Conventional Treatments of Contact Dermatitis may include:

1. Removal of the offending substance.
2. Corticosteroid ointments (Hydrocotisone in a Hypo-allergenic base), creams or tablets (Prednisone). Antihistamines may not be very effective but are sometimes taken at night if sleeping is a problem.

What to do if conventional treatment for Contact Dermatitis fails?

This page is meant to help educate about Contact Dermatitis and is based on the experience of a patient with Systemic Allergic Contact Dermatitis. The listing of remedies includes everything that was applied. We are also listing what the patient found to be of any particular help and also if the remedy seemed to aggravate the condition.
A discussion regarding further possible treatments (outside of the Case History) is located under New Information.

Please note that everyone reacts differently and that a remedy that helps one person may not be good for someone else. No cure is even suggested and any story of what has helped someone can at best be considered 'anecdotal evidence' only. Remedies listed may apply to: Contact Dermatitis, Allergic Contact Dermatitis, Systemic Contact Dermatitis and Chronic Dermatitis.

Case History (MDer001):

Patient with a Tinea pedis infection (Athlete's foot) sees doctor after treatment with OTC remedies (anti-fungal ointments) failed and walking became difficult. The fungal infection started between the toes and by the time the patient sees the doctor the whole foot was swollen and seemed to be infected.

· A mixture of Hydrocortisone and Canesten was prescribed; the patient applied the cream as prescribed.
· After two days the condition worsens and vesicles (itchy blisters) were developing on his right arm.
· After visiting the emergency room of the Hospital, the patient was diagnosed with Cellulitis (a bacterial infection of the skin).
· After 6 days of heavy doses of Cefazolin (i.v.) and oral Probenecid, it became obvious that the condition was Contact Dermatitis instead.
· By the time the condition was properly diagnosed, the Contact Dermatitis had become systemic covering both arms, legs, abdomen, lips and also the mucous membranes from the mouth to the anus.
· Probenecid was dropped but treatment with antibiotics were continued.
· Conventional treatment with Hydrocortisone cream was added. The patient applied the cream to the foot and was able to see the foot swell in a very short time in an obvious allergic reaction to something in the cream.
· The patient then wanted to see proof of any bacterial infection and asked to be taken off the Cefazolin.
· Because of the allergic reaction the patient also asked to be taken off the offending cream.
· As a last option, a Hypo-allergenic cream was suggested to support the skin and prevent cracking.

Since there were few conventional treatment options left, and the condition was only worsening, the patient decided to try alternatives and the following natural remedies were applied with alternating successes and set-backs.
Please note: All remedies are listed here for educational purposes only since diagnosis and treatment must still be carried out by your doctor or health care professional.

Supplements

·  Borage oil  ·  Evening Primrose oil  ·  Flax oil  ·  B-complex  ·  DMG (B15)  ·  B12  ·  Calcium  ·  Quercetin  ·  Curcumin  · Bromelain  ·  Magnesium and Potassium (pH adjustment)  ·  Grape Seed Extract  ·  C,  E  and A,  ·  certain, generated Frequencies and Light Therapy (Colors applied: Blue and Turquoise)  ·  Witch Hazel  ·  Nettle tea  ·  Burdock root  ·  MSM  ·  Enzymes  ·  DHEA  ·  Licorice root and  ·  Pregnenolone.

Supplementation Notes (MDer001):

  1. Skin Inflammation
  2. Itching Skin
  3. Repair of Skin and Membranes
  4. Preventing an Allergic Reaction from an Ointment/Cream
  5. Preventing Secondary Infections with a Broken Skin Barrier

  6. Reducing an Allergic Reaction
  7. Stopping Outbreaks
  8. Homeopathic Remedies
  9. Nervous System Support
  10. Swollen Glands

Right hand before and 2 weeks after removal of allergen and treatment with natural remedies began.
right hand before right hand after
Left foot before and 3 weeks after removal of allergen and treatment with natural remedies began.
left foot before left foot after
Photos Copyright © Zentrum Publishing

Important steps taken in the treatment of Contact Dermatitis:

1. Identification and removal of the offending substance.
Remember: Any substance, with the exception of pure, clean water, can cause an allergic reaction.

2. Avoidance of stress and other allergic substances (allergens / antigens) and food items, since stress or allergens may aggravate or prolong the condition.

