My patch is itchy - what should I do?

Sometimes, the area where you’ve stuck your contraceptive patch can get sore and irritated. It might get itchy or you might see a rash.

This is usually because your skin has reacted to the adhesive (glue) that keeps the patch on your skin. Some people will be more sensitive to this than others. And some people can get a rash because their skin is reacting to the hormones in the patch.

You can reduce the chances of the patch irritating your skin by making sure you do not stick it anywhere that's damp or where you have broken or already sore skin.

If your skin feels itchy or irritated around your patch, here are some things that can help:

  • take off the patch and put a new one in a different area of your body. Make sure your skin is clean and dry. Do not attach to skin that’s hairy.

  • wash the irritated area with soap and water. Make sure to dry it thoroughly.

  • hold something cold against the irritated area. Try an ice pack or a cloth dampened with cold water.

  • try an anti-itch cream from the chemist or pharmacy. There are some good options available over the counter.

  • if it’s particularly bad, take an antihistamine tablet.

Any mild irritation or rash should go away after a few days. For a small number of people, the patch will keep causing irritation. If this happens, you can think about changing to a different type of contraception that won’t affect your skin.

Written by Helen Burkitt. Senior Sexual Health and Contraception Nurse
Last updated at: 02 February 2024
Published on: 24 August 2022