Preventing contact dermatitis means avoiding contact with substances that trigger a reaction. Because everyone is different, you may react to substances that don't affect others. General prevention strategies include:

  • Try to identify and avoid substances that irritate your skin or cause an allergic reaction. These can include nickel, jewelry, perfume, cleaning products and cosmetics.
  • Wash and rinse your skin as soon as possible if you come in contact with an irritating substance. Prompt washing can remove many irritants or allergens from your skin. Use a mild, fragrance-free soap and rinse it completely off your body.
  • Wear protective gloves during household tasks. Gloves can help you avoid contact with cleaners and other household products.
  • Choose mild, unscented detergents to wash clothing, towels and bedding. Also try using the extra rinse cycle on your washing machine.
  • Wear protective clothing or gloves on the job. If your work exposes you to potentially irritating agents, it's important to shield your skin.
  • Apply a barrier cream or gel. These products can provide a protective layer for your skin.
  • Use moisturizer. This can help restore your skin's outermost layer and keep your skin supple.
  • Apply an iron-on patch to cover metal fasteners next to your skin. Covering clothing fasteners — such as metal fasteners on jeans — that come in contact with your skin can help you avoid allergies and irritation from metals.
Jul. 30, 2011