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Dermatitis Treatment Overview

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Treating dermatitis

You can usually treat symptoms of non-specific dermatitis, like raised red bumps and itching, at home with OTC medications, natural remedies, and a good skin care routine. It may take up to a few weeks for your rash to go away. Basic dermatitis treatment includes these steps:

  • Apply OTC hydrocortisone creams to reduce inflammation and soothe swelling and redness.
  • You may want to take oral antihistamines for itching.
  • Try the natural remedies sunflower seed oil and evening primrose oil, which have anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Wash your skin with soaps rich in fat or glycerin
  • Apply heavy moisturizer or an oil-based emollient.

Consider seeing a dermatologist or other healthcare provider if your dermatitis hasn’t improved after 2–3 weeks of home treatment. They can help identify what’s causing it. Even if no cause is found, your doctor can prescribe stronger lotions or creams to treat the dermatitis.

If you have hives, a swollen tongue or throat, a weak and rapid pulse, or become dizzy or faint, call 911 or go to the ER. These are signs you may be having a severe allergic reaction called anaphylaxis.

Medical tests & labs

Doctors can usually diagnose dermatitis based on your symptoms. But because there are several other types of dermatitis (and other skin conditions that may look similar to non-specific dermatitis), they may order tests to rule them out. Tests include a blood test, skin biopsy, or an allergy skin test.

Depending on the results, a doctor will discuss with you what medications you should try and other treatments.

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All treatments for dermatitis

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