Contact dermatitis is a very commonly managed rash in the dermatology office. This rash is often itchy and red, but it can develop cracks in the skin that become very painful in severe cases. It may come in various flavors, but we most commonly see contact dermatitis on the hands. The hands are vulnerable because some people wash their hands too often or wash with harsh soaps, stripping the natural protective oils from the skin.
When this happens, the skin barrier fails! Then, the hands dry out and irritating chemicals like perfumes further aggravate the skin. Out of all the people we see in our office for this condition, 50% are caretakers of a baby. That is because they constantly wash their hands before and after handling the baby. Healthcare workers are commonly seen for this condition, as well, since they are constantly washing their hands to protect their patients from the spread of infections.
Preventing hand dermatitis is far better than treating it. Instead of washing your hand with harsh soaps, use a gentle cleanser. Additionally, moisturize after hand washing. Use a moisturizer that is a thick cream that does not contain fragrance. Caution with the use of heaters, as this can dry out the skin and worsen a hand dermatitis. If these measures do not yield desirable results, I highly recommend seeing your dermatologist.
Other forms of contact dermatitis include rashes from nickel. Nickel can be found in belt buckles, so we often see this type of rash around the belly button. You may not have an allergy to nickel for years, and then develop this all of a sudden. For this nail polish can help. That’s right, applying nail polish to the belt buckle will form a barrier between the irritating nickel and your skin.
For contact dermatitis, 1% hydrocortisone cream or topical steroid can help alleviate irritation. This is an ultra-mild treatment option that is safe – even on the face. Some treatments that don’t require a prescription are: anti-itch creams like Cortisol, oral antihistamines such as Benadryl, ER gel’s healing ointment, PCA Skin’s Anti-Redness serum or a topical antifungal for fungal rashes. For viral irritations such as shingles, medications such as acyclovir, famciclovir, and valacyclovir will work to cure outbreaks. Symptoms can also be treated with topical antibiotics.
Seborrheic dermatitis is a common skin condition that mainly affects your scalp. It causes scaly patches, red skin, and stubborn dandruff. Seborrheic dermatitis can also affect oily areas of the body, such as the face, sides of the nose, eyebrows, ears, eyelids, and chest. Seborrheic dermatitis is also called dandruff, seborrheic eczema, and seborrheic psoriasis. For infants, the condition is known as cradle cap and causes crusty, scaly patches on the scalp.