Lifestyle and home remedies

By Mayo Clinic Staff

These steps can help you manage dermatitis:

  • Use nonprescription anti-inflammation and anti-itch products. Over-the-counter hydrocortisone cream or calamine lotion can temporarily relieve inflammation and itching. Oral antihistamines, such as diphenhydramine (Benadryl, others), may be helpful if itching is severe. Diphenhydramine may cause drowsiness and slowing of the urinary stream.
  • Apply cool, wet compresses. Covering the affected area with bandages and dressings can help protect your skin and prevent scratching.
  • Take a comfortably warm bath. Sprinkle your bath water with uncooked oatmeal or colloidal oatmeal — a finely ground oatmeal that's made for the bathtub. Soak for 5 to 10 minutes, pat dry, and apply moisturizer.
  • Take a bleach bath. This may help people with severe atopic dermatitis by decreasing the bacteria on the skin. Add 1/2 cup (about 118 milliliters) of household bleach, not concentrated bleach, to a 40-gallon (about 151-liter) bathtub filled with warm water. Measures are for a U.S. standard-sized tub filled to the overflow drainage holes.
  • Avoid rubbing and scratching. Cover the itchy area with a dressing if you can't keep from scratching it. Trim nails and wear gloves at night.
  • Wear cotton clothing. Smooth-textured cotton clothing can help you avoid irritating the affected area.
  • Choose mild laundry detergent. Because your clothes, sheets and towels touch your skin, choose mild, unscented laundry products. Avoid fabric softeners.
  • Moisturize your skin. Routinely using moisturizers can reduce the severity of atopic dermatitis. For mild forms of the condition, moisturizer may be the main form of treatment.
  • Avoid irritants. For contact dermatitis especially, try to minimize contact with the substance that caused your rash.
  • Use stress management techniques. Emotional stressors can cause some types of dermatitis to flare up. Techniques such as relaxation or biofeedback may help.
Jan. 02, 2015

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