Dyshidrotic Eczema is a rare form of eczema which only affects the hands and feet, appearing as extremely itchy blisters on the palms, soles and sides of fingers and toes. While this form of eczema is agravated by stress, the main problem is when hands are constantly in water. There is also a connection between dyshidrotic eczema and an allergic reaction to nickel. People who have dyshidrotic eczema can be genetically predisposed to it while some consider the condition to be caused by abnormal sweating. Perfumes and preservatives in soaps and irritants in household cleansers can make things worse. This form of eczema can arise if:
- You suffered from eczema, hay fever or other allergies when you were a child.
- Your hands are frequently exposed to water where constant wetting and drying breaks down the skin's protective outer barrier.
- Your hands come into contact with irritating chemicals.
- Your feet are encased in shoes providing warm, moist conditions
The symptoms of dyshidrotic eczema are tiny opaque bumps or beads that join together to form a rash the size of your fingernail. These become deep-seated with clear blisters that in the later stages lead to scaling, thickening and painful fissures. The blisters can start to ooze or weep. Secondary bacterial infection is very often a complication with dyshidrotic eczema. In many people, the condition worsens at night and during warmer weather. Recurrence is common and this can be a chronic condition. Some people suffer with dyshidrotic eczema in both the hands and feet.
You will need to change your daily habits. Here are some ways to do this:
- After using the toilet, wash your hands with lukewarm water and a perfume-free cleanser, blot them dry gently and immediately apply a natural moisturizer. Avoid waterless or antibacterial cleansers as they contain alcohol, solvents or other ingredients that can make things worse.
- Oral antihistamines may help to alleviate the intense itch.
- Calamine lotion helps to cool the affected skin and should be applied frequently.
- Keep several pairs of cotton gloves handy to protect your hands while doing dry chores and wash the gloves if they get dirty. For wet work, put on your cotton gloves and then cover them with unlined, powder-free vinyl or neoprene gloves as latex in rubber gloves can cause allergies. Wash reusable gloves inside and out and let them air dry thoroughly.
- Never wear a waterproof glove longer than 15 to 20 minutes but if you have to, apply a moisturizer to your hands beforehand.
- Ask someone else to shampoo your hair for you. If this is not possible, wash your hair wearing your waterproof/cotton liner glove combination and put rubber bands on your forearms to keep ant water out.
- Remove rings when doing housework and before washing and drying your hands as they can trap irritants. Clean those rings regularly by soaking overnight in 1 tbs ammonia in a pint of water. Rinse and dry before wearing again.
- If possible, use the washing machine and the dishwasher to do laundry and dishes. If you have to wash dishes by hand, do it under running water. Use a long-handled brush to minimize hand damage from hot water.
- For outdoor work, wear unlined leather or thick fabric gloves to protect your hands. Leather gloves also will protect your hands in dry, windy or cool weather.
- If your job is causing your hand eczema, determine what irritating chemicals or work practices are contributing to your condition plus limit your exposure to these risks while using the same hand protective ideas as above.
- Use heavy-duty vinyl or neoprene gloves and cotton gloves when doing wet work.
- Wear leather or clean, heavy-duty fabric gloves for dry work.
- Avoid using industrial hand cleansers or waterless or antibacterial cleansers that contain irritating ingredients.
- Keep your work clothes, protective clothing, tools and work surfaces clean because any irritant residues can aggravate your problem.
- Treat all minor wounds on your hands and bandage them so any irritants and allergens cannot enter the skin.
- Carry your hand moisturizer and/or medication or a natural eczema treatment product with you to work, and use them to prevent problems.
Clearing up this condition can take several months and will need patience and perseverance. Continue treating your hands and/or feet with extreme care for as long as a year after the condition has cleared up to avoid recurrence. Using natural products can help treat eczema symptoms faster and offer soothing relief.