Skin Rashes: Home Treatment

Overview

Home treatment often can relieve discomfort and itching until a rash clears up. If you have come in contact with a substance that causes contact dermatitis (such as poison ivy, oak, or sumac), immediately wash the area with a lot of water. If you can, use liquid dish soap or a mild soap and very warm running water.

Over-the-counter medicines may help relieve itching. Be sure to follow the instructions on the label. Some over-the-counter medicines may caution against use in the genital area or caution use for children.

  • Zinc oxide ointment is soothing to irritated skin.
  • Calamine lotion is helpful for contact dermatitis, such as poison ivy or oak rashes.
  • For severe itching, apply hydrocortisone cream (1%) 3 times a day until the itch is gone.
  • Do not use the cream on children younger than age 2 unless your doctor tells you to.
  • Do not use in the rectal or vaginal area in children younger than age 12 unless your doctor tells you to.
  • If itching affects your sleep, ask your doctor if you can take an antihistamine that might reduce itching and make you sleepy, such as diphenhydramine (Benadryl). Be safe with medicines.

Credits

Current as of: November 15, 2021

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:
William H. Blahd Jr. MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine
E. Gregory Thompson MD - Internal Medicine
Martin J. Gabica MD - Family Medicine

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