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Protein Contact Dermatitis Treatment & Management

  • Author: Cheryl Levin, MD; Chief Editor: Dirk M Elston, MD  more...
Updated: Jul 11, 2013

Approach Considerations

In protein contact dermatitis, avoidance of the particular allergen is of primary importance. Symptomatic relief may be provided with short-term corticosteroids, immunomodulatory agents, or antihistamines. Inpatient care may be necessary for protein contact dermatitis (PCD) patients if the pruritus is so severe that patients cannot care of themselves or if they experience angioedema or severe gastrointestinal distress.

Go to Irritant Contact Dermatitis, Allergic Contact Dermatitis, and Pediatric Contact Dermatitis for complete information on these topics.



If chronic hand dermatitis does not resolve, consultation with a dermatologist should be arranged. The dermatologist may conduct patch testing and prick or scratch testing.



Patients with protein contact dermatitis may need to eliminate the implicated allergen from their diet. Ingested allergens may cause exacerbation of the chronic dermatitis or may cause extracutaneous symptoms.

Contributor Information and Disclosures

Cheryl Levin, MD Resident Physician, Department of Dermatology, University of Minnesota Medical School

Cheryl Levin, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Dermatology, Women's Dermatologic Society, Medical Dermatology Society

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Specialty Editor Board

David F Butler, MD Section Chief of Dermatology, Central Texas Veterans Healthcare System; Professor of Dermatology, Texas A&M University College of Medicine; Founding Chair, Department of Dermatology, Scott and White Clinic

David F Butler, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Medical Association, Alpha Omega Alpha, Association of Military Dermatologists, American Academy of Dermatology, American Society for Dermatologic Surgery, American Society for MOHS Surgery, Phi Beta Kappa

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Jeffrey P Callen, MD Professor of Medicine (Dermatology), Chief, Division of Dermatology, University of Louisville School of Medicine

Jeffrey P Callen, MD is a member of the following medical societies: Alpha Omega Alpha, American Academy of Dermatology, American College of Physicians, American College of Rheumatology

Disclosure: Received income in an amount equal to or greater than $250 from: XOMA; Biogen/IDEC; Novartis; Janssen Biotech, Abbvie, CSL pharma<br/>Received honoraria from UpToDate for author/editor; Received honoraria from JAMA Dermatology for associate editor and intermittent author; Received royalty from Elsevier for book author/editor; Received dividends from trust accounts, but I do not control these accounts, and have directed our managers to divest pharmaceutical stocks as is fiscally prudent from Stock holdings in various trust accounts include some pharmaceutical companies and device makers for i inherited these trust accounts; for: Celgene; Pfizer; 3M; Johnson and Johnson; Merck; Abbott Laboratories; AbbVie; Procter and Gamble; Amgen.

Chief Editor

Dirk M Elston, MD Professor and Chairman, Department of Dermatology and Dermatologic Surgery, Medical University of South Carolina College of Medicine

Dirk M Elston, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Dermatology

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Additional Contributors

Robert A Schwartz, MD, MPH Professor and Head of Dermatology, Professor of Pathology, Pediatrics, Medicine, and Preventive Medicine and Community Health, Rutgers New Jersey Medical School; Visiting Professor, Rutgers University School of Public Affairs and Administration

Robert A Schwartz, MD, MPH is a member of the following medical societies: Alpha Omega Alpha, New York Academy of Medicine, American Academy of Dermatology, American College of Physicians, Sigma Xi

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.


Erin M Warshaw, MD, MS Associate Professor, Clinical Scholar Track and Co-Director of Contact Dermatitis Clinic, Department of Dermatology, University of Minnesota Medical School; Chief of Dermatology, Division of Dermatology, Minneapolis Veterans Affairs Medical Center

Erin M Warshaw, MD, MS is a member of the following medical societies: American Contact Dermatitis Society and Women's Dermatologic Society

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

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