If your skin seems to have suddenly become irritated, you may be experiencing contact dermatitis. While some individuals experience occasional flare-ups, it is not uncommon for others to have a chronic case of contact dermatitis. The dermatologists at Dermatology & Mohs Surgery Institute can help diagnose and treat both acute and chronic cases of contact dermatitis. Let’s find out more about what contact dermatitis is and how to treat it.
When determining if you have contact dermatitis look for signs of a red, itchy rash. Contact dermatitis may also include dry or cracked skin or bumps and blisters. The rash is caused by coming in contact with an irritant, or when you have an allergic reaction to the irritant. The rash often appears on an area of the body that was directly exposed to the irritant. Irritants may include soaps, makeup, perfume/cologne, jewelry or certain kinds of plants such as poison ivy. For example, if you have a case of poison ivy, a rash will appear on the area of the body that touched the poison ivy. If the legs were exposed be sure not to touch them and then touch other parts of the body because the rash could spread.
Once a rash has developed, it is important to identify the cause to ensure it does not reoccur. Think back to if you used something you don’t typically use that could have caused an allergic reaction or if you were out in the woods and may have been exposed to poison ivy. The rash often develops within hours of exposure and can last up to four weeks. Since it lasts for a period of time, you will want to work with a dermatologist to find the best contact dermatitis treatment option.
The best treatment is to avoid the substance that caused the rash. While that won’t be possible until the rash has occurred here are some other ways to clear up the rash. A wet, cool compress can be applied to the affected skin to provide some itching relief. You can also use a fragrance-free soap to wash the skin so it doesn’t cause any additional irritation. Also, wash the clothes you were wearing once the rash was found. This will ensure the rash does not occur again once the clothes are worn the next time. Additionally, anti-itch creams can provide itching relief. Topical creams or ointments that have a cooling effect can be applied to the affected skin. In severe cases of contact dermatitis, oral medications may be prescribed. These will help reduce inflammation, relieve itching and fight potential infections. Whether it is a mild or severe case of contact dermatitis, the best treatment is to avoid itching the affected area as it will make the case worse.
The dermatologists at Dermatology & Mohs Surgery Institute can assist in diagnosing contact dermatitis as well as helping determine the irritant that caused the flare-up. Once diagnosed, they can provide you a treatment plan to help soothe your skin. If you are in the Bloomington, Illinois or surrounding area, complete this form to discuss your case with them.
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