3. Avoidance of most creams and ointments since the condition may cause reactions even to substances which were normally tolerated in the past. For example: The patient used a particular shaving cream for many years. After being diagnosed with Contact Dermatitis, the same shaving cream led to an allergic skin reaction on all areas of the skin which came in contact with the shaving cream.

4. Do not scratch. Scratching only worsens the condition and, if the skin barrier is broken, scratching may lead to secondary infections by streptococcus or staphylococcus bacteria.
Tip: Cut fingernails and/or wear cotton gloves or any other soft non-allergic gloves to prevent scratching.

5. Follow the advice of your doctor or health care professional.

Skin Inflammation

This patient found that the application of cold, running water brought some relief.

Witch Hazel can reduce inflammation. However, for all areas with eruptions (vesicles), the best kind may be one without alcohol. The patient tried three different types: Two had various amounts of alcohol and seemed to aggravate the condition; One had no alcohol and seemed to help somewhat.

To further control the inflammation of skin and membranes, Curcumin, Bromelain, Vitamin C, E, A, Carotene, Pantothenic acid and a combination of Enzymes were taken.

Blue light is suggested for inflammations and certain, generated frequencies.

A combination of Licorice root, DHEA and Pregnenolone may be able to substitute for Cortisone if the patient cannot tolerate this medication.

Vitamin A is very important for skin and membranes.

GLA, as found in Borage oil and Evening Primrose oil, helps in the production of anti-inflammatory substances.

Quercetin is very important for three reasons: it prevents the release of histamine; it inhibits production of leukotrienes; it is an effective treatment for inflammation. (Reference: Fraces Taylor, M.A.; Jacqueline Krohn, M.D.; Erla Mae Larson, RN. Allergy Relief & Prevention: A Doctor's Complete Guide to Treatment & Self-Care, 3rd ed. 2000: 359. Vancouver, BC, Canada: Hartley & Marks Publishers Inc.)

A topical remedy for relief of itching and inflammation can be made by pressing the juice out of Plantain leaves (Plantago major and Plantago lanceolata). This juice may be well tolerated.

To avoid: It is suggested to avoid dairy products and meat which contribute to the production of inflammatory substances due to their high content of arachidonic acid. (Reference: Konrad Kail, N.D.; Bobbi Lawrence; Burton Goldberg. Allergy Free: An Alternative Medicine Definitive Guide, 2000: 251. Tiburon, CA, USA: AlternativeMedicine.com, Inc.)

General Warning Signs as Lessons from our patient: Anything applied to skin or membranes that causes burning, stinging, itching with increasing redness and/or swelling (hives) should be washed off immediately and avoided.

Patient's observation and conclusion: Since Antihistamines do not help much and Quercetin seems to help more than either Antihistmines and/or Anti-inflammatory substances (like Curcumin) the disease may be best fought by inhibiting the production of Leukotrienes as Quercetin does.

Itching Skin

Cold water or wet, cold towels may bring relief.
The most often recommended homeopathic remedy for hives and itching is Rhus toxicodendron.

Repair of Skin and Membranes

Large amounts (check with your health care professional) of vitamin C, A, E and Beta-carotene seem to be important. Also, Flax oil and GLA (Borage oil or Primrose oil). The essential fatty acids found in Flax, Borage and Evening Primrose are very beneficial in skin repair. All these supplements are taken orally and work best from the inside out unless one has a specific allergy against any one of these nutritional substances.

Skin support may have to change according to the stage of the condition.
Nothing should be applied on open sores, cracks, weeping vesicles and so on. The patient found that even benign substances, including Olive oil, Emu oil and Aloe Vera may lead to burning or stinging.

If there are no vesicles and the skin barrier is not broken, Aloe vera, Calendula ointment (in a hypoallergenic base), Olive oil and Emu oil may all be useful to soften the skin and prevent cracks and scarring.

If there is dry skin; cracking skin; painful, swollen areas where the skin feels as if it may tear; or where too much moisture is lost, a Hypoallergenic cream may be useful. It may be best to apply small amounts for a limited period of time.

Preventing an Allergic Reaction from an Ointment/Cream

Patch testing is one way to find out which substances one reacts to (see your Dermatologist). Our patient encircled a small area of skin under the arm and applied a small amount which was checked after a couple of hours, then every few hours for a period of at least two days since there can be a delayed reaction.

