Contact dermatitis is a skin condition that can cause redness, itching, and inflammation. It occurs when the skin comes into contact with a substance that triggers an allergic or irritant reaction, such as chemicals, soaps, or certain metals.

While it can be uncomfortable and unsightly, contact dermatitis is a relatively common condition that can be effectively treated with a proper diagnosis and management. 

At Riviera Allergy Medical Center, Dr. Ulrike Ziegner specializes in helping patients best manage contact dermatitis and other issues related to allergies and the immune system. Getting an accurate diagnosis is the first step toward getting relief from bothersome, itchy rashes. 

Many people who experience contact dermatitis wonder if the condition will go away on its own. An allergy specialist can help you determine the trigger, as well as prescribe treatment to relieve the inflammation that causes the itchy rash. 

What is contact dermatitis?

Contact dermatitis is classified as allergic or irritant. Allergic contact dermatitis occurs when the body has an allergic reaction to a specific substance, such as nickel, latex, or poison ivy. 

Irritant contact dermatitis develops when the skin comes into direct contact with an irritating substance, such as harsh chemicals or detergents. Both conditions can cause similar symptoms, including redness, itching, and swelling. 

Does contact dermatitis go away on its own?

Contact dermatitis typically resolves once the irritant or allergen is removed and the skin is allowed to heal. The most common contact dermatitis triggers are detergents, fragrances, personal care products, nickel, and latex. 

You can expect mild cases of contact dermatitis to resolve within a few days or weeks, especially if the affected area is small.

However, in more severe cases, contact dermatitis may require medical treatment. If the skin is severely inflamed, itchy, or painful, Dr. Ziegner may prescribe a topical cream or ointment to reduce inflammation and relieve symptoms. 

In some cases, oral medications like antihistamines or corticosteroids may be necessary to control itching and inflammation.

How long does contact dermatitis last?

The duration of contact dermatitis depends on several factors, including the severity of the condition and its underlying cause. Most cases can be expected to resolve within days or weeks. 

Some people may be more prone to contact dermatitis than others. If you have a history of eczema or allergies, you may be more likely to experience contact dermatitis and may require ongoing treatment to manage the condition.

Managing contact dermatitis

If you experience contact dermatitis, you can do several things to manage the condition and relieve symptoms. 

The first step is to identify and remove the irritant or allergen. This may mean avoiding certain soaps or cosmetics, wearing gloves when handling certain chemicals, or staying away from certain plants or metals.

You can also use over-the-counter creams or ointments to relieve symptoms. Products like hydrocortisone cream or calamine lotion can help reduce inflammation and relieve itching. 

If your symptoms are severe or don’t improve with over-the-counter treatments, schedule a visit with Dr. Ziegner for further evaluation and treatment.

Preventing contact dermatitis

The best way to prevent contact dermatitis is to avoid contact with known irritants and allergens. If you work with chemicals or other irritants, be sure to wear gloves and protective clothing. 

It’s also important to take good care of your skin to help prevent contact dermatitis. This includes using gentle, fragrance-free soaps and moisturizers, and avoiding excessive scrubbing or rubbing of the skin.

The good news is that contact dermatitis is often easy to manage once Dr. Ziegner identifies the trigger. Dr. Ziegner can perform a patch test to help determine what’s causing your rash. Once the triggers are identified, Dr. Ziegner recommends a personalized avoidance plan.

Don’t hesitate to reach out to us by calling 310-438-6440 to book an appointment with Dr. Ziegner in our Redondo Beach, California, office. Alternatively, you can visit our website and send us a message anytime, and our team will get back to you as soon as possible.

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