If you have ever had a bout of dermatitis, you are familiar with the misery it can produce, including severe itching, blistering and even pain. While dermatitis has many causes, some of the most common forms are allergic dermatitis and contact dermatitis. Read on for some of the common ways to treat dermatitis symptoms.

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Seek a doctor’s advice if you develop any itchy rash of concern as it may involve an allergic reaction. Further, the physician may be able to isolate the cause of the dermatitis, which is essential to remedy the skin condition. Contact or allergic dermatitis will persist as long as the skin is exposed to the offending irritant.

Observe the extent of the dermatitis, including where the rash is located and consider any new products, soaps, detergents, fabrics, plants or jewelry that may be the culprit. If the rash is limited to a small area, it may be easier to ascertain the cause.

Use fragrance-free laundry soap and avoid fabric softener, especially dryer sheets, to minimize further skin irritation. For some, this may treat the dermatitis if these chemicals are responsible for the rash. If you have widespread and persistent dermatitis you may want to rewash you linens, towels and clothes formerly exposed to these elements as well.

Minimize the use of soap and use colloidal oatmeal if necessary for bathing. Colloidal oatmeal can both help treat dermatitis itching and it works as a natural cleanser. Some patients benefit from a ten-minute soak in a colloidal oatmeal bath or by using a cold compress for smaller areas.

Break the itch-scratch-itch cycle by applying an ice pack for a few minutes at a time to the affected area. Avoid freezing the skin, which will cause further irritation. Cold is especially helpful when alternated with other dermatitis treatments.

Consult with a pharmacist on the benefits of hydrocortisone cream to treat dermatitis symptoms. Over-the-counter preparations come in two strengths and some include aloe vera for soothing and moisturizing the skin. Watch for overly dry skin as this aggravates the itching; subsequently the cortisone may need to be reduced or eliminated. The Merck Manual recommends petroleum jelly as a alternative for chronic dermatitis, alternating between the two dermatitis treatments on a weekly basis for instance.

Use a dermatologist recommended skin calming lotion as the blisters begin to dry or otherwise as recommended. Scratching and medicated creams used to treat dermatitis dry the skin and this may produce cracking, bleeding and pain in severe cases.

Consider home remedies to treat dermatitis itching and pain such as a compress made with equal parts vinegar and water or one made of baking soda paste and water. Note that it is best to keep the skin affected by dermatitis dry as much as possible, so weigh the pro and cons and seek medical advice if necessary.

Treat dermatitis best by not scratching. Try rubbing the area instead, over your clothing, though as infrequently as possible. Continued scratching, or hard rubbing, will not only worsen the suffering but the skin may suffer long-term or permanent damage, including hardening. Infections may also occur.


  • Calamine lotion may be recommended in some cases to treat dermatitis.