Contact Dermatitis has affected me in a huge way this last month. It actually took me by surprise.

It all started with a couple tiny little bumps on my leg, which grew into something that looked like ringworm.

I've had ringworm before, because we live in the country, and have cats, a dog, goats, chickens, and they occasionally get some sort of illness, wound or skin disorder that needs attention. I think the likely culprit is usually either the dog or the cats.

Does Tea Tree Oil Help the Rash?

I tried using the tea tree oil first. Guess what? Yep, it had absolutely no effect. I still think it's ringworm, so I used the over the counter anti-fungal spray. No help either. Now the spot has grown to several inches in diameter.

I start thinking that maybe this is strep, or staph, because my wife's grandmother whom we take care of daily, spent a week in the local hospital, and maybe the wound has become infected with a viral or bacterial agent. Again, more tea tree oil, but no help.

Third stage, the wound is now seeping yellow goo, and the skin texture is bubbled and feels like lizard skin. I press on with a vitamin c flush to rid my body of the germs and the toxins. No help.

I am browsing the internet for pictures that look like what I have, and I start thinking it is contact dermatitis, or shingles, or scabies. I need to eliminate the false symptoms I am experiencing.

Suddenly, a little over a week ago, a similar rash breaks out on my lower back, immediately following a back strain in my lower back, it too starts as a few small dots, but then looks like a scratch.

Over the next couple of days, the area explodes into a rash that takes up the entire area from hip to hip, and extends 3 or four inches up my back, I am experiencing the rash on my arms and both legs now, and the itching is nearly unbearable. There's no pain, only intense itching.

What's causing my rash?

I searched the internet for the main environmental factors that have changed in my life in the last two months. There are only three new personal care or home cleaning products in the home.

  • Nivea for Men Active 3 Body Wash, it's a new men's body wash I am trying , shave, shampoo, and body wash all in one,
  • The Neosporin triple-antibiotic cream I used on my leg at first,
  • and Tide Coldwater laundry detergent, both the scented and the free-and-clear varieties.

There are hardly any negative reviews of the Nivea for Men Active 3 Body Wash or for the triple antibiotic gel.

When I search for Tide Coldwater, or tide laundry soap, the comments and reports of often serious rashes, hives, and of course, intense itching.

My Personal Opinion? I think it's Tide Laundry Detergent

I am pretty sure that the Tide Laundry soap has caused all of my misery. I just wanted to get my clothes cleaner. So, back to the ECOS laundry detergent that has always performed moderately well, but has never caused any irritation over the years that we have used it.

I am pretty sure it's either scabies or contact dermatitis. I take a bath and clean the sores with tea tree oil on a white tissue, only to see small nearly microscopic black, grey, or light brown spots on the tissue. I am fearing the worst, Scabies!

The only baffling thing? In our family of eight, along with my wife's 93 year old grandma here during the day, no one else has it. So, I keep thinking there is no way it's scabies or anything else that's contagious.

"I said, Doctor! Ain't there nothing I can take..."

I finally take the plunge, and head off to the doctor, I need some relief, some sleep, and some answer.

I went yesterday, and Dr. Solus at the local Immediate Care, ( I think it's pronounced "Solace" which would be appropriate in this case) in Yreka, California confirmed my suspicions. He too said that it looked like either Scabies or Contact dermatitis. He's very friendly, great staff, and he takes the time to thoroughly answer your questions.

So anyway, Dr Solus confirmed my suspicions, and said the rash at first glance looked like either scabies or contact dermatitis. Upon closer examination, the pattern of the rash was wrong for scabies, and along with all the other evidence, pointed to contact dermatitis.

He put me on a little prednisone, a steroid anti-itch cream, and 24 hours later, the rash is starting to go away, my forearms are nearly clear, my itch is diminishing, and I am starting to feel better.

So, the moral to the story? Tea tree oil may not help in all situations, it certainly won't get rid of contact dermatitis, and in some folks, tea tree oil may even cause it.

Like to add your story or comments? Please join in the conversation.

Ever had a story like this that you've been itching to tell? A problem that was more than skin deep?, or really got under your skin? 

We'd love to help you tell the whole world about it, so maybe they can find some solace and relief too.

Do You Have a Rash Tale to Tell?

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