If you’re reading this post then the nagging impulse to scratch hasn’t gotten bad enough to for you to restrain your hands in oven mitts and duct tape. Trust us – we’ve been there!
The rash and itch of contact dermatitis can be just as frustrating mentally as it is physically. But the good news is, it doesn’t have to be. In this article we’ll take you through the necessary steps of what to do once you see that questionable irritation, and how you can get on your way to blissful, nag-free relief!
The first step in either type of contact dermatitis is to answer the question, “What made this happen?” If the irritant is obvious, such as the metal in a bracelet, a poison ivy plant, or your latest makeup splurge – avoid future exposure. If you’re unsure about the root cause, we advise you talk to your primary care physician or an allergist. Certain doctors and specialists can administer a simple diagnostic skin test called patch testing in order to determine the reactionary substance.
After you’ve figured out the cause – it’s time to start the healing!
1. Oatmeal Bath or Mask (Poultice): Soothes itching and provides anti-inflammatory benefits.
If you were one of the many unlucky children to contract chicken pox, or fall into a bush of poison ivy, you’re undoubtedly familiar with the bizarre-seeming oatmeal bath…or even more bizarre – how it actually works!
- Pulse blend plain, unflavored whole oatmeal until it turns into a powder.
- For a bath: Add 1 cup powdered oatmeal into room temperature water, soak for 30 minutes, and rinse with cool water.
- For a mask (poultice): Place a ¼ cup powdered oatmeal into a bowl. Slowly mix in individual teaspoons of room temperature water until a paste is formed. Apply paste to affected area and cover immediately with a cool towel. Leave for 30 minutes then rinse off completely.
2. Aloe Vera: Hydrates and promotes healing.
The nutrient-rich gel hidden within this succulent’s leaves provides natural skin hydrating and healing that make it an excellent home remedy for contact dermatitis. Aloe vera is available in a bottle in most pharmacies, or can even be purchased fresh-cut at certain specialty grocery stores.
If you find fresh aloe vera locally available, simply cut the leaves in half, scrape out the inner pulp, and apply directly onto the skin.
3. Apple Cider Vinegar: Aids in restoring skin’s natural pH.
While vinegar may sound like an uncommon rash treatment, Apple Cider Vinegar contains anti-yeast properties which may help the skin’s barrier return to its healthy pH level of 5.5. This will make sure your skin is at its maximum healing power to get you on the mend quicker! Just make sure that you don’t apply the vinegar to open sores, or more than once a day. A little goes a long way!
4. Minimize Touching the Affected Area.
Touching a broken out, or rash afflicted, area simply compounds the problem. When fighting an irritant or allergy, our delicate skin becomes even more sensitive to contact, fingers and hands included. Utilize our home DIY and over-the-counter remedies to control the itchiness and remember – hands off!
Hydrocortisone is a powerful over-the-counter steroid cream that helps treat inflammation, and is surprisingly affordable! Many pharmacies have their own brand of hydrocortisone cream available in the allergy section. Hydrocortisone is not recommended for long-term use though, so if your rash does persist past a couple weeks, or if you are on any other medications that may interact with an over-the-counter steroid, please seek advice from your medical professional.
Moisturizer plays a key role in rebuilding the skin’s barrier that has been attacked and diminished by the body’s rash reaction. By helping add nutrients and moisture back to the affected skin you’ll assist your body in its course of healing. Our skin’s barrier and healthiness is also based around a slightly acidic pH level. But when contact dermatitis occurs, the skin’s pH is diminished. The Sebamed Moisturizing Face Cream, Extreme Relief Urea Hand Cream, or Extreme Dry Skin Urea Repair Lotion are just a few of our products that will assist your skin to hydrate and heal — at the same time!
If your at-home and over-the-counter remedies aren’t relieving your itch or rash – see a doctor! Some contact dermatitis requires more severe treatment, such as corticosteroid creams that requires a prescription. And should you find that accompanying your rash is fever, sores, signs of infection, or prolongs for more than a couple weeks – seek professional medical attention immediately.