What is Contact Dermatitis?
“Dermatitis” means inflammation of the skin. “Contact” dermatitis is a particular type of skin inflammation caused by contact with certain substances found in the environment.

The inflammation appears as redness, swelling, itching and, and at times, blistering. In severe cases, the condition may cause considerable discomfort, and, on occasion, can even interfere with a person’s ability to work. Contact dermatitis is treated by Dr. Green for patients in the DC, Virginia, and Maryland regions.

Are some parts of the body more affected by Contact Dermatitis than others?
Yes. The hands are most prone to develop contact dermatitis, since they are routinely exposed to so many different types of irritants. However, the face, feet and rest of the body are susceptible too. The face is often affected by cosmetic products including soaps, shampoos, creams, lipsticks, hair sprays, shaving creams and after shave lotions. The feet may be affected by materials used in the manufacture of shoes. Rashes on the body are usually caused by articles of clothing, bedding or the chemicals used to wash them.

Sometimes air-borne substances – tiny particles flying through the air – may cause severe rashes involving the face and exposed parts. For example, dermatitis may develop on people sensitive to poison ivy when they are exposed to the smoke of burning poison ivy leaves.

How will my Contact Dermatitis be treated?
If the cause of your rash is identified, you will, of course, be instructed to avoid further contact with it. If the specific cause cannot be found, all possible causes should be eliminated.

We will select the appropriate treatment, depending on the degree of inflammation of the skin. Local treatment (medication that you apply to the skin) may range from wet dressings, to lotions, to preparations containing cortisone-derivatives. If we feel that increased hydration of the skin may be beneficial, we may also prescribe a topical moisturizer or medication with a moisturizing base.

In selected cases, we may also prescribe or administer by injection medications such as antihistamines or cortisone derivatives. These are aimed at reducing the itching and inflammation.

What can I expect from treatment for Contact Dermatitis?
If the cause of the rash is identified, and you avoid further contact with it, appropriate treatment will stop the itching and eventually cause the rash to disappear. In the case of “one time” exposure to strong irritants or sensitizers (like poison ivy), the rash will probably persist for about a week and then gradually subside. It will heal with peeling, and is not likely to leave any sort of scar.

Those rashes resulting from repeated contact – usually of a dry, thickened appearance – tend to be more persistent. The rash heals more slowly, often leaving a patch of darker skin. This, however, will eventually fade.

What can I do to help control my Contact Dermititis?
– First, do not scratch the rash. Scratching can lead to bacterial infection. (If this does occur, immediately inform us, we will probably prescribe an antibiotic which will rapidly control the infection).
– Second, avoid contact with the causative substance or a chemically related one. Use the prescribed medication or medications. Also follow instructions regarding hygiene and protection of the affected area.
– Third, try to avoid contact with other chemicals that may be irritants. Inflamed skin is more susceptible to irritation by other agents. If contact with possibly troublesome substances is unavoidable, protect your hands with vinyl or plastic gloves, or with whatever other protective method we may recommend.

“You cannot go wrong with this dermatologist. Dr. Green and his staff are the very best! They go out of their way to assure patient satisfaction. I have used many services in the Bethesda location, and have always been more than satisfied. I highly recommend Dr. Green.” 

Susan E.

Dr. David Green, M.D.

Dr. David Green is a Board certified Dermatologist in Bethesda, Maryland. Dr. Green specializes in Dermatology, Dermatologic Cosmetic and Laser Surgery and the treatment of Varicose Veins and vascular disorders.

He is Certified by the American Board of Dermatology, is a Fellow of the American Academy of Dermatology, and a Member of the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery, and the American College of Phlebology. He treats patients from Maryland, Washington DC, Virginia and throughout the Mid Atlantic region.


Dr. David Green proudly offers services in his Bethesda, Maryland office.

4800 Montgomery Ln.,
Suite LL50
Bethesda, MD 20814
Phone: 301.907.7250


10.32.09: Delegation and Assignment of Performance of Cosmetic Medical Procedures and Use of Cosmetic Medical Devices. This is a Maryland safety regulation that governs who can legally perform medical cosmetic procedures.  Dr. Green administers all injectable treatments (including Botox™, Juvederm™, Voluma™, Kyblella™, and other fillers & Sclerotherapy) and laser treatments.