Treatment for Contact Dermatitis
If you have contact dermatitis, the treatment your doctor recommends will depend on several factors, such as the severity of your symptoms. Treatment for this condition may involve steps such as avoiding the cause of the inflammation, taking certain medications, and using lotions or other treatments.
Contact Dermatitis Treatment: An OverviewThe recommended treatment for contact dermatitis in your particular situation will depend on several factors, including:
- The cause of your symptoms
- The severity of your symptoms
- Your age and overall health.
Treatments may include:
- Avoiding the substance
- Lotions or other treatments.
Avoiding the SubstanceContact dermatitis is a type of eczema caused by exposure to substances in the environment (see Causes of Contact Dermatitis). Therefore, figuring out what is causing contact dermatitis and then avoiding it will go a long way toward helping current symptoms, as well as preventing a reoccurrence in the future.
You may know what caused the inflammation -- for example, recent hand contact with a corrosive, such as an oven cleaner -- or you may not have a clue. Your hobbies, diet, occupation, sports activities, clothing, and cosmetics -- as well as medications that are taken internally -- should all come under suspicion.
Medications Used to Treat Contact DermatitisDepending on the severity of a patient's contact dermatitis, treatment with medications may also be recommended. Most of the time, these medications are applied directly to the skin. For example, for mild contact dermatitis, a 1-percent hydrocortisone topical preparation (available as an ointment, cream, or lotion) available over the counter can be applied to the skin to relieve the itchiness, redness, scaling, and swelling. These medicines should not be used internally or on children under two years old.
For more severe cases, your healthcare provider may have to prescribe a stronger steroid medicine to be put on the affected area, taken by mouth, or given as an injection. Prednisone is an example of a corticosteroid that may be taken by mouth or injected. Some other medicines may include:
- Antihistamines for controlling itching -- sedative types for nighttime sedation; and non-sedating types for daytime use. Sedative types include diphenhydramine (Benadryl®) and hydroxyzine (Atarax®). Non-sedating types of antihistamines can include cetirizine (Zyrtec®), loratadine (Claritin®), and fexofenadine (Allegra®).
- Antibiotics, when a bacterial infection is present.