Dermatitis can be a source of great annoyance and discomfort, especially when it affects the feet and other conspicuous areas of the body. The good news is that a number of effective treatment options are available to alleviate symptoms and assist with healing.
Because the root cause of the different types of dermatitis is an immune response that causes an invasion of immune cells and molecules, particularly histamines, into the affected area, most dermatitis treatments are usually aimed at controlling the immune reaction to the triggering agent. So treatments may vary; but some treatment methods are commonly utilized for a range of rashes.
Treatments for Dermatitis
There are a number of proven ways to treat dermatitis, including:
- Reducing or eliminating contact with the irritants that cause the condition
- Avoiding exposure to allergens
- Corticosteroid creams
- Corticosteroid pills
- Topical emollients
- Home remedies and alternative therapies
1. Avoiding Common Triggers for Dermatitis
Avoiding the irritants or allergens that cause the condition is a very important step in treating this condition. It can successfully help avoid the symptoms, or provide relief of the symptoms and speed up the healing process. Common triggers for allergic contact dermatitis include:
- Hair straighteners and dyes
- Latex rubber
- Some topical medications
- Fragrances in cosmetics, perfumes, lotions, shampoos and soaps
- Citrus fruit
- Nickel found in belts and jewelry
- Poison sumac, poison oak, and poison ivy
By avoiding contact with the causative agent that caused the rash, you may find that you’re able to prevent further problems. However, in some cases, such as with eczema, exposure cannot be completely avoided and, therefore, other dermatitis treatments may need to be considered in order to manage the symptoms.
2. Topical Emollients
A range of over-the-counter non-cosmetic moisturizers that help treat dermatitis are available. These products work by reducing exposure to irritants and keeping moisture in the skin – which, in turn, eliminates symptoms of dermatitis. They can be particularly useful in the management of dry or scaly skin conditions like eczema. But, remember to take precaution when using these products since some can irritate the skin or even cause a fire hazard (specifically those that contain paraffin).
3. Corticosteroid Creams
A medical professional may prescribe a topical steroid to treat severe or chronic cases of dermatitis. These medications work by suppressing the immune system – which, in turn, suppresses the immune response, thus reducing or eliminating the symptoms of the condition. They provide one of the most effective treatments for dermatitis, especially for rashes that affect the soles of the feet where the skin is thicker.
However, these medications are for short-term use only and should be used with caution since they can cause side effects like increased hair growth, acne, changes in skin color and thinning of the skin. So be sure to follow your doctor’s instructions when using these medications and try using the weakest and smallest amount possible to control your symptoms.
4. Corticosteroid Pills
Most mild skin rashes usually respond to over-the-counter hydrocortisone creams. But, to reduce inflammation and heal the irritation caused by serious or severe cases of dermatitis, a doctor usually recommends a prescription of corticosteroid pills or injections and might also prescribe an oral antihistamine to relieve itching. In addition, you may need to use an antibiotic if a secondary infection develops.
Corticosteroid pills are associated with a number of negative side effects, such as osteoporosis, hypertension, diabetes, and reduced growth rate in children; and should, therefore, not be taken often or used for a long time.
5. Home Remedies
There are a number of effective at-home treatments for dermatitis that can completely control the condition or be effectively used in the long-term monitoring and treatment (where necessary). They include:
- Using dandruff shampoos
- Applying a moisturizing lotion, cream or ointment
- Vitamin E
- Aloe Vera
- Apple cider vinegar
- Coconut oil
If you’re thinking about utilizing an at-home treatment or alternative therapy, speak to your doctor or chiropodist first to ensure that the treatment method is effective and safe for you to use. Don’t forget to continue using any other treatments for dermatitis prescribed by your doctor.