By Gary M. White, MD

Irritant Contact Dermatitis Frequent hand washing can lead to irritant contact dermatitis of the hands.


The rash is eczematous. Scaling and fissures may develop. Almost any part of the body may be affected, e.g., the hands, face, shins or diffusely. The hands are commonly affected in those who wash their hands frequently, e.g., nurses, homemakers, new mothers. See hand dermatitis.


A topical steroid ointment is used to calm the skin over a week. A high-potency for the hands (e.g., fluocinonide, clobetasol), a medium-potency for the body (e.g., triamcinolone) and a milder one for the face (e.g., desonide) are recommended. Then, frequent use of an emollient is key. Thick creams or ointments are recommended. No lotions please! The patient may want to carry the emollient with them for multiple applications during the day. Avoidance of chemicals or irritants is very important. Reducing or eliminating frequent water contact is also recommended. For hand dermatitis, wearing gloves to protect the skin may be helpful A dry skin handout and a hand dermatitis handout are available.

Additional Pictures

Rivastigmine transdermal patches are used to treat dementia. They cause an irritant contact dermatitis in almost all patients. Allergic contact dermatitis should be suspected if the area of reaction extends beyond the area of contact of the patch.
Irritant contact dermatitis from Rivastigmine transdermal patch Irritant contact dermatitis from Rivastigmine transdermal patch

Irritant contact dermatitis from Rivastigmine transdermal patch

Irritant CD after application of jojoba oil.
Irritant Contact Dermatitis after application of jojoba oil


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