Fighting Allergic Contact Dermatitis
There are many types of dermatitis, including allergic contact dermatitis, which causes itching, redness and blisters when your skin touches an allergen. If you have been diagnosed with this condition, follow these tips to keep your skin healthy and rash-free.
- Avoid allergens: The best way to prevent symptoms of contact dermatitis is to avoid the allergens that trigger your itchy rashes, swelling and dry skin. Some of the most common allergens include nickel jewelry, antibiotic creams, sunscreen, formaldehyde, personal care products, plants and insecticides. Learn what affects you, and then keep away from it.
- Wash your skin: If you notice itching or swelling starting to develop, you may be able to prevent a rash if you wash your skin immediately with mild hand soap and warm running water. If any clothing item has come in contact with a plant allergen, remove it and launder it before wearing.
- Put on protective clothing: When you must handle an irritating substance, shield yourself with a face mask, goggles, gloves, long pants and long sleeves.
- Cover metal fasteners on jewelry and clothing: Metal snaps on jeans and watchbands are common irritants for people with contact dermatitis. An easy way to get around this is to iron on a patch or paint the fastener with clear nail polish to prevent it from touching your skin directly.
- Wear lotion or barrier cream: Regularly applying moisturizer keeps your skin healthy and supple, decreasing the severity of your contact dermatitis symptoms. Just make sure you’re not allergic to any ingredients in the lotion you choose. You can also find over-the-counter barrier cream to lessen the impact of poison ivy if you’re hiking or camping in an area with this potent plant.
- Apply anti-itch cream or take oral anti-itch medicine: Nonprescription cream containing 1 percent or more of hydrocortisone can temporarily relieve itchiness caused by contact dermatitis. Steroid ointment can also be used once or twice a day for up to four weeks. Nonprescription pills such as corticosteroids and antihistamines can help if your itching is severe.
- Apply a compress or soak in a cool bath: Wet a clean washcloth and hold it against the rash to soothe your skin. Do this for 15 to 30 minutes at a time several times a day. If the rash is located under your clothing, soak in the tub once a day to soothe hard-to-reach areas. A sprinkle of baking soda or oatmeal-based bath product is also beneficial for sensitive skin.
- Know when to see a dermatologist: When at-home care isn’t enough to fight allergic contact dermatitis, it’s time to seek professional skin care. Visit a dermatologist if you have extremely uncomfortable rashes, widespread itchiness, rashes that last longer than three weeks, or embarrassment regarding the way your skin looks.
If you need help controlling symptoms of contact dermatitis, seek treatment at Arlington Dermatology in Rolling Meadows, IL. Contact us at (847) 725-0824 to schedule an appointment today.