Hand Eczema (Dyshidrotic Eczema) – Types, Causes, Symptoms & Treatment

By Skin & Hair Academy | September 21, 2022
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Why do you think “wash your hands” was one of the first and most important things we were taught as kids? More than any other part of our body, the hands are the most accessible pathway for pathogens to enter our body and cause diseases. Also, it is more prone to catching an infection as they are the first touchpoint for germs. 

Many things can go wrong with your hands if you are not careful enough. One of them is hand Eczema. But with the correct information, it is possible to win over this skin condition. In this blog, we’ll discuss the causes, symptoms, triggers, prevention, and treatment of hand Eczema.

What is hand Eczema?

Let’s start with understanding hand Eczema. 

Hand Eczema or Dyshidrotic Eczema is a common skin condition. It is dry, itchy, and red skin affects your entire hand, including your fingers. People experience cracking, soreness, blisters, and even bleeding in severe cases. If not treated at the right time, the infection can grow and make it difficult to carry out daily tasks.

What are the types of hand Eczema?

Types of hand Eczema differ based on the cause, symptom, and triggers. Let’s have a look at different types of hand Eczema.

Irritant Eczema
This type of Eczema is caused when you come in contact with an irritant like some chemical or dust. Such encounters hamper the protective barrier of your skin and cause hand Eczema. If you think washing your hands would eliminate the risk of hand Eczema in such a case, it won’t help. Such irritants affect your skin even after you’ve washed your hands. 

Allergic Eczema
Allergic Eczema is a result of an allergic reaction. If you are allergic to certain elements, fragrances, rubber or certain plants, it increases the risk of getting hand Eczema. In such a case, you must be very careful about your surroundings and take care of your hands to avoid falling prey to this skin condition.

Dyshidrotic dermatitis (or pompholyx eczema)
This type of hand Eczema often causes itchy blisters filled with pus on the palms and sides of your fingers. It usually affects people before they turn 40. There is no medical explanation for what causes it yet, but it is believed that stress, allergies, and sweating can add to the discomfort.

Based on the hand eczema type, your doctor will recommend a treatment to help you manage it better.

What are the causes and symptoms of hand eczema?

Eczema can be easily identified and worked upon. If you have clarity on the causative factors and symptoms of hand Eczema, you can be better prepared to help yourself and others to deal with it the right way. However, getting in touch with a dermatitis specialist or a dermatologist is always recommended.

Causes of Hand Eczema

  • Exposure to water
    Washing your hands multiple times a day can affect the skin’s protective layer, causing it to break down. If you have dry or sensitive skin, the risk of hand Eczema increases as the water evaporates its strips of natural oil from your hands.
  • Exposure to allergens and irritants
    Substances like alcohol, bleach, cleansers, or other hard solvents are believed to be another cause of hand Eczema. People exposed to allergens or irritants like this are likely to suffer from this skin condition. 
  • Stress
    Stress triggers the secretion of hormones like cortisol and adrenaline. This trigger affects the immune system that causes an Eczema flare-up. If you find yourself under stress most of the time, the chances of getting dyshidrotic Eczema are higher. This type of hand Eczema causes itchy blisters on your palm and is filled with pus. 
  • Sweating
    Sweating is normal, but it can irritate your skin. Sweat leaves a salty residue which can irritate the skin and cause or worsen an itch. People with sweaty palms must be mindful of hand hygiene to avoid getting hand Eczema.
  • Physical wear and tear
    Our hands perform many tasks and can cause physical wear and tear, such as cuts and bruises. This minor hand trauma can lead to hand Eczema if you are not careful enough.

Symptoms of hand Eczema

Identifying hand Eczema is nothing different than normal Eczema. It is a red or dark brown, itchy, and dry portion of the hand that causes discomfort. Here are some symptoms of hand Eczema to help you understand this skin condition better :

  • Pain 
  • Burning sensations
  • Skin flaking and peeling
  • Swelling near the infection area
  • Cracks on your palms or fingers
  • Blisters filled with pus
  • Bleeding

Knowing the triggers and symptoms of hand Eczema helps you take quick action and get the proper treatment. Neglecting symptoms of this skin condition can make it a chronic disease that takes time to heal and increases discomfort.

What can trigger hand Eczema?

There are many hand eczema triggers, and we have discussed some of them in the causes section above. Besides those triggers, hand Eczema can also be caused due to environmental sensitivity, such as exposure to freezing temperatures. Here are some of the common hand Eczema triggers for your information:

  • Washing hands more frequently
  • Using harsh soaps or scented lotions
  • Wearing jewellery
  • Applying nail polish 
  • Smoking
  • Wearing wool or rough fabric

Excessive of anything is dangerous. Dermatologists don’t recommend not performing any of the abovementioned activities, but overdoing certain things can worsen hand eczema.

How can you deal with Hand Eczema?

Managing hand Eczema or preventing it is no rocket science. All you need to do is keep your hand squeaky clean and avoid instances that can harm it. Here are some tips you can follow to keep hand Eczema at bay:

Identify the root cause.
Work with your dermatologist to know what triggers hand Eczema in your case. He will recommend patch tests to help you understand the root cause and chalk the treatment plan accordingly. 

Avoid washing hands frequently.
Following good hand hygiene is good, but that doesn’t mean you overdo it. Washing your hands is necessary only when they are dirty. Frequent hand washing can rinse natural oil from your hands, making them prone to Eczema. Additionally, ensure that you are not using harsh soaps on your hands as it can trigger hand Eczema.

Keep your hands dry 
Every time you wash your hands, ensure that you dry them thoroughly. Wet hands can become a breeding ground for germs and cause Eczema. One of the best ways to keep your hand clean and dry is to use hand sanitisers and waterless cleansers.  

Use hand gloves whenever necessary.
If you work in a chemical factory, love gardening, or work in cold climates, it is always recommended to use gloves to protect your hands. Cuts and bruises are common in such environments and can go unnoticed, leading to hand Eczema. 

If you already have hand Eczema, don’t turn a blind eye to proper treatment and management tips. This skin condition cannot heal on its own and will worsen if you’re not taking adequate care of your hands.

What else to know about hand Ezcema?

Save yourself from the discomfort of hand Eczema. But before you take matters into your hands, it is always better to consult a dermatologist to know the right course of treatment for the type of hand eczema you are dealing with.

 

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