Exfoliative Dermatitis Treatment & Management

Updated: Jun 22, 2021
  • Author: David Vearrier, MD, MPH; Chief Editor: Barry E Brenner, MD, PhD, FACEP  more...
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Medical Care

Many patients with acute exfoliative dermatitis require hospitalization for correction of fluid losses and disturbed thermoregulation. [9] Interventions include the following:

  • Discontinue any medications suspected as cause of drug-induced exfoliative dermatitis

  • Application of bland emollients (eg, petrolatum) to reduce insensible fluid losses and enhance skin barrier function

  • Weeping or crusted sites may be covered with nonadherent dressings and petrolatum to reduce damage to newly formed adjacent skin

  • Correction of hyperthermia or hypothermia

  • Antibiotic administration when underlying infection is suspected or identified as cause of exfoliative dermatitis or when a secondary skin and soft tissue infection is present

  • Intravenous fluids to correct dehydration

  • Sedating antihistamines for pruritus

  • Systemic or topical corticosteroid therapy or immunosuppressants should be guided by a dermatologist as it may worsen some forms of exfoliative dermatitis; of note, increased absorption of topical medications when applied to damaged skin should be anticipated.



Urgent consultation with a dermatologist is recommended.


Long-Term Monitoring

For patients who do not require hospitalization, outpatient follow up with a dermatologist should be arranged to avoid delays in care and further diagnostic testing.