How Contact Dermatitis Is Treated


Contact dermatitis is an incredibly common skin rash. Most cases can be treated at home and will go away within a few weeks. For more stubborn cases, prescription corticosteroids may be needed. In any case, identifying and avoiding the triggering substance is imperative to allow the skin to heal.

Home Remedies and Lifestyle

Contact dermatitis is very common. The vast majority of people will develop contact dermatitis at least once in their lifetime.2 In most cases, contact dermatitis is not serious and will heal on its own within about three weeks. Good home care can help speed healing and keep you more comfortable while the rash heals.

Identify and Avoid the Offending Substance

One of the most important things you must do to treat contact dermatitis is to avoid the substance(s) that are causing your skin irritation. Unfortunately, this is sometimes easier said than done.

In some cases, you’ll know right away what is causing contact dermatitis (a rash that develops on your underarms after switching deodorant brands, or on the eyelids after trying new eye makeup). Other times, it may take some sleuthing to figure it out.

Think of anything new in your life: skin or hair care products, laundry detergent, fragrance or perfume, household cleaners, jewelry, and even clothing. Often the location of the rash will help you figure it out.

Also, take into account the products you have used for years. Could they have changed formulations? It’s also quite possible, and very common, to develop a sensitivity to products you’ve used over a long period of time.3

Use Cool Compresses

Contact dermatitis can be incredibly itchy. Cool, damp compresses can take the sting, itch, and burn from the rash. Lay a cloth dampened in cool water over the rash for 10 to 15 minutes at a time, several times per day.

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