Skin Conditions: Finding Relief for Contact Dermatitis

Irritated elbow skin Skin Conditions: Finding Relief for Contact Dermatitis

Contact dermatitis can be a real pain. Literally. This skin rash is one that often requires immediate relief. Here's what you need to know about finding relief.

What Is Contact Dermatitis?

Contact dermatitis is a red skin rash that often comes with itching and hives. It is caused by direct contact with a substance or an allergic reaction to it. This rash can occur anywhere on the body, but is most commonly found on areas that frequently come into contact with foreign objects or substances. Such areas include the eyes, cheeks, neck, arms, hands, chest, and back.

What Causes Contact Dermatitis?

Contact dermatitis can be caused by a number of foreign substances. If you wear makeup every day and you recently changed your foundation, that may be a trigger for contact dermatitis. New soaps or fragrances can also be common culprits for contact dermatitis symptoms. Even some metals in jewelry can cause contact dermatitis if your skin is particularly sensitive. The important thing here is to know your triggers. If you know your skin is sensitive to nickel alloys, make sure you don't invest in jewelry made of nickel. Once you're armed with that knowledge, you can more easily prevent contact dermatitis.

How do I Know if I Have Contact Dermatitis?

If you're experiencing a skin rash that is red with severe itching or hives, it may be contact dermatitis. Some other common symptoms include skin that is dry, cracked, or scaly. In addition, you may experience some swelling or tenderness in the affected area. Bumps and blisters should also be on your list of symptoms to look out for, as well as burning sensations. If your symptoms are severe enough that they're causing you to lose sleep or prevent you from performing daily activities, it's time to see a doctor.

How Can I Treat Contact Dermatitis?

Fortunately, there are a number of ways to treat contact dermatitis. If you see your doctor about contact dermatitis treatment, you'll most likely be prescribed a steroid cream to apply once or twice daily for a few weeks. You may also be prescribed oral medication to reduce inflammation, relieve itching, or fight a skin infection.

As for treatment at home, the most important thing to do is understand what triggers your contact dermatitis. Once you know that, you can avoid that substance or material in your day-to-day activities. If you're experiencing mild contact dermatitis, an anti-itch cream containing at least 1% hydrocortisone can help relieve your symptoms. Cool, wet compresses are also an excellent way to reduce swelling and itchiness. If you're out of your typical anti-itch cream, a non-prescription corticosteroid or antihistamine like Benadryl may help provide some relief for your symptoms. But remember, these over-the-counter treatments are only appropriate for milder symptoms. Severe contact dermatitis symptoms should be treated by your doctor.

While the best treatment for contact dermatitis is prevention, it's also important to understand what causes it so you can find immediate relief. If you're unsure what caused your contact dermatitis symptoms and you want a more accurate diagnosis and treatment plan, contact SE Dermatology Specialists today.

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