatitis. Apply the emollient first and wait about thirty minutes before applying your topical corticosteroid. The results will start showing within a few days. Talk to your doctor if you’ve been using topical corticosteroids, but still haven’t seen results.
Emollients are moisturizing treatments applied to the skin to coat it with a protective film and lessen water loss. It’s often used to help manage scaly or dry skin conditions. Find the emollient that works best for you. Use emollients in large amounts and frequently. Smooth it into your skin in the same direction that your hair grows. If you have dry skin, you can apply the emollient every 2 to3 hours. Dry your skin after taking a bath and apply the emollient while your skin is still moist. Some emollients can also aggravate the skin. If you’re suffering from contact dermatitis, the skin will be sensitive and sometimes react to some ingredients. Stop using the emollient if your skin reacts to it.
Complementary therapies are sometimes used to treat contact dermatitis like herbal remedies and food supplements. However, there’s often not enough evidence to prove that they’re effective in curing contact dermatitis. Talk to a doctor first if you’re considering using a complementary therapy to treat your condition to ensure that it’s safe to use. Other treatments given by your doctor should still be continued.
If the treatments prescribed by the doctor are not working, you may be referred to a dermatologist. Some treatments offered by a dermatologist include immunosuppressant therapy, alitretinoin and phototherapy. Alitretinoin is a kind of oral medication for severe eczema that affects the hands. Immunosuppressant therapy involves medicines that alleviate inflammation by suppressing the immune system. Phototherapy treats the affected area by exposing it to ultraviolet light to help enhance its appearance.
When to See a Doctor About It
If the rash is too painful or did not get any better after several days or you just want to treat it right away, see a doctor immediately. He will look at it and ask questions to help you determine what is happening. Depending on the severity of the condition, your doctor may prescribe an antihistamine, ointment or steroid pills. You can also speak to your doctor about the things you can do to prevent another episode of contact dermatitis.