Overview

Contact dermatitis is a red, itchy rash caused by direct contact with a substance or an allergic reaction to it. 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.

To treat contact dermatitis successfully, you need to identify and avoid the cause of your reaction. If you can avoid the offending substance, the rash usually clears up in two to four weeks. You can try soothing your skin with cool, wet compresses, anti-itch creams and other self-care steps.

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.