Preparing for your appointment

You're likely to start by seeing your primary care doctor. He or she might refer you to a doctor who specializes in skin disorders (dermatologist).

Because appointments can be brief, it's a good idea to be well-prepared for your appointment.

What you can do

  • List your signs and symptoms, including when they began and how long they've lasted.
  • Avoid any substances that you think may have caused the rash.
  • Make notes about any new products you've started using and any substances that regularly come in contact with your affected skin areas.
  • Make a list of all the medications and supplements you take. Even better, take along the original bottles and a list of the dosages and directions. Include any creams or lotions you're using.
  • List questions to ask your doctor.

For contact dermatitis, some basic questions you could ask your doctor include:

  • What might be causing my signs and symptoms?
  • Are tests needed to confirm the diagnosis?
  • What treatments are available, and which do you recommend?
  • Is this condition temporary or chronic?
  • Can I wait to see if the condition goes away on its own?
  • Will scratching spread the rash?
  • Will popping the blisters spread the rash?
  • What skin care routines do you recommend to improve my condition?
  • How can I prevent this in the future?

What to expect from your doctor

Your doctor is likely to ask you questions such as the following:

  • When did you begin noticing symptoms?
  • How often do you have symptoms?
  • Have your symptoms been continuous or occasional? Do they get better over the weekend or during vacation?
  • Does anything seem to make your symptoms better or worse?
  • Have you started using any new soaps, lotions, cosmetics or household products?
  • Does your work or a hobby involve using products that often come in contact with your skin?
July 07, 2017
References
  1. Goldner R, et al. Irritant contact dermatitis in adults. https://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed April 27, 2017.
  2. Goldsmith LA, et al., eds. Allergic contact dermatitis. In: Fitzpatrick's Dermatology in General Medicine. 8th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2012. http://www.accessmedicine.mhmedical.com. Accessed April 27, 2017.
  3. Contact dermatitis. Merck Manual Professional Version. https:/www.merckmanuals.com/professional/dermatologic-disorders/dermatitis/contact-dermatitis. Accessed April 27, 2017.
  4. AskMayoExpert. Contact dermatitis. Rochester, Minn.: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 2016.
  5. AskMayoExpert. Poison ivy rash. Rochester, Minn.: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 2016.
  6. Fonacier L, et al. Contact dermatitis: A practice parameter — Update 2015. Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology Practice. 2015;3(3 suppl):S1.
  7. Gibson LE (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. May 7, 2017.