Dyshidrotic eczema—also known as acute vesiculobullous hand eczema or dyshidrosis—is a skin condition wherein blister-like growths develop on the palm of the hand or soles of the feet. The blisters are filled with fluid and are extremely itchy. There is no known cause of dyshidrosis but some experts believe that the condition could be linked to stress or seasonal allergies. However, there are cases wherein dyshidrotic eczema was caused by a fungus or mites.
Women are more prone to developing dyshidrosis than men. Those who are exposed to high level of stress are susceptible to get this condition. Also, individuals who always leave their hands and feet moist or wet could develop dyshidrosis due to exposure to metal salts like chromium or cobalt.
Symptoms and Diagnosis
The common symptoms of dyshidrosis include grooves, fissures in between toes or fingers, itchy bumps that turns into a rash with vesicles filled with fluid, as well as painful cracks and grooves over the affected area.
To diagnose the condition, you will need to have yourself checked by your doctor for dyshidrotic eczema. The affected area will be analyzed through skin biopsy. You will also go through various tests to rule out other skin diseases or fungal infection. If say, the dyshidrotic eczema is triggered by an allergic reaction, your will go through tests to determine what caused the allergy. Long-term treatment will depend on what kind of things or environments triggered the condition. As long as dyshidrotic eczema is not caused by a fungus or mites (scabies), it’s not contagious.
How to Treat Mild and Severe Dyshidrotic Eczema
The most common treatment for mild dyshidrosis is antihistamines. Over-the-counter antihistamines like Benadryl or Claritin help prevent itching and other discomfort associated with this condition. You could also apply wet compress on the area to prevent the skin from breaking and being inflamed.
Other home remedies for dyshidrosis include petroleum jelly or hydrating creams. Mineral oil or corticosteroid ointments may also be applied directly on the affected area to relieve itchiness and redness.
Soaking the affected area in a vinegar-water solution also helps soothe itchiness and discomfort. Do not use soaps or detergents that will dry your skin. Skin hydration is a must to prevent fissures or skin cracking. Note that some types of skincare products and personal cleansing items may worsen dyshidrosis. If you have an outbreak of dyshidrosis, turn to mild formulas so the skin is not irritated. Avoid heavily perfumed lotions and creams as well as dishwashing soaps.
On the other hand, if the condition worsens, your doctor will recommend treatments such as ultraviolet light therapy or steroid medication to bring down the inflammation and swelling. Coal tar preparations and ointments that suppress your immune response may also be used to treat the area.
Avoid scratching the affected area no matter how itchy it is. Do not break the blisters or pick at the fissures either because it will cause inflammation. Always wash your hands and try to limit your exposure to water.