Contact dermatitis is a condition in which the skin becomes inflamed due to direct contact of an irritant or allergen. Symptoms can include a red rash, hives (raised red rash), swelling, itching, burning and blisters. It is not contagious or a life-threatening condition. Common substances that can cause this problem include soaps, household cleaners, jewelry, clothing, perfumes, cosmetics, latex, adhesives, weeds and poisonous plants like poison ivy. Below we will discuss how to effectively treat contact dermatitis using natural remedies. To help prevent it from reoccurring, it is important you know what is causing it so you can avoid future contact.
Natural Remedies for Contact Dermatitis
Symptoms will normally resolve in two to four weeks if you avoid the substance causing the problem. The following remedies can help relieve itching and burning, and speed up the healing process.
Apply a cold, wet compress to the site several times throughout the day.
Take a lukewarm bath or soak the affected area in a basin of lukewarm water for 15 to 20 minutes.
Add 1 cup of baking soda to the bath water (or 1/3 cup to the basin of water), stir thoroughly and soak for 20 minutes. You can also dissolve 1/3 cup of baking soda in a basin of cool water, soak a clean washcloth in it, wring out excess water from the washcloth and apply over the affected area.
In a blender, blend 1 cup of plain oatmeal until it becomes a fine powder. Sprinkle the powder in the bath water and swish it around until it all dissolves. Soak for 15 to 30 minutes. You can also add a lesser amount to the basin of water and soak the affected area. If you do not wish to blend your own oatmeal, you can buy it already prepared in products like Aveeno - look for the words “colloidal oatmeal”, meaning it has been grounded into a fine powder.
You can also add baking soda and oatmeal together.
Aloe vera is an effective remedy for many types of skin problems, including contact dermatitis. If you have your own plant, remove the lowest leaf and cut it into 2 inch pieces. Slice one piece in half and apply the gel to the affected area. With the remaining pieces, wrap each one separately in plastic wrap and place in the freezer. If you don’t have your own plant, you can buy aloe vera products that have not been processed.
Topical creams containing one or more of the following herbs can help promote healing, and relieve itching and burning:
- chamomile (Matricaria recutita)
- marigold (Calendula officinalis)
- chickweed (Stellaria media)
- licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra)
- witch hazel (Hamamelis virginiana)
- St. John’s wort (Hypericum perforatum)
Now that you know how to effectively treat contact dermatitis, you do need to be cautious using some of the above natural remedies if you have cracks, open sores or weeping vesicles. If this is the case, it will be best to consult with a health care provider.
Mayo Clinic: Contact dermatitis - https://www.mayoclinic.com/health/contact-dermatitis/DS00985
University of Maryland Medical Center: Dermatitis - https://www.umm.edu/altmed/articles/dermatitis-000048.htm
Joan Wilen and Lydia Wilen, Bottom Line’s Healing Remedies (2006)
Image courtesy of the National Institutes of Health
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