How Contact Dermatitis Is Treated

Lukewarm Baths or Oatmeal Baths

Lukewarm baths are soothing. Don’t add any fragranced bath products or bubble bath. These can cause more irritation.

Oatmeal, on the other hand, can be very soothing and relieve itching. You can buy colloidal oatmeal bath additives over the counter. Just make sure the brand you choose has no added fragrance, which can be irritating.4 Another simple and inexpensive option is to make your own oatmeal bath.

If you aren’t keen on the mess in the tub, pour the oatmeal into a cotton muslin or organza bag, or tie it into a thin washcloth or nylon stocking. The entire bundle is then floated in the bathwater.

While bathing, you may want to avoid fragranced soap and body washes as well. Mild, unscented soap can be used, or if these seem to aggravate the rash, use plain water until your skin has healed.

Moisturize Often

For dry, cracked skin, apply a moisturizer as a barrier and to soothe the skin until it has healed. Choose your moisturizing products carefully, though, since fragranced products can cause more irritation. Be sure to choose a fragrance-free, hypo-allergenic product.

Apply as often as needed throughout the day to relieve dryness, but especially immediately after showering (or washing your hands, if your hands are affected) and just before bed.

Continue to apply emollient moisturizers often, even after your rash has cleared up. Regular application of moisturizers can help heal and strengthen the skin’s barrier and may help minimize the chance of repeated bouts of contact dermatitis.5

Cover the Affected Area

Keeping the rash covered by clothing can act as a physical barrier to prevent scratching. This is an especially good tip for children, who can’t help themselves when faced with an annoyingly itchy rash.

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