Treatment for Contact Dermatitis | Belfast Skin Clinic

Contact dermatitis occurs following direct contact on the skin with something which either irritates your skin or which you are allergic to:

Irritant contact dermatitis most frequently occurs on the hands. This especially affects people whose work requires that her hands are often wet and exposed to harsh soaps, detergents

Allergic contact dermatitis– this condition is common in the general population. It is more common in women than in men, mainly due to nickel allergy which is also more common in people with impaired barrier function, including those with atopic eczema or leg ulcers. Transmission from the hands can lead to dermatitis on the face. Dermatologists will perform patch tests (insert link) in patients with suspected contact dermatitis to help identify the specific allergens. Many substances can cause an allergic skin reaction.

Seborrhoeic dermatitis is a very common skin disease which effects all age groups. In babies, seborrhoeic dermatitis tends to form yellow greasy scales on the scalp called ‘cradle cap’. Occasionally there is involvement of the nappy area and elsewhere on the skin. It tends to resolve between 6 months and one year of age. When adults get seborrhoeic dermatitis , inflamed flaky patches develop where the skin is oily, including on the scalp, the face, the ears, upper chest and upper back. In adults it is a chronic condition which flares intermittently. Treatment options vary with age and include:

  • Anti-dandruff shampoos
  • Topical medications containing anti-fungals or steroids
  • Oral anti-fungal tablets

Common allergens include:

  • Fragrances
  • Nickel
  • Rubber


Once the causes of contact dermatitis are identified, it is important to avoid direct contact with them. But whatever the cause of the dermatitis, the barrier function of the skin has been damaged and further dermatitis may occur if exposed to irritants.

  • Avoid soap- use a cream cleanser suitable for sensitive skin
  • For treating and preventing had dermatitis, wear gloves to protect the skin
  • Dry skin carefully after washing
  • Apply moisturisers frequently

The rash can be treated with a short course of topical corticosteroid creams. Apply emollients frequently while the rash is active and for some weeks afterwards as the normal skin barrier function is restored.