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Contact Dermatitis Treatments

Treatment

The primary goal of treatment is to identify the substance causing the reaction and remove or avoid it. This could take several days or weeks of avoiding certain substances.

If you cannot identify the cause of your skin reaction, you may need to undergo a skin patch test. In a patch test, a small amount of the suspected substance is applied to the skin and covered with tape. Another patch without the substance on it is also attached to the skin. Both patches are removed after a period of time. If your skin is red and swollen under the suspect patch, and not under the other patch, you are probably allergic to that substance.

Treatment also focuses on caring for skin and relieving symptoms. Methods include:

Skin Care

  • Wash the area with water and mild soap or cleanser and gently pat dry.
  • Apply a barrier ointment such as petrolatum or vaseline.
  • Do not poke at or cut open blisters. They can become infected.
  • Cover blisters with dry bandages.

Medications

Do not use any of these medications until after you have discussed them with your doctor.

  • Over-the-counter or prescription creams and ointments containing cortisone
  • Prescription medications containing corticosteroids, such as prednisone (for severe cases)
  • Prescription or over-the-counter antihistamines (may relieve itching in some cases, but not always useful for contact dermatitis)
  • Phototherapy or immunosuppressants, such as menthotrexate or cyclosporine, in the most severe, resistant, and chronic cases

Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Copyright © 2021 EBSCO Publishing All rights reserved.

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