Contact dermatitis

Contact dermatitis is a red, itchy rash caused by direct contact with a substance or an allergic reaction to it. Usually it involves hands, but other parts of the body can also be affected. 


The rash isn’t contagious or life-threatening, but it can be very uncomfortable. Many substances can cause such reactions, including soaps, cosmetics, fragrances, jewelry and plants. 


APPOTEK can help you with contact dermatitis.


There are two types of contact dermatitis: allergic and non-allergic.


Allergic contact dermatitis occurs when the skin comes into contact with something you are allergic to. Common materials that can cause allergic contact dermatitis include nickel, various plastics and perfumed products.


Non-allergic dermatitis occurs due to the weakening of the skin’s natural protective barrier. This type of eczema is usually located on your hands and can be caused by washing them frequently. Diligent hand washing is needed in some professions and this type of dermatitis is usually work-related.


Allergic contact dermatitis can occur immediately after you come into contact with something you are hypersensitive to, or it can develop slowly. Non-allergic dermatitis occurs when the skin’s protective barrier is weakened.


Symptoms can be diverse: the skin may become irritated, red and swollen with fluid-filled blisters. It can also itch severely. 


In case of more prolonged dermatitis, the skin becomes dry and itching is usually less intense.


You can get contact dermatitis almost everywhere on the skin, for example on hands, feet, earlobes and around the eyes.

Prevention and protection

It’s easier said than done – but try not to itch. There may be bacteria on the skin that can lead to an infection.


In case of allergic contact dermatitis you should avoid the materials you are allergic to. 


Use hypoallergenic soaps for sensitive skin instead of regular soap, or avoid soap altogether if your skin is dry. Also you should avoid bathing or showering too often.


Treat dermatitis by lubricating your skin with non-prescription drugs containing cortisone in combination with emollient ointments. 


Lubricate your skin with the cortisone ointment first, wait about 20-30 minutes and then moisture it with the softening ointment. 


If your skin is dry, you can lubricate it with emollient ointment several times a day until it gets better.

However, cortisone should not be used in children under two years without a doctor’s recommendation. When dermatitis has passed you can:


  • Use emollient creams. The creams should be massaged properly several times a day.
  • Use soap for sensitive skin instead of regular soap, or if your skin is very dry, avoid soap completely.
  • Avoid bathing or showering too often.


If non-prescription drugs don’t help, a doctor can prescribe stronger cortisone ointments, according to individual assessment.

When to consult a doctor

If your contact dermatitis doesn’t get better with non-prescription treatments, you should contact a doctor.

How APPOTEK can help

Appotek can help with contact dermatitis. In the initial consultation, a doctor or nurse will assess your symptoms, then prescribe treatment or refer you for further examination.


Valeria Chernikova, Neurologist, M.D.