Preventing Secondary Infections with a Broken Skin Barrier

It is possible to aggravate the condition with alcohol and it is possible to have an allergic reaction to disinfectants like iodine. In such cases, the safest disinfectant may be a 3% topical solution of hydrogen peroxide. This may sting on an open sore but the sting is tolerable and water and oxygen can hardly create an allergic response.

Reducing an Allergic Reaction

Pantothenic acid, Grape seed extract, Vitamin C, Bioflavonoids and Quercetin have an antihistamine effect. Nettle tea is also useful for allergies.

Stopping Outbreaks

Trust no unknown substance without testing a small amount first. Tests like patch testing may have to be carried out over a period of two days because of the delayed reaction. Remember: Any substance, with the exception of pure, clean water, can cause an allergic reaction.

The pH level of the patient became very acidic (5.0 and lower). As a result, a large dose of Potassium, Magnesium and Calcium was taken with repeated checking of the pH level (pH paper or sticks may be available through your local Pharmacy or Health Food Store).
Information on pH levels, Acid-Base Balance and how to keep the pH level around the neutral range of 7.0 is available in Nutrition Software.

Quercetin is very important for three reasons: it prevents the release of histamine; it inhibits production of leukotrienes; it is an effective treatment for inflammation. (Reference: Fraces Taylor, M.A.; Jacqueline Krohn, M.D.; Erla Mae Larson, RN. Allergy Relief & Prevention: A Doctor's Complete Guide to Treatment & Self-Care, 3rd ed. 2000: 359. Vancouver, BC, Canada: Hartley & Marks Publishers Inc.)

Homeopathic Remedies for Allergic Contact Dermatitis

These are best recommended by an experienced Homeopath. The most often recommended homeopathic remedies for Allergic Contact Dermatitis are Rhus toxicodendron and Anacardium.

Nervous System Support

Potassium, Magnesium and Calcium, Vitamin C, B-complex, Flax oil.
Try to stay mentally as balanced as possible since stress seems to aggravate the condition.

Swollen Glands

One of the best supports for the glandular system may be found in Burdock root.

Experience with Dermatitis?
If you know of any additional remedy which may be of help to other sufferers of this affliction, or, if you have any helpful suggestion, we would like to hear from you. Please send us an email: contact [at] herbal-software.com

Newly Submitted Information regarding Vitamin B12:
Heilung unerwünscht - Die dramatische Geschichte eines Medikaments. Klaus Martens.Klaus Martens, journalist and author, reports in his book "Heilung unerwünscht" of a cream which seems to have incredible results on Neurodermatitis, Contact dermatitis, Atopic dermatitis, Lupus erythematodes, Alopecia areata and Psoriasis. The cream's active ingredient is vitamin B12 (also known as Cyanobobalamin), at a content of at least 0.07% (or 0.07 grams of a 100 gram cream). B12 can be produced in the body but requires a normal acid production in the stomach with an intrinsic factor and a healthy colon. Millions of people may not either produce or absorb enough of this vitamin, which can be found in calf liver, herring and salmon. B12 has many important functions and in the skin it is apparently able to reduce a substance that can cause inflammation. The cream also contains Avocado oil as it's base; this oil is rich in vitamins A and E, both good for the skin and quickly absorbed. Klaus Martens lists all ingredients and also reports on scientific testing of the cream, including a double blind study. Klaus Martens's book is available at Amazon.de.

References / Suggested Reading

  · Klaus Martens. Heilung unerwünscht - Die dramatische Geschichte eines Medikaments, 2009. Köln, Germany: DuMont Buchverlag.
  · Fraces Taylor, M.A.; Jacqueline Krohn, M.D.; Erla Mae Larson, RN. Allergy Relief & Prevention: A Doctor's Complete Guide to Treatment & Self-Care, 3rd ed. 2000. Vancouver, BC, Canada: Hartley & Marks Publishers Inc.
  · Konrad Kail, N.D.; Bobbi Lawrence; Burton Goldberg. Allergy Free: An Alternative Medicine Definitive Guide, 2000. Tiburon, CA, USA: AlternativeMedicine.com, Inc.
  · Darius Dinshah. Let There Be Light, 2nd ed. Malaga, NJ: USA: Dinshah Health Society. (About Spectro-Chrome Therapy).